Council candidate Kelly Benjamin headed to climate change summit
Kelly Benjamin, a candidate in the race for the District 6 City Council seat the represnts West Tampa and Seminole Heights, is headed out next week to the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Mexico, where he will report on the event for local community radio station WMNF. In an e-mail, Benjamin had this to say about the summit: "What does climate change have to do with city politics you ask? A lot. The world's scientists are in agreement: This is happening, greenhouse gases are responsible and how municipalities and regions deal with with the myriad of impacts of the climate crisis is one of the defining issues of our times. My campaign addresses ways in which Tampa can begin to look toward the inevitable future as a city that will most definitely be affected by climate change among other converging economic challenges. I am pushing for the relocalization of daily life, increased inner city density, green transportation initiatives, more green space, local food production, and an end to sprawling unsustainable growth. Cities all over the world have begun accessing their vulnerability to climate change and what effects it will have in the coming years on their communities. As a coastal city at sea level, Tampa needs to begin having this discussion and taking these steps in preparation for what scientists are predicting: flooding, decreased access to clean, fresh water, and increased intensity of hurricanes. As a city council member, I will push hard for forward thinking legislation, disaster preparedness, and ways to make Tampa a greener, more sustainable city for the future."
Benjamin hosted his campaign kick-off Sunday at The Refinery restaurant in Seminole Heights. Benjamin said about 100 people attended and he raised nearly $3,000. He has already turned in the signtures he needs to qualify for the ballot. Benjamin is a teacher and freelance journalist who was arrested at the 2008 Republican National Convention while filming protestors. The charges were dropped and he's suing authorities for wrongful arrest. So far, Benjamin is the only candidate in the race for the seat now held by Charlie Miranda. Miranda says he plans to run in March, but hasn't said what seat.