(In the days leading up to the city elections in St. Petersburg, we'll periodically focus on invidivual city council races.)
ST. PETERSBURG -- In addition to the mayor's race, St. Petersburg voters will choose the people to fill four city council seats November 2nd.
In District One, two finalists are vying for the seat left open when Robert Blackmon ran for mayor. Bobbie Shay Lee has been an activist since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 20s. She has been involved in public policy since then. Copley Gerdes is the son of former council member Charlie Gerdes, who represented the same seat in the 2010s. Both are St. Petersburg natives.
Lee says it's time to start from "a clean slate" on the future of the Rays, after clashes between the team and outgoing mayor Rick Kriseman. As far as the split-season proposal, Lee says she'll support what her constituents want. Gerdes says St. Petersburg shouldn't reject the sister-city concept with Montreal out of hand, just because it's never been done before.
Both want to see a better relationship between St. Petersburg and state government in Tallahassee, which became strained during the Kriseman administration. Lee blames city hall for stoking tensions on masks, city states of emergency, red tide, and other issues. "You cannot continue to poke the bear, to mock authority from the city level to the governor, and then poke your hand out." Gerdes says "there is a perception... (of) disconnect between our city and the state" and says it's a reason he got into the race.
Voters citywide will choose one of the two for the seat November 2nd.