Mayor Iorio Upstages Her Own Good News

In her annual State of the City address, Mayor Pam Iorio reported that the state of the city remained good. Crime, which has increased alarmingly in cities such as Orlando, continues downward here. More buildings are up, and a bunch more are on the way. The words downtown and revitalization no longer seem incongruous. And more attention is being paid to places such as East Tampa, Tampa Heights and the Central Park Village area.

Another State of the City presentation, another day at the office in Pamelot.

And another high-energy, “pulse of the city,” greatest hits video that Director of Public Affairs Liana Lopez labors so hard over. Somehow finding, for example, just the right up-tempo music to complement footage of road widenings and drainage upgrades.

But for a time there was only sound – no video to project on those large screens at the Tampa Convention Center. It probably took 7-8 minutes to fix. If you’re the main presenter, it can seem like a light year. If you’re a chief executive, you’re used to making the tough calls and managing on-the-job crucibles. But a missing or malfunctioning stage prop can be the real mettle detector.

Cue Mayor Pam.

Even her harshest critics acknowledge her formidable podium skills. She rhetorically tap danced and ad libbed her way through the awkward interlude by whimsically referencing everything from the ACC tournament to “Cigar City Chronicles” to the Strawberry Festival.

After the presentation, the exiting audience of city personnel and local politicos were more abuzz about the mayor’s stage presence than that overall 9.4 per cent drop in crime the last year, which included an 18.5 per cent decrease in the violent stuff.

The state of the mayor, who almost pitched a shutout in her recent re-election, is also good.

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