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Mayoral forum at Parkshore

in The Bay and the 'Burg by
About fifty or so residents of the waterfront condominium community attended a forum for the six major mayoral candidates on Thursday at the Parkshore building.

Unfortunately, I am already disgusted with these forums, and I have only been to two of them. Most of my disgust originates with Kathleen Ford, who reminds me of a pit bull choking against its own leash. She sooooo wants to break loose and tear into the closest piece of flesh. Groooowwwwllll, securities lending, bark, bark, bark, no stadium, errrrrr, fire everyone. Of course, she is probably the most hated woman in the city, but her CAVE (citizens against virtually everything) followers guarantee her fifteen percent of the vote. All I can say about Kathleen is, see you next Tuesday.

As for the rest of the field, Deveron Gibbons is the class of the division so far. Yes, his stories meander, and no, there is often no point to his anecdotes (the dead girl in the field?), but he has googled enough answers to sound like he’s done some homework. Larry Williams is clearly out of his weight class. Embarrassingly so. Pam Williams needs to pull her husband aside soon and tell him to exit graciously. As for Jamie Bennett and Bill Foster, they both sound like experienced elected officials, not particularly fond of Kathleen’s troublemaking or Deveron’s insurgence.

Which leaves Scott Wagman. Why do I not like him so much? Is it because he’s a proxy battle with another team of consultants. Perhaps. I know there are people who would have supported Bennett had I not signed on to his campaign. But that’s not why I have such an issue with Wagman. I believe it’s the Steve Forbes-Mitt Romney aspect of Wagman’s candidacy. That believing that running a paint business makes you qualified to be mayor. That’s all good and well, and if I were Scott, I’d be proud of what I had accomplished, but the whole let’s-run-government-like-a-business routine is tired. Government gets the shit end of the societal stick. It has to run the infrastructure and programs that don’t make a profit, i.e., mental health facilities and bus lines. These entities will never make a profit, can never be run like a business. And so Wagman’s solutions, to run the police department or to economic development or to address the homelessness situation, is just the 21st century version of noblesse oblige.

Having listened to all of the candidates, it’s clear that there are five Republicans and one Democrat running. Foster, Gibbons, Williams are all R’s. Kathleen is a Democrat in name, but her reactive brand of politics actually places her to the right of the field. And Wagman, sure he is for gay rights and sees green, but he’s a Democrat the way Jon Corzine is a Democrat. Wagman’s latent socio-economic stereotyping is beginning to come through as well. Also, as Adam Smith reports, Wagman gave $1,000 to George W. Right or wrong, the only candidate that is of true Democratic fiber is Jamie Bennett.

As for specifics from last night, the two quotes that stand out to me are Foster’s unequivocal opposition to a new stadium. The question was put to all of them in Yes/No format and Foster joined Ford and Gibbons in saying No. Wagman really let one slide, too. He’s so intent on his team approach to governing that he said, “No, I will not be the top cop for the city.” This sounded a lot like a president saying he didn’t want to be commander in chief. It also sounded like George W.’s horseshit about surrounding himself with experienced hands.

Look how well that turned out.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.

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