Cell phone tower protest in south Tampa

03/16/10 Rob Piccirillo
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“Stop the political favors!” That was the battle cry yesterday afternoon for some concerned South Tampa citizens protesting a 150-foot cell tower going up in Sunset Park. WMNF’s Rob Piccirillo reports.

A group of South Tampa neighbors and business owners gathered at a strip center along Henderson Blvd. to protest the city’s plans to locate a 150-foot cell tower at the entrance of Sunset Park. Bill Cook is spokesperson for Responsible Tower Placement of Tampa, who commented that “the city voted to allow height and distance waivers.”

It’s a story stock full of drama: power, ethics, special interests, political favoritism, the will of the people. Cook says the true back story is about who’s putting in the cell tower and why, a person Cook says is Tampa attorney and Democratic candidate for State House, District 57, [Stacy Frank].

Cook says, “She is running for District 57, right here, and she wants to put a wi-fi tower at the entrance of Sunset Park.”

We tried to reach Stacy Frank for comment, but we were unable to do so prior to deadline.

President of the Sunset Park Homeowners Association, Marlon Anderson, says the cell tower will be ugly. “We are protesting today the proposed 150-foot cell tower, which is going to be an aesthetic eyesore.”

Anderson says the proposed cell tower is a bad thing, not only for Sunset Park, but for all of Tampa. Anderson says the city ought to protect the beautiful areas of Tampa, areas Anderson says are places like Sunset Park. Anderson says the protesters hope the city will reconsider the tower approval at Thursday’s Tampa City Council meeting.

Sunset Park resident Jim Cloonan says, “I’m not against technology, but I think Tampa City Council needs to reconsider their vote this Thursday.”

Republican candidate for State House, District 57, Todd Marks, attended the protest as well. Anderson says he supports the local people who oppose the cell tower. Anderson says that in this situation, the city council should be responsive to what the neighbors are saying. He comments, “I’m out here in support of the people. There voice is loud, and I want to make that voice a little bit louder.”

Marks says that going forward, the city council should re-think its position on the cell tower. He says it is a nonpartisan issue, with many Democrats and Republicans alike opposed to it. He also says any politicians or candidates who are in favor of it should be held accountable.

According to the Florida Division of Elections, the two others candidates vying for term-limited Rep. Faye Culp’s seat in Florida House Dist. 57 are Republicans A.J. Andrews and Dana Young. .

Previous WMNF coverage of cell towers: Tampa City Council refuses to look at cell tower ordinance; Angry parents get reprieve from on cell phone tower issue; South Tampa parents win battle on cell phone tower.

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