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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

In Tampa mayor's race, candidates joust over business experience




Photo caption: The final mayoral debate between Bob Buckhorn and Rose Ferlita prior to Tuesday's election took place Friday afternoon at the WEDU studio in Tampa.  Photographer's note:  both candidates could be photographed getting ready before the debate, and shaking hands and being interviewed after the debate, but for the 30-minute studio taping, news photographers had to watch the debate from a TV screen in a separate room. These are photos of that TV, taken on an iPhone with the Hipstamatic app. [Melissa Lyttle, Times]

TAMPA — Rose Ferlita has made her business experience a key contrasting point between her and Tampa mayoral opponent Bob Buckhorn.

Ferlita takes every opportunity to mention her more than four decades in the business world, much of it running her own pharmacy. She belittles Buckhorn's work experience, using his $7,000 in reported income last year as evidence that he is a "failed businessman.

"So 44 years of business experience starts me right off at an advantage" Ferlita, 65, said during a radio interview this week.

The point: She more than Buckhorn knows how to run an enterprise and meet a budget, and understands the challenges of small business owners who propel the local economy.

Buckhorn says his business was chugging along fine before he ramped it down to avoid conflicts or "even the appearance of a conflict" while bidding to be Tampa's next mayor.

So begins a look at the role of business experience in Tampa's race for mayor. For the full story by Times staff writer Bill Varian, go to

[Last modified: Friday, March 18, 2011 5:57pm]


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