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The 10 most intriguing people of 2009

In annually choosing Tampa Bay's 10 most intriguing people of the year, people often ask, "Why intrigue?"

Well, intrigue means this group has done enough to make an impression, yet left us wondering what they may bring in the years to come.

So from a pool of possibilities that included Pam Iorio, Derek Jeter, Charlie Crist, Julie Janssen, Ivanka Ska and Steve Stamkos, here's my 10.

Channing Tatum: Although the hot Hollywood actor ( G.I. Joe; Public Enemies) may not live here now, Tampa Catholic football coach Bob Henriquez remembers the hunky star as a maniacally strong safety who helped the Crusaders upset arch rival Jesuit in 1997. It's intriguing that we haven't devoted more energy to celebrating Tatum, 29, as one of Tampa's own.

Ben Jenkins: From a current star to a future star? I've met him only once, but to paraphrase the Black Eyed Peas, I got a feeling big things lie ahead for Jenkins, an 18-year-old Gibbs High student.

Bill Foster: Backers say Foster is the steady hand St. Petersburg needs in a new mayor. Critics insist he will extend Rick Baker's pro-business agenda when change is needed. It will be interesting to see how Foster, 46, evolves.

Pat Bean: Hillsborough's county administrator piqued curiosity and a lot more when she gave raises to her top deputies in the midst of a recession that's depleting county resources. In 2010, it will be interesting to see if Bean, 64, can keep her job while crafting new ways to manage the faltering budget.

Hillsborough County Commission District 3: This isn't a single person, but Commissioner Kevin White remains favored to win re-election in 2010 even though a jury found last year that he sexually discriminated against an aide. This has people scratching their heads about the voters in that district. If he succeeds, it says more about them than it does White.

Jeff Knight: The 47-year-old chief executive of Knight Enterprises, a Clearwater-based cable installation provider, assumed control of Jannus Landing and its surrounding properties in 2009. His plans for the longtime venue may affect downtown St. Petersburg more than other revitalization efforts in downtown.

Ian Beckles: The former Buc and WDAE-AM 620 sportstalk co-host broadened his influence in 2009, parlaying his upstart As-I-Be clothing line into a lifestyle magazine while extending his philanthropic work for several charities, including the Children's Cancer Center. It appears there's nothing Beckles, 42, isn't willing to try. I think he's just getting started.

Jane Castor: Tampa's first female police chief follows in the footsteps of Steve Hogue, whose tenure saw crime drop more than 40 percent. But challenges remain. The first full year for Castor, 50, will not be a walk in the park.

Mark Dominik: If he's not clearing out his office for former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher, it will be up to the 38-year-old Bucs general manager to guide the team out of the mess of the 2009 season.

Jim Davis: A former U.S. representative and lawyer, Davis, 52, may be gearing up to make a run for Tampa mayor. If he enters, it will change the dynamic of that election and other races. If he doesn't, we'll wonder why when it appears he could give Rose Ferlita a run for her money.

Remember, intrigue leaves an impression. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always indelible.

That's all I'm saying.

The 10 most intriguing people of 2009 12/31/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 31, 2009 7:53pm]
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