Mayoral Machinations in Tampa

The mayoral election is not until March ’03, but signs are manifest that it’s already starting to overheat.

Apparently inquiries have been made into Frank Sanchez’s background. No, nothing to do with Harvard or his work in the Clinton Administration. But whether or not he was actually student body president at Hillsborough High. Honest.

For the record, yes he was.

On or off the record, this is not a good sign for the next 10 months.

And then there was the bizarre incident of Hillsborough County Commissioner Chris Hart, last in and longest shot among the major mayoral candidates, making a big splash on the issue of security. Hart, who often touts his Washington connections, cited a White House study that ranked Tampa as the third most vulnerable terrorist target in the country.

Such an unsettling, official ranking of this city’s pregnable, vincible status got a lot of people’s attention. It also got a lot of scrutiny. What it didn’t get was credibility or political gain. Turns out, no one else is aware of the study, including the Office of Homeland Security. In fact, the spokesman for OHS had never heard of the study — or of Hart, the well-connected, sans-a-Beltway insider.

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