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District 1

At forum, Pinellas school board candidates agree on one thing: System needs fixing

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One thing was clear at Tuesday’s forum for Pinellas School Board candidates — the school system needs revamping. But how that is to take place isn’t so clear, although most agreed that communication and stakeholder participation are needed. “Parental participation is a must,” said Eliseo Santana, one of the candidates for District 5. “Our system is not geared to bringing our parents into the schools.” Eileen Long, who is running for the District 4 seat, said, “Survey our stakeholders, find what…

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St. Pete City Council incumbents Charlie Gerdes, Steve Kornell sail to re-election

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As expected, both St. Petersburg City Council incumbents facing re-election cruised to easy victories Tuesday night. With early voting counted, Council Chairman Charlie Gerdes was trouncing Monica Abbott with 64 percent of the vote. Steve Kornell is leading his opponent, Philip Garrett 56 percent to 44 percent. While Gerdes never really faced a credible threat from Abbott, Kornell did have cause for concern when the Tampa Bay Times endorsed Garrett based on one defining issue: Garrett supported Mayor Rick Kriseman’s brokered deal to let the Tampa…

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Charlie Gerdes closes funding gap over challenger Monica Abbott

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St. Pete City Council chair Charlie Gerdes hasn’t quite caught up to his opponent in a fundraising race for the District 1 race, but he’s cut her lead to less than $1,000. The biggest difference is, $11,000 of Monica Abbott’s $12,425 in campaign funds came from her own pocket. Gerdes has raised just shy of $12,000 through multiple donations from local and state committees. Gerdes is on track to far out-raise Abbott if the most recent campaign finance reports serve…

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Charlie Gerdes, Steve Kornell trump challengers in City Council debate

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If there’s a takeaway from Monday night’s City Council candidate forum among the two less competitive races for District 1 and 5, it’s that incumbents are playing on a key weakness their opponents share – inexperience. During the one-hour debate moderated by the League of Women Voters at City Hall, both Charlie Gerdes and Steve Kornell showed off their insider-knowledge of city workings. The first question of the night went to Gerdes and his opponent, Monica Abbott, vaguely asking how…

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Monica Abbott hopes to unseat Charlie Gerdes so she can be a full-time representative

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Monica Abbott is self-funding a campaign to unseat St. Pete City Council chair Charlie Gerdes … to the tune of $11,000. Abbott wants a shot at representing West St. Pete residents in District 1 because she thinks Gerdes isn’t paying enough attention to the district. “He’s more for the city,” Abbott said. “That’s more being a council member at-large.” Abbott complained that Gerdes failed to secure Penny for Pinellas funds for a Pinellas Trail expansion in their district. She said he…

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Charlie Gerdes hopes for City Council win with record low fundraising

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St. Pete City Council chair Charlie Gerdes wants to earn his re-election with as little funding from supporters as possible. “I’m trying to see if I can set a record for the least cost per vote,” Gerdes said. And he’s well on his way. Gerdes has raised just over $4,000 as of the most recent campaign finance reports that cover activity through mid-September. His opponent, Monica Abbott, has about triple the funds with $12,425 raised to date, including an $11,000…

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Direct mail round-up: Charlie Gerdes targets voter with first round of campaign mailers

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St. Pete City Council chair Charlie Gerdes has sent out his first campaign mailer asking voters to re-elect him as the District 1 representative for West St. Pete. The mailer announces to voters, “Putting you first. Moving us forward.” The mailer, sent to more than 13,000 city voters Monday, lists some of Gerdes’ accomplishments as council chair. Gerdes wrote the board put $2 million back into the city’s coffers “so that we can manage our growth smartly,” funded a new…

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