An endorsement from the St. Petersburg Association of Firefighters, Local 747 is considered a prize in city politics, writes Michael Van Sickler.
The 277-member union can chip in a $500 contribution and can throw fundraisers. More importantly, it provides boots on the ground, with help in walking neighborhoods, putting out signs, working the phones.
So City Council incumbents Steve Kornell, Bill Dudley and Wengay Newton were probably quite happy to get endorsements Friday from the union. Kornell, who wasn’t endorsed by the union when he ran for council in 2009, faces a challenge from Bill Protz. Dudley, who is a darling with firefighters, is running against Brent Hatley. And Newton was endorsed in 2007 by the union when he faced Gershom Faulkner, who he challenging him again this year.
True, the endorsement comes less than a month before the City Council will vote on breaking a stalemate between the union and Mayor Bill Foster and his administration on a new contract. But questions about the contract weren’t asked when the candidates were interviewed, and City Attorney John Wolfe instructed incumbents to avoid addressing the contract at all because it’s an ongoing legal matter.
Continue reading Van Sickler’s story here.