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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bob Buckhorn backs ban on panhandling




TAMPA – Former Tampa City Council member and candidate for mayor Bob Buckhorn Friday came out for banning panhandling on Tampa’s major arterial roads.
“On the major thoroughfares, absolutely, we’ve got to sweep it clean,” Buckhorn told Bay Buzz.
Buckhorn said the position is consistent with his record as a “no-nonsense, law and order official,” and one who targeted street-level prostitution, graffiti, open-air drug-dealing and code enforcement problems. The idea, he said, was to tackle small issues before they became big ones. As a council member, he said he proposed the ban on soliciting that Tampa had in place until a similar ordinance was overturned by the courts.
In the case of panhandling, Buckhorn said he’s sympathetic to the down-and-out, but panhandling is dangerous and creates a disorderly environment where people think they can do as they please.
“Well, that will not be the case on my watch,” he said in an announcement on the issue.
Buckhorn was less chatty when Bay Buzz asked if was doing any polling this week on panhandling. Tampa residents have reported receiving automated phone calls asking them who they favored in the mayor’s race, who they favored if their preferred candidate did not make a runoff and which issue they thought was most important: panhandling, the economy and jobs or the importance of looking ahead instead of looking back.
That last phrase is a barn door-sized indication that Buckhorn’s campaign might have something to do with the poll, since he consistently talks about the importance of moving Tampa forward and being focused on the future, not the past.
But Buckhorn said he never discusses polls and campaign strategy.
“The polling that I’ve done on this is knocking on 20,000 doors,” he said, referring to the number of homes he said his campaign has left literature with or visited.

[Last modified: Friday, January 7, 2011 5:59pm]


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