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Sunday, Jun 24, 2018
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Galvin brings energy to District 8 race in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG — When Steve Galvin moved to his North Kenwood home, he spent five years painstakingly restoring a run-down 85-year-old home with his work featured on the DIY Channel’s “Renovation Realities.”
It wasn’t long after that when the real estate market crashed and his street ended up with seven empty houses, some of which soon attracted drug dealers.
Galvin decided he had to act. He said he broke into his retirement nest egg to buy three of the houses, restoring them and renting them to families. He also approached owners of the other empty houses and encouraged them to take action about the drug dealing.
“From what looked like a blighted area, it became a nice neighborhood,” he said.
Now Galvin wants to bring that same energy to City Council and is running for the District 8 seat. He said his knowledge of construction, preservation of historic buildings and permitting is needed on City Council, which frequently deals with approval of construction projects.
“It’s very important someone on the City Council knows how things are built,” he said.
To create jobs he would like the city to do more outreach to marine, biotech and technology companies. He also would push for more vocational training for students and is backing the development of an apprenticeship program supported by local unions.
He would like the 22nd Avenue North corridor that is home to many building supply stores to be designated as a special district with landscaping and signs to create its own identity, similar to the way the Grand Central District was established.
Galvin’s campaign had a setback recently when campaign manager Johnny Bardine quit after media reports surfaced that he fathered a child out of wedlock in California eight years ago and agreed to pay child support after being named in a paternity suit. Galvin’s wife, Pamela Cichon, left her job as assistant city attorney after she was investigated for sending emails defending her husband from her work email account.
Galvin, who never before has run for office, said the experience has been an eye opener.
Galvin’s background is unusual apprenticeship for a political career. He has worked as a dialogue editor in the film industry, and built up a music store business. The son of a machinist and builder, he has restored motorcycles and likes to work with his hands. An accomplished guitarist, he makes a living by recording songs used by toy manufacturers.
His campaign includes ideas such as installing a carousel in Williams Park with ice cream and hot dog vendors to reclaim the public space that has become a gathering place for homeless people, he said.
“Since we’ve shuttered The Pier, we don’t have a place to take kids downtown,” he said. “We could create a family-friendly environment there for not very much money.”
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