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Political Party with Adam Smith: ‘The mayor doesn’t run the show,’ says council chair Ed Montanari

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St. Petersburg City Council Chairman Ed Montanari this week joined the latest episode of Political Party with Adam Smith, weighing in on the increasingly rocky relationship between the council and Mayor Rick Kriseman.

“A lot of times the Kriseman Administration does not collaborate on the front end of things. We get it after the deal is inked,” Montanari said. “I call it the Moses form of governing. The mayor and his administration come down from the mountain with something already made and cut in stone. And they put something before city council and then they want us to vote on it, and we haven’t seen it and we haven’t collaborated on it.”

Said Montanari: “We’re equal in our powers. The mayor doesn’t run the show. The mayor has his duties and the city council has our duties … There needs to be cooperation.”

Click on the arrow above to watch the interview.

Council members last week sought to slam the brakes on Kriseman picking a developer to redevelop the 86-acre Tropicana Field site, saying they would not approve any development deal without knowing whether the Tampa Bay Rays and a new stadium will be part of that massive project.

Over the next six months, Montanari said, “I hope we can get to an agreement with the Rays that keeps them here, and that the public will accept. That’s my goal. It’s going to be difficult.”

He is open-minded about the Rays’ plan for dividing the season between Tampa Bay and Canada, and he believes the Rays are still interested in St. Petersburg after unsuccessfully pursuing a new stadium in Tampa.

“When I speak with the Rays in one-on-one meetings, I’m confident that they want to stay here in St. Petersburg. Sometimes they expand that to the Tampa Bay area – and I see the Rays as a reasonable asset – but I’m adamant that I want them to stay here in St. Petersburg.”

In two months, the field of 2021 candidates for mayor will be locked in, and Montanari ruled out joining the field that so far includes former city council member Wengay Newton, council member Darden Rice, and former county commissioner Ken Welch. He suspects more people will run.

“Without disclosing a name, I know there might be a couple more candidates getting in the race,” he said.

Contact Adam Smith at asmith@mercuryllc.com

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    Debi Mazor

    April 21, 2021at11:41 pm

    It’s much more than the Tropicana Redevelopment project that was hurriedly placed before City Council, bypassing the normal RFP process used for waterfront development projects. Last May 21st the move to turn our City Marina over to an out-of-state entrepreneur caught the Council by surprise. Out of nowhere the Mayor’s request to allocate $50K in public funds to a private individual slipped through without a hitch. Since then the proposed conversion of not only the public Marina but also historic Demens Landing Park into destinations for million dollar yachts and an amusement park for tourists (not too far-fetched given the initial design submitted to the City) is being fast-tracked. A Council hearing to award these public assets to the newly-minted private company “St Pete Marina LLC “ is scheduled for May 6th before City Council. Local boaters have organized to oppose this proposal and made their concerns known to Councilmembers in recent weeks.

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