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Charlie Frago, Times Staff Writer

Charlie Frago

Charlie Frago covers St. Petersburg for the Tampa Bay Times. Previously, Frago covered Clearwater for the newspaper. He has also worked for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, the Greensboro News & Record in North Carolina and the City News Bureau of Chicago. In 2011-12, Frago was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University. He joined the Times in May 2013.

Phone: (727) 893-8459

E-mail: cfrago@tampabay.com

Twitter: @CharlieFrago

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  1. DEP to St. Pete: Spend money on sewer lines, not other suggested fixes

    Water

    ST. PETERSBURG — Forget that street sweeper. Take a rain check for the aerators to spruce up Lake Maggiore. And, while you're at it, find some other source of cash to make those city recreation centers more energy efficient.

    That was the message from state environmental officials this month on how St. Petersburg should satisfy a $810,000 civil penalty imposed by the agency as part of a $326 million consent decree in July....

    A city street sweeper helps prepare the track before a grand prix race in St. Petersburg. City officials have suggested purchasing a new sweeper to comply with a state consent decree. But state environmental officials say the money would be better spent to fix leaky private sewer lines. [DIRK SHADD   |  Times]
  2. For Kriseman, second term means finishing what he's started, experimenting

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman says he is ready to put a recent nasty re-election fight behind him and, continuing a theme from the campaign, is looking to the future.

    In an interview last week, he said he is relishing the chance to see big projects to the finish line and hinted at a second term of bold experimentation.

    The mayor said he often relates an anecdote he heard from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg about chatting with newly hired city workers....

    Mayor Rick Kriseman also has business he’s ready to see finished.
  3. Fired: City worker who accused Kriseman administration of bullying gets the ax

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — A city engineer who went public with allegations of bullying and intimidation by Mayor Rick Kriseman's administration has gotten the ax.

    Steven Marshall, who appeared with Kriseman's opponent, Rick Baker, days before the Nov. 7 election to complain about the Kriseman administration's bullying and intimidation tactics, was terminated Tuesday, said Chris Guella, the city's human resources director....

  4. St. Petersburg officials recoil at offer of help from Weinstein attorney David Boies

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — What does disgraced Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein have to do with the city's fight against the influence of money in politics?

    Believe it or not, there is a connection.

    Last month the City Council approved an ordinance limiting the amount an individual can give a political action committee in a single year to $5,000. It could serve as a vehicle for challenging the Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission decision. The historic 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling removed restrictions on how much outside groups can spend on elections....

    Harvey Weinstein arrives at The Weinstein Company and Netflix Golden Globes afterparty in Beverly Hills, Calif., in January. He has since been accused by dozens of women of sexual assault and harrassment. Now the case has a connection to St. Petersburg's efforts to curb big money in politics. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
  5. Utility bills will rise for St. Pete residents -- and keep rising

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — Start saving up that couch change. City residents might need it to pay steeper utility bills starting in January.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: No criminal charges in St. Pete's 1 billion gallon sewage crisis (Oct. 27, 2017)...

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September 2016 to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage from the city's overwhelmed sewer system. The Penny for Pinellas will help fund repairs to the city's sewage system, and that 1-cent sales tax is up for renewal on the November ballot. Soon residents will learn how much they'll have to pay in the form of higher utility rates. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  6. Clean slate? Reelection gives Kriseman fresh start with council

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — Now that Mayor Rick Kriseman has prevailed after a bruising election, City Council members say they hope for the same thing in his second term: a clean slate.

    Council chair Darden Rice said it. So did Charlie Gerdes. Both are stalwart Kriseman allies, but each acknowledged that Kriseman's relationship with other council members hasn't always been a smooth one.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Rick vs. Rick: St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman completes comeback...

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman celebrates his reelection victory at his watch party at Nova 535 after Tuesday night's election. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  7. Rick vs. Rick: St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman completes comeback

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — There has never been anything in city history like Rick vs. Rick.

    For the first time in the strong-mayor era, two mayors battled each other for City Hall. They were veteran politicians who brought deep pockets, residual anger from the 2016 presidential election and their own animus for each other to this race. What resulted was perhaps the ugliest, and definitely the most expensive, mayoral race in modern St. Petersburg history. The primary was decided by just 70 votes, and after a Hurricane Irma-imposed break, the attack ads flew even faster....

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman celebrated his reelection win Tuesday night at his watch party at Nova 535. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  8. In St. Petersburg mayor's race, candidates make final appeals

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick vs. Rick is drawing to a close.

    In the last weekend of a bitterly contested six-month mayoral campaign, incumbent St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker made their final appeals to voters, and their supporters hit the streets in hopes of boosting Election Day turnout.

    Recent polls show an extraordinarily tight race, the outcome of which could hinge on who shows up to vote Tuesday....

