Tampa City Council members express themselves on homelessness

After the Tampa City Council passed a partial ban on panhandling last fall after nearly a year-long debate, several council members expressed frustration that they had been almost exclusively focused on being punitive, vs. finding positive solutions to the escalating homelessness problem.

Such comments have been met with indifference if not disdain by Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who says it's not the city's but the county's responsibility to handle such services. In fact, a committee led by Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman has been meeting for several months outside of the public's eye on the issue, and appears to almost be ready to make their findings public.

Actually they did so to the Tampa Tribune editorial board on Tuesday. But Murman's formal proposal to her colleagues on the Board of County Commissioners was scratched from the agenda of the board's meeting on Wednesday.

But reports of that plan — as well as a comment from an activist during the public hearing portion of the Council meeting — opened the floodgates from council members on Thursday who wanted to say that they care a lot about the issue but have been somewhat handicapped in being able to do anything about it.