MARY ANN STILES AT THE TIGER BAY CLUB, FRIDAY, 24 MARCH 2006
Soundfile: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Stiles- 03-24-06Ã¢â‚¬?
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 reportsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
Mary Ann Stiles, says she is sick and tired of waiting in traffic. SheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s angry that her employees perpetually arrive late because they were stuck in traffic. And she canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t believe that sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stuck in traffic on the very same roads sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem to agree on anything other than to maintain their own power.
[Actuality 1- Ã¢â‚¬Å“They have the powerÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been watching their meetingsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ they canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even agree on who will oppose meÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬?]
StilesÃ¢â‚¬â€who has made a name for herself defending commercial and government clients in workersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ compensation cases Ã¢â‚¬â€œthinks the County Commission has unchecked powerÃ¢â‚¬â€the antithesis of state and federal government Ã¢â‚¬â€œand that the voters of Hillsborough County deserve better. An elected mayor of the county would have veto power over the County Commissioners, and theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.
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[Actuality 2- Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ to assure that thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s checks & balancesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ the board could override that vetoÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢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 wayÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
[Actuality 3- Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦When you think about governmentÃ¢â‚¬Â¦this is what I need to do, and I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get that board behind meÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬?]
WMNF asked Stiles to elaborate on just how this would workÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
[Actuality 4- Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no one today who stands up and speaks for the countyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no one who has a mandate to lead this county todayÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢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 sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t taken her ideas to the Charter Review Board, instead of launching this public campaign for two ballot referendums in the November electionÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
[Actuality 5- Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ If it gets personal, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sorry, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœcause itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not going to be personal to meÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Why would I go through the Charter Review BoardÃ¢â‚¬Â¦why botherÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬?]
After the Q&A, several club members were willing to share their opinions on what theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d just heard. Joe Narkiewicz, Executive Vice President of the Tampa Bay Builders AssociationÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
[Actuality 6- Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ We came today to hear what Mary Ann had to say about the County MayorÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ if we even take a positionÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬?]
Mickey Castor, a Tiger Bay Club Director, offered thisÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
[Actuality 7- Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ There are some concerns I want to exploreÃ¢â‚¬Â¦evaluating what the pros and cons are Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ Ã¢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 legislatureÃ¢â‚¬â€Michael Scionti Ã¢â‚¬â€œseeking the Democratic nomination for District 58, had this to sayÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
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[Actuality 8- Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ I am born and raised in this districtÃ¢â‚¬Â¦their voice in the communityÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢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 isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 representationÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
[Actuality 9- Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ I never dreamedÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ what are they so afraid ofÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬?]
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For WMNF, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m Stan Davis.