Retired Professor, Activist Runs for St. Pete Council
By ANNE LINDBERG, TB Reporter
Jim Jackson is in a crowded race for the District 6 seat on the St. Petersburg City Council.
ST. PETERSBURG – A retired professor and community activist has joined the crowded field of candidates for the District 6 seat on the St. Petersburg City Council held by Karl Nurse who is terming out.
“We have a great city, but we have major problems,” said Jim Jackson. Among those, he said, are Tropicana Field, the Pier, affordable housing, the city’s aged sewer system and a lack of accountability and transparency.
St. Petersburg’s sewer system is a prime example, Jackson said, of his concerns. The system overflowed during two storms last year dumping thousands of gallons of untreated and partially treated wastewater into the Bay. The resultant uproar exposed a long neglected system.
“Foster knew, Baker knew, Fisher knew that the infrastructure was going down,” Jackson said. He was referring to three mayors – Bill Foster, Rick Baker and Dave Fisher – who preceded current Mayor Rick Kriseman. The estimated cost to fix the system is about $300 million.
Part of the problem, Jackson said, was that the City Council was not told of the sewer issues early enough to fix small issues in the system before they became large issues. One of the lessons from the sewer tangle, he said, is that the city and the council need to make sure residents get their basic needs met.
“The infrastructure is just, I believe, the tip of the iceberg,” Jackson said. “You’ve got to fix basic services. You’ve got to give people what they pay their taxes for.”
Jackson holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Ohio State University in medical sociology. He also has a doctorate from Florida State University in community mental health and has done two years’ post doctoral work at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in institutional racism.
He has been a counselor at the Ohio Penitentiary and was a full professor of psychology and sociology at Miami-Dade College. He was awarded the first endowed chair in adjustment psychology. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, Florida international University, and St. Petersburg College, Gibbs Campus.
Jackson ran for a seat on the Pinellas County School Board in 2010 losing to Lew Williams. He ran again in 2012 and lost to incumbent Janet Clark. He served as a volunteer in Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and has worked in campaigns for multiple local races, including Kriseman’s mayoral run. ssisted in one Presidential Campaign and in multiple municipal elections including 5 of the current St Pete City Councilmen and Councilwomen and with the current Mayor.
He has served as vice president of the St. Petersburg League of Women Voters and chaired a league study group focusing on five economically challenged schools in southern St. Petersburg.
He is divorced and has two sons and one granddaughter.
Qualifying for the nonpartisan St. Petersburg election opens at 8 a.m. June 8 and closes 5p.m. June 23. The primary is Aug. 29 and the general election is Nov. 7.
Thus far, eight people have announced their candidacy for the District 6 seat: Justin Bean, Eritha”Akile” Cainion, Gina Driscoll, Corey Givens Jr., Sharon Russ, James Scott and Maria Scruggs. John Johnson withdrew from the race in late April.
For information about Jim Jackson, go to facebook.com.
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