The Bob Buckhorn/ Frank Reddick feud escalates

Appearing with this reporter after the meeting last Thursday on WMNF radio's Last Call program, Reddick repeated the charge that he had been snubbed, and went further by saying the mayor had done nothing for the black community in his district, which encompasses East Tampa.


CL asked the councilman what he thought of the passage in the mayor's State of the City address last week that somehow equated Martin Luther King Jr.'s fight for civil rights with Buckhorn's drive to make Tampa a greater city, a passage that raised eyebrows among many people who heard it last week.


Reddick said that he was surprised by the comparison. "It was surprising to me that he brought up MLK in his speech, when if you ask the average African-American what has he contributed as a mayor of this city to improve the African-American community, it would be almost nothing."


When asked to react to that comment Monday morning, Buckhorn said that was an opinion that "clearly is not based on the facts. " He says that his administration spends a "great deal of time on issues affecting East Tampa," referring to road and park projects. "People can say whatever they want."


Reddick also said Buckhorn had let down the community regarding a campaign promise to hire two deputy mayors, with one of them working for economic development.


Reddick claimed that Buckhorn had promised to give one of those deputy mayor positions to an African American, but now "that is not on the agenda. And I don't foresee it being on the agenda in the second year. So when I evaluate him, I have to be honest and say I cannot sit here and honestly say what has really been initiated in the mayor's office that would improve the economic condition or the community condition in the African-American community."


The mayor recently named Dennis Rogero the city?s budget and neighborhood empowerment director, giving him responsibility for supervising neighborhood services, but it is not the same position Buckhorn said would be created during the campaign. The mayor said on Monday that, given the city's finances, he couldn't afford to fill that position with a $150,000 salary.


"But my priorities are the same, my passion is the same. East Tampa has been close to me for 25 years," Buckhorn said Monday.

Last week Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's proposed rules for protesters at the Republican National Convention received less than a warm welcome from City Council, prompting a delay of two weeks so that the administration can look at possible changes in the ordinance.

Among the Council members critical of the ordinance was Frank Reddick, who objected to the size of the mayor's so-called "clean zone" that ranges several miles from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the site of the RNC. Reddick also was upset that he hadn't been included in negotiations with city staff regarding the ordinance, claiming that he received notification about the proposal just an hour before it went to press late last month.

But Mayor Buckhorn says the claim by Reddick is "so patently false that it's pathetic." In a voice mail message left by the mayor last Thursday with CL, Buckhorn said city staff did attempt to reach out to Reddick for weeks, but said he never returned phone calls.

As proof that his staff had reached out to everyone on Council, Buckhorn cited Councilmember Lisa Montelione's comment during last week's meeting that she had met with members of the administration's legal team on four separate occasions. Reddick's allegations are "just completely false," Buckhorn added.

But that's just start of the war of words.

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