    Kriseman
  9. Kriseman questions Baker's management of St. Pete's investments

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Baker makes no bones about it: he's a hands-on mayor.

    In nearly every interview and every candidate forum over the past six months, St. Petersburg's mayor from 2001-10 has presented himself as someone who sweats the details.

    But in the final days of the city's combustible mayoral race, Mayor Rick Kriseman's latest attack ad questions whether Baker really kept his eye on the ball when the city lost $11 million in investments after its former Wall Street advisor was wiped out by the 2008 financial crisis....

    People walk past the headquarters of Lehman Brothers in Manhattan in September 2008 just days before the Wall Street investment bank filed for the largest bankruptcy in history. St. Petersburg lost $11 million in investments with Lehman and had to sue to recoup its losses. Now former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker's management of city investments at the time has come under fire from his campaign opponent, current Mayor Rick Kriseman. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
  10. Days before election, St. Pete City Council tussles over sewage

    Water

    ST. PETERSBURG — One last spat before Election Day broke out along political lines at Thursday's City Council meeting between supporters of incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker.

    And once again the subject was the city's two-year sewage crisis — and who is to blame — which has been a constant theme of the bitter six-month battle between the Kriseman and Baker campaigns....

    Partially-treated sewage discharges into Tampa Bay from a St. Petersburg city sewage plant in September 2016 during the height of the city's 13-month, billion-gallon sewage crisis. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]

  11. City engineer says Mayor Rick Kriseman retaliated against him

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG— A city engineer says Mayor Rick Kriseman's administration punished him for speaking out at the height of last year's sewage crisis.

    Engineer Steven Marshall spoke out about the incident at a Tuesday news conference organized by former Mayor Rick Baker, who is challenging Kriseman in the mayoral election.

    PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Another St. Petersburg official says he fears 'retaliation' for sewage crisis (Oct. 13, 2016)...

    City engineer Steven Marshall said he was demoted and punished by incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman for speaking out during last year's sewage crisis. Marshall made that allegation at a Tuesday news conference held at the campaign headquarters of Kriseman's foe in the mayoral race, Rick Baker. From left: former mayoral candidate Deveron Gibbons, City Council member Jim Kennedy, Baker, Marshall and Baker supporter Chris Eaton [CHARLIE FRAGO  |  Times]
  12. Democrats line up to help Kriseman battle Baker

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — Former Maryland governor and former presidential candidate Martin O'Malley came to the Sunshine City with a simple message:

    Re-electing Mayor Rick Kriseman wasn't just a local issue. It's part of a national rebuild of a Democratic Party left reeling by the 2016 election of President Donald Trump.

    "Those of us who are Democrats are starting to act like a party again," O'Malley said at a Monday campaign event....

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman (center) got a campaign boost Monday when former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (to the mayor's right) visited his election headquarters in the Euclid-St. Paul neighborhood Monday. The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate was the latest in a string of high-profile Democrats to back the mayor in his tough election fight against former Mayor Rick Baker. [CHARLIE FRAGO  |  Times]
  13. No criminal charges in St. Pete's 1 billion gallon sewage crisis

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — No city employees will face criminal charges as a result of the massive sewage discharges of 2015-16, Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe announced on Friday.

    But that doesn't mean no crimes were committed. In fact, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators said they found evidence that 89 felonies and 103 misdemeanors were committed as the city befouled itself over 13 months....

    During the St. Petersburg sewage crisis, the city's ancient sewer system released about 200 million gallons of sewage into local watersways, spurring state and federal investigations and becoming a focal point of debate among the leading mayoral candidates. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  14. Rick Baker radio spot continues attacks on Kevin King

    Blog

    On Friday, Rick Baker’s campaign capped a week of attacks on Kevin King, chief of staff for Mayor Rick Kriseman with a 1-minute radio spot that accuses Kriseman of tolerating King’s 2001 arrest involving solicitation of underage girls and assigning city education policy to his top aide’s portfolio.

    The first 30-seconds of the ad is audio taken directly  from a previous TV ad detailing King’s arrest. King was never convicted of any crime....

  15. Did Rick Baker speak out about Charlotttesville? Democratic ad suggests he didn't. But Baker did say something

    Blog

    The Florida Democratic Party on Friday released a new ad attacking Rick Baker.

    Entitled “Changed Man,” it portrays the Republican former mayor as a Trump lackey who lies about his opponent, Mayor Rick Kriseman.

    Except the 30-second ad has some problems of its own.

    The ad has Baker’s face share the screen with white supremacists and Nazis while criticizing Baker for remaining silent about Trump's comments about the violence in Charlottesville in August. ...

    The Florida Democratic Party on Friday released a new ad attacking Rick Baker. Entitled "Changed Man," it portrays the Republican former mayor as a Trump lackey who lies about his opponent, Mayor Rick Kriseman.