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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Baker, Foster and 5 ex-mayors break bread off camera




[Photo by CHERIE DIEZ | Times]

ST. PETERSBURG  -- Mayor Rick Baker, Mayor-elect Bill Foster and five former mayors lunched over Atwater's BBQ today at Baker's office, apparently telling war stories and offering tips to Foster.

The lunches are an annual occurrence, Baker said. They also are a private affair. The mayor's office initially offered media 30 minutes inside for a "photo op" but rescheduled the media opportunity to 1:15 p.m. -- after the lunch table had been cleared.

Why no press? "It's just more comfortable," Baker said.

He and predecessors downplayed any serious policy discussions taking place.They posed for pictures, including one where former mayor Corinne Freeman quipped about the "good ol' boy" network getting together, veiled jab at Foster campaign opponent Kathleen Ford's criticism of Foster's support. Foster looked a little sheepish, and Freeman said she sometimes gets "hoof in mouth disease."

They did give the incoming mayor a few ideas.

"My favorite tip: Just because a reporter asks a question doesn't mean you have to answer it," Foster said.

Who was the source of that bit of advice, Bay Buzz wondered.

"Actually that was Rick Baker," Foster said.

David DeCamp, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:19pm]


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