Friday, April 20, 2018
Politics

Carlton: Public art seeks a place in the heart of Tampa

Tampa has its interesting public art, from metal horses on Bayshore Boulevard to theatrically lighted downtown bridges to all the sculpture, statuary and such in between.

But sometimes we struggle, artwise. A massive metal sculpture nicknamed the Exploding Chicken once graced (or marred, depending on your perspective) a respectable corner outside a tall downtown office building. A bona fide Sugarman piece, it was nonetheless shunned and exiled until it was recently reborn at a kitschier spot in a traffic roundabout near the Channelside entertainment complex. It seems much happier there.

The latest dustup is over a piece by Yaacov Agam titled Visual Welcome — 10 feet high, brightly colored aluminum panels that appear to move as you pass. Tucked near the edge of a park where pretty much no one saw it, Visual Welcome was bound for better digs at a spot along Tampa's graceful, well-traveled Bayshore Boulevard.

Not so fast. Some residents objected, worried that the art would block water views. Apparently, there was also some confusion about its size. And at least one person thought Visual Welcome meant city officials were about hoist a big "Welcome!" sign in front of the mansions on Tampa's toniest street. As if.

The good news: Bayshore is a long and winding road with enough median for everyone, says City Council member Harry Cohen. "The key with these things is finding the right spot," he says. "In a city that is hundreds of square miles, we can find the right spot."

Hey, the chicken found its roost. It can happen.

Speaking of art, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he is not against that patchwork of colorful graffiti visiting rowing crews traditionally paint along the Hillsborough River seawalls. He says he's only interested in erasing a piece of it by the Kennedy Boulevard bridge to make way for a public art light installation on the Riverwalk.

Me, I think it would be nice if art-to-come could work around art-already-here. But if the City Council is inclined to agree to removing piece after hearing from the public, hopefully they will be able to give firm assurances this isn't the first step toward ending a Tampa tradition.

And did Buckhorn, a man who does not shy from a camera, miss a major photo opportunity this week — at the opening of his public park legacy, no less?

(Want proof of said legacy? Note what's etched in stone at the entrances to the new park on the river just north of downtown: WATER WORKS PARK ESTABLISHED 2014 MAYOR BOB BUCKHORN, it says in deeply grooved letters. Yes, one of those park plaques that includes the names of City Council members is coming, too, the mayor confirmed.)

Contenders for what's best in the new park abound: The sweeping river views? The flowing spring? And right up there is a giant elevated yellow bucket at the splash park that regularly fills with water and tips to soak everyone below.

So if you are a mayor who does love his photo ops — in a fighter jet, clad in shamrocks, riding a bike in a tie — how are you not in that splash shot?

"I thought about that all weekend long," the mayor said. "You don't know how close I came" — held back only by thought of himself pictured in a soaked T-shirt and an 8-year-old daughter who might never speak to him again.

Comments
Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

WASHINGTON — Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, is "very upset and disappointed" by comments made by his former boss James Comey that contradict his account of a disclosure to the news media, McCabe’s lawyer said Friday. "Andy has at all ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

The one thing you can say for sure about electing a mayor in Tampa is you can’t really say anything for sure.Historical proof: A couple of elections ago, Harvard-educated hometown-boy-gone-to-Washington Frank Sanchez was going to be our next mayor, h...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Today across America, high school students are expected to walk out of class in their latest show of solidarity against gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do much about it. It marks a grim anniversary — 19 years since Columbine bra...
Published: 04/20/18
Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

TAMPA — For months, Tampa political aficionados have speculated: Will she or won’t she?Does Jane Castor, the city’s first woman police chief and presumed heavyweight mayoral candidate, really want the job? Asked and answered. Castor filed paperwork T...
Published: 04/19/18
Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

TAMPA — President Donald Trump has tweeted "trade wars are good, and easy to win."Don’t believe it, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce told Tampa business and political leaders on Wednesday."We share more with you than with anybody els...
Published: 04/19/18
Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

BROOKSVILLE — Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Don Barbee this week submitted his resignation — effective Jan. 7 — to run for an open circuit judge seat.Barbee, who is in the middle of his second term, said he made the move "with a tremendo...
Published: 04/17/18
Poll: Democrats’ advantage in midterm election support is shrinking

Poll: Democrats’ advantage in midterm election support is shrinking

Democrats hold an advantage ahead of the midterm elections, but a Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that edge has narrowed since January, a signal to party leaders and strategists that they could be premature in anticipating a huge wave of victorie...
Published: 04/16/18
Spokesman: Former first lady Barbara Bush in failing health

Spokesman: Former first lady Barbara Bush in failing health

HOUSTON — Former first lady Barbara Bush is in "failing health" and won’t seek additional medical treatment, a Bush family spokesman said Sunday. "Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors...
Published: 04/15/18
Trump assails Comey in tweetstorm, calls for ex-FBI director to be imprisoned

Trump assails Comey in tweetstorm, calls for ex-FBI director to be imprisoned

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump attacked James Comey in a fusillade of tweets Sunday morning, calling for the former FBI director to be imprisoned as Trump served up a number of his favorite theories and alleged misdeeds without evidence.Trump’s ...
Published: 04/15/18
President Trump’s approval rating is back near first-100-day levels

President Trump’s approval rating is back near first-100-day levels

President Donald Trump’s approval rating stands at 40 percent in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, slightly more than his 36 percent approval rating when last measured in January. It’s also the highest he’s enjoyed in Post-ABC polling since his fi...
Published: 04/15/18