Mayors Rick Baker, Pam Iorio to debate history at A Tale of Two Cities
Sounds like a great evening: Two high-powered mayors will meet at 7 p.m. May 6 to debate whose city boasts the most colorful past. Sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council, A Tale of Two Cities features St. Petersburg’s Rick Baker and Tampa’s Pam Iorio at a free public program at the Centro Asturiano Theatre, 1913 N Nebraska Ave.in Tampa. A cash bar and free on-site parking are available.
The Tampa Bay version of A Tale of Two Cities has a long history as a provocative topic. Tampa Tribune columnist Leland Hawes Jr. used the Dickensian phrase when he penned a series of columns about the rival cities during the 1950s. During the 1990s, acclaimed University of South Florida St. Petersburg historians Gary Mormino and Ray Arsenault explored the civic duality during a weeklong FHC seminar.
The upcoming program, which Mormino and Arsenault will moderate, is a rematch of a 2003 mayoral meeting when the leaders first came together to discuss their cities’ heroes and rogues.
“The audience was simply dazzled by the mayors’ genuine interest and passion in their respective cities’ histories,’’ Mormino said. “A Tale of Two Cities allows citizens an opportunity to see their mayors in a different arena.”
The FHC, an independent, nonprofit organization that funds public programs about Florida, is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. This program is presented in partnership with The Tampa Bay History Center, University of South Florida Libraries, University of South Florida St. Petersburg, and the Florida Studies Department at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.