Incumbent Jennifer Salmon Supports Public Art, Environmental Cleanup, and Organic Gardening

Incumbent Jennifer Salmon is finishing up two years as Ward 3 City Councilor. Salmon is running for re-election and says that there are "still things to get done."

Name: Jennifer Salmon

Ward: Council Member for Ward 3

Opponent: James Perry

Occupation: Researcher, Teacher (Part Time)


  • Bachelor's Degree in American Literature at Middlebury College, Vermont
  • Master's Degree in Librarianship at the University of Washington, Seattle
  • Ph.D. in Aging Studies at the University of South Florida, Tampa

Council Member Jennifer Salmon is running for re-election because she feels like "there (are) still things to get done."

"I think I have more to offer the city," Salmon said.

Looking back the past two years, Salmon recalls several accomplishments that she's truly proud of. She spearheaded efforts to offer Voluntary Pre-Kindergarden at the Gulfport Recreation Center, establish curbside recycling, create online bill paying for residents and more.

While Salmon's No. 1 priority is to balance the city's budget, she says she has other ideas to improve the city and the quality of life for residents.

Extend Natural Gas Lines

Salmon wants to increase residents' access to natural gas. “We don’t have gas lines throughout the whole city (and) there’s a lot of interest in expanding that.” She points out that an initiative such as that may not cost the city anything at all. It could be as simple as working out an agreement between residents and the company.

Organic Gardening and Public Art

"There’s so much opportunity for all of our parks, to do a lot more sustainable care in our parks and marry that with art. The city doesn't have to go buy a bunch of art. There's all sorts of things you can do."

Clam Bayou

Salmon says she wants to "finally resolve the Clam Bayou issue." Calling it "an area of unfinished business." Salmon says that six years ago she believed it was not environmentally safe to dredge Clam Bayou and remove sediments. She says she was "part of the group that rallied against the solution. I admitted that after I went out and viewed the situation (and) read the reports. It’s not an easy thing to do."

Since then, Salmon says she's conducted her own research and has concluded that she would like to see if dredging can be done and sediments can be removed safely.

Balancing the Budget

Salmon wants to approve another balanced budget in 2012. She acknowledges that if the economy does not improve and property values dip even more, there may be more tough decisions.

Ward 3 Issues

Salmon says there are three main issues in her ward. She says there is concern about what appears to be drug houses in different parts of Ward 3. “We’re so far in from the major arteries, it’s surprising.” She also believes speeding is a problem. "We are a pedestrian city. When we have some people who routinely speed through the streets." Salmon also says maintaining alleys can be difficult. “The hard part about maintaining the alleyways (is) those are all permeable surfaces. It would be less maintanence if we paved them, but it’s not good for the environment to pave them. I couldn’t really support (that), a lot of people take it into their own hands and put shells down."

For more information

Salmon does not have a campaign manager. She does have a campaign website at www.electjennifersalmon.com. You may contact Jennifer Salmon at (727) 399-7746 or email her at Elect_Jennifer@tampabay.rr.com.

The citywide vote is Tuesday, March 13. For more information about the municipal elections, refer to the the city's website.

Gulfport Patch has a Ward Map with this story.

