How do we keep America great? Rick Baker, former mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, provides a compelling—and challenging—answer: by making American cities great. And great cities are built first of all through strong leadership.
During his two terms in office, Rick Baker worked toward a clear, uncompromising goal: to make St. Petersburg the best city in America. He led a downtown renaissance, rebuilt the most economically depressed area of the city, attracted businesses, worked to reduce violent crime, and made public schools a city priority—all with measurable results. The Seamless City offers practical advice, based on his nine years of experience in City Hall, to show how every mayor and city council can make their city dramatically better.
In The Seamless City you'll step behind the scenes of city government to learn:
- How maintaining basic amenities, like running water, requires constant vigilance—and sometimes tough decisions on the part of city leadership
- Why a vibrant downtown is essential to attract businesses and create jobs · Why the most effective leadership is servant leadership
- How to find and implement the most effective solutions to a city's most challenging problems
- Why city government needs to regard the city as a seamless whole, with no section underserved or overlooked
"The Seamless City tells Mayor Baker's story, but it also provides a road map. It is an example of how preparation, planning, persistence, and a passion for service can move America's cities closer to the goal of becoming seamless—places where citizens in all neighborhoods enjoy safe streets, reliable infrastructure, a high quality of life, and the opportunity to pursue their dreams."—Jeb Bush
"Rick Baker transformed a city with a history of divisive challenges into a thriving community by cracking down on crime, implementing public-private partnerships, and improving the quality of life. No other conservative Republican that I'm aware of can say they won 90 percent of the vote in the core, predominantly African-American Democratic precincts in his re-election. St. Petersburg's revival wasn't a miracle—it was a mission that Rick Baker undertook with all his considerable energy, innovation, and determination."—John Avlon, author and senior political columnist for The Daily Beast
"Mayor Rick Baker applied a businessman's principles to identify the problems of the city, to analyze and select the best solutions, and then focus on leading the community to achieving those goals. As both a business manager and leader, he led a renaissance in St. Petersburg, Florida. Politicians, please read this book!" —Tom James, Executive Chairman of Raymond James Financial, Inc.
"Rick Baker does a superb job drawing on his experiences as mayor of St. Petersburg and the turnaround he led in that city's fortunes. All of us, whether in the private sector or government service, can learn something about leadership from the lessons in this book." —Mitt Romney
From 2001 through early 2010, Rick Baker was mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida's fourth largest city. In 2008 he was named Mayor-Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine. Baker formerly practiced business law and is now Director of the University of South Florida's Innovation Partnerships. He holds a B.S. in Management, an MBA , and a Juris Doctor (with honors) from Florida State University. He is currently an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute's Center for State and Local Leadership. Baker studied comparative law at Oxford University and was a legal intern to Florida Supreme Court Justice Ben Overton. He and his wife Joyce have two children, Julann and Jacob.