Iorio: Tampa not forcing out the homeless

01/26/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday | Listen to this entire show:

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio strongly refuted a claim today that the homeless are being forced out of Tampa as the Super Bowl approaches.

The question was raised after a report in the ST. Petersburg Times on Saturday quoted Rayme Nuckles, the chief executive officer of the Hillsborough County’s Homeless Coalition, as hearing of a plan to ‘aggressively jail homeless people’, coming directly from a captain’s mouth at a meeting.

But the Mayor used the occasion of the question to in make a statement about the homeless overall.(roll tape#1 o.q”or for any reason”)

Looking visibly angry, Iorio said Tampa was no different than any other city in the country when it comes to dealing with the homeless (roll tape#2 o.q.”out of town”)

Iorio’s comments came as she and other local officials held a news conference to officially welcome the media to Tampa, 6 days away before the big game.

WMNF contacted the Homeless Coalition’s Rayme Nuckles afterwards.

The Times rticle quoted Nuckles as saying that he heard Tampa Police officers making the claim, not the Mayor. But when asked if such a charge could be made without the knowledge of City Hall, Nuckles said he heard from reliable sources (roll tape#3 o.q”that’s what we heard”)

Nuckles said he is always concerned about the homeless when major events come to Tapma (roll tape#3 B “for us”)

In her official remarks, Iorio boasted about how the city has changed since the last time the National Football League came to Tampa, in January of 2001, including boasting about how low the crime rate is (roll tape#4o.q.”340,000”)

And Iorio mentioned the opening of the new Tampa Bay History Center, constructed next to the St. Pete Times Forum, as well as other levels of development (roll tape#3 o.q.”we’re very proud of”)

The news conference also featured Hillsborough County Commissioner chairman Ken Hagen, who said it would be a near perfect week for those who love the Tampa bay area (roll tape#4 o.q.”Super Bowl generates”)

County Commissioner Calvin Harris boasted of the museums and beaches of Pinellas County, and urged those from out of town to cross I-275 at some point this week (roll tape#5 o.q.”and personal”)

Changes as part of the Tampa Airport Interchange Project could confuse those leaving the airport.

Reid Sigmon is the Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee. He was asked if the Florida Department of Transportation was doing anything to address traffic confusion from those leaving Tampa International Airport (roll tape#5 o.q.”in the traffic lanes”)

Tampa Officials expect some 100,000 people to descend on the area over the course of the next week.

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