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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Politics for lunch: Six Tampa mayors sit down in first-ever gathering



More than 45 years of history at Tampa City Hall sat down for lunch at Malio's Thursday when five previous mayors joined Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn for what is thought to be an unprecedented gathering.

At the table was Dick Greco (1967 to 1974, as well as 1995 to 2003), William Poe (1974 to 1979), Bob Martinez (1979 to 1986), Sandy Freedman (1986 to 1995), Pam Iorio (2003 to 2011) and Buckhorn, who took office in 2011.

The six talked about the city and how it's changed and the many ways their political and personal lives have overlapped. (A few examples: Poe and Greco went to Hillsborough High School together. When Buckhorn came to town, the first campaign he volunteered for was Martinez's re-election. Greco and Freedman now live in the same building. Buckhorn worked for Freedman.)

They said the worst days on the job are when a police officer dies in the line of duty. During the years the six served, there have been 13 of those days, claiming the lives of 15 different officers.

They also talked about how politics in Tampa has evolved over the years. Gone are the days when a spaghetti dinner in West Tampa could draw a crowd numbering in the thousands.

"It's a different kind of politics," Buckhorn said. "It's less personal. It's more driven by money and mail and social media and television."

For the record, the bill came to less than $100, and the tip was 20 percent. Buckhorn paid.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 14, 2013 3:57pm]


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