Tampa Tiger Bay Club Meeting by Mitch E. Perry02/25/07
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
The election for Tampa’s Mayor and City Council is just 11 days away.
With election day approaching, some of those candidates began making indicating their differences with their opponent sharper at a forum held at the Tampa Tiger Bay Club today.
The District 2 City wide irace between 2 term New Tampa Councilmember Sean Harrison and Democratic upstart Mary Mulhern may be getting closer, after Mulhern received endorsements from both the Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times last week.
But it’s not close if one goes by fundraising, where Harrison has outspent Mulhern by a more than 6 to 1 ratio. Today District 4 candidate Joseph Citro, who is being vastly outspent in his race against Julie Brown and John Dingfelder, asked all of the candidates if they would support campaign finance reform in future local races.
Councilman Harrison vehemently said no (roll tape#1 o.q” will serve the government”)
Mulhern said she does think some type financial limitations are in order, and questioned where Harrison’s financial support is coming from(roll tape#2 o.q.” applause”)
Like several of the candidates, like District 1’s Rick Barcena and Denise Chavez, Harrison emphasized how he wants to make sure Tampa’s citizens are not taxed too much.
Harrison was one of the leaders on the Council last year to bring a property tax cut, something he’s extremely proud of (roll tape#3 o.q.”thank you very much for the opportunity”)
But Mary Mulhern blasted Harrison for his work on the Council , saying he has done nothing in his 2 terms to help alleviate traffic conditions in his district (roll tape#4 o.q.”thanks)
Tampa will be hosting their 4th Super Bowl in a little less than 2 years from now. The 2nd Super Bowl, in 1991, was marred by a racial controversy over the Gasparilla parade, which was then canceled.
One question from the Tiger Bay Audience was what would a specific Councilmember do to insure that women and minority Business people would get a crack at making some money when the Super Bowl comes to town. District One candidate DeniseChavez
(roll tape#2 o.q.”to our own”)
Gwen Miller is the incumbent in the District 1 race, which is perhaps the most rich in quality candidates. She attempted to answer that same question (roll tape#3 o.q.”to serve”)
One of her opponents, businessman Joe Redner, used the question to fire back on Miller (roll tape#4 o.q.”get away from you”)
At City Council meetings, there is a segment for public comment from anybody from the General public to speak, but it comes at the very end of the meetings, after the local Government access television cameras are turned off. One disgruntled citizen asked for an opinion from each Council member if elected would they change that rule.
But Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena, essentially already re-elected as she runs unopposed, defended that rule (roll tape#5 o.q.”stopped showing up”)
But Joe Redner didn’t like that answer (roll tape#5B “ don’t listen…”)
Mayor Pam Iorio was not at the event…She told a WMNF reporter earlier in the day that she wasn’t even aware of the event. The Mayor is considered to have any easy run at re-election.
But former Police Captain Marion Serious Lewis, one of her 2 opponents, has consistently spoken out about why he thinks the City is going in the wrong direction. He continued that theme on Friday (roll tape#6 oq..”of the city of tampa”)
There will be several more forums involving all of the candidates for office before The election…Early voting continues tomorrow, and all throughout next week.