Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New rule for Tampa City Council candidates blocks two ex-members from running in March

TAMPA — Tampa City Council members who leave office before their term is finished will have to sit out the next city election cycle.

The rule, approved Thursday by City Council, means John Dingfelder and Linda Saul-Sena can't try to get back on the board during the city's March elections. Saul-Sena and Dingfelder resigned from the council to run for county commissioner but lost on Tuesday.

Council member Charlie Miranda came up with the idea earlier this year after Dingfelder and Saul-Sena announced their commission runs, but it was rejected by a 4-3 vote in May.

Among the no votes at the time: Dingfelder and Saul-Sena.

Both Saul-Sena and Dingfelder said they never had any intention of trying to get back on the council. And they both believe the ordinance targets them specifically.

Dingfelder called the measure "petty."

"There are more important issues that council needs to be focused on," he said.

Saul-Sena agreed.

"There are really substantive issues facing our community and to put effort into this is silly," she said. "It's to me a waste of taxpayer money and silly and mean-spirited."

Council member Joseph Caetano last month suggested bringing back Miranda's proposal, and Curtis Stokes seconded the motion.

Stokes was appointed to replace Saul-Sena on the council and has said he plans to run for the council in March, possibly for Saul-Sena's seat.

But Caetano, who often showed obvious frustration with Dingfelder and Saul-Sena when he served with them, said the rule isn't about any particular person.

"This will expand participation of new people who want to become City Council members. They will have new ideas, new blood. It will diminish the power of incumbency," he said. "This will reduce the opportunity of people who want to game the system."

Council member Mary Mulhern said she has heard from voters who don't like the rule. She said she would support changing term-limit rules to require people to sit out an election after two consecutive terms in a seat. That would keep people from skirting the law by switching between district and at-large seats.

"But to tell someone who only served one term, to say you can't come back and serve a second term, it doesn't seem fair," she said.

The ordinance passed Thursday by a 4-2 vote, with Mulhern and Yvonne Capin, who was appointed to replace Dingfelder on the council, voting no, and Miranda absent.

Janet Zink can be reached at or (813) 226-3401.

New rule for Tampa City Council candidates blocks two ex-members from running in March 11/04/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 5, 2010 7:43am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. PolitiFact Florida: Claim that 5.7 million noncitizens voted is wrong

    State Roundup

    President Donald Trump's unfounded allegations that millions voted illegally in 2016 is back in the news, with his supporters pointing to a new analysis that claims millions of undocumented immigrants voted in 2008.

    Instances of noncitizens voting have been reported, but evidence points to a small number among millions of votes cast.  
  2. For Fourth of July, an American feast inspired by founding father Alexander Hamilton


    Are there a million things you haven't done? Is one of them throwing a patriotic party inspired by one of the founding fathers?

    Caribbean Pork With Potato Salad makes for the perfect Fourth of July meal.
  3. 'Baby Driver' literally turns heist movie genre on its ear, set to slick soundtrack


    Buckle up for Baby Driver, a movie so full throttle cool that you want to fist bump the screen. Style is the substance of Edgar Wright's inventive heist flick, a fresh, masterful synching of music and getaway mayhem, as if La La Land's traffic jam was moving, armed and dangerous.

    Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a getaway driver for heist arranger Doc (Kevin Spacey). Plagued by tinnitus, Baby tunes out his distracting “hum in the drum” by listening to music while he drives.
Sony Pictures
  4. Former mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor
  5. Life after HB7069 to be discussed at Pinellas school district workshop


    The Pinellas County school district is still trying to navigate life after the controversial passage of HB7069.