Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

The Buzz

on Florida politics

Hillsborough Commissioner Mark Sharpe sounds a milder tone

Remember Mark Sharpe, the hard-charging Republican congressional candidate who embraced New Gingrich's Contract with America and bashed Jim Davis and Sam Gibbons as tax-and-spenders back in the '90s?

Buzz is starting to wonder if the body snatchers got hold of him and snuck a pragmatic, moderate body double onto the Hillsborough County Commission to speak out on issues like wetlands protection, mass transit, climate control and tax reform.

"We're putting all the burden of government on homeowners and home ownership. What we've got to be able to do is find a way to flatten it out," Sharpe, stressing that Florida needs to invest in its infrastructure, said in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9. "The problem with flattening it out is that means you take the tax to where maybe there isn't a tax already. That's going to take some mighty courageous politicians."

Sharpe, a top John McCain backer in Hillsborough, talked about the troubles facing elections chief Buddy Johnson, how he thinks Hillary Rodham Clinton is the stronger Democrat, how he is open to the idea of a county mayor for Hillsborough, and the damaged Republican brand.

"If you're going to go out there and you're just going to be an ideologue and talk about ideological answers to very complex problems, then I think you're going to run into trouble," Sharpe said. "What I've been saying to my Republican friends — and I'm a staunch Republican — is we've got to get out there, and … work with the Democrats, work with the independents, and solve problems."

The interview airs at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Activists line up for state delegate spots

One result of all the fuss about Florida having no delegates to the Democratic convention? Tons of interest from activists wanting to be delegates, or more accurately wanting to maybe be delegates, since it's not yet certain how many, if any, delegates Florida ends up with.

Nearly 400 Democrats from across the state ran for 40 at- large delegate slots. Democrats being Democrats, there was considerable angst and debate.

Controversies included how ballots should or shouldn't be unstapled and the way votes are weighted to give large counties such as Broward and Miami-Dade outsized influence.

"It's not even American," shouted delegate candidate John Mazur of Volusia County, referring to the weighted votes, not the staples. "It's not right."

Democrats remain optimistic about their role in the presidential race.

"This state will deliver a Democratic candidate for the United States," Florida Democratic chairwoman Karen Thurman told the crowd of about 200 Saturday in Tampa.

Rubio says no

to mayoral run

Marco Rubio will not run for Miami-Dade mayor, putting an end to one of the most-watched political guessing games in the state. Instead, he plans on spending the election season on TV, as an analyst and pundit on Spanish-language TV.

"I obviously care very deeply about Miami-Dade," the outgoing House speaker told the Buzz. "But I didn't feel it was the right opportunity for me in this state. The issues I have a passion for are state issues."

Rubio, 36, said he felt he could pose a strong challenge to incumbent Carlos Alvarez, strong mayor for the past two years, but said Alvarez hasn't had enough time to fully prove himself.

"It really wasn't about being able to win or not," Rubio said. "I think I'll be on the ballot again in Florida, probably sooner than later."

Rubio would not discuss his future but he is expected to seek the state Senate seat being vacated by Alex Diaz de la Portilla in 2010. Many think he'll eventually run for governor.

New names for elections panel

Gov. Charlie Crist chose a couple of familiar political names among six appointees to the Florida Elections Commission. They include Republican consultant Karen Unger, who managed Gov. Jeb Bush's 2002 re-election, and Democrat Tom Rossin, a lawyer who was the 2002 Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor against Bush that year.

Jessica Vander Velde, Steve Bousquet, and Alex Leary contributed to this week's Buzz.

Hillsborough Commissioner Mark Sharpe sounds a milder tone 05/17/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 21, 2008 2:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Maria: Clearwater Coast Guard plane aids rescue near Puerto Rico


    Eight minutes. That's how long it took the Petty Officer 3rd Class Darryn Manley of the Coast Guard said it took him to spot the boat that capsized off a Puerto Rican island on Thursday.

  2. Mom of girl who died looking for candy seeks to keep husband away

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Eight days after her 4-year-old daughter died in the care of paternal grandparents, pregnant Lizette Hernandez sat in a Hillsborough County courthouse Friday, attempting to seek full-time custody of her 19-month-old son.

    Lizette Hernandez, 22, completes paperwork Friday for a motion for protection from domestic violence against her husband, Shane Zoller. Their daughter, Yanelly, 4, died in a reported gun accident at the home of Zoller's parents Sept. 14. She alleges that her husband hit her and caused her to fall on a grave marker at their daughter's funeral Thursday in a tussle over their remaining 1-year-old son. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  3. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus


    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.

  4. Ed Sheeran coming to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa


    Let it never be said Ed Sheeran hasn't given the people of Tampa what they want.

  5. Editorial: Once more, homeowners are let down by state housing agency


    Once upon a time, the federal government created a program called the Hardest Hit Fund. Its goal was admirable, and its mission important. The fund was designed to aid Americans in danger of losing their houses after the Great Recession had wreaked havoc on the economy. Unfortunately, the folks in Washington erred in …

    The Hardest Hit Fund was designed to aid Americans in danger of losing their houses after the Great Recession. Unfortunately, the folks in Washington trusted Florida to get that money into the hands of people who needed it most.