Tampa mayor, council candidates hit the home stretch listen02/28/11 Kate Bradshaw
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Tomorrow marks the last chance for Tampa voters to cast ballots for Mayor and city council. More than two dozen candidates in eight races have spent months campaigning on issues running the gamut, from panhandling to high water bills.
More than fifteen thousand people have already cast ballots in an election that may change the face of Tampaâ€™s local leadership. The five mayoral candidates say they want to revive the local economy, but differ on how. Former County Commissioner Ed Turanchik said heâ€™d like to create a green transit corridor that would run from Ybor City to Downtown Tampa.
Tampa City Council Chair Thomas Scott said he supported a green building ordinance the council took up years ago, but thereâ€™s another potential jobs source heâ€™d explore.
Rose Ferlita said sheâ€™s already helping sprout green jobs, given that she started Hillsboroughâ€™s Energy Management and Sustainability Committee while on the county commission.
Bob Buckhorn, a former city council member said the city needs to take advantage of the research institutions that are already in town.
Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, who seeks mayoral term number five, said there are two sectors that will need extra work when it comes to jobs.
Greco isnâ€™t the only veteran on the ballot facing a challenge. District 7 Incumbent Joe Caetano faces Dean Hale, Lisa Montelione and Charlie Perkins. District 6 incumbent Charlie Miranda is running against 35-year-old educator and journalist Kelly Benjamin for the West Tampa seat. Citywide District 1 Seat, by contrast, has no incumbents. Council member Gwen Miller is retiring from the seat. Among the four people who want to replace her 26-year-old businessman Guido Maniscalco said council canâ€™t create jobs, but can create make the city more business-friendly.
Candidate Mike Suarez, who works in the insurance industry, said thereâ€™s at least one thing the council can do to incentivise small business growth â€“ that is, turn Occupational Tax revenue being paid to the city into a small business loan program.
Engineer Tom Slaughter said the key to attracting jobs is to improve infrastructure.
The two other candidates in that race are restaurant owner Rick Barcena and current District Three council member Curtis Stokes. Tampaâ€™s urban District 4 seat also has no incumbent hopefuls. That raceâ€™s candidates include Lynette â€œTraceeâ€ Judge, Frank Reddick, Carrie West, and Herold Lord. West is the only candidate in that race who appears to support a panhandling ban. That debate has been at the center of the citywide District 2 race. Candidate Susan Longâ€™s strong anti-panhandling views inspired her to run, though she said sheâ€™s not a one-issue candidate. On the question of jobs, she said the city needs to cut back on the red tape thatâ€™s keeping businesses from expanding.
District 2 incumbent Mary Mulhern voted to support a partial roadside solicitation ban. As for jobs, said sheâ€™d like to see the city become an environment that fosters science and tech job growth.
The third candidate in the race is Scott Strepina. The race for District 3, also a citywide seat, features current council member Yvonne Yolie Capin, as well as Michael Ciftci, Chris Hart, Seth Nelson, and James Wilson. Meanwhile, five candidates are vying for the District 4 Seat are Joe Citro, Harry Cohen, Tony DeSisto, Julie Jenkins, and Dennis Meyers. Polls throughout the city will be open from 7am to 7pm Tuesday. Our website has more information, including links to all the races and candidates.
Links to our previous Tampa election coverage: