ACORN holds City Council Forum by Mitch E. Perry03/05/07
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
2 Tampa City Council candidates and 1Mayoral candidate discussed homelessness, affordable housing and the relocation of public housing residents at a Candidate Forums last Saturday.
The forum was presented by ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now – which deals with issues involving low and moderate income families.
2 of the 3 candidates running in the District 5 race, former Hillsborough County Commissioner Thomas Scott and new comer Lynette Tracey Judge, spoke on a variety of issues, including the Central Park Village redevelopment project (roll tape#1 o.q.”is a myth”)
Judge said the current plan to tear down the public housing project means that some of those people living in Central Park will financially not be able to live in what is planned as a mixed use community just north of downtown Tampa (roll tape#2 o.q.”out of their property now”)
Thomas Scott is running in the City Council district which is similar to the County seat he held on the Hillsborough County for years. He alluded to his actions on the Commission on the 2 different projects that came before that board in recent years. There was The Citivas project that he fought for but that was killed by other Commissioners back in 2004. And the revived project last fall – in which he intervened in the last hours with extra demands – Demands that critics say nearly derailed the project. (roll tape#2 o.q.’of the 2nd plan”)
The 3rd candidate in the District 5 race is Frank Reddick, who was appointed to the Council last fall to succeed Kevin White after he left the seat to run for Hillsborough County Commissioner. Reddick, who like Tracey Judge is considered to be in an uphill battle to defeat Thomas Scott, failed to appear at the ACORN event.
The other candidate present was Marion Serious Lewis, the longtime Tampa Police Lieutenant who is 1 of 2 candidates taking on Mayor Pam Iorio in her bid for re-election With his background in law enforcement, Lewis said he knew what he was talking about when he criticized the Mayor and Chief of Police Steven Hogue for getting away from community policing (roll tape#3 o.q.”we will bring that program back”)
Public transportation and mass transit has been endorsed by nearly every one of the 22 candidates on the ballot this Tuesday. But for many low and middle income residents, using the current bus system, Hartline, is a way of life. Mayoral candidate Marion Lewis said before people get too excited about bringing light rail to Tampa Bay, they should worry about improving the current form of public transportation (roll tape#4 o.q.”for another bus to come”)
When discussing the rise in awareness about public transportation, Thomas Scott referred to his support of various proposals that came his way while on The Hillsborough County Commission over the years, and says he believes such a plan has a real chance of reaching fruition soon (roll tape#5 o.q.” of light rail”)
Saturday’s Forum was held inside the Downtown Tampa Library, and several people who described themselves as currently or recently homeless were part of the audience.
Marion Lewis attacked Mayor Iorio on her handling of the homeless, and said under his administration, he would have the city purchase a tract of land to create what he described as a one stop shopping center for the homeless (roll tape#5 o.q.”make a person productive”)
District 5 City Council candidate Tracy Judge advocating using empty buildings in Tampa right now as a way to house the homeless (roll tape#6 o.q.”for our homeless”)
The Election for Tampa City Council and Mayor takes place tomorrow (Tuesday)