mtober January 10, 2012 at 04:11 AM
Frank - it's early in the campaign. Hopefully we are not going to have to re-live your and Ian's Avrio tactics. Jim is a good guy and comes from a good family. I remember his mother and father fondly. Neither of them engaged in infantile, slimy politics and I don't think they'd want their son to do so either. In fact, I don't think comments like yours above are condusive to what Jim Perry is all about and I am hard pressed to believe that he supports that modus operendi. If you want to elect Jim Perry, I can assure you that Joe and Colleen Camp Perry would tell you to talk about why Jim should be elected and what he brings to the table NOT why his opponent shouldn't be elected, particularly using mis-information and personal attacks. Please Frank, don't jeopardize the good name and history of the Camp / Perry family. I'm not certain right now what Jim Perry really stands for but I am certain that he deserves better than low rent, gutter politics.
Frank Verdino January 10, 2012 at 06:30 AM
Jim's been on the campaign trail 1 week, Jennifer has had 2 years. Maybe it's time for someone new. Current representation hasn't produced anything but cuts.
Frank Verdino January 10, 2012 at 06:39 AM
Your admission that Bob Worthington spoke about electronic bill paying just supports my point. If council was talking about it 1 year before Jennifer came on she clearly didn't "spearhead" anything. She just voted for something that was aready under discussion. Same goes for curbside recycling. That was Michele King's issue. Jennifer just jumped on the bandwagon and is now trying to take credit for bringing the issue forward. The truth isn't gutter politics. Claiming responsibility for bringing an idea forward which someone else had already introduced is however dishonest in a way that insults the voters by assuming they haven't been paying attention all along. I don't think anyone in Gulfport politics would ever object to truthful campaigning. Except maybe those trying to rewrite history.
Frank Verdino January 10, 2012 at 06:46 AM
Too bad she didn't take a first look.
Frank Verdino January 10, 2012 at 07:02 AM
So you've been pushing for electronic debit since the budget committee Margaret? Not Jennifer? Sounds like your the spearhead, not her We're in luck Margaret on your other concern too. The kind of software your refering to is Dan Leidtke's specialty with his firm DRL Consulting. In fact he does most of this work with clients of 4.000 employees or more including, the Fairfax County School System Hillsborough County School System and pro bono work for AARP in Washington DC. The sooner we get Dan in there, the sooner we can have someone on council qualified to deal with your concerns.
Frank Verdino January 10, 2012 at 07:04 AM
Jennifer's ideas have been simply to cut popular services. If saving money is her only litmus test for a "good idea" then why not the library next.? St. Pete ha a very nice one just up the road. Or. why wouldn't she outsource the Police Dept.? PCSO has the same technical capability as our police do and that would save a million or two? Or we can elect Jim Perry who instead of cutting his workforce and operating budget during hard times.has kept his business strong through the recession by being pro active and finding new revenue
Nancy Kelley January 10, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Frank Verdino Please tell us what your true agenda is. Why haven't you run for council? Jennifer Salmon does her research considers every citizen, has an open mind. She has served you and this city very well.
Frank Verdino January 10, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Nancy, I usually try to keep the subject of the story above, but I'll break my own rule and answer your question since I've been asked the same question many times. I haven't run for city council because Sam Henderson is a friend and even though I don't agree with everything he does I won't run against him. I have no other agenda than to help get people elected who I think will be an asset to this city. Like Dan Liedtke and James Perry.
Mary Stewart January 10, 2012 at 02:56 PM
I'm pretty new to Gulfport and just starting to get use to stuff around here. One thing I can tell you though, M Tober, is you're wrong about auto-debit being safe. It's not. My husband had our life insurance auto debited from his business checking account at BofA each month. For some reason, one month the insurance company decided to deduct for the whole year and Bof A just payed it. It was a good thing there were additional funds in that account that month, or a lot of employees might have had their payroll check bounce. So i guess Mr. Worthington had a right to be careful. And I'm just wondering, how many residents have actually signed up for auto-debit? Especially since the water bill can fluctuate considerably each month, it would be scary for me. Is it a cost-effective program for the city?
Lynda January 10, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Wouldn't it be a conflict of interest if Mr. Leidtke's firm sold software to Gulfport if Mr. Leidtke is elected to be a Council member? On the other hand it is useful, as a previous article pointed out, to know about the voluntary service work to Gulfport that potential candidates have already done. What has Mr. Leidtke done as volunteer for Gulfport?
mtober January 11, 2012 at 02:34 AM
@Frank- The auto pay went no where with Worthington. He said some people want this and here is why we shouldn't do it. Yes I tried to get him to do something about it prior to Jennifer. You are already playing word games and twisting the truth. I'm the one that brought it forward so I think I probably would know what transpired. Check the Public Records!
mtober January 11, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Yes Frank it would have been goood, but she didn't and she admitted it. At least she had the fortitude to tell the TRUTH!
