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Scott Wagman: No New Parks

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Scott Wagman, aka The Half Million Dollar Man for his ridiculous fundraising boast, is running into the challenges many first-time candidates face at one point or another.Before I get into that, let me begin by saying that Wagman is trying hard and he has some smart people working for him. He just uploaded a sharp, welcoming campaign website that features a lot of social networking and video. He also just had an open house for his new campaign headquarters (it must be nice to self-finance and be able to open up a HQ this early in the race. The rest of us are still working around the dinner table).

But where Wagman is running into trouble is when he starts talking about what he’d actually do if he was elected. Last week, he went on

the Scott Farrellshow and the first thing out of his mouth was a promise to place a moratorium on new park spending in the city. That’s right, that is, according to him, his first priority! Because park spending is just so out-of-control. After all, parks are so expensive, what with all that, um, sod and playground equipment.This from a charitable guy who just dropped all sorts of high society on the Great Explorations museum. The Houghton-Wagman Great Explorations Museum, that is. So I guess if your children have the cash to roll around Sunken Gardens, that’s cool. But if they can’t pay to get in, don’t think about sending them to a park, because there’s gonna be no new ones built any time soon.

Unless I am reading it wrong, Mr. Wagman also seems to have forgotten that new park spending in St. Pete is partially financed by money from the city’s deal on Weeki Wachee. That money has to be spent on capital construction and improvement. Sure, with new parks comes new upkeep. But I think we can still pay for a few parks-and-rec people, right?

Not under a Wagman administration!

After boldly declaring war on parks and “shrubbery”, as Mr. Wagman described it, he went on to say that city employees are about as important as say, well, a new park. City employees are going to get the axe, too. Because, according to Mr. Wagman, we have to ‘run government like a business.’ Because we know how well business is being run right now.All this from a (supposed) Democrat? If this is the left flank of the candidate field, what the hell is Bill Foster going to propose? Wait, don’t answer that.

In the end, what may be the most disturbing aspect about Wagman’s War on Parks is that this was the jab he decided to throw first. This is his opening salvo. I know the people working for Mr. Wagman are smarter than this. Maybe it’s time to hold a few policy workshops at that shiny new campaign heaquarters. (I am a volunteer for the Jamie Bennett Campaign for Mayor).


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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