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Mayoral candidate sees area in need

Patrick Bailey emphasizes development and home ownership in southern St. Petersburg.


© St. Petersburg Times, published December 15, 2000

ST. PETERSBURG -- Patrick Bailey lives in northern St. Petersburg, near Fourth Street and 62nd Avenue N.

But he sees the greatest need in a poorer part of the city south of there: the neighborhoods around Campbell Park Elementary, where he was a student years ago. That's what prompted him to run for mayor, he says.

"They need home ownership," Bailey said. "They need business development. They need to be able to keep the money they earn down there through business ownership."

It will be the first try at elected office for the 41-year-old owner of a collection agency. He is married and has a son and stepdaughter.

Though eight candidates declared their intention to run before he did, Bailey saw no one who he thought could be the mayor the city needs.

"It will be the same recording we've heard in the past," he said. "Same words, but nothing done. We need somebody that's been in the area a long time, who knows the needs of the people, especially in District 6 (south of downtown), which will be the priority of this candidate."

Some of those predominantly African-American neighborhoods erupted in civil disturbances in 1996 after a white police officer shot a black motorist to death. Afterward, Mayor David Fischer appointed the city's first black police chief, Goliath Davis III, to change the direction of the department.

But despite Davis' popularity in many of the neighborhoods Bailey wants to help, "my choice would be to find a different police chief," Bailey said. Bailey said he wants to see the city do more for small businesses. Although he supports attracting large companies that employ hundreds, he would require something in return.

"If we're going to give them a tax break to come in, they should do something for the community to pay back for that tax break: help kids," he said. "They should sponsor a Little League or football league for kids in trade for that tax break. I think that would help our kids get involved with sports again instead of being on the streets."

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