Joe Redner to run for Hillsborough County Commission by Mitch E. Perry

05/15/06

Tampa Entrepreneur and activist Joe Redner announced today his candidacy for the Hillsborough County Commission county wide seat held by incumbent Chairman Jim Norman. (roll tape#1 o.q.�the developers “)

Speaking in front of the County Center in downtown Tampa, Redner literally unveiled his platform, reading from what he is calling his Contract with the voters of Hillsborough County.

It contains 8 provisions, including his goal of making mass transportation the number one priority on the County Commission, and acting as a liason between the City and County to make it happen.

Another plank is working towards proving greater cooperation between the County and City of Tampa, which has degenerated in recent years.

And he said affordable housing will be another top priority (roll tape#2 o.q.�afford housing�)

The last plank of his Contract is that he will not vote on any laws, policies, or rules pertaining to adult businesses, though he will voice his opinion.

Although Redner owns several businesses, it is ownership of the world famous adult strip club, Mons Venus, that has always made him toxic for some voters. WMNF attempted to ask him about the fact that some progressives – who normally would be aligned with his brand of politics – will NOT vote for him simply because of his association with adult businesses. Redner objected to the question (roll tape#4 o.q.�special interests�)

Moments later, the question was asked again. Although he did not directly address it, he did take pride in what he’s done as an adult club entrepreneur (Roll tape#5 o.q.�in the county�)

One politician that fought Redner directly when it come to the Mons Venus and other establishments is political consultant Bob Buckhorn, the architect of the infamous 6 foot rule in Tampa banning patrons at adult clubs from getting lap dances. Buckhorn says Redner has a message that may well resonate with voters, but says people may still Resist his appeal (roll tape#6 o.q.�his entire career�)

Serving as Redner’s campaign manager is Kelly Benjamin, who ran a spirited campaign against Rose Ferlita for Tampa City Council back in 2003. He contends that Redner is serious in this race, which means in this County wide race he’ll campaign throughout, conceding nothing to incumbent Jim Norman (roll tape#7 o.q.�or all about�)

For years, Redner has been a thorn in the side of local politicians, and national ones. He was arrested while going outside of Protest Zone on the USF campus against President Bush in 2002, and last year protested at Ronda Storms’ church in Brandon, after she successfully led a vote against gay pride events by the County last Summer.

That vote – one of the most controversial in recent years by the Commission – led to Redner filing a lawsuit against the County, and later, for him to announce that he was gay. Redner says he won’t that a part of his campaign

Whatever happens, former Tampa City Councilman Bob Buckhorn says Redner should make the race against Jim Norman interesting, and his candidacy could possibly help other Democrats in the race (roll tape#8 o.q.�make a difference�)

This will be Redner’s 5th bid for public office.

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