mtober January 11, 2012 at 02:45 AM
@Ms. Stewart--with all due respect, the banks pay what they are asked to pay. The issue is with your insurance company just as it would be with the City of Gulfport. Is anything 100% perfect? Of course not. However, I would submit that your unfortunate experience is the exception though I'm sure it didn't feel that way when it happened. Welcome to Gulfport - it's a great town!! However we do have our warts & freckles like other cities and we have room for improvement as well--just like any other city. You may have already noticed that one huge improvement would be for Mr. Liedtke's handler Mr. Verdino to tell us WHY Mr. Liedtke and Mr. Perry should be elected and what they stand for rather than opt to do nothing but attack their opponents. Is that really all he can resort to?
mtober January 11, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Yes Frank I was pushing the City for it and Jennifer saw to it that it got done!
mtober January 11, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Didn't know of Mr. Liedtke's specialty -- that's great. Dan could perhaps VOLUNTEER his expertise / recommendations to the City.
mtober January 11, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Frank you're correct, the truth isn't gutter politics. If you look at Dr. Salmon' website you'll see that she listed the auto debit as an accomplishment. I find nothing that says it was all her idea. She did get it done. Be careful the gutter can get slippery!! LOL!!
Nancy Kelley January 11, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Thank you Frank. Pleased to know you don't consider yourself to be more worthy of the position than your friends. Now tell us how having three of your friends on council will benefit the majority in Gulfport.
Mary Stewart January 13, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Could sdomeone please explain to me the difference between online bill paying and auto-debit. When i looked at Ms Salmon's web site it looks to me like she is taking credit for "Online bill Paying" And it sounds to me like all of you are talking about "auto-debit" There's a big difference in my book between the two. One you get to pay your bill on line and the second they take your money without asking. If we have auto-debit, it doesn't show up on MsSalmon's web site and again I ask the quyestion, if we do have it....how many people have actually signed up for it and what doesthe program cost the city. Isn't that the whole point?
Mary Stewart January 13, 2012 at 02:46 PM
To M Tober, I regretfully disagree with your repsponse to my post. Does it really matter who's fault it is? Your right mistakes do happen, I would have thought B ofA would have questioned a payment 12X's higher than what they'd been deducting for more than a year. You say, the city's supposed to notify you before they take a large payment? What if they don't? A small leak can cause a bill 10-15X's higher than normal. Would you be okay with that happening by mistake? I think not. And BTW, I'm still confused why everyone is talking about auto-debit when it looks to me, according to her web site, Ms Salmon is taking credit for online payments. Which is it M Tober; on line bill paying, which I'm in favor of, or auto-debit, which I'm not?
Lynda January 13, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Thanks Mary, I was confused about this too and would like to read the answer. I have been paying my Gulfport water bill using "on-'line bill pay" through my out of state bank for over a year. My bank cuts and mails the City of Gulfport an actual check after I use my on-line bill pay. Local banks do offer on line bill pay too so maybe using a local bank would transfer the money electronically. However the issue might be that the City of Gulfport isn't able to accept any electronic payments from on-line bill pay or auto debits at this time. Minor matter in Dr. Salmon's candidacy, but useful info now that it has been brought up. Thanks to whoever answers.
Jennifer January 13, 2012 at 04:11 PM
"Current representation" on a local level didn't create the housing bust or the recession.
Douglas Hudson January 13, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Yes, Mr Perry has been on the campaign trail only 1 week, but I would prefer a candidate who is prepares BEFORE he announces his candidacy, not AFTERWARDS! He's a nice guy, and as he said in the Forum, "He's willing to learn." I would suggest that he run AFTER his studies.
Rainbow Energy January 14, 2012 at 01:40 AM
My understanding of where Jim Perry is on the important issues facing Gulfport is that he really hasn't given it much thought, but thinks he might be able to come up with some humdinger solutions, if you just give him some time to study the computer and see how his puppeteer supporters want him to vote. Also, if elected, he will show up for council meetings and workshops to find out what has been going on.
Rainbow Energy January 14, 2012 at 02:11 AM
I find it refreshing that Jennifer Salmon takes the time and does the hard work to research the issues, instead of being a puppet on city council. When she won her place on council, she had a front-row seat to the shenanigans and misinformation that was being spread on a number of issues and which is still being spread by a vindictive group who have an agenda of stagnation and whose poster waterway is Gulfport's highly toxic Clam Bayou. Once on council, Jennifer saw that King and Henderson and their supporters seemed misinformed on a number of issues, especially about Clam Bayou. Jennifer has the courage to speak out and backed up her opinions with well-researched facts. This was a big disappointment to Henderson and enraged the council's past prima donna puppeteer, Michele King. Change is good, if it is for the better. Get over it!Frank, you are upset about the cuts?!?! Since Jennifer has been on city council, after careful, in-depth research; she, David Hastings, and Barbara Banno have taken their oath of service to the citizens of Gulfport seriously. The role of government is to make the difficult choices. which they have done. While not in agreement on every issue, these hard-working individuals have cut the fat; cut the litter; cut the pollution; cut the red tape; cut the redundancy; cut the bull; and most notably cut the puppet strings that have entangled our community in a quagmire of misinformation, misguided directions, and the good-ol'-boy politics.
