Tampa City Council splurges on officers for Republican National Convention
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06/29/12 Janelle Irwin
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This is the view of the Tampa Bay Times Forum from the newly established "public viewing area" where demonstrators can gather with fewer restrictions.


photo by Janelle Irwin

Thursday Tampa City Council signed off on plans to spend almost $25 million on police officers for the Republican National Convention. Most of it will be used to hire 3,000 officers from 63 outside police agencies.

Money for the extra officers will be reimbursed through a $50 million federal grant appropriated for convention security. And City Council members also approved areas where anyone can demonstrate without permits or time limits. As part of that vote, the city appropriated more than $50,000 to lease the larger space along the east side of Nebraska Avenue north of Brorein. Not far away is a smaller part of the what the city is calling a public viewing area in parking lots under the Selmon Expressway. Eddie Diaz owns property within the demonstration area and is one of a growing number of individuals inconvenienced by Tampa hosting the convention.

“There’s seven units there. There’s three houses and a four-plex. People live there and sleep there. There’s been no discussion about my issues that I’ve raised concerning how my tenants and my property will be protected.”

City attorney Jim Shimberg met with Diaz privately to discuss his problem. Shimberg said Diaz will be accommodated as much as possible, but couldn’t provide specifics.

“We met with Mr. Diaz and we worked out some possible arrangements to help make him feel secure. That might come back to council at a future time, but he was comfortable enough to have left.”

Council members also approved the use of human-pedaled vehicles to transport people around town during the convention. The non-motorized vehicles sponsored by Humana would have to use the lane closest to the curb and pick-up and drop-off at designated locations and they could only run during the convention from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Council’s final vote on those rules will be on July 19.

List of partnering law enforcement agencies

Parade route and public viewing area map

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