In his interview with the Tampa Bay Times’ editorial board, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster painted a stark comparison between him and his predecessor, Rick Baker.
“My style of leadership is a lot different than my predecessor,” said Foster, according to Anna Phillips and Mark Puente of the Tampa Bay Times. “I don’t travel with an entourage. I don’t have camera crews, and quite honestly, I don’t care who gets the credit. I don’t have to do a press conference for everything. I just want to see results.”
You know what? Foster is right, he’s not Rick Baker!
Bill Foster will never be considered “America’s Best Mayor” as Baker was, according to The Daily Beast. He will not be credited for turning a city that many believed had seen its best days—with an aging population, decaying civic infrastructure and simmering racial tensions—into a vibrant American city on the upswing.
Unlike Foster, Baker did not inherit a city that was already turning around, like many mayors who entered office after the urban renaissance of the 1990s. He did the hard work himself, inspiring a city government and its citizens to aim higher and believe that together they could achieve excellence.
Foster, on the other hand, have an approval rating on par with Rick Scott’s. Were it not for the fact that Foster first ran against the most hated politician in the city (Kathleen Ford), he would still be filing trusts and wills at his rundown law firm.
No, Foster does not travel with an entourage because an entourage would never follow him. Who are his allies? Neil Allen? Virginia Littrell? How unpopular must he be if one of your closest political allies is someone you ridiculed for her weight?
Remember this, Bill, had Baker decided to challenge Foster this year, almost all of the people currently supporting him would have rallied to Baker’s banner.
Why Foster decided to provoke Baker with these comments I’ll never understand. But don’t be surprised in October when Foster sees Baker next to Rick Kriseman, endorsing Kriseman over Foster as his true successor.