Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he’s told the joke many times, but it’s never blown up in his face until now.
Speaking last week to a Tampa convention of special operations commandos and defense professionals, Buckhorn recalled the thrill of firing blanks from twin .50-caliber machine guns as part of a military exercise last year — and of the satisfaction of pointing the muzzle flashes at local reporters....
05/19/17 Public Safety
TAMPA — Sheriff David Gee said Friday he plans to retire on Sept. 30 after nearly four decades in law enforcement and 13 years as the low-key but well-regarded leader of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
"This decision has not been made lightly and was one of the most difficult decisions that I have made in my career," Gee said in an e-mail to his staff. He said he wants to devote "full attention and support" to family....
TAMPA — Sheriff David Gee announced Friday he plans to retire on Sept. 30 after nearly four decades in law enforcement and 13 years at the helm of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
“This decision has not been made lightly and was one of the most difficult decisions that I have made in my career,” Gee said in an e-mail to his staff. He said he wants to devote “full attention and support” to family....
05/18/17 Local Government
TAMPA — Repairs to the historic Cuscaden Park pool are scheduled to start Monday, and officials now expect the pool to be open again for Memorial Day.
Fixing a leaky drain and sealing two other drains will cost about $10,000 — a tiny fraction of the $3.2 million the city spent last year renovating the 80-year-old pool in the V.M. Ybor neighborhood.
"This is considered a permanent fix," city contract administration director Michael Chucran told the City Council on Thursday....
05/16/17 Local Government
TAMPA — Nine months after finishing a $3.2 million renovation, Tampa has closed the historic Cuscaden Park pool for more repairs, and prospects for reopening it before Memorial Day are bleak.
"Here we go again," said City Council member Frank Reddick. With summer coming, he has asked for a report Thursday on how soon before the pool reopens. "I'm worried about it."
The closure is the latest problem for a neighborhood gathering spot with a rich history....
TAMPA — For the fifth year, the Legislature adjourned this spring without giving Tampa and Orlando something each city wants — the ability to hold its own sales tax referendum to help pay for better mass transit.
But at least this time, it was more interesting.
"We've never been as close," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who has worked on the idea with other big-city mayors since the 2013 legislative session....
TAMPA — City Hall is back out in the market seeking private-sector partners to open restaurants in two spots close to the Riverwalk.
One is a 10,000-square-foot space at the Tampa Convention Center.
The other is a 2,600-square-foot space overlooking the lawn at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.
With hundreds of new downtown apartments in the works, Mayor Bob Buckhorn says the business prospects will only get better for a restaurant in either location....
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Monday he planned to talk to House Minority Leader Janet Cruz and other Tampa Bay area legislators about the end-of-the-session change that would keep the University of South Florida from achieving the state's “pre-eminent” status along with the University of Florida and Florida State University....
TAMPA — The City Council wants environmental regulators to monitor the application of a controversial pesticide that the Tampa Sports Authority plans to put on the Babe Zaharias Golf Course next week.
We can do that, a Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission official told the council this week.
Air quality test results could take a couple of weeks. But it's the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that actually regulates the pesticide, known as Curfew, and would be responsible for follow-up if the tests find problems....
Just as top legislators reached a budget deal Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott launched a three-day tour to rally support for Enterprise Florida’s business recruitment efforts, Visit Florida’s tourism promotion and other budget priorities.
“We have a job to do the next three days,” Scott said at CWU, a Tampa federal contracting company, as part of his 10-city “Fighting for Florida’s Future” tour. The tour was meant to encourage Floridians to pressure their state legislators to reverse votes to cut funding to Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. “You can make it happen. … You’ve got to call your House members, you’ve got to call your senators and let them know.”...
05/03/17 Mass Transit
TAMPA — There are a half-dozen ways Tampa could expand the TECO Line Streetcar — north to Tampa Heights, west to Hyde Park, looping through downtown — but each has its own mix of costs, benefits and challenges.
So Tuesday night, consultants studying the future of the Tampa trolley took the options to about 75 residents, business owners and neighborhood activists at Hillsborough Community College's Ybor City campus....
TAMPA — The development plan has grown from $1 billion to $3 billion, so the Jeff Vinik-Cascade Investment partnership is talking to local officials about expanding the public's financial commitment to the project, too.
Discussions are in the early stages, say officials and executives with Strategic Property Partners, the Tampa real estate company set up by Vinik and Cascade, a private capital fund launched by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates. No hard numbers have been mentioned, and no financial request has been made....
TALLAHASSEE — More than a dozen top business local executives went to Tallahassee with an appeal in the days following last week's political showdown between three GOP senators from Tampa Bay over a regional transit bill.
Keep talking. Please.
The nonprofit Tampa Bay Partnership had planned the lobbying trip anyway.
But the delegation arrived just a day after Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, watched in frustration as fellow Republican senators Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg and Tom Lee of Thonotosassa amended his bill to overhaul the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) during a tense meeting of the Senate Community Affairs Committee....
04/23/17 Local Government
TAMPA — As a young lobbyist for the Builders Association of Greater Tampa, one of Bob Buckhorn's first tasks in the mid-1980s was to work on the city's evolving tree code — a subject that rarely fails to combine technical detail with passionate advocacy.
Today, three decades later, Buckhorn is still working on it.
An update of the city's tree and landscape code is headed to a City Council workshop Thursday, about a year behind the schedule City Hall set in late 2015....
04/21/17 Real Estate
TAMPA — Darryl Shaw first ventured into Ybor City real estate in 1988, just after he finished a bachelor's degree in international business at Brown University.
It didn't end well.
The 22-year-old moved to Ybor and bought a run-down building on E Seventh Avenue with plans to convert it to office space. Then the balcony collapsed during renovation. The city condemned the building, which had to be demolished. End of that career....