Question 1: Please identify and share your solutions to the top 3 issues you plan to focus on if elected.
1. Genuine economic development for the black community
-Restoration of economic development through reparations to the black community; turn over the 85 acres under the dome back to the black community, into a reparations land trust, under the control of the black community, to create economic development institutions that will promote economic growth and self-determination; a mass infusion of capital into the black community for new and existing black businesses.
2. End the anti-black rigged election system in St. Pete
-Create a genuine single-member district general election, winner takes all.
3. End the gentrification of the black community
-Create genuine affordable housing; turn over the land under the dome to create genuine units of affordable housing; fund the rehabilitation of Jordan Park for its historic residents in the black community. Establish a Black Community Controlled Housing Board, which would be comprised of democratically elected residents who live in neighborhoods under the jurisdiction of the Housing Authority; cap the development of luxury apartments and support increased development of affordable housing, set to 25 percent of the AMI.
Question 2: Do you support Grow Smarter’s mission of equitable economic growth?
Answer: Absolutely not, this is purely a gentrification scheme. A truly transformative program would be guided by a public policy of reparations to the black community.
Question 3: The Chamber is supportive of increasing the availability of housing that is affordable through:
A.) Zoning changes to increase density, especially along transit and higher elevation corridors
B.) An Affordable Housing Trust Fund that must be used on housing initiatives to help all income levels
C.) Improved disposition of city owned land for affordable housing developments
What is your approach towards housing?
Answer: All housing should be “affordable housing”. As mentioned, we will use the land under the dome to create affordable housing, allocate government funding for the creation of affordable housing, rehab Jordan Park and place its development in the hands of the residents, allocate resources to aid black and low-income homeowners to stay in their houses and improve them. Set housing at no more than 25 percent of the AMI. Put an end to luxury apartment development.
Question 4: Do you support the imposition of Linkage Fees on new developments to fund affordable housing initiatives? Why or Why Not?
Answer: Implied in your question is the assumption that the relentless building of luxury apartments will continue with the caveat of impact fees. My position is that there should be an absolute moratorium on the building of luxury apartments. We need affordable housing that is based on no more than 25% of the area median income of different areas of the city.
Question 5: Do you support funding an improved transit system in St. Petersburg? If yes, what specific improvements would you make? If no, why not?
Answer: I support funding an improved transit system, including a feasibility study on a 24-hour bus line, with routes opened up to the southside black community. I would also support a free transit line throughout the southside so that the black community and working people can travel freely to work, school, and run errands.
Question 6: Do you support keeping the Rays in St. Petersburg under a possible split season with Montreal that could include Spring Training and half of regular season games? Why or Why Not?
Answer: I don’t support the Rays staying in St. Pete, under any circumstances, and think a discussion of this team staying, playing in the dome, without any discussion about the history of the Gas Plant, is offensive. The black community was and still is severely impacted by the loss of the Gas Plant, the 100 black businesses that were destroyed, the 300 homes we lost, an economy that was crushed and a community dispersed. That’s the only discussion that we should be having.
Question 7: What is your approach towards sustainability in St. Petersburg?
Answer: The question of sustainability cannot be addressed without criticizing the ruling class capitalist interests within city hall that have impacted our environment. Our environment and city infrastructure are suffering, not as a result of natural disasters, but of big money interests overwhelming our city with high rise office spaces and condominiums, or closing down a critical waste plant for the sake of real estate interests. Creating a justice city based on reparations to the black community prioritizes the people versus the current order of prioritizing profit. If our city functions from the position of sustaining life, we will in turn restore our environment. Part of my sustainability plan is to tax developers versus taxing the people for rehabbing our sewage infrastructure. I also believe in subsidizing environmental projects such as putting solar panels on housing in the black community, instead of having solar panels only accessible to the wealthy. Changing the system is the fundamental solution towards sustainability. Reparations is the only way to change the system.
Question 8: If elected, Will you commit to meeting with a Chamber representative once per month and attending a Public Policy Council or Sub-Committee meeting once per quarter?
Answer: Yes, I am willing to meet.