Council of Neighborhood Associations

Sunday, September 25, 2005

September Message

This edition of the newsletter includes a summary of the questionnaire that CONA sent to candidates for City Council concerning their views on our priorities. The good news is that many candidates, incumbents and challengers alike, state that they favor additional community police officers, code enforcement officers and many favor height restrictions of some kind downtown. The bad news that the City Council finished its budget on Sept 8th and did not include any additional community police or codes officers.

During the budget votes, three members of council consistently supported our positions. Those three were: Richard Kriseman, Jay Lasita, and Jamie Bennett. Rene Flowers voted with us but was in the hospital for the final rounds of votes. We need to pass on our thanks for their efforts during the last several months. Our challenge during forums and neighborhood association meetings with candidates this fall is to get candidates to commit to vote for funding for community police and code enforcement. It does not do us much good to “Favor” neighborhood friendly stands if that does not get translated into the annual budget. The City Council can have a powerful voice in setting priorities for our City. Please ask them these questions in this election season.

CONA will sponsor two political forums during this year’s election cycle. On October 19th we will partner with the League of Woman Voters to present a candidate’s forum at the Sunshine Center. This forum will begin at 6:45 PM.

On October 26th, CONA will partner with the Chamber of Commerce to present a candidate’s forum at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

Our neighborhoods continue to improve around town. It is the partnership among neighbors, private developers and the government that can speed or slow the improvement. The disaster in New Orleans shows how important it is to take care of the hidden infrastructure of a community whether it is levies or drainage systems. We should thank our City government in recent years for making major investments in repairing and replacing or water, sewer and street drainage systems. There is not much glory in this effort. Leadership is sometimes doing the important even if no one says thank you. Thank you.