Karl Nurse speaks his mind: on Bill Foster, police and how things went wrong with “The Lens”

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St. Petersburg City Council chair Karl Nurse is proud of his accomplishments; working towards energy efficiency, neighborhood improvements and encouraging investment in Midtown.

In a conversation with the editorial board of the Tampa Bay Times, the District 6 incumbent, who is now running for reelection, also had a few choice words about the St. Pete police, The Lens and Mayor Bill Foster.

Nurse expressed the black community’s “disappointment” with the mayor is genuine, claiming that Foster “never really managed people before.”

With crime up 10 percent in St. Pete, and higher in Midtown, Nurse blames the lack of police-resident relations for an “erosion” of policing in the community. However, Foster wasn’t only to blame; the trend of ignoring the city’s south side began with former Mayor Rick baker.

On the issue of The Lens, Nurse opposes the $50 million proposed replacement of the 1973 Pier. He feels that the city missed the opportunity to have a clear idea of what the residents genuinely want with the Pier. Nurse suggested the city could have used online polling and surveys provided in utilities bills to gauge general feeling about the Pier’s mission. He said officials first should have known what the Pier’s role would be, and then created a design that followed those requirements.

Nurse also helped develop the idea that a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium could be built in the Gateway area, keeping the team in St. Pete, but he felt that the city attorneys got in the way of using it as an incentive in the negotiations.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.