Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tampa Tribune Endorses Randy Baron

Well, well, well. With today's Trib endorsement, Randy Baron now has endorsements from both papers.

District 1
In this citywide race, incumbent Gwen Miller faces five challengers.

Miller, who represented east Tampa's District 5 for two terms before being elected to this citywide seat four years ago, doesn't contribute much at council meetings and is often criticized for being ineffective. Miller says she likes to work behind the scenes. "I talk quiet, but work hard," she says.

The former school teacher generally votes on the right side of issues, but rarely takes the lead. She is vague on most questions and displays little passion or curiosity. For example, Miller can't explain what she wants to achieve in another term beyond "helping people."

Her opponents display more passion and focus.

Julie Jenkins, a consultant in the business travel industry and a neighborhood activist, sees the importance of a transit system and understands the needs of neighborhoods.

Rick Barcena, the owner of Rigatoni Tuscan Oven on Kennedy Boulevard, promises to bring a small business owner's attention to financial detail.

Even Joe Redner, the adult business owner who has famously battled the city through the years, exhibits an informed zeal for protecting natural resources and developing a transit system. He's mellowed considerably and seems genuine in his concern for the city. But it is impossible to ignore his history of inflammatory stands or his business, which many of us find offensive.

In our view the two most impressive candidates are Denise Chavez and Randy Baron.

Chavez is the owner of Chavez at Home restaurant and the daughter of Helen Chavez, who served on council in the 1980s.

The younger Chavez is smart, independent and gutsy. She is the only candidate courageous enough to question the overly generous contract awarded Tampa's police union, which awards most officers an annual 9.2 percent raise for three years.

Chavez is a no-nonsense business woman who knows how to live on a budget and who would ensure the city spent wisely. She also promises to safeguard Tampa's neighborhoods and keep development from outpacing services.

Baron, who oversees information technology for the Shriners, has an impressive record of getting results as president of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association, one of the city's most effective neighborhood groups.

He has demonstrated a talent for leadership and collaboration in working to rid his neighborhood of prostitutes, attract new business and resolve conflicts between commercial enterprises and residents. In his role as association president, he's worked with virtually every city department and knows how to cut through the red tape. He's candid and outspoken, but also seems a good listener and open to compromise.

He knows the value of mass transit, but understands small steps, such as improving bus service, are needed to achieve that goal.

Chavez would be a crackerjack council member, but Baron's exhaustive neighborhood work gives him the edge.

In District 1, the Tribune endorses Randy Baron.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

blah blah blah -- did you post this in EVERY thread?

Anonymous said...

No, not every one just those that apply with the local election talk.
Many posts on Randy, some on Julie & Gwen but sadly not for Joe.


Anonymous said...

Ah well... Redner is at least good for comic relief.