Tampa City Council and Mayoral Debate -- by Seán Kinane

02/14/07
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday

 

The Forest Hills Neighborhood Association held a debate for Tampa City Council and Mayoral candidates last night. All candidates for city council district 7, which represents north Tampa, and districts 1 and 2, which are citywide seats were invited. WMNF’s Seán Kinane reports.

 Transportation was one of the primary issues discussed in this debate. Mayoral hopeful Aria Green was one of many candidates who believe that Tampa needs an improved system of mass transit.

“If you look at cities that have been effective implementing it [mass transit] such as Portland, they had a long-term plan and they made developers develop their subdivisions around the areas where they could have stations. So it takes more than just implementing it. You have to have developers building and mass planning and everyone getting on board and agreeing to it, so it’s going to be a big project.”

 

Frank Margarella is running for the north Tampa District 7 seat. He agrees that rather than building more roads, a mass transit system with neighborhood nodes would be more effective.

“If they’re strategically placed in all the areas of the city and they serve all the areas of the city. They talked about having one at the university, and South Tampa, and way south, Port Tampa. And people will use them and we will get cars off the streets. It will take pressure off of building road after road after road.”

 

Joe Redner, one of several candidates for the citywide District 1 seat, stressed that the cost of a high quality light rail system would be much less than the cost of building more roads like the proposed beltway around rural areas of the Tampa Bay region.

“The Beltway was going to cost 3 and a half billion dollars. Salt Lake City area, 44 miles commuter rail 489 million. Denver: 19 miles 525 million. Phoenix: 19.6 miles, 587 million. So we still got 3 billion dollars left over [applause].”

 

Randy Barron is the president of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association and is running for the District 1 seat. He was one of many candidates who stressed the importance of the city’s Code Enforcement department and suggested that future funds should be directed from the police department in order to increase the current budget of Code Enforcement.

“The amount is about 9 million dollars actually, and the police force gets 130 million. Maybe we need to just curb the police expansion a little bit and give more money to Code Enforcement. I’ve been down to their offices and they use a DOS program. … There’s one Code Enforcement officer to every 10,000 properties in this city. We need more Code Enforcement, they’ve worked with Seminole Heights and they can work with the rest of the city if there’s just enough of them and they’re properly supported.”

 

Currrent City Council member Shawn Harrison is running for the citywide District 2 seat against Mary Mulhern who was not in attendance. Harrison promised to take services that are provided by the city and privatize them, but he did not address the fact that many privatization schemes end up costing taxpayers more because some tax money will be diverted to the profits of private businesses.

“I think there are many facets of City government that we could privatize, that we could send out to the private sector.  We can do it cheaper, we can do it more efficient … Privatization of as much of City services …“

 

WMNF asked current City Council Chairperson and District 1 candidate Gwen Miller if she would mandate that all newly constructed City of Tampa buildings be LEED-certified green buildings.

“Sure, I really think that’s what we need; I’ll insist that we get that done.

 

Julie Jenkins is a candidate in the crowded field vying for the District 1 seat. She told the Forest Hills Neighborhood Association what types of things she would concentrate on if elected.

smart growth, mass transit, environment

 

Rick Barcena, who is also running for District 1 wants to cap City spending in order to reduce taxes.

“I have issues with the amount I myself am paying in property taxes … cap the spending”

 

Joseph Caetano is a candidate for District 7. He described an accomplishment as an example of how he could get things done if elected to City Council.

Fire truck / Ambulance

 

Marion Lewis, who is hoping to unseat Mayor Pam Iorio said her administration has lost touch with most people in Tampa.

“ … current administration has lost touch with the common people of Tampa …”

 

The website votehillsborough.org has information on where you can vote, and has contact information for all candidates.

 

For WMNF News, I’m Seán Kinane

 

FMI

 

votehillsborough.org

 

Mayor – Marion Serious Lewis – www.votelewis.com

 

Mayor – Aria Green

 

District 1 – Randy “Red” Baron – www.baron4tampa.com

 

District 1 – Denise Chavez – www.denisechavezcitycouncil.com

 

District 1 – Julie Jenkins – www.votejuliejenkins.com

 

District 1 – Joe Redner - http://votejoeredner.com/

 

District 1 – Gwen Miller

 

District 2 – Shawn Harrison -

 

District 2 - Mary Mulhern – http://www.marymulhern.com/ez/

 

District 7 – Frank Margarella – FrankforCouncil@aol.com

 

District 7 – Joseph Caetano – www.JoeCaetano.com

  

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