Is Ed Turanchik starting his Tampa mayoral campaign?
With Tampa city elections just 10 months away, public affairs consultant Deanne Roberts is organizing meet and greets for Ed Turanchik, a likely mayoral candidate. "As I think ahead and consider what I want Tampa to look like in the future, I’ve decided that the most important thing I can do is to help set the stage for new visionary leadership in our city -- part of which means electing a strong leader as our next Mayor. The person I most trust to lead our city is Ed Turanchik," Roberts wrote in an e-mail inviting people to the June events.
Turanchik, who served on the Hillsborough County Commission from 1990 to 1998, said mayor of Tampa is the only elected position he has an interest in. "Everything I’ve worked on for the last 23 years has been about Tampa. I’m a city guy,” he said. “I’m not politically ambitious. I am very ambitious for our city.”
With rail likely to be one of the most significant issues in the mayoral race, Turanchik will have a lot to say on the issue. He has been fighting for light rail for Tampa for 20 years, since his days on the County Commission. More recently, he led a statewide grass roots effort to lobby for federal stimulus money for a high-speed rail line connecting Tampa to Orlando and Miami. President Barack Obama awarded Florida $1.25 billion for the line in January. Turanchik now works for a general consultant to the Florida Rail Enterprise, handling public outreach for the project. Turanchik also led the push to bring the 2012 Olympics to Tampa, and then became involved in a failed attempt to redevelop 150 acres near downtown on land that had been targeted for an Olympic stadium. In recent years, he has focused on building dozens of "green," low-cost homes in West Tampa. The real estate bust, though, forced him to turn over his remaining properties to lenders.
So far, four people have filed to run for mayor in March 2011, including City Council chairman Tom Scott and former council member Bob Buckhorn.
Janet Zink, Times staff writer