Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

District 1: Candidates in race for Tampa City Council use background to determine priorities

TAMPA — With City Council member Gwen Miller leaving the seat she has occupied for eight years, the citywide District 1 position is open to someone new.

And with five candidates vying for the position, each brings something a little different to the race.

At 26 years old, Guido Maniscalco is the youngest, and that's not a bad thing, he said. In fact, he thinks it gives him an advantage: He's energetic, not tied down to a family or career, and has insight into the minds of young adults.

"I'm a representative for a new group of people and also the future of Tampa," he said.

Maniscalco, a Tampa native who works at his family's jewelry business, said the City Council is limited in its ability to provide jobs. However, he wants to focus on helping to create an environment conducive to attracting employers.

"We have to give young people a reason to stay in Tampa after they graduate," he said.

Tom Slaughter, 52, also wants to focus on jobs. The way to do it, he said, is through an educated workforce and modern transportation.

"We need to be able to compete with not just Orlando and Miami, but cities like Charlotte," said Slaughter, who works in transportation engineering.

The bones of good education and transportation are already in place with Interstate 4 and 75 as well as the University of South Florida and its research, he said.

But more is needed. A supporter of light rail and high-speed rail, Slaughter said he thinks both would bolster the city's reputation as a place to do business.

Rick Barcena, 48, owner of Rigatoni Tuscan Oven, understands what it's like to own a business in Tampa. He wants to use that knowledge to help make the city an easier place to run a company.

"To do some of the simplest tasks or just go through the permitting process in general should be a whole lot more streamlined and more customer-friendly," Barcena said. Customer service is an important step toward that, he added.

Barcena also says his skills could help run the city more efficiently.

"You're running a business; that's the way a city needs to be run," he said.

Curtis Stokes, 42, is comfortable working with a budget, including the city's. The banker — appointed to the City Council in July to fill a vacancy left when Linda Saul-Sena departed — has spent the past 18 years working with money and bottom lines. He is also the only candidate to have experience on the council.

"I understand finances, I understand where we need to go on the budget," Stokes said.

That and his experience in leadership roles in the community and on the board of a Tampa Palms neighborhood association are what make him stand out, he said.

"We need a council and a mayor who understand how to look at the budget, pare it down and cut away things that are not necessary," Stokes said.

As an independent insurance agent, Mike Suarez, 46, is also familiar with customer service. He said the council needs to take a more proactive approach to dealing with residents' concerns.

"With panhandling and water bills, the council has not been more responsive to folks about how to approach these problems," Suarez said. "They've tended to wait instead of saying, 'Let's grab on to these issues and talk about what we want to do.' "

The City Council should be more responsive, he said, especially when it comes to services directly related to people's lives.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3374.

District 1: Candidates in race for Tampa City Council use background to determine priorities 02/24/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 24, 2011 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Protectors of Confederate statue readied for a battle that never materialized

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — Big Dixie flags were waving. County employees had erected a barrier around the Confederate soldier statue at Main and Broad streets. Roads and parking areas were blocked off. Uniformed local officers and federal law enforcement patrolled.

    Police tape and barricades surround the Confederate statue in Brooksville.
  2. Manhattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  3. FSU-Bama 'almost feels like a national championship game Week 1'

    Blogs

    The buzz is continuing to build for next Saturday's blockbuster showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State.

  4. Plan a fall vacation at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens when crowds are light

    Florida

    Now that the busy summer vacation season is ending, Floridians can come out to play.

    Maria Reyna, 8, of Corpus Cristi, TX. eats chicken at the Lotus Blossom Cafe at the Chinese pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017.  Epcot is celebrating it's 35th year as the upcoming Food and Wine Festival kicks off once again.
  5. USF spends $1.5 million to address growing demand for student counseling

    College

    TAMPA — As Florida's universities stare down a mental health epidemic, the University of South Florida has crafted a plan it hopes will reach all students, from the one in crisis to the one who doesn't know he could use some help.

    A student crosses the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, where visits to the school's crisis center more than doubled last year, part of a spike in demand that has affected colleges across the country. The university is addressing the issue this year with $1.5 million for more "wellness coaches," counselors, online programs and staff training. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]