Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In 2012, several used their influence in the right way

The pool for Tampa Bay's most intriguing personalities of 2012 proved to be a mix of folks well-known for the right reasons and popular for the wrong reasons. In narrowing it down, I chose influence over infamy.

Sorry, Jill Kelley. Here's my take:

Santiago Corrada, city of Tampa chief of staff. Corrada has handled a number of roles since joining the city in 2004, often dealing with huge problems. He stabilized the Tampa Museum of Art's search for a new site, brought calm to Lowry Park Zoo after its director came under scrutiny and took over at the Tampa Convention Center when it needed a new director. Now Tampa Bay & Company may tap Corrada after the tourism agency's executive director resigned after just 11 months. Call him "the Fixer."

Willie Taggart, University of South Florida football coach. Fans enthusiastically welcomed Taggart after the firing of Skip Holtz. But can he pick up the tattered pieces of two losing seasons and create a winner?

Will Weatherford, speaker of the state House. At 33, he's the youngest speaker in history, but Weatherford's youth seems to be more of an asset than a liability. The Wesley Chapel representative speaks with a tone of bipartisanship, but the proof will come when the session starts.

Charlie Crist, the once and maybe future governor? Crist's bid to revive his political career drips with intrigue. Governor? Congressman? Or just a lawyer "for the people"? Crist is in the running, along with Ronda Storms, for my most intriguing Hall of Fame.

MaryEllen Elia, Hillsborough County school superintendent. Elia has guided the county's largest employer for seven years, but her critics grew louder in 2012 and certain members of the once-pliant School Board are more willing to attack. Elia may survive the storm, but how much longer will she want to remain in charge?

Michael Grego, Pinellas County school superintendent. Elia may have her challenges, but Grego inherited a far more problematic district. His willingness to "run into the fire," as one veteran teacher put it, makes him incredibly intriguing.

Carolyn Filippone, former human resources director for the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser. She indirectly influenced four different political races, helped revive some political careers and put a few others in limbo. The resulting revelations from Filippone's sexual-discrimination complaint against her boss, Rob Turner, made her the most influential person in Hillsborough politics, and we hardly know anything about her.

Mitch Kates, political consultant. After making a name for himself with several successes, Kates stepped away in the middle of a huge election year to help with a campaign in Georgia. That's the Republic of Georgia, and he ended up on the winning team there.

Greg Celestan, incoming chairman of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Celestan, chief executive officer of his own defense company and a West Point graduate, was a solid choice before the scandal hit at MacDill Air Force Base. Now he's poised to help heal the damage and maintain the community's strong ties with the military.

Anthony and Shaneka Langhorne. The Langhornes, formerly of St. Petersburg, now of New York, overcame early struggles while raising their two children to get back on the path to higher education. Now they're both enrolled at Columbia University. They not only intrigue with perseverance, they inspire with heart.

That's all I'm saying.

In 2012, several used their influence in the right way 12/30/12 [Last modified: Sunday, December 30, 2012 10:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Putin visits France, hopes to mend strained ties with West

    World

    VERSAILLES, France — On a visit likely to shape Russia-France ties for years, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin at the sumptuous Palace of Versailles on Monday for what the newly-elected French leader said would be "demanding" talks on Syria, the Ukrainian crisis and other …

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, is welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Palace of Versailles, near Paris, France, Monday. Monday's meeting comes in the wake of the Group of Seven's summit over the weekend where relations with Russia were part of the agenda, making Macron the first Western leader to speak to Putin after the talks. [AP photo]
  2. Five cool things to do when it's hot outside

    Outdoors

    Summer is not officially here, but it may as well be. School is out, vacations are coming, and it's time to enjoy the outdoors. Don't buy the argument that summer in Florida is too hot to get outside. There is plenty to do, and we'll prove it. Here are five cool things to do outdoors during another hot summer.

    Rainbow Springs State Park is a registered natural landmark. Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon is one several state parks with natural swimming holes in Florida. (Octavio Jones | Times)
  3. Clearwater man dies after diving from boat into shallow waters

    Public Safety

    A 49-year-old man died after he jumped off a pontoon boat into shallow waters Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico.

  4. Restaurant review: Features Gastropub in Riverview is fine as movie theater fare, but unimpressive otherwise

    Food & Dining

    Movies aren't exactly dying. Despite all the sturm und drang of predictions that Netflix and streaming videos would kill the cinema, global box office receipts hit $38.6 billion in 2016, a 1 percent gain over the previous year. But that doesn't mean going to the cinema is precisely what it was a generation …

    The Features Gastropub is located inside the Riverview 14 GDX theater in Gibsonton, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.   The 5,900-square-foot Features Gastropub open in the . This element of the project is the brainchild of Philadelphia chef Brian Duffy, who appears frequently on NBC's The Today Show and the Spike TV show Bar Rescue
  5. JFK's last birthday: Gifts, champagne and wandering hands on the presidential yacht

    Nation

    It has been 100 years since John F. Kennedy's birth on May 29, 1917, at his parents' home in Brookline, Mass., just outside Boston. Over the course of his life, Kennedy enjoyed lavish birthday celebrations, the most famous being a Democratic fundraising bash at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1962, when a sequined …

    President John F. Kennedy aboard the Sequoia in 1963 opening birthday presents. [Robert Knudsen | John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum]