Monday, December 11, 2017
Politics

18 months from the election, police sergeant files to run for Tampa City Council

TAMPA — Voters won't cast ballots for nearly 18 months, but Tampa has its first candidate for its 2015 city elections.

Police Sgt. Borthland R. Murray has filed papers with the Supervisor of Elections Office to run for the City Council District 5 seat held by Frank Reddick.

Murray, 47, has been with the Police Department almost 25 years and works with one of its Rapid Offender Control squads. ROC officers use intelligence about repeat offenders and crime patterns in their zones to focus on street crimes such as drug dealing, burglary, robbery and prostitution.

Murray said he plans to retire in January, but wants to stay involved in east Tampa, where he has worked most of his career.

"My goal is just to serve," said Murray, who goes by Burt. At the Police Department, he worked on the agency's QUAD squads, which targeted drug dealers, as well as in narcotics and internal affairs. "I think I have a different point of view that will help the city."

Murray's latest personnel evaluation includes mostly "above expectations" ratings and a smaller number of "meets expectations" ratings. He received the top rating — "excels" — in leadership.

Over the years, Murray also has shown a willingness to take on his chain of command.

In 2003, he raised red flags about Tampa officers who worked security at Tampa Bay Buccaneers games and gave scalped tickets that they confiscated to family and friends.

An internal affairs investigation concluded that officers redistributed confiscated tickets for at least five years, but it did not recommend disciplinary action against the captain he had accused — his supervisor — because she had retired and moved across the country.

The practice was ordered stopped after Murray complained to then-Chief Bennie Holder, but the investigation did not take place until Steve Hogue became chief and learned of the allegations.

In 2008, Murray wrote a memo to the City Council and then-Mayor Pam Iorio estimating the city could save $6 million in salaries, pension payments and other benefits in part by eliminating 14 police lieutenants and one major.

Hogue told the council that Murray's estimate was "wildly inaccurate" and seemed to assume that the supervisors he wanted to cut each cost the city an average of $400,000 a year. "No city employee makes anywhere near that kind of compensation," Hogue said.

Those changes weren't made, but Murray said he still believes city departments are top-heavy with management and said he would work to reverse that as a member of the City Council.

"That's always been one of my biggest pet peeves," he said.

In District 5, which covers east Tampa, Ybor City, downtown, the port and parts of West Tampa, Murray said he feels he has a good grasp of what residents want: better street lights, safe parks and other safe public spaces. Citywide, he says, Tampa should focus more on efficiency — such as how it buys gasoline — and should apply for federal funds to install solar panels on city property.

Murray said he's getting an early start on the campaign because he's challenging an incumbent and "I know I'm going to have to go to work."

Reddick, 57, said he believes District 5 voters will recognize that he has brought the district more attention than it had received before with "major accomplishments" to his credit.

Those include pushing Mayor Bob Buckhorn's administration to dedicate the money to repair and reopen the Williams Park Pool, working to facilitate a $2.5 million renovation of the Central Court Apartments and supporting plans to build a community center on the site of the old Honky Tonk bar.

Reddick intends to run for re-election but hadn't planned to launch his campaign until next year.

Now that may change.

"Well, my day was going good until you told me," Reddick said after learning of Murray's candidacy. "Now I that I have an opponent, I'm going to meet with my campaign team and see what they have to say."

Comments
Final push for Moore and Jones in Alabama Senate race

Final push for Moore and Jones in Alabama Senate race

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Alabama Democrats see Tuesday’s special Senate election as a chance to renounce a history littered with politicians whose race-baiting, bombast and other baggage have long soiled the state’s reputation beyond its borders. Many Repu...
Updated: 2 hours ago
As tax plan gained steam, GOP lost focus on the middle class

As tax plan gained steam, GOP lost focus on the middle class

The GOP tax plan on the cusp of becoming law diverges wildly from the promises President Trump and top advisers said they would deliver for the middle class — an evolution that shows how traditional Republican orthodoxy swamped Trump’s distinctive br...
Published: 12/10/17

Same income, but not taxes, in GOP plan

In most places, a dollar is a dollar. But in the tax code envisioned by Republicans, the amount you make may be less important than how you make it.Consider two chefs working side by side for the same catering company, doing the same job, for the sam...
Published: 12/09/17
Updated: 12/10/17
Democrats fighting math and history in Alabama

Democrats fighting math and history in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Renegade Republican Roy Moore may be plagued by scandal, but it will take more than that to convince the voters of 44th Place North to show up for Democrat Doug Jones on Tuesday. In a state where Democrats are used to losing, the m...
Published: 12/09/17
 ‘He believes passionately that the liberal left and the media are out to destroy him’: A look inside Trump’s day-to-day

‘He believes passionately that the liberal left and the media are out to destroy him’: A look inside Trump’s day-to-day

WASHINGTON — Around 5:30 each morning, President Donald Trump wakes and tunes into the television in the White House’s master bedroom. He flips to CNN for news, moves to "Fox & Friends" for comfort and messaging ideas, and sometimes watches MSNBC’s "...
Published: 12/09/17
Why Democrats decided Sen. Al Franken had to go

Why Democrats decided Sen. Al Franken had to go

  It seems like a distant memory now, but Al Franken’s arrival in the U.S. Senate eight years ago marked the very moment when Democrats’ control of Washington reached its highest point in a generation. After an eight-month recount, the ...
Published: 12/07/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Rep. Trent Franks to resign after broaching surrogacy with subordinates

Rep. Trent Franks to resign after broaching surrogacy with subordinates

WASHINGTON — Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican who is among the most conservative members of the House, said Thursday he would resign his seat in a statement where he acknowledged discussing surrogacy with two former female subordinates.Franks...
Published: 12/07/17
Sen. Al Franken says he’s resigning amid fresh accusations

Sen. Al Franken says he’s resigning amid fresh accusations

WASHINGTON — Minnesota Sen. Al Franken announced Thursday he will resign from Congress in the coming weeks following a wave of sexual misconduct allegations and the collapse of support from his Democratic colleagues, a swift political fall for a once...
Published: 12/07/17
Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Amid reports of rapes, beatings, cover-ups, grand jury to probe juvenile justice abuses

Disturbed by stories about the rape of teens by supervisory staff, a pandemic of sometimes savage force, brutal beatdowns ordered by youth care workers and policies that permit the hiring of violent offenders, Miami-Dade’s state attorney wants to kno...
Published: 12/07/17
Romano: Like him or not, Latvala deserves a fair hearing

Romano: Like him or not, Latvala deserves a fair hearing

At some point, the truth has to matter, right? Evidence, due process, all of that? No matter how you feel about Sen. Jack Latvala personally (and I’ve never been a huge fan) or how you feel about the overzealousness of his defense (which I cr...
Published: 12/07/17