We recently sat down with new City Council Member Bob Cundiff.
Bob has a unique background. He has worked as a classical music radio host, a local TV commercial producer and a pastor. He holds a masters in divinity from Central Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in speech communication. He moved to Clearwater 20 years ago to help launch the communications major at Clearwater Christian College and taught there until it closed last year.
During the campaign, Bob emphasized three major views: 1) the City Council needs to listen more to the citizens they serve, 2) there is too much wasteful spending, and 3) there isn’t enough focus on return on investment and accountability.
He told the Tampa Bay Times: “I hope to be a voice of reason, a voice of common sense and to be able to bring ideas to the table.”
He feels that investing in locals is a good use of public funds as long as residents are deeply involved. He says: “Residents must be stakeholders. Neighborhood groups are so important.”
Bob is a strong advocate for downtown and is in agreement with the ULI study. Before he ran for office, he was taken aback by all the empty storefronts and lots in the downtown area. Bob is pro-small-business and he is looking for better ways to to get them interested in downtown. He also maintains that the City should consider utilizing local talent rather than expensive consultants. He points out that there are a lot of retired professionals in the area (planners, developers, architects, etc.) who have a vested interest in Clearwater and might be happy to donate their time.
He strongly feels that downtown’s revitalization must be a team effort, and he agrees with ULI’s assessment about the importance of partnerships, including the Church of Scientology. He says: “The Church is a big stakeholder and they can be a big help. I wish the rest of downtown’s buildings looked like theirs. They are clearly interested in making Clearwater look better. I applaud it.”
Bob is pro-innovation. His interest is in getting 21st century ideas while learning from the lessons of the past. One of his priorities is solving the traffic problems between downtown and the beach. He feels that the City should think outside the box and consider solutions like SkyTran.
Bob is always interested in hearing from local residents about their ideas and concerns..