At a press conference Wednesday, mayoral candidate Rick Kriseman offered his most detailed vision to date of how a Kriseman administration would operate at City Hall.
Kriseman, who is running against incumbent Bill Foster, told supporters who gathered at a park in the historic Kenwood neighborhood that his style is not to arrive with all the answers and a pre-set agenda but “to listen, to learn and to lead.”
“That is the approach that is needed and the approach I am focused on today,” he told supporters who gathered at Seminole Park.
Kriseman then detailed his ideas for improving efficiencies at City Hall and boosting the economy. Kriseman is proposing to:
- Implement CitiStat, a performance-based set of accountability standards for measuring success on projects at City Hall. As mayor, Kriseman said he would meet weekly with department heads to see how well performance objectives and strategies are being met.
- Extend the performance standards to the existing Action Online program, a non-emergency response system for citizens to use to report problems.
- Improve energy efficiencies to save money. Kriseman said that this includes “resolving negotiations with Duke Energy” to switch out 30,000 street light bulbs for energy-efficient LED bulbs. He estimated the savings at $1.8 million.
- Add a full-time, experienced grant writer to the staff to aggressively pursue government and foundation dollars for projects and initiatives.
- Create a marine sciences research district that ties together the powerhouse institutions already operating on the waterfront – USF’s Marine Sciences, the Florida Institute of Oceanography, NOAA and SRI. In addition, Kriseman said he would like to better equip the existing port to make it the “premiere research vessel hub” for the entire Gulf Coast. He said that with better infrastructure, the port could accommodate a water taxi service. He would like to create similar districts for attracting clean energy jobs to other parts of St. Petersburg, including the west side.
- Address needs and concerns of all the city’s business districts, from downtown and Beach Drive to West St. Pete, Midtown and West Central Avenue.
- Work with Pinellas County Schools to incorporate community service activities into the classroom curriculum. Kriseman said that the community service would help to improve the quality of education for students.
- End the “chase policy” of the police department, which he noted led to an officer driving at 110 mph through a city neighborhood and then crashing his vehicle. Kriseman said he advocates community police and “innovative technologies” like predictive policing.