ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The city of St. Petersburg will hold its primary elections for Districts 1, 3, 5 and 7 Tuesday, Aug. 27. The election campaign on the local level has been relatively quiet -- until now.

Chico Cromartie, who is running for a seat on City Council District 7, caused a stir after several of his Facebook posts dismissed St. Pete’s LGBTQ community.

In a recent post, he wrote, "I am the only black leader who publicly denounces homosexuality and will BURN a pride flag."

The Tampa Bay Times reported Cromartie believes that “St. Petersburg is benefiting at the expense of the Black community and taxpayers.”

At a forum for the city council candidates, Cromartie told 10News, "As far as my opinion on homosexuality, I do not agree with it. I do not agree with creating policies that economically incentivize homosexuality. And that’s my real issue with the practice of homosexuality, I don’t think tax dollars should be funding the ideology or the choice of homosexuality, solely based on their choice to be homosexual.

When asked to clarify what "incentives" he was referencing, Cromartie responded, "I don’t have any documents in front of me to say what exactly what incentives are being allocated. But if I’m elected and I see tax dollars going to groups that just are ideologies, I’m going to dismantle those policies. Because I don’t think that’s fair to tax payers."

 On Tuesday, the Republican Party of Pinellas County condemned Cromartie's remarks and called for him to end his campaign, Florida Politics reported.

St. Petersburg NAACP President Maria Scruggs agrees that St. Pete's black neighborhoods are underrepresented, but Cromartie could learn from the LGBTQ community. 

Cromartie "is 100 percent accurate that the African American community in St. Petersburg has suffered a serious identity crisis,” said Scruggs. 

“I’m not understanding Chico’s connections to how that somehow falls in the lap of the LGBTQ community,” Scruggs added. “We can often take a lot of our lessons on community building from the LGBTQ community because they have, in many ways, been very strategic about their agenda. And as a result, have the results to show for it.”

In the following phone interview, Scruggs explains how she learned South St. Peterburg’s black community was left out of future development plans.

Cromartie is hoping to take the District 7 seat from Lisa Wheelert. Eritha Cainion and Sarah Elizabeth Moore are also vying for their chance to get a seat on the city council.

The general election for St. Pete will take place on Nov. 5.

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