Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Push to get county mayor idea on Hillsborough ballot is lagging

TAMPA — Things are going a little slowly for the people who want to have an elected Hillsborough County mayor.

The group, Elected County Mayor Political Committee Inc., won permission Feb. 1 to begin collecting 41,161 signatures from registered voters needed to get the question on the November ballot. Lawyer Mary Ann Stiles, the group's leader, acknowledged Thursday it's got a long way to go to reach that target by the July 31 deadline.

Asked about the number of signatures gathered so far, Stiles could only estimate — maybe 3,000.

Still, Stiles expressed confidence that she will get the needed signatures. That means once again hiring a company to help collect signatures, rather than relying on volunteers to get them by going door to door, which has proved to be a slog so far.

"We will find a way to get the signatures we need," Stiles said.

Leaders of the county mayor issue engaged in a pair of maneuvers this week that seemed to tacitly acknowledge the slow going so far.

First, they approached county commissioners Wednesday about putting the measure directly on the ballot. They were met with blank stares from commissioners, who stand to lose much of their power if an elected county mayor post — particularly one with veto powers — is approved.

Then they held a news conference Thursday to formally announce the launch of their petition gathering effort — more than two months after getting the green light from the county elections office.

Stiles plans to send a letter to commissioners to formally ask for a vote, though commission Chairman Ken Hagan said he doesn't intend to bring it up.

Hagan has been among the critics who say an elected county mayor will merely create another layer of government and that there has been no push for change among residents.

Stiles has tried twice before to get the question on the ballot. Her first stab was thrown out on a technicality in 2006. In 2008, an activist's court challenge kept it off the ballot.

The group has set up a Web site, countymayor.com, where people can print a petition to sign and donate money.

Stiles plans to make the same case: The county has grown to a point that it needs an elected leader to chart a vision and be held directly accountable by voters. While they said they are not using the recent pay-raise and e-mail controversies surrounding suspended County Administrator Pat Bean, whose post would be replaced by the mayor, they said it has spurred support for their effort.

"This county is spending way more time on issues that lack in significance," said Bob Buckhorn, a former Tampa City Council member who attended Thursday's gathering.

Bill Varian can be reached at (813) 226-3387 or [email protected]

Push to get county mayor idea on Hillsborough ballot is lagging 04/08/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 8, 2010 11:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Former Jabil executive's fate in hands of murder trial jury

    Criminal

    LARGO — For a second time, Patrick Evans' future is in the hands of a jury.

    Patrick Evans talks with Allison Miller, one of his three public defenders, before jury selection this w eek. Evans, a former Jabil executive charged with killing his estranged wife and her friend almost 10 years ago, is back in court for a second trial after his original death sentence conviction was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  2. Hillsborough designates $17 million for Irma debris removal and repairs

    News

    TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Commission voted Wednesday to spend $17 million from the county's Catastrophic Disaster Recovery Fund to remove debris left by Hurricane Irma and to fix damaged facilities.

  3. Five jump from burning boat near Gandy Bridge

    Fire

    TAMPA — Five people jumped from a boat that caught fire near the Gandy Bridge Wednesday afternoon, 10News WTSP reported.

  4. Gourmet food fight between top chefs raises $200,000

    News

    ST. PETERSBURG — The chefs came armed with their secret ingredients — pork rinds, truffle butter, pork bellies.

    (From left to right) Chefs Ryan Mitchell, Michael Buttacavoli, Ted Dorsey and Matthew Brennan compete during Tampa Bay Food Fight at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg on Tuesday. The event features chefs from the Tampa Bay area and benefitted Metropolitan Ministries. EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times
  5. HSN star Joy Mangano promotes new book: Inventing Joy

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — After more than 30 years, Joy Mangano knows a thing or two about promoting products. Now she's promoting herself.

    Inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano is releasing her first new book, Inventing Joy on Nov. 7. [TIERRA SMITH | Times]