Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sue Carlton: Two lunches mark a city's history

Tampa’s six living mayors, Bob Buckhorn, left, Pam Iorio, Dick Greco, Sandy Freedman, Bob Martinez and Bill Poe gathered for lunch at Malio’s on Thursday for a little historic mayor chatting.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

Tampa’s six living mayors, Bob Buckhorn, left, Pam Iorio, Dick Greco, Sandy Freedman, Bob Martinez and Bill Poe gathered for lunch at Malio’s on Thursday for a little historic mayor chatting.

When Tampa's six living mayors gathered for lunch at Malio's on Thursday — surely an unprecedented moment in a city's history — the question for them afterward was obvious.

What did you order?

No, no, no. The question was what they talked about, the answer being: history and politics — like how personalized politicking had morphed from the days when West Tampa spaghetti fundraisers could draw thousands to the time of Twitter, current Mayor Bob Buckhorn being a tweeter himself. (The steak salad, since you ask.)

After lunch they stood for photos at the edge of the sprawling park that was touched by many a mayor and reopened in its latest incarnation by Pam Iorio (salmon, no sauce). Skyscrapers spread before them, the backdrop a concrete ribbon of downtown Riverwalk that was begun under 1970s mayor Bill Poe (lobster bisque, onion rings) and should be completed under Buckhorn.

Dick Greco (steak salad) seemed to have his arm around everyone at once, a trademark talent of Tampa's schmoozingest mayor. Disappointingly, our infamous strip club king Joe Redner never came up.

They talked of police shootings, their worst days as mayor.

Bob Martinez (salad) went on to be governor, and did he give tips on this to anyone else at the table? Sandy Freedman (caprese salad) reported that Buckhorn, who used to work for her, picked up the check.

Twenty percent, since you ask.

•••

Turns out Fred Karl had a Bucket List. With people on it.

Since he had been everything from World War II hero to state Supreme Court justice to go-to fix-it guy in Tampa and Hillsborough County, it's hard to imagine Karl left anything out. But near the top of his "list of things I want to do before I kick the bucket" was a luncheon.

His health in decline ("Life is short and death is sure," he quoted in the invitation), he asked 19 "special friends" to the University Club. The guest list included politicians and public officials past and present, but also doctors, lawyers, a forensic psychiatrist, a hospital vice president, a rancher and Karl's former paralegal.

When they gathered, he had something to say of each of them. And they to him.

"During the years I've known her, I've entrusted her with the most confidential information I possessed. … She is a trusted friend," Karl said of Bridgett McCormick, once his paralegal, now the mayor's executive assistant. "She won't tell you a thing."

Karl said he wouldn't want to die without telling these people whose lives had intersected with his own "the things I have on my heart." But this was also the man who had been county and city attorney and hospital president to boot. So this lunch had a public purpose in Karl's hope of starting "relationships that might be important to each of you."

Afterward, several asked for the guest list to stay in touch. As with most things, Fred Karl did what he set out to do.

"It would be impossible," said Robert Thomas, whose family owns Two Rivers Ranch and who was Karl's friend and host at that Bucket List lunch, "to try to articulate Fred Karl."

He died last week at 88. Today people gather downtown at the convention center at 2 p.m. to remember him. Flags here and in Tallahassee will fly half-staff.

Sue Carlton: Two lunches mark a city's history 03/14/13 [Last modified: Thursday, March 14, 2013 11:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Despite Hurricane Irma, Hillsborough remains on pace to unlock hotel tax that could pay for Rays ballpark

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Despite the threat of a catastrophic storm, it was business as usual at many Hillsborough County hotels in the days before Hurricane Irma bore down on the Tampa Bay region.

    The Grand Hyatt near TIA closed during Hurricane Irma, but many other Hillsborough hotels were open and saw an influx.
  2. Pinellas votes 7-0 to help sue Legislature over new law favoring charter schools

    K12

    LARGO — They said they had no choice but to do it. They said they would rather reach a compromise.

    Gov. Rick Scott, right, kicks off the 2017 legislative session on March 7 in Tallahassee. Scott later signed a massive education bill that is being challenged by several school districts. On Tuesday, Pinellas became one of them. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  3. Deputies find 24 dogs, 2 birds, 2 cats, 1 child in Hernando home

    Public Safety

    SPRING HILL —A woman was arrested Monday on charges of animal cruelty after deputies said they found injured animals at her Spring Hill home.

    Jennie Card, 44, was arrested on two counts of animal cruelty after deputies said they found her injured animals at her Spring Hill residence.[Courtesy of Hernando County Sheriff's Office]
  4. New Graham-Cassidy health care plan stumbles under opposition from governors

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — The suddenly resurgent Republican effort to undo the Affordable Care Act was dealt a blow on Tuesday when a bipartisan group of governors came out against a proposal gaining steam in the Senate.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined by, from left, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters as he pushes a last-ditch effort to uproot former President Barack Obama's health care law, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. To win, 50 of the 52 GOP senators must back it -- a margin they failed to reach when the chamber rejected the effort in July. [/J. Scott Applewhite | Associated Press]
  5. Joe Maddon on being back at Trop, Cash, a new stadium

    Blogs

    More to come later, but a couple of quick early highlights from former Rays manager Joe Maddon's return to the Trop with the Cubs:

    Joe Maddon, right, speaks with Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey before Tuesday's game at Tropicana Field.