Sunday, June 17, 2018
Politics

Carlton: Tampa does Democrats, but how about architects?

Hard to say what's most surprising about Mickey Jacob's name being added to the list of rumored contenders to replace Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn when he term-limits out in three years. (A departure that, by the way, may require a SWAT team, given Buckhorn's fondness for the job.)

So is it most surprising that:

1. Jacob is very much not-from-here — an immigrant, as he likes to say, Canada-born and naturalized 16 years ago?

2. He is not a seasoned politician who held a previous office like City Council member, which is how we tend to elect our mayors around here? And that he is instead a tassel-loafered, pocket-kerchiefed … wait for it … architect?

3. Or, perhaps most shocking of all, that Jacob, 59, is a Republican, a political stripe this city has not made its mayor in decades?

"We never have, have we?" Jacob says when I mention this bit of history. "Maybe it's time."

You can officially add Jacob to the thinking-about-it roster of rumored candidates that includes Tampa City Council members Harry Cohen, Yolie Capin, Mike Suarez and — a name freshly making the rounds — Frank Reddick. Also in there are Hillsborough Commissioners Sandy Murman and Ken Hagan, plus the interesting addition of Jane Castor, Tampa's former police chief, who notably pivoted from Republican to Democrat last year.

Jacob is bespectacled, friendly and, he says, rarely without that pocket hanky, a legacy from his clotheshorse father, who worked for Chrysler.

The firm he works for, BDG Architects, worked on Tampa's high-end Epicurean Hotel and St. Petersburg's beautiful Birchwood. Here he would probably want me to tell you he's also done housing for the homeless and veterans, too.

He landed in Tampa 35 years ago after an uncle on a Florida vacation tore the "architects" page from the phone book, brought it to him and said start calling. (Let's pause a moment while someone explains the term "phone book" to our younger readers.) He was enticed by a place you could play golf pretty much every day. Now he takes winter selfies in golf shirts to send to Canadian friends. (He won't say what they send back.)

Why (maybe) run for mayor? He has been president of the American Institute of Architects, which he says gives him political chops. He likes what Buckhorn, cheerleader for the post-recession boom, has done. Maybe someone from the business community should take it from here, he says.

"I've never been more optimistic and excited about where we're going with the city," he says.

Tampa's biggest challenge? "Transportation, transportation, transportation," says Jacob, who sits on the HART board. He and his wife, Dianne, who downsized from South Tampa to Harbour Island when their sons were out of the house, are increasingly visible on Tampa's social scene. He is a Riverwalker and a Lightning ticket holder from day one, reads Carl Hiaasen for fun, admires Colin Powell and says — even after this week's epic presidential debate — he's still undecided on whether he'll vote for his party's pick, Donald Trump.

But mayor? In a town where politics are never dull, it will be interesting to see what Tampa looks like next.

Comments
FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says heís willing to testify before Congress

FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says heís willing to testify before Congress

The FBI agent who was removed from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for sending anti-Trump texts intends to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and any other congressional committee that asks, his attorney sai...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Erosion of immigrant protections began with Trump inaugural

Erosion of immigrant protections began with Trump inaugural

The Trump administrationís move to separate immigrant parents from their children on the U.S.-Mexico border has grabbed attention around the world, drawn scorn from human-rights organizations and overtaken the immigration debate in Congress.Itís also...
Updated: 5 hours ago
GOP lawmakers decry family separations as WH defends policy

GOP lawmakers decry family separations as WH defends policy

WASHINGTON ó Congressional Republicans distanced themselves Thursday from the Trump administrationís aggressive policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border even as the White House cited the Bible in defending its "zero tol...
Published: 06/14/18
Sarah Sanders and  Raj Shah are planning to step down, per CBS report

Sarah Sanders and Raj Shah are planning to step down, per CBS report

Press secretary Sarah Sanders and principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah are considering stepping down, according to a CBS report. Sanders promptly responded in a Tweet saying, "I love my job and am honored to work for @POTUS." Does @CBSNews k...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18
Fed raises key rate and sees possible acceleration in hikes

Fed raises key rate and sees possible acceleration in hikes

WASHINGTON ó The Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate for the second time this year and signaled that it may step up its pace of rate increases because of solid economic growth and rising inflation. The Fed now foresees four rate hi...
Published: 06/13/18
Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister hits $1 million mark in first bid for election

Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister hits $1 million mark in first bid for election

TAMPA ó Law enforcement officers never want to be outgunned. Neither do political candidates.Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister need not worry.The Republican candidate has amassed what appears to be a record-sized war chest of just more than $1 mil...
Published: 06/12/18
Romano: It ainít voter suppression if you bother to show up

Romano: It ainít voter suppression if you bother to show up

So the Supreme Court is in favor of voter suppression.Or is it election integrity?I suppose your interpretation depends on your party affiliation.Liberals seem convinced that an Ohio voting law upheld by the Supreme Court on Monday is a devious plot ...
Published: 06/12/18
Romano: It ainít voter suppression if you bother to show up

Romano: It ainít voter suppression if you bother to show up

So the Supreme Court is in favor of voter suppression.Or is it election integrity?I suppose your interpretation depends on your party affiliation.Liberals seem convinced that an Ohio voting law upheld by the Supreme Court on Monday is a devious plot ...
Published: 06/12/18
Trumpís tougher Cuba policy having little impact on Tampa area

Trumpís tougher Cuba policy having little impact on Tampa area

TAMPA ó June 16 will mark a year since President Trump announced a tougher Cuba travel policy, but unlike in much of the nation, the changes donít seem to have hurt local bookings to the island.The number of people traveling between Tampa and Havana ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18
Trump, Kim Jong Un arrive in Singapore for historic summit

Trump, Kim Jong Un arrive in Singapore for historic summit

SINGAPORE - President Donald Trump arrived here Sunday night ahead of a potentially historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the first meeting between the leaders of two countries that have been sworn enemies for almost seven decades.Air...
Published: 06/11/18