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Sue Carlton: Pam Iorio ponders a big decision

Former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, whose name still comes up when people handicap who could be Florida's next governor, pondered a decision recently — one about change, vision and the future.

No, not that decision. This was about her look.

It is important to note for the record that Iorio's dependability and steadiness have long been her trademarks as a politician, as elections supervisor and two-time mayor, and currently as the leadership speaker we tapped to fix our badly listing Hillsborough Children's Board.

It's also why she looks pretty much the same as when she started as Hillsborough's youngest commissioner years ago: The stylish but infinitely sensible suits. The modestly heeled shoes to get from meeting to ribbon-cutting to luncheon without fuss. The trademark curly hair you could recognize even if she were wearing a bicycle helmet, maybe a little tamer than in the past, but still undeniably Iorio. (The only time I've seen it change was when she was caught in a rainstorm at a Gasparilla parade.)

And those frameless, no-nonsense, nondescript librarian eyeglasses that seem as much a part of her face as her nose.

Now, to the kind of people who change their look with no more thought than grabbing a different pair of socks, new glasses might not seem a big deal. But here was Iorio, thinking of ditching the very ones that define her. And maybe even for a trendy-cool tortoiseshell pair!

The ex-mayor being more tortoise than hare, she went about this with deliberation.

In the strange world where glasses are made by Gucci and Calvin Klein, she tried on pair after pair. She consulted friends and of course her husband.

She even weighed in the optical shop guy's comment that nobody wears glasses like hers anymore.

The decision?

"Going to stick with my current look," she reports.

And this, too, is purely Pam. She says she had a sort of epiphany when a trusted friend said during all this that you are who you are and what's been wrong with that? Maybe there's a lesson there, in decisions made without haste, in deciding you know yourself after all.

This steadiness is surely in part responsible for how Iorio placed in a recent poll of potential gubernatorial candidates (real or imagined), besting the current occupant Rick Scott 44-37. And that's with zero encouragement of those will-she-run rumors from Iorio herself.

So … about that next big decision.

The hair, she says?

Never.

•••

Great news that New York Yankee Derek Jeter applied for a homestead exemption on his Davis Islands mansion to be officially one of us — though he seems pretty comfy here already.

Just recently, as spring training fans in Yankees jerseys strolled past his palatial $13 million home, at the curb were no less than 20 boxes that had been shipped to him containing Air Jordans (size 11.5, since you ask). Our neighbor from up north, we are happy to report, recycles.

Were he so inclined, Jeter can walk down the street to visit the Lightning's Vinny Lecavalier or cross the bridge to chat up Rays' manager Joe Maddon. Who lives near Jill Kelley.

Not sure if all this makes this a big town, or a really small one.

Sue Carlton: Pam Iorio ponders a big decision 03/29/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 29, 2013 11:04pm]
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