Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Carlton: A millennial on Tampa City Council goes old-school, too

“Born in the wrong generation,” says 31-year-old Guido Maniscalco.

“Born in the wrong generation,” says 31-year-old Guido Maniscalco.

Here is an interesting fact about Guido Maniscalco, Tampa City Council's newest and by far youngest member: The board's only millennial likes things old-school.

Yes, he'll make a pitch for efficient, modern transportation like rail over the controversial expansion of the existing interstate. He'll whip out a smartphone and call up a color-coded map to show which buildings will be lost and tell you how this will erase neighborhoods. He'll ride the No. 7 bus downtown and tweet about it to make a case for mass transit.

But Maniscalco, 31, is also a guy who paid $400 at auction for a suit worn in Mad Men, the slick '60s-era TV series he loves. It wasn't worn by the star — Don Draper items cost "stupid money," he says — but by lesser ad man Ken Cosgrove. Maniscalco collects vintage watches, drives a car like one Elizabeth Taylor once gave Richard Burton and is a big fan of John F. Kennedy Jr.

"Born in the wrong generation," he says.

So after eight months as the new guy in the sometimes rough-and-tumble world of Tampa politics, what's the view like?

I ask this over lunch at La Cabana, a Colombian restaurant in a West Tampa neighborhood at the center of the city's Latin roots and part of his district. It's down the street from Guido Morana Jewelers, the family business started by his Cuban-born grandfather from whom he got his name, and around the corner from his alma mater, Tampa Catholic High School, which had significantly more Johns and Matts than Guidos.

He pauses over his bistec encebollado — flat steak smothered in onions, a meal more traditional than millennial — to answer.

"I feel like I'm the kid," he says. " 'Here comes the kid.' "

It has not been dull. The City Council sparred with Mayor Bob Buckhorn over who had the power to establish and appoint citizens to a board to review police actions. This prompted the new guy to wonder aloud from the dais whether they were just a glorified zoning board, and to go talk to the mayor. Eventually, with council members working with Buckhorn, there came compromise.

Before council meetings, he works his way through the audience. During, he tends to listen more than talk.

Recently, Maniscalco was on the no side of a 4-3 vote that killed Buckhorn's proposed stormwater fee because he thought it would unfairly burden residents he represents. Last week, he met with the mayor and staff to talk alternatives.

"There's no lack of leadership in reaching across the aisle," he says, sounding a little like former mayor Dick Greco. He was 12 when he first met Greco and remains a fan of the ex-mayor's storied personal touch with people.

In his fledgling council run in 2011, he came in last of five. In the latest race, the first negative mailer about him arrived at the jewelry store and his mother called as he walked into a campaign event. "No one," he says, "wants to hear their mother cry." In the end, he thinks, those mailers energized the vote.

What do constituents want most? Roads paved and potholes filled, he learned. In his desk drawer he keeps a document Buckhorn sent detailing the first street Maniscalco pushed to get fixed, a request on his second day in office.

So maybe this is the old-and-new breed of Tampa politics, drinking cafe con leche at the old West Tampa Sandwich Shop with regulars but also breakfasting at the tony Oxford Exchange with the downtown powerful. And, tweeting about it.

Carlton: A millennial on Tampa City Council goes old-school, too 12/15/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 8:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hernando County Commission rejects plan for waste-to-energy plant

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — After several years of discussion, many hours of staff time trying to negotiate a contract and questions about viability, the Hernando County Commission this week voted unanimously to turn down a contract with Freedom Energy Hernando LLC and abandoned the idea of having the county spearhead a …

     Commissioner John Allocco made the motion to deny the contract to Freedom Energy.
  2. Lack of parking for boat trailers causing turmoil along Port Richey waterfront

    Local Government

    PORT RICHEY — As Memorial Day and the summer boating season approach, the city of Port Richey finds itself in turmoil over parking along the city's waterfront.

    Gill Dawg restaurant owner Erik Suojanen, standing on property he owns across from his business, discusses a notice of violation he received from the city for allowing parking there without a submitting a site plan to the city.
 [Photo by Robert Napper]
  3. Tampa court hearing rescheduled for accused neo-Nazi jihadist killer

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Attorneys for Devon Arthurs, the alleged former neo-Nazi turned jihadist accused of shooting to death his two roommates, have asked to reschedule a court hearing that had been set for Wednesday morning.

  4. Parent of struggling DeVry University is changing its name to Adtalem

    Corporate

    Associated Press

    DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. — The company that owns one of the nation's largest for-profit college chains is changing its name.

    This 2009 photo shows the entrance to the DeVry University in Miramar, Fla. DeVry Education Group, which owns DeVry University, announced Wednesday that it will now be called Adtalem Global Education. 
[Associated Press file photo]

  5. NATO rolls out the red carpet, buffs its image for Trump

    World

    BRUSSELS — NATO is not only rolling out the red carpet for U.S. President Donald Trump in Brussels Thursday, the military alliance — which Trump once declared obsolete — has been busy repackaging its image and is ready to unveil a new headquarters worth more than 1 billion euros.

    U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania arrive at Fiumicino's Leonardo Da Vinci International airport, near Rome, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Trump is in Italy for a two day visit, including a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, ahead of his participation in a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday. [Associated Press]