You didn't really think the Tampa City Council would come to a smooth conclusion about their year long debate about panhandling today, did you?
It wasn't smooth, and it took a dramatic appearance by ailing Council Chair Charlie Miranda to show up in person (or maybe it didn't), but the Council today took the first concrete step towards enacting a partial ban on panhandling this morning in Tampa, voting 6-1 for a hybrid measure, with Councilwoman Mary Mulhern the only dissenting vote. A second and (presumably) final vote will take place on October 20.
After the Council deadlocked at 3-3 two weeks ago on the latest measure, Miranda, who has been out due to illness for several months, contacted the board and told the media that he would vote by telephone at the next meeting, which was today, to break the latest deadlock, saying that the issue had gone on too long.
But the council debated for nearly 45 minutes this morning with Acting Chair Mary Mulhern saying that according to the latest edition of Roberts Rules of Order, because the Council currently did not have a rule in place on allowing such a procedure, she was going to block Miranda from calling in and voting.
But as council members then discussed whether they wanted to possibly overrule Mulhern, City Attorney Jim Shimberg then dramatically announced that Miranda, doing a sort of Willis Reed coming off the bench for the NY Knicks circa 1970, would be physically coming to City Hall to cast his vote (later Councilman Mike Suarez invoked baseball players Kirk Gibson and Curt Schilling as a metaphor for coming off the bench).