Meet the Candidates: Gulfport

Gulfport is readying itself for elections that will include a race for city councilmembers in Wards 2 and 4. Gulfport councilmembers serve two-year terms. Elections will be held Tuesday, March 14, 2017.

Via email, the Gabber asked each candidate the same questions for this introduction, but will feature a more specific follow-up as we get closer to the election. Responses were limited to 100 words each, and have been edited for style and grammar only. View filing records and initial financial disclosures at the beginning of each candidate’s responses.

Have a question for the candidates? 

The Gabber wants to hear from you! Please email your questions to Publisher@theGabber.com, with subject line “Election.” We will chose from your questions in our follow-up Q&A.

1. What is your background and how long have you been living in the city of Gulfport? 

2. Why are you running for city council? 

3. If elected, what three key issues do you want to emphasize?

4. What do you want voters to know about you? 

 

Ward 2

 

Linda Kay Bailey
View filing records and initial financial disclosures

No photograph submitted
Numerous attempts were made to include Bailey in the Gabber’s candidate questionnaire. She ultimately replied via email that she was “not available to attend.”

 

Christine Anne Brown
View filing records and initial financial disclosures

1) Born in Hawaii to a Navy family, I feel lucky to have lived all around our country. I attended high school locally, graduated from Eckerd College with a BS degree in mathematics and earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Florida.  My professional career with the Pinellas County School system began in 1994 and I have taught mathematics at Boca Ciega High School right here in Gulfport for 22 years. I have enjoyed being a Gulfport resident since 1988, almost 30 years. Proudly representing Ward 2, I have served on the Gulfport City Council for four years.

2) As a member of the family that is direct descendants of Gulfport’s founders, I treasure our fascinating past. Gulfport’s history was shaped by interesting characters with captivating stories for us to recall just as a future generation will do for us. Our greatest strength is our strong sense of community. Together we are rich in diversity, acceptance and kindness. We are a community like no other, ask anyone! As your city councilmember, my goal is to respectfully upgrade, responsibly improve and thoughtfully move us forward without losing that defining “Gulfport” feeling that we have come to love so much.

3) Your city council maintains a well-balanced priority list of projects that includes sewers, roads, parks and cultural interests, all directly enhancing the lives of our residents. These aggressive plans are ongoing and paramount.

Gulfport’s millage rate has not changed in several years. Residents enjoy the benefits of a full service city due in part to focused planning and grant funding. Maintaining current service levels at responsible costs is imperative.

Ahead, we have important projects such as a new senior center, continued Shore Boulevard enhancements and the Williams Pier replacement. Together, council, staff and leadership ensure our path forward is bright.

4) Over the years, I have welcomed the opportunity to serve our community in many capacities. For 10 years, I was a volunteer firefighter. Throughout the years, I have served on several city boards and I was a Girl Scout leader. Presently, I am a member of Gulfport CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and I have been on the board of the Gulfport History Museum for about 20 years. I believe that with volunteer service comes wisdom, inspiration and a unique appreciation of all that is Gulfport. I am proud to be a part of the tapestry of our interwoven community.

Ward 4

 

Michael Henry Fridovich
View filing records and initial financial disclosures

 1) I have lived in Gulfport’s 4th Ward for seven years. Prior to that, I was a U.S Army combat veteran in Vietnam, an entrepreneur, owner of a restaurant, a community organizer and currently, the city councilmember for Ward 4 in Gulfport, Florida. I offer my fellow citizens of Gulfport a wealth of work and life experience in addition to two terms of experience on council. I have a bachelor of science degree from Georgia State University in Urban Studies.

2) During my two terms in office, Gulfport has made great strides forward in terms of refurbished infrastructure (sewers and streets), facility upgrades (theater, library and marina) and improvements to our public spaces (parks and waterfront). I am running on a record of accomplishment I share with this council. I want to continue to be a part of this elected body doing great work for the benefit of our community.

3) My top priority is a continuing commitment to constituent service. Regardless of what part of Gulfport you live in, I help with your issues. [I want] to continue working on our infrastructure, our streets, sewers, sidewalks and alleyways. [I want to] help bring the Trolley Square to the Greenway, a mooring field along with the new marina buildings and beach renourishment, enhancing the many things that Gulfport already does well. We have a great city. While there are always opportunities for improvement, as I have said many times, we do not need wholesale changes, just continued improvement to the city we already know and love.

4) I care. Helping residents with their issues remains my number one priority. I take very seriously my role as a representative, and as such I have been an ambassador for the city both at home and also at the state, regional and national levels. This is evident in my voting record and the work I have done during my two terms in office. I am an active participant in multiple facets of Gulfport life, and have made every effort to be deeply involved as your councilmember. My continued lifelong commitment to defend and recognize diversity.

