St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster to St. Petersburg Times: ‘Drop Dead’

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During his 2009 mayoral campaign, Bill Foster promised transparency, writes Danny Valentine.

“If it involves your property or your money, then you will be involved in the decision-making, early and often. No secret deals or insincere after-the-fact visioning programs,” he pledged on his campaign website.

But at a public gathering Wednesday, Foster refused to provide details about a secret plan to keep the Tampa Bay Rays from leaving the city, and said he would not give candid answers to residents’ questions on other issues if a reporter was present.

Read the full article here, although here are the quotes from Foster which make it abundantly clear he is unwilling to interact with the St. Petersburg Times.

“Is he your guest?” Foster, referring to a St. Petersburg Times reporter, asked a group of people munching on breakfast. “Because I wouldn’t have a candid conversation. So it’s up to you. It’s not up to me, it’s up to these folks. I don’t invite — I’m not doing a press conference so I don’t invite the newspaper in to speak candidly with people unless the people” want a reporter there.

…At one point, as a Times reporter was allowed to join a conversation at a breakfast table, Foster stopped talking and said, “I won’t finish that sentence.”

…”I’ll be a little more reserved, but then I’ll come back. I’ll come back around when I know I don’t have to worry about reading it in the newspaper.”

…”What’s funny is that a couple of people have asked me about the secret plan today and I said, ‘Sure, here it is. It’s not a secret. I told half the people that were in the room today. It’s not a secret. It’s just not for public consumption,’ ” Foster said.

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.