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Candidate seeks slow pace

By LEONORA LaPETER

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 21, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- The 10th contender for St. Petersburg's mayoral race is Robert G. Wolf, a painting contractor and political newcomer.

Wolf, 50, hopes he can beat the nine other candidates for mayor by appealing to what he believes are the desires of many who would like to slow development and take St. Petersburg back to its sleepier days.

"I think I can turn this city around," said Wolf, a former Pittsburgh resident who moved here two decades ago. "Instead of being so big and commercialized, I want to bring it back down to earth again."

He said he will work out his agenda with time, but he planned to focus on improving the police department and schools. Wolf, who enjoys water sports such as lobstering, scuba diving and fishing, said he would operate under the philosophy that less big business is better for the city.

"That's fine for Miami, it's fine for Daytona, it's great for Jacksonville, but it's not for St. Pete," Wolf said. "We're more family oriented."

Wolf said his base of support will be the "average person like myself." He said he has been debating a run for the office for the past two mayoral elections but his wife, Diana, had talked him out of it.

Wolf seemed to be battling that problem again this week. A day after filing campaign treasurer reports with the city clerk, he called the Times to say he may not be running for mayor because of a "family problem." He called back several hours later to say he was back in the race.

Asked about the problem, he said his wife just needed to check something out with her job.

"I'm running, guaranteed, I'm running," he said.

Asked why he wasn't first making a run for a City Council seat, Wolf said he wanted the job with the most influence.

"I'm not interested in starting at the bottom," Wolf said. "I'm interested in starting at the top. If I can get that, that's where I want to be. I've always been that way. For me to go in and start at the bottom, I'm not interested."

If elected to the $100,000-a-year job, Wolf said he would probably turn his business, B and B Pressure Cleaning and Painting, over to another contractor.

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