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Old 08-22-2007, 08:45 PM
CrazyJay CrazyJay is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 390
Default St Pete Kitesurfing Politics

Hello again y'all,
I've been reading the post lately about the accident that happened at Skyway. I was there and saw it happened and it was unfortunately but luckily not as bad as it could have been.
I've been watching kitesurfing grow in Tampa Bay for the last 8 years and it has been amazing. Me and many of the other "oldtimers" wished we could have started with Hybrid BOW SLE 100% depower super boosting kites. Unfortunately these "super safe" kites will NEVER overcome inexperience and bad judgement.
I think kitesurfing here has now expanded to a point that we need to become involved in local government to ensure that our passion is never prohibited due to the actions of a few "bad/inexperienced apples"

With this in mind I decided to meet with James Bennett.
He is the current City Council member for District 5. District 5 includes most of south Pinellas and therefore many of our riding spots. Mr. Bennett has been in office for 6 years and is up for election this fall. Many say, including the St Pete Times, that he will run for Mayor in 2009.

My main discussion with him regarded kitesurfing of course. When asked if he knew what I was talking about his response was "You mean those guys with the big sails riding by the skyway?" I said Yes. His response "I want to be one of those guys!"

I mentioned to him that this sport was something that St Petersburg could be proud of and advertise in their tourism brochure. I let him know that making Kitesurfing the "Official Watersport of TampaBay" was a dream of mine and that I hoped with his help this could someday become a reality.

Right now I have another standing appointment with him. I told him I would bring it to the local kitesurfing community to see if there was interest in helping a local official win re-election this fall. I believe helping his campaign would go a long way to cementing kitesurfing as a fixture in this community.

What would be involved:
Helping in a campaign involves many things of which we are capable...
- VOTING.. and getting everyone you know to vote
- a beach cleanup sponsored by "The re-elect James Bennet campaign"
- placing signs in yours' and your neighbor's yard
- working in the field (door to door, calling voters, etc.)
- Fundraising *Cant win an election without $$$$$
There are many things we can do that dont require alot of time or effort but will go a long way to ensuring that OUR CHILDREN can ride and enjoy the same waters we do today.

-I need guaranteed participation from at least 25 local riders (Make that 24 plus me) to help with this effort.
-I also need IDEAS on other things we can do to help the campaign.
-If 25 riders agree to help I will schedule the next meeting with him

Time is of the essence. The election will be here in just over 2 months.

Jayson Orkins

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