Kathleen Ford & Bill Foster to get it on again, a debate, that is

If it's Thursday, it must be time for another Bill Foster/Kathleen Ford debate.

That takes place today at the Business and Professional Women's Candidates Forum.

Yesterday, the two tangled at the apex of the St. Pete political establishment, the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club at the St. Pete Yacht Club.    The candidates seem to be increasingly getting on each others nerves, which could be fun to watch in the waning weeks of the race to replace Rick Baker.

Maybe it's because I've only seen the past couple of debates, but Foster is obviously growing weary of the references to dinosaurs and his Creationist beliefs.  Yesterday he said, "The fact that I believe in the Bible, I just can't believe it's now seen as a character flaw".  That was his response to a question that a conspiracy minded attendee (or Ford fan) might believe was almost planted: That is, a woman who after hearing the former Councilman's opening remarks, commented, "Why are people so afraid of you?"

As most observers know, the establishment in St. Pete is solidly behind Bill Foster.  Last month the current and several former Mayors and City Council members came out in to hold a big endorsement rally for him.  On Wednesday, Ford struggled to explain why even a fellow Democrat and colleague, Rene Flowers, is also supporting her opponent.

(It should be noted that the Pinellas Democratic Executive Committee is strong for Ford, and on Wednesday she received the backing of the regional AFL-CIO)

Tiger Bay traditionally gives out an award at the end of his meeting to the best questioner of the day.  Yesterday, it was distributed to a young man who asked Ford what was the meaning behind the toy dinosaurs being handed out at Monday night's forum.    Again, another reference to the support of Intelligent Design in the schools.  Ford paused for a moment before responding that she has a sense of humor.

But she then seriously responded, saying that she respected Bill Foster's religious beliefs, as well as all religious faiths.   But added, "But when we are talking about the future of St. Petersburg, we have to be very careful."  It seems like these exchanges will continue.  It appears to be a vulnerability for Foster, yet Ford must be careful not to be appear anti-religious.

Ford also said in responding that she was a scientist, creating a bit of a buzz in the room that Foster exploited by saying, "I thought she was a nurse.  Now she's a scientist. "  He added that he was insulted and wouldn't apologize for his faith.

Ford later came back at Foster, saying in fact, she is a scientist.  So deal with it, Mr. Foster.

When it came to talkin' baseball, Foster sounded more like Ford in saying he's against corporate welfare.  Yet he mocked Ford on Monday night for using the phrase "Field of Schemes" when talking about sports teams holding up communities to build public stadiums, when in fact she was referencing a website devoted to such issues.

Although there has been much discussion in Pinellas County about the early voting and how that can affect campaigns, at Tiger Bay on Wednesday it seemed like the majority of those asked by Ford indicated by raising their hand that they are waiting to vote on Election Day, November 3rd.

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