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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Maniscalco: Iffy on Cuba and light rail

District 1 Tampa City Council candidate Guido Maniscalco hosted a fundraiser at an Italian restaurant in West Tampa on Monday. The 25-year-old who works in his family's jewely store recently asked readers of his Facebook page what they think of expanding trade with Cuba. That's been a big topic of conversation at City Council recently. Maniscalco, whose mother and grandmother came to the United States from Cuba when Castro took power, said he believes the city should prepare for the fall of Communism, but exercise caution on more trade. "They should be consideirng their options, but not pushing so much for it," he said. Maniscalco also said he's not 100 percent behind the city's light rail plan. It makes sense to ask voters if they want to a sales tax to help pay for it, he said, but he's not sure he'll vote for it. He says he wants to examine more closely how other systems have fared financially and what kind of impact they have had on neighborhoods. "Are we going to be complaining 20 years from now that this was a waste of money?" he said. Maniscalco is seeking to replace Gwen Miller, who is term-limited out of her city-wide seat. Former state representative Sara Romeo has also filed to run for the post in the March elections.

Among those at Maniscalco's event: City Council District 5 candidate Stanley Gloster and School Board candidate Frank Hernandez. Hernandez, 29, said local government needs more fresh faces and young people in leadership positions. "Are we going to know every single intimate detail of the seats we're filling? Probably not," he said. "What we bring is an eagerness. We understand where this community has been and we understand where it needs to go." Hernandez wants to replace Candy Olson on the board.

Also on hand Monday: Thomas Castellano, one of four Republicans vying for U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor's District 11 seat. He said if elected one of the first things he would do is ask for a 5 percent pay cut for Congress and eliminate its pensions.

Janet Zink, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Thursday, September 16, 2010 3:40pm]


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