Tampa City Council hears from those who want to serve with them by Mitch E. Perry

11/28/06

On Thursday, the Tampa City Council must choose who will replace 2 open positions on the 7 member Council.

So today, the now 5 member Board heard 2 minute presentations by all of those candidates vying for those open seats – over 50 people in all.

The seats became vacant earlier this month, after Council members Rose Ferlita and Kevin White both successfully were elected to the Hillsborough County Commission.

The positions are on an interim basis only – the new members will serve just 4 months, until the regular city election takes place in March. They can run for election at that time if they wish.

Most of those making their pitch today were bidding for Ferlita’s District 2 City wide seat.

One of them was Aria Ray Green, the City’s former Fire Chief who was fired by Mayor Pam Iorio 2 years ago (roll tape#1 o.q.� more that I could do “)

Julie Harris worked for the City of Tampa for 21 years, including working as Director of Communications and Neighborhood Liason for former Mayor Dick Greco for nearly 8 years, before retiring in 2003. (roll tape#2 o.q.�no on the job training�)

One of the more fired up applicants was James Holmes, a part-time chaplain for the Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office, and the founder of the Judeo Christian Health Clinic . He began his presentation by slamming on the homeless in Tampa, calling it a ‘disgrace that they are on our streets’. But he then advocated for an alternative memorial in town, and also bashed the Tampa Bay Bucaneers ownership (roll tape#3 o.q.�and we shouldn’t do it�)

Susan Long is a Seminole Heights activist, along with being on the City’s Code Enforcement Committee. (roll tape#4 o.q.’ on a city�)

Jane Siling was the first female Deputy Chief in Tampa Police History…She was a finalist before losing out to Stephen Hogue 3 years ago for Chief of Police. After retiring last year after 30 years on the job, Siling told City Council members she’d like to contribute for the next 4 months, at least (roll tape#5 o.q.�for your consideration�)

Bruce Tigret told the Council that he thought it was impossible for them to make a fair and accurate assessment of the candidates , based on their quick 2 minute pitches. So he said they ought to choose by a lottery type of system (roll tape#6 o.q.�by your vote�)

Other notable names who applied for the District 2 seat include Bob Clark, Jr., who has become known in the past few months for his presence on the Tampa Hillsborough County Expressway Authority, and Logan Cobb, a Plant High School Student who lost a bid for the Hillsborough County School Board earlier this month.

There were decidedly fewer applicants to succeed Kevin White in the City’s District 5 seat, which encompasses both East and West Tampa.

One was Warren Hope Dawson, who has held a number of jobs working with the city and Hillsborough County – one of them being a former assistant Attorney for the City of Tampa. (roll tape#6 o.q.�number 5�)

Most, but not all, of those applicants said they did not intend to run for the City Council seat come next March. Initially the Council had said they favored applicants who only wanted to serve for the 4 months.

Chester White Jr. ran against Gwen Miller for City Council over a decade ago(roll tape#7 o.q.� what I’ll be doing�)

The 5 member City Council will decide on the 2 candidates on Thursday.

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