mtober January 14, 2012 at 02:42 AM
The City offers an on-line payment option as well as a direct debitoption. Here is a link to the direct debit info http://www.mygulfport.us/City_Departments/Administrative_services/UT_Direct_Debit.pdf Here is a link to the On-line option. neither of these appear to be what you are describing that you used. Sounds like you used a bill paying service offered by your bank. http://www.mygulfport.us/Online_Payments/Utility_Billing.htm
Mary Stewart January 14, 2012 at 01:34 PM
So, which one is Ms. Salmon responsible for? Her web site says online bill paying, but M tober you seem to be saying auto-debit. If it's auto-debit soesanyone know how many people actually use it? Maybe Charlene can research that for us? How about it Charlene?
Rick Boze January 14, 2012 at 10:55 PM
Hi, its the outsider putting in his 2 cents worth. If our elected officials can't keep the standards up to par, its time to elect others. One thing I have not understood is that a city controls the cost of water,electric,sewer,natural gas,cable but everyone cost more, shouldn't they be making deals instead to lower your cost? Even a salesperson gets commission, well the city commission should be given not increased to its citizens. I see all these mid-rises and can't figure how the city does not have money, there should be surpluses going into reserves for the lean years. I know these governments have been living high on the hog with these inflated property prices for many years. Maybe a new process needs to be done. Most budgets work on the spend it all and get more the next year or you get less. How about saving money and passing it on to the citizens, when was the last time a millage rate actually went down? Mr Perry can you vote to do this without changing Gulfport's main services like police and keep it local so they understand who is calling and where you are calling from? According to the above article Ms.Salmon can not! Maybe a business owner can bring more to the table and maybe his experience being at the dinner table with his parents, might just be worth more than 2 years on the job training and rubber stamping the rest of the council's ideas.
mtober January 15, 2012 at 12:24 AM
@ The PSC sets electricity &d gas costs. Water comes from St.Pete. Cost &and subsidized the costs which was in violation of the contract....and not real smart either Gulfport can't afford to bring in it's own water &d as I understand a county option would be a similar cost. I'm sure you are aware that Gulfport's sewer and water costs are still some of the lowest in the county even with the increases. Verizon cable does not want to come to Gulfport--the only other option is Brighthouse. For years Gulfport operated on 4.3 mills &and even then the city had to use the enterprise funds &emergency reserve to balance the budget & they've been doing it ever since. In 2007 the value of taxable property was 1.5 times more than what it is now & the millage did get reduced. Then property values fell and the council continued toreduce the millage. That is totally contrary to part of the notion of Amm.1. Prop. values go up the millage goes down, Prop values go down the millage goes up. A steady even & reasonable stream of income. This Council, at the urging of city staff, is the first in years that has had the fortitude to say we need to get on track and use enterprise funds for the enterprise units not to balance the ops budget . It was not & is not the easy out Mr Liedtke infers and I believe it cruel that he would insult the staff with such a comment. He wants to buy the police a dog they don't want nor need to boost their morale, yet he will insult the staff with such comments?
mtober January 15, 2012 at 12:32 AM
@ Rick- what info do you have to support your comment that the Pinellas Sheriff's office can't understand who is calling and where you are calling from? jennifer Salmon spent countless hours researching the option to outsource dispatch and went so far as to say she would not support it if the dispatchers weren't guaranteed job. Those actions speak highly of a person the made tough fiscal decisions in tandem with strong moral convictions and care for the employees involved. you may wish to visit more often and get a better feel for what is actually going on. ;-)
Rainbow Energy January 19, 2012 at 11:24 PM
I have heard only glowing reports on how well the Sheriff's dispatch service is working. The Gulfport police see on their in-car labtops what and where the problem is even before dispatch calls them, and they respond quicker than ever! Our police now have GPS service and dispatch has maps that pinpoint the exact location of callers and where every police car is. The naysayers are continuing their distortion of this program, even though the facts are proving them wrong. One has to ask why? Watching Dr. Jennifer Salmon seek out the facts and listen to all sides of an issue before she voted makes me confident that staying the course with this smart, hard-working, warm, generous, and welcoming citizen will help insure that the Gulfport City Council will continue to have the critical mass of council members working in harmony in the best interest of the city and its citizens, not their own personal and/or business agendas.


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