#8 on the list of Tampa Bay’s most powerful politicians is St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster.
Mayor Foster is a leader who clearly is comfortable keeping his own counsel. He is popular with city residents, has weathered the worst of the economic downturn, gets most of what he wants from his City Council all while succeeding a very popular and successful mayor. He has overseen a downtown which continues to shine, has seen new companies come to town, held his own against the county on EMS, has used the threat of going to court to get what he wants.
Or is Foster the mayor the Tampa Bay Times editorial board continually attacks as a leader they do not like mainly for two reasons: he won’t give into the Rays demands to move to Tampa and he is not his predecessor.
Mayor Foster has demonstrated that he is not afraid to lead, publicly firing Goliath Davis and touching the third rail of St Pete politics – the waterfront with the Pier project. Residents agree with him on the Rays and wonder why they can’t look at Pinellas sites today.
His City Council publicly complains and the print media hits him hard, but Foster continues to lead his hometown, winning more often than he loses, and doing it his own way.
For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who comprised the panel which assembled it, please read here.