ST. PETERSBURG - As a father of four young girls, Trevor Mallory worries about their safety in his South St. Petersburg neighborhood.
"You have young youth hanging out in the streets all day; crime rates are high is this neighborhood," he said. "We've got to make changes before it gets out of hand."
That's one of the reasons the local business owner says he is running for the District 6 seat on City Council, to represent an area that includes some of the city's poorest neighborhoods.
If elected, Mallory, 41, said he would work to make sure there is more assistance for and preference given to local businesses in South St. Petersburg. Grants could be used to help people start their own companies, increasing residents' sense of engagement and ownership of their community, he said.
"We're not using the local talent or skills to get this work done," he said. "It's always contracted out. The money gets sucked out of the city."
He would like to see more community policing and said the city should hire more black police officers who could forge better relationships with black teenagers, he said. The city has 79 black officers, roughly 14 percent of its total force of 549, according to police department records.
"They will respect an African-American police officer more than any other race," he said. "It will be easier to build a relationship."
Mallory owns or co-owns several small businesses, including a landscaping firm, a trucking company and also works in event promotions.
A graduate of Lakewood High School, Mallory was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays and pitched "pretty hard" in the minor leagues, reaching the AA level.
While Mallory complains about crime in his neighborhood, he has had a few brushes with the law himself.
He was arrested in 1996 for cashing a worthless check and then arrested the following year for violating probation, according to court records. He was ordered to perform 15 hours of community service.
Later that year, Mallory was arrested for battery and disorderly conduct. The arrest stemmed from a fight with a buddy, and both of them went to jail, he said. The battery charge was dropped, but Mallory was convicted of disorderly conduct.
After his baseball career ended, Mallory studied dental hygiene at a community college in Tallahassee. While there, he was arrested for possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended or revoked license in 2004. He was jailed for 20 days and fined $361, Leon County records show.
At the time, his oldest daughter was 2, and he realized he had to turn his life around, Mallory said.
Mallory also works as a night-club manager at Onyx. The Third Street South club formerly known as Club Scene has been ordered by the city to hire off-duty police officers for busy nights and use a security scanner for photo IDs after repeated trouble there.
In the last year, Mallory has twice been cited for violating a city ordinance after police found minors inside the club. The first incident was in December. Mallory said that at the time he did not know the club was in breach of a city rule. His employers paid a $218 fine.
Then in February, police saw two intoxicated 19-year-old men leaving from the club, a police report states.
That time, Mallory was arrested. He told police that the club was rented out for an event and organizers had sold tickets to minors in advance. Security staff admitted the teens despite checking their driving licenses, which showed they were underage, according to the police report.
Mallory said his bail money was later returned, and he questions why he was arrested when the club owner was also present.
For more than four years, Mallory worked as a horticultural specialist for the city, maintaining landscaping and medians. He noticed that his work schedule required him to visit richer neighborhoods twice as often as South St. Petersburg.
"Downtown is already beautiful," he said. "You've got to spread your resources."
That lack of investment and the area's crime rate will continue to deter developers from coming to South St. Petersburg, he said.
"I have a strong feeling about strengthening these communities," he said. "You're not going to get developers to spend real money until the community is cleaned up."
Family: Wife, Mashainah; children Justyce, Malayna, Makayla, Maliyah
Occupation: Small business owner
Education: Lakewood High School
Civic experience: Former board member and coach of BayPoint Little League
Should the city continue with red-light cameras? No
Will you vote to stop the Lens? Yes
What to do about the Rays? "They need to give the city some breathing room for the next couple of years but stay in good negotiations"
Campaign donations raised: $1,000 from self loan (as of June 30)