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A Casual Conversation With Rick Baker

Will Rick Baker run for Mayor? "Well, it may depend on who runs."


A week or so before the election Theresa and I were walking through Tyrone Mall when a familiar head appeared above the crowd. It was the "tall guy," as we all called him when he was Mayor, Rick Baker.

We both worked for the Mayor during his two terms so after a quick hello the first question we both asked almost simultaneously was "are you going to run for Mayor?"

The former Mayor's response? A twinkle in his eye, and "I get that question a lot." "Well?"?we asked.  Rick replied: "Don't know yet, but I'll admit I'm thinking about it".

At that point the presidential election was still undecided, and Baker indicated he was seriously under consideration for a Cabinet post should Governor Romney win. So in typical Rick Baker style again, the smile and, "We'll just have to see."

A lot of what we talked about I would consider off the record at this point, but the former Mayor turned very serious when he talked about what has been going on with current administration. He is concerned about the lack of leadership, and the current seeming ineffectiveness of City Council and general lack of progress.

Among his biggest concerns seem to be his perception about a lack of continuing progress in Mid Town. From eight years working in the Baker administration I can assure you he was and is serious about Mid Town.

Rick Baker looks good. He has put on a few pounds. According to the former Mayor, he is really enjoying his current work at USF and spending quality time with his family.

Current biggest impediment regarding a mayoral run - convincing his wife.

You cannot spend even five minutes in Rick Baker's presence without getting excited about the future. From the very first day I met him I noticed the man exudes a contagious energy.  And that energy and leadership are what is lacking in the current administration.

The conversation lingered on for the better part of a half hour covering a wide range of subjects from baseball to the LENS. I'll leave the details to the former Mayor to reveal publicly when he feels it is proper, but it is safe to say Rick Baker has already formulated some ideas about most of the City's major problems.

As the conversation wrapped up we could not help but try one more time and asked, "So are you going to run for Mayor?" Once again that infectious smile and then: Baker looking pretty serious said, "Well it may depend on who runs. There are certain conditions where I might be obligated to get in the race."

With that, a quick handshake and the former Mayor was off on his shopping trip.

Theresa and I had a lot to talk about on the way home.

e-mail Doc at dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook Friend Request.

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Rider November 11, 2012 at 05:58 PM
It was Mr Baker, when he was mayor, that the TIF money drive was started. This one time tax is spread out over a wide area of downtown that stretches from the waterfront to the Trop and then to 5th S and 5th N. It's stated purpose is for economic development of that whole area, not just the waterfront. When the new administration got into power, all of a sudden, the estimates for building a new approach to and around the pier building were escalated by something like 300%. Independent engineers have stated publicly that the renovation price tag with this pier is $15-20 million and the city continues holding onto the $83 million estimate. That is quite a discrepancy that we all hope that Mr Baker addresses. Just what is going on with all this? Please, Mr Baker. Take a stand for the city and it's residents you love.
Bill H. November 12, 2012 at 03:20 PM
I'm sure he doesn't want to meddle as the former Mayor, but I would love to hear his take on the Lens/council/petition/replace or refurbish matter.
Jeannie Cline November 12, 2012 at 05:01 PM
It has gotten to the point that he should speak out as a citizen if he feels strongly about the lens debacle.......citizens need to know the truth on how the figures that he and his adminstration came up with are gone and usurped by grossly different and inflated estimates. The search for truth should trump protocol. Absolutely.

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