Candidate Survey: Orlando Acosta- District 3

Posted On 08/28/2019 by Matt Lettelleir

Question 1: Please identify and share your solutions to the top 3 issues you plan to focus on if elected.

Answer: Simply put, St. Petersburg deserves a choice – and they deserve leaders who reflect their values.

I’m running because I believe climate change is scientific fact, that it’s caused by humans, and that District 3 needs a representative who understands the causes of climate change, is realistic about its impact on our city, and is ready to take action to mitigate that impact to protect our property and ensure our prosperity. My opponent consistently votes against measures to prepare for the effects of climate change and to protect our environment.

I believe that St. Petersburg did right by instituting common sense campaign finance reform. The only way to ensure our elected officials represent the interests of citizens instead of working for the benefit of special interests is to reform the way we fund our elections. The ordinance passed by St. Petersburg without the support of my opponent is a positive step in that direction.

Finally, I believe that the LGBT community and St. Pete Pride are assets for our city and our local businesses. District 3 deserves a representative who will march for equality, stand up to hatred, and put our city first.

While these are three priorities that drew me to run, they are by no means the only things I want to address in St. Petersburg. Our city faces challenges ranging from professional sports and transportation to infrastructure and housing – and they all require a leader who can work with council to the benefit of residents instead of towing the party line by voting against any effort to make progress.

Question 2: Do you support Grow Smarter’s mission of equitable economic growth?

Answer: Yes.

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: The first thing we can do is a city is to continue our push for state and federal investment. The raiding of our affordable housing trust fund is a disgrace and federal efforts have fallen far short of what’s needed to partner on this issue.

Beyond that, St. Petersburg can work with developers so that our entire city can share in the benefits of our booming housing market. This might require modifying zoning to allow more mixed use and multi-residence construction, particularly in our already busy corridors.

We should also be looking to innovative ways to redevelop vacant or run-down properties throughout the city. Former Councilman Karl Nurse has done great work to rehab homes with low- to middle-income residents in mind. St. Petersburg can emulate that model or invest directly in those efforts through grants and investment incentives.

Question 4: Do you support the imposition of Linkage Fees on new developments to fund affordable housing initiatives? Why or Why Not?

Answer: I would prefer we work with developers to encourage their direct investment in affordable housing through the use of incentives or grants, but I would not rule out linkage fees as a way to meet some of our housing obligations. I’m always going to prioritize working collaboratively to address this and any other issue that faces our 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: Yes, I believe in an all-of-the-above approach to transit improvements in St. Petersburg. We need to be making substantial investments to improve our bus service while also looking to solutions like light rail, year round ferry service, and shared transit options. We also need to be including transportation hubs in our planning for new development along our busiest corridors.

Unfortunately, my opponent is the only candidate in this race who refused to support the Greenlight Pinellas referendum and has consistently voted against improvements to our transportation system. Those votes are short sighted and restrict people’s access to our local shops and businesses.

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 was very encouraged by the city’s efforts to retain Major League Baseball as a regional asset and I would be open to a continued conversation. That said, I have no interest in sharing a team with Montreal if the Rays are going to demand public financing for a new stadium. I think there’s room for us to work together on plans for a privately financed stadium, a move to Al Lang, or a transit plan to make the team accessible to more fans, or something else that makes sense. Any option would have to benefit both the Rays and our residents without taking money away from desperately needed improvements in affordable housing or infrastructure.

Question 7: What is your approach towards sustainability in St. Petersburg?

Answer: I would support efforts to power city properties with 100% renewable energy. I would also support economic incentives for residents and businesses to invest in solar energy. Additionally, I would support St. Petersburg making direct investments in wave/tidal energy production, a huge missed opportunity in Tampa Bay. We also need to look at how other coastal cities around the world have faced the challenge of rising seas and use the most promising solutions for ourselves.

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.

Category: Advocacy