Say what? Mayor Rick Kriseman to attend ribbon-cutting for Chick-fil-A

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Ready for me to make a mountain out of a molehill?

Reading St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman’s public schedule for the week ahead, I noticed that he is scheduled to attend a ribbon-cutting at the Chick-Fil-A on Fourth Street North.

It’s surprising to some to see Kriseman, an avowed progressive Democrat, promoting a business which is anathema by many liberals.

In 2012, Chick-Fil-A was embroiled in controversy due to the company’s funding of extreme fundamentalist organizations and its anti-gay public positions. However, to its credit, Chick-fil-A has since stopped funding all but one of the the controversial organizations, according to tax filings.  

Still, to many progressives, Chick-fil-A is a corporate symbol of arch-conservatism and discrimination.

For my part, I could care less who or what Chick-fil-A supports; it was one of the few restaurants my wife could still enjoy during her pregnancy. My daughter also loves its food. And I admire the wholesome attitude of the eager-to-please staff.

Kriseman’s decision to attend the ribbon-cutting is drawing the ire of at least one local progressive, none other than uber blogger, The Ybor City Stogie, who is urging his readers to reconsider participating in the event.

On one hand, I am surprised to see Kriseman attend an event promoting Chick-fil-A, especially considering his record in support of gay rights. On the other hand, this is a small business in St. Petersburg and his administration is committed to promoting economic growth in the city. Also, the owner of the Fourth Street North Chick-fil-A, David Neely, is, by all accounts, a particularly good guy with a considerable record of community involvement.

Despite Chick-fil-A’s past record, Mayor Kriseman is right to attend this ribbon-cutting. At some point, everyone, including corporate partners, deserve a second chance.

Plus, the chicken strips are just delicious!

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.