MARY ANN STILES AT THE TIGER BAY CLUB, FRIDAY, 24 MARCH 200603/27/06
Soundfile: â€œStiles- 03-24-06â€?
Total Running Time- 6:15
High-powered Tampa attorney, Mary Ann Stiles, was at the Tiger Bay Club on Friday, taking her case for a Mayor of Hillsborough County to the non-partisan political forum she helped found more than 20 years ago. Stan Davis reportsâ€¦
Mary Ann Stiles, says she is sick and tired of waiting in traffic. Sheâ€™s angry that her employees perpetually arrive late because they were stuck in traffic. And she canâ€™t believe that sheâ€™s stuck in traffic on the very same roads sheâ€™d driven on when the family car was a Model-A Ford.
To Stiles, president of a law firm with statewide business in both Florida and Georgia, a big reason Hillsborough traffic is so miserable is that there is no one person who is responsible for setting policy, direction, and, especially, a vision for the future of how Hillsborough County is to develop.
Instead, she says, there is a 7-member County Commission without any majority representation of Hillsborough voters. In fact, she says, the Board of County Commissioners canâ€™t seem to agree on anything other than to maintain their own power.
[Actuality 1- â€œThey have the powerâ€¦ Iâ€™ve been watching their meetingsâ€¦ they canâ€™t even agree on who will oppose meâ€¦â€?]
Stilesâ€”who has made a name for herself defending commercial and government clients in workersâ€™ compensation cases â€“thinks the County Commission has unchecked powerâ€”the antithesis of state and federal government â€“and that the voters of Hillsborough County deserve better. An elected mayor of the county would have veto power over the County Commissioners, and theyâ€™d have veto power over the mayor, in just the same relationship as the President to the Congress, or the Governor to the State Legislature.
[roll tapeâ€¦ ]
[Actuality 2- â€œâ€¦ to assure that thereâ€™s checks & balancesâ€¦ the board could override that vetoâ€¦â€?]
But what about policy gridlock? Will the residents of Hillsborough County really be better off with a mayor than they are today without one? Jim Jordan, a Tiger Bay Club questioner, wanted to know just that. Mary Ann Stiles responded this wayâ€¦
[Actuality 3- â€œâ€¦When you think about governmentâ€¦this is what I need to do, and I canâ€™t get that board behind meâ€¦â€?]
WMNF asked Stiles to elaborate on just how this would workâ€¦
[Actuality 4- â€œâ€¦ Thereâ€™s no one today who stands up and speaks for the countyâ€¦thereâ€™s no one who has a mandate to lead this county todayâ€¦â€?]
Stiles was at the Tiger Bay Club Friday not only to launch the Taking Back Hillsborough County campaign to get 50,000 signatures on two petitions by mid-summer, but also to respond to some of the hits sheâ€™s been taking for leading the charge for the county mayor referendums. In recent weeks, Stiles has been lambasted as this is for revenge, personal gain, and power. Several commissioners wanted to know why she hadnâ€™t taken her ideas to the Charter Review Board, instead of launching this public campaign for two ballot referendums in the November electionâ€¦
[Actuality 5- â€œâ€¦ If it gets personal, Iâ€™m sorry, â€˜cause itâ€™s not going to be personal to meâ€¦Why would I go through the Charter Review Boardâ€¦why botherâ€¦â€?]
After the Q&A, several club members were willing to share their opinions on what theyâ€™d just heard. Joe Narkiewicz, Executive Vice President of the Tampa Bay Builders Associationâ€¦
[Actuality 6- â€œâ€¦ We came today to hear what Mary Ann had to say about the County Mayorâ€¦ if we even take a positionâ€¦â€?]
Mickey Castor, a Tiger Bay Club Director, offered thisâ€¦
[Actuality 7- â€œâ€¦ There are some concerns I want to exploreâ€¦evaluating what the pros and cons are â€¦ â€?]
Also in the room were several candidates for public office, including a handful of politicos all trying to succeed Jim Davis in the 11th Congressional District. One candidate for the state legislatureâ€”Michael Scionti â€“seeking the Democratic nomination for District 58, had this to sayâ€¦
[roll tapeâ€¦ ]
[Actuality 8- â€œâ€¦ I am born and raised in this districtâ€¦their voice in the communityâ€¦â€?]
In the end, as Mary Ann Stiles marches forward on this quest to give the voters of Hillsborough County a chance to vote whether they want a mayor or not, the issue isnâ€™t about vision, checks and balances, or even sitting around in traffic jams. To Stiles, it is about Democracy, that citizens should have a right to elected representationâ€¦
[Actuality 9- â€œâ€¦ I never dreamedâ€¦ what are they so afraid ofâ€¦â€?]
For WMNF, Iâ€™m Stan Davis.