Hear from Tampa City Council candidates in Districts 1, 2 & 5

Tampa City Council candidates 2019 election Tampa Tiger Bay Club

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On WMNF’s MidPoint we heard a debate with eleven Tampa City Council candidates in three races: Districts 1, 2 and 5. It was from a Tampa Tiger Bay Club meeting on January 18.

There are five people running for city-wide District 1 seat currently held by mayoral candidate Mike Suarez. David Loos was not at this forum. We heard from Joseph Citro, Alan Clendenin, Craig Newman and Walter Smith (who used to be a programmer on WMNF).

There are three people running for city-wide District 2 seat currently held by Charlie Miranda who is running for re-election. We heard from Miranda and from John Godwin and Joe Robinson.

District 5 is East Tampa and parts of central Tampa and is currently represented by Frank Reddick. There are five people running for that seat. Todd “TC” Cole wasn’t at this forum. We heard from Ella Coffee, Orlando Gudes, Jeffrey Rhodes and Ralph Smith.

The candidates made opening statements and then answered these questions:

1) How they would prevent gun violence, given that Florida Legislature passes a law that preempts local governments and elected officials from taking action?

2) How can Tampa protect affordable housing for blue-collar workers in light of gentrification of downtown and nearby neighborhoods?

3) If you can only make one change once elected, what would it be and why? And what would success look like?

4) A question about following city code and neighborhood vision plans for new development

The deadline to register to vote in this election is February 4.

Early in-person voting in the 2019 City of Tampa municipal election is February 25 through March 3.

Vote-by-mail ballots are due in the elections supervisor’s offices by 7:00 p.m. on March 5, Election Day.

The District 2 candidates debated how to solve Tampa’s future needs for drinking water.

Joe Robinson said, “The first thing I would do is get with the Public Works director and find out how we could take 80 million gallons of water being dumped in (Tampa) Bay and make it a profitable, money-making venture for the City of Tampa. We’re dumping 80 million gallons of the Howard Curren (wastewater treatment plant) into the Bay. And that’s water — having served on SWFWMD — that’s an asset. Water is a problem: you can’t develop without water. So, we need to make sure we take that stormwater — not sewer to tap, because there’s problem with aquifer storage recovery — but to find a way by getting with SWFWMD, asking for cooperative funding grants …”

Charlie Miranda said, “We are working and we are very close with SWFWMD and others. However, we took one vote at Tampa Bay Water and we fell two votes short. Because I’ve got to depend on Pasco (County), Pinellas (County), Hillsborough County, the City of New Port Richey and the City of St. Pete and Tampa.”

John Godwin countered, “Charlie, with all due respect, you’ve been with Council, off and on, since 1974. And you’re the longest-serving member of the water board. You haven’t solved it in those decades. I don’t know why we’d expect something different now. With that said, my platform is addressing transportation, addressing affordability, inclusivity in neighborhoods.”

Watch the whole forum in four parts here: