* Thanks, Mayor Bob. Thank you for your service. A lot happened on your watch–and the momentum is part of the Buckhorn legacy. You were the right mayor at the right time. One who appreciated what it meant for a major city to have a river running through it. One who realized what ripple effects–from quality of life to millennial appeal–result from revitalization. One who was pragmatic about working across the political spectrum to get things done for Tampa. One who realized that the CEO-mayor is also the city’s chief recruiter and salesman.
And, of course, timing is everything. The vision, money and credibility of Jeff Vinik and Bill Gates was fortuitous. The passage of a transit initiative was better late than never. Lots of neighborhoods still need attention.
And for a fellow Mick who was married on St. Patrick’s Day–and a fellow Penn State alum–thanks for the River O’Green and the “We are Penn State” shout-outs.
* As for Buckhorn’s successor, former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, she made national news by becoming the first openly gay woman to lead a major city in the Southeast. She’s being touted as a rising political star.
But first things first. Castor handles herself well and embodies competence as much as diversity. She knows the city. She’s a mayor who happens to be gay. In that order.
* And, finally, the recent mayor’s race–and run-off–underscored a sad reality. There are some people–who because of their skills, values, impact, generosity, work ethic and concern for others, have carved out almost iconic reputations. You want these folks, who have meant so much to their communities to go out on top. David Straz’s denouement should be legacy building, not an ill-advised, embarrassing mayoral campaign that ended in a one-sided defeat and diminished standing.