Monday, May 21, 2018
Opinion

Bubba the Love Sponge threatens Tampa with running for mayor

Far, far be it from me to indulge my inner political agent provocateur, but when I heard local disc jockey Bubba the Love Sponge was threatening to challenge Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn in 2015, my first thought was please, please, please for the love of all that is patently ridiculous, please run. Run like the wind. You run, boy. Run like a slop of wild boars.

Admittedly I have a certain craven self-interest here. This would be a mother lode of material.

Apparently Mr. Sponge got his drool up when his publicity stunt to salvage the famous, but severely dilapidated Jackson House seems to have fallen through.

You probably know the sad tale of the historic Zack Street Jackson House, which hosted such luminaries as Ella Fitzgerald, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Billie Holiday, Nat "King" Cole and James Brown during Tampa's tawdry days of segregation.

It would be a wonderful thing if Jackson House could be spared the wrecking ball. But the property has fallen on very hard times where the costs to renovate it are simply cost-prohibitive.

There have been many fits and starts on the part of several groups to come to Jackson House's rescue. All have come up short.

Enter Mr. Sponge, who a few days ago said he would take on the project. Many lauded the offer. And probably just as many more thought — good luck with that.

But Mr. Sponge has been unable to meet various city deadlines to retain a contractor, secure permits and complete various stages of work by June 2. And so, Mr. Sponge announced he was walking away, faulting Buckhorn for engaging in a personal vendetta against him. Take a number.

That prompted Mr. Sponge to suggest he might just enter the political arena. Okay, everybody now — "Ooooooooooh, so scary."

"I will be a thorn in his side until he runs for re-election," Mr. Sponge huffed. "I might run for mayor."

It's merely a guess, but I suspect Buckhorn might well send Mr. Sponge, whom he has previously referred to as a "complete moron," a campaign contribution.

What Mr. Sponge and his lemmings of the airwaves probably don't understand is that in order to be a thorn in Buckhorn's side, first Buckhorn would be required to actually give a rat's patootie about what Mr. Sponge thinks of him.

And I suspect that when hizzoner arises every morning he would rather drink battery acid than turn his dial to the bumptious disc jockey's daily radio version of Saw II.

In the wake of Mr. Sponge's frothing over the city's demands to meet various benchmarks, a spokeswoman for the mayor noted Buckhorn had better things to do than respond to Mr. Sponge, which likely included such pressing matters as changing his shoelaces, folding his pocket square, signing the Navel Lint Day proclamation and pondering a 2018 campaign for governor.

Or perhaps put more succinctly, though no professional politician ever takes a potential challenger for granted, the probability of Mr. Sponge supplanting Buckhorn in the mayor's office probably falls somewhere between Pope Francis appearing on The Bachelor and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow leaving for Fox News.

Alas poor Mr. Sponge, who will have to console himself that when it comes to having a political career he will likely have to be content with serving as the much beloved mayor of Bubba's Smarmy.

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