Saturday, November 18, 2017
Opinion

Ruth: In supporting Pride, Buckhorn shows he's mayor of Tampa Bay

RECOMMENDED READING


He would probably never admit this publicly or privately, but you have to suspect Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn relished the opportunity to engage in a bit of Irish mischief.

Saturday is the city's gay pride parade, so it was only natural an elected official like Buckhorn would be more than happy to participate in the festivities.

After all, when you came out of the womb shaking hands with the doctors and nurses and kissing all the other babies, as Buckhorn likely did, the chance to press some flesh and wave to admiring crowds is as irresistible to hizzoner as asking John Daly if he would mind being locked up in a Jack Daniel's distillery overnight.

So, of course, Bob Buckhorn will be more than delighted to ride in a fancy convertible along the parade route to honor the city's gay rights community.

Oh, there's just one thing. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will be the highest-ranking official big shot participating in St. Petersburg's Pride Carnivale parade.

And yes, that was a thumb nicely jabbed into the eye of St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster. Well played, sir!

To be sure, for public consumption Buckhorn and Foster always present the appearance of hail fellow well met comity in their dealings with each other.

But let's not be Pollyannaish here. Buckhorn would dragoon the Tampa Bay Rays across Tampa Bay to the Big Guava in a heartbeat if he thought he could pull it off without having more lawyers than the U.S. Justice Department getting in the way.

So sure, Buckhorn venturing across Tampa Bay to be the honored dignitary in St. Pete Pride's Carnivale is a not-too-gentle dig at Foster.

Until now, no Tampa mayor has ever accepted an invitation to ride in the St. Petersburg Pride event out of an unspoken diplomatic courtesy not to intrude upon a fellow mayor's turf.

But then, no St. Petersburg mayor has ever participated. Former Mayor Rick Baker, fearing perhaps he might be turned into a pillar of salt, refused to even sign a proclamation recognizing the parade. Foster at least signed a proclamation, but he has declined to be seen anywhere near gays on parade.

Buckhorn won't be the only public official on hand. St. Petersburg City Council members Jeff Danner and Steve Kornell will participate, along with Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner and several other Pinellas County officials.

For his part, Buckhorn noted his participation simply sends a message that "... not only are we open for business but that we honor and celebrate the accomplishments and the value of everybody." Cue We Are the World.

Still, Buckhorn's use of the word "we" is more significant than a mere pronoun.

Since José Martí was in knickers, both sides of Tampa Bay have blathered on incessantly about the critical need to engage in robust regionalism to advance the area's economic interests — unless, of course, either end of the Howard Frankland Bridge could finagle a better deal for itself.

This may well be a delightful St. Pete Pride Carnivale parade to the organizers and participants. But it is more, too. It is a marketing effort by Buckhorn to promote his city's welcoming tolerance of the LBGT community.

More subtly, it is Bob Buckhorn serving notice he is for all practical purposes the de facto mayor of Tampa Bay. And don't think for a moment that isn't something Buckhorn doesn't take a great deal of pride in demonstrating.

Comments

Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "I’m pleading to my brothers. You ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise — for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system — one for men, another for wo...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Kriseman’s own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

The University of South Florida recently surpassed its $1 billion fundraising goal, continuing a current trend of exceeding expectations. At 61 years old — barely middle age among higher education institutions — USF has grown up quickly. It now boast...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

American military members hurt in service to their country should not have to wait a lifetime for the benefits they deserve. But that’s a reality of the disability process at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hasn’t made payi...
Published: 11/14/17

Editorial: Deputies’ rescue reflects best in law enforcement

The bravery two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies showed a week ago is a credit to them and reflects the professionalism of the office.Deputies Benjamin Thompson and Trent Migues responded at dusk Nov. 11 after 82-year-old Leona Evans of Webster...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Another voice: An untrustworthy deal with Russia

President Donald Trump’s latest defense of Russian leader Vladimir Putin included — along with a bow to his denials of meddling in the U.S. election — an appeal to pragmatism. "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,"...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17