Sunday, May 27, 2018
Politics

Iorio-related run?, Bro Bowl news and a trial's tribulations

The audience at Thursday night's Tampa Theatre premiere of the evocative documentary JFK in Tampa: The 50th Anniversary included a who's who of politicians past and present.

There was former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio with husband Mark Woodard and their son Graham Woodard, 23. Speaking of politicians past and present.

Turns out Graham Woodard — who is tall, friendly and charismatic, who works in a bank and looks a lot like his mother — has an eye for politics.

City council, maybe, he said when I asked.

Well, mom did run for office at 25. And Woodard — a Democrat, you will not be surprised to hear — was not shy even at 13 about knocking on doors on the campaign trail to tell people why they should vote for his mother.

"He and I are a lot alike," Iorio says.

It's early to talk of such things but interesting nonetheless, given the political punch an Iorio candidacy tends to carry in these parts. (Worry not, sitting politicians — daughter Caitlin is busy getting her master's in mental health counseling.)

"They both have somehow turned out to be exceedingly normal," Iorio says, "despite having me as their mother."

Speaking of mayoral developments: Could there be hope for breaking the stalemate over the Bro Bowl — the officially historic 1970s skatepark in the way of revitalization plans to honor Tampa's rich black history?

By now you know the tale: A planned renovation of Perry Harvey Sr. Park to honor the black business and entertainment district that thrived during segregation and hosted the likes of Ella Fitzgerald hit a snag in the form of the Bro Bowl in the park. They said the Bro had to go.

A bigger, better skate bowl was planned nearby, but Bro Bowl diehards took their case to the National Register of Historic Places and managed to win that impressive designation.

With that, some federal money to transform the park got more complicated.

While groups on opposite sides talk options — like incorporating pieces of the old Bowl into its new incarnation, or not moving it at all — Mayor Bob Buckhorn said there may be a way to literally move the bowl as a whole.

"Physically digging it up and moving it is probably accomplishable," he told me this week. "We've got our engineering folks looking into it."

The Bro-To-Go is an intriguing option for both sides to mull — if, and this is a big if, it's doable.

But on one point, the mayor sounds immovable: "It can't stay where it is."

This is a case so incendiary jurors had to be picked in Orlando and then brought to Tampa for the trial.

Lawyers and a judge spent painstaking days trying to pick a panel to hear the death penalty case against Dontae Morris, accused of murdering two Tampa police officers.

This week, a potential juror opined in front of 75 others about how when someone has already been convicted of first-degree murder — a reference to Morris' guilty verdict last March in a different case — another "performance" was "wasting our taxpayers' money."

The judge chose to soldier on, but her comment will no doubt be a big point in Morris' appeal. And how about the waste of taxpayers' money if we have to go through this trial all over again?

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