Desperate Bill Foster campaign cynically grabs for headlines with Midtown move

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The first ten words of the piece by Mark Puente and Kameel Stanley tell you almost everything you need to know about Mayor Foster’s latest desperate, cynical grab for votes two weeks before Election Day:

“In the wake of blistering criticism on the campaign trail…”

In the wake of blistering criticism on the campaign trail. 

Even if you are not following the fascinating race for Mayor of St. Petersburg, the story should make you cringe with shame on behalf of the mayor, who apparently can’t stand the heat. Two weeks before Election Day, and Mayor Foster decides voters… er, uh, citizens in the Midtown area are important enough to talk about.  

Foster fired deputy mayor Go Davis, the person with the Midtown portfolio, in 2011 — two years ago. Now he wants to fill the vacancy? 

Kriseman offered this response in a statement: “Mr. Foster waited nearly 1,000 days to appoint a new liaison to Midtown. Announcing this position two weeks before an election is offensive and nothing more than an act of desperation from a mayor trying anything to hold on to power.” 

It is offensive. Where’s the leadership? 

To make a bad situation much worse, Foster didn’t even roll out the cynical plan very well. As of about 12:30, when the Times piece was published, Foster supporter Scott Wagman, who is co-chairing a seemingly poorly defined citizen panel on public safety, admitted to Puente and Stanley that even he didn’t know the announcement was coming today.  

The writers also point out that, once again, City Council members were blind-sided by the mayor. Council Chair Karl Nurse “knew nothing of the plan.” 

Mayor Foster should be finishing up a press conference today on this announcement, but who knows if we’ll have more detail — or just more ham-handed, cynical plays for votes. No matter what St. Petersburg neighborhood you live in, you shouldn’t let cynical politics like this become the distraction Foster wants it so desperately to be.