 

Richard Fried
View filing records and initial financial disclosures

No photograph submitted

1) Born and raised in Miami Florida, but I admit that I “grew up” in Portland, Maine. My working life began in hospitality/food service, from the back to front of the house. I was a grass-roots youth organizer, involved in street theater and then entering the fast print [retail/corporate] business working up to management. I have worked in the retail pet food industry in management as well – my last position. I currently work as a medical technician in an assisted-living facility. I have lived in Gulfport for 10 years.

2) As stated by our city manager, he does not work for me but for council. Because of accountability concerns and “the gate keeper,” I’m running for tighter oversight concerning city business: a stronger mayor; more accountability to voters. Specifically, I have grave concerns in reference to zoning changes between 57th and 52nd streets on Gulfport Boulevard S. I believe property rights do not extend to multiple-owned rented properties, but to the renters (community members) who pay those taxes. I believe current council members have been remiss when appointing members of both the abatement and zoning boards concerning credentials and experience.

3) Divesting city business from publicly held companies and institutions including, but not limited to, banking, consulting and construction. Solar energy installed on all city owned and operated property prompting energy independence.  Add to city codes that all new construction have solar and clean energy requirements. Tying together and intergrading the Ward IV neighborhood with Ward III eliminating and reducing the “separateness,” real or perceived.  Working with the county commission to “neighborhood-ize,” not commercialize, the north and south sides of Gulfport Boulevard S. (a county road) by scaled lighting and crosswalks.

4)

  • Bernie Sanders’ progressive views
  • Elizabeth Warren’s assertiveness
  • Joseph Campbell’s world view
  • I trust [big] business less than I trust the business of government.
  • The Constitution
  • The BBC, NPR, PBS, WUSF, WEDU, The New York Times and The Washington Post
  • I believe we are a small enough community to lead, showing larger cities “how it’s done,” as opposed to following in the footsteps of “failed policies.”

 

Bobby Louis Reynolds
View filing records and initial financial disclosures

 1) I’ve lived in Gulfport 11 years. I’ve also lived in Thailand, Spain, the Philippines, California, Connecticut and Hawaii. As a Navy veteran, I used the GI Bill and other scholarships to obtain an A.S. in architectural design and building construction, a B.S. in coastal studies, and a J.D. in law. I’m a member of the Florida Bar, Idaho State Bar and Clearwater Bar Association. I have three young children and my wife, Kathryn, and I have been married 16 years. We want our children to grow up in a safe and diverse Gulfport where neighbors care for each other.

2) A better Ward 4 equals a better Gulfport. Ward 4 needs help. It doesn’t need “tweaking.” It doesn’t need a “team player.” It needs someone who will truly advocate for its residents. I’ve lived in my neighborhood for nine years and have seen little improvement. As a parent, I want a better neighborhood for my children. As a resident, I want to foster pride in my neighborhood. To realize that dream, these next two years can’t be like the last four. We need progress. I will create a plan to improve our ward and aggressively seek funding for those improvements.

3) First, as mentioned, all Gulfport neighborhoods need improvements – especially Ward 4. Next, recreation opportunities need to exist for all age groups in our city. Currently, pre-teen and teens don’t have many options. If we want to keep families in Gulfport, we need to give their kids a safe place to play. Finally, communication between council and residents must improve. This is a persistent problem as information still isn’t getting to some residents. So many of my neighbors seem uninformed about events and projects. There needs to be an efficient and effective way for council to get information to all residents.

4) I plan to raise my kids here, and I plan to retire here. You could say I have a vested interest in the future of our city. If elected to council, I will listen to all sides of every issue, I will do the research needed to make an informed decision, and I will make my decision in Gulfport’s best interest. Gulfport is special – we, as Gulfportians, are a diverse, loving group of people who deserve the best our leaders have to offer. I will improve your quality of life and protect our city’s character, charm and diversity.

 

Ernest L. Stone
View filing records and initial financial disclosures

1) I have been a resident of Gulfport for approximately 40 years.  During my career, I worked as an ambulance and police dispatcher. I recently retired from Stetson University College of Law where I worked as a public safety officer and now I would like to serve my community. I have been married for 46 years to my wonderful wife, Pam. We have two grown sons who both graduated from Bogie [Boca Ciega High School]. One is also a public safety officer and the other is a police officer for the Gulfport Police Department.

2) I am running so I can listen to my fellow citizens and approach the council with their ideas and problems. I promise that I will work hard for the people of this community. I have been committed to improving this city for decades through my service on the Gulfport Crime Watch and the 49th Street Redevelopment Committee.

3) My main priorities will be ensuring that our infrastructure is improved so that our property values don’t decline as a result of poor pipes, roads and drainage. We also need to focus on improving parking options at the beachfront. Finally, I believe we need to conduct a thorough review of our city ordinances to look for opportunities to improve and update those ordinances that are no longer relevant or helpful to our community.

4) I want people to know that I am absolutely committed to bringing transparency to our government. I love this city and am anxious to serve you, my neighbors. I will work hard to ensure that your concerns are addressed and that we can make meaningful improvements to our community.

 

Don't be shy. Tell us what you think.