Soundfile: “Stiles- 03-24-06� 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 reports…

[roll tape…]

Mary Ann Stiles, says she is sick and tired of waiting in traffic. She’s angry that her employees perpetually arrive late because they were stuck in traffic. And she can’t believe that she’s stuck in traffic on the very same roads she’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 can’t seem to agree on anything other than to maintain their own power.

[roll tape…]

[Actuality 1- “They have the power… I’ve been watching their meetings… they can’t even agree on who will oppose me…�]

Stiles—who has made a name for herself defending commercial and government clients in workers’ compensation cases –thinks the County Commission has unchecked power—the antithesis of state and federal government –and that the voters of Hillsborough County deserve better. An elected mayor of the county would have veto power over the County Commissioners, and they’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 tape… ]

[Actuality 2- “… to assure that there’s checks & balances… the board could override that veto…�]

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 way…

[roll tape…]

[Actuality 3- “…When you think about government…this is what I need to do, and I can’t get that board behind me…�]

WMNF asked Stiles to elaborate on just how this would work…

[roll tape…]

[Actuality 4- “… There’s no one today who stands up and speaks for the county…there’s no one who has a mandate to lead this county today…�]

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 she’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 hadn’t taken her ideas to the Charter Review Board, instead of launching this public campaign for two ballot referendums in the November election…

[roll tape…]

[Actuality 5- “… If it gets personal, I’m sorry, ‘cause it’s not going to be personal to me…Why would I go through the Charter Review Board…why bother…�]

After the Q&A, several club members were willing to share their opinions on what they’d just heard. Joe Narkiewicz, Executive Vice President of the Tampa Bay Builders Association…

[roll tape…]

[Actuality 6- “… We came today to hear what Mary Ann had to say about the County Mayor… if we even take a position…�]

Mickey Castor, a Tiger Bay Club Director, offered this…

[roll tape…]

[Actuality 7- “… There are some concerns I want to explore…evaluating what the pros and cons are … �]

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 legislature—Michael Scionti –seeking the Democratic nomination for District 58, had this to say…

[roll tape… ]

[Actuality 8- “… I am born and raised in this district…their voice in the community…�]

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 isn’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 representation…

[roll tape…]

[Actuality 9- “… I never dreamed… what are they so afraid of…�]

For WMNF, I’m Stan Davis.

comments powered by Disqus