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Iorio has left few crumbs for critics to munch on

What the Iorio-so-far stories might as well say:



Claim Tampa mayor's

first 100 days

"too competent'

TAMPA _ A critics' group on Sunday criticized Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, whose 100th day in office is Wednesday, on the grounds she "has not screwed up enough."

"So far, Pam Iorio has been hard-working, inclusive, ethical, frugal and intolerant of any monkey business in City Hall," complained a spokesman for the Tampa Bay Association of People Who Write Newspaper Columns Instead of Actually Working for a Living.

"She has met with all segments of the community, soothed hard feelings, avoided grandstanding and done the right thing on every issue.

"In short, she has been a disaster."

Particularly disappointing, the spokesman said, has been Iorio's handling of ethics problems in her administration.

Iorio fired one department head as soon as she verified complaints against him. In another matter, she actually ordered the city to stop doing business with contractors who had mishandled previous work.

"Dick Greco would have called them all "good fellas' and done nothing," the spokesman complained, referring to the former, two-term mayor. "He even would have gotten that ticked-off look in his eye, called the reporters "vultures' and hinted that they all had something to hide, too.

"We really miss him. It was kind of fun when his wife threw coffee at that guy for not letting her park in a no-parking zone, but it's not the same if he's not the mayor anymore.

"Pam, she probably doesn't even park close to a no-parking zone just in case somebody might take offense."

(A spokesman for Iorio replied that such an allegation was "ridiculous," but then called back later to admit that Iorio does stay several spaces away from handicapped spaces "just in case somebody realizes they forgot their little tag that day.")

The critics also faulted Iorio for:

+ A concerted, apparently real attempt to help disadvantaged areas of east Tampa.

+ Hiring the city's first African-American fire chief.

+ Stepping up to resolve up a $600,000 screwup over a cancer memorial inherited from Greco.

+ Small symbolic gestures, such as killing the gourmet sandwiches (roasted vegetable paninis with herb goat cheese) consumed at taxpayer expense by the Architectural Review Commission while paying out of her own pocket for pizza at her weekly TV show.

"Pam pays for the pizza," she declared at the time. This gave momentary hope to critics that Iorio might at least start referring to herself in the third person, showing a promising hint of pretentiousness, but even that has not recurred.

Lastly, the group criticized Iorio for showing too much common sense. For example, Iorio decided not to enforce a "First Amendment zone" on a recent visit from President Bush.

Unlike her predecessor, who hilariously jumped in front of a morality crusade to ban lap dancing, Iorio said she would have nothing to do with a new antinudity referendum that some are seeking.

"There are many more important issues for the city, and we will be focused on those issues," Iorio said.

"What are we going to do with a mayor like this?" the critics' spokesman asked.

Arthur Nabob, a specialist in media criticism of public officials, said it is too early to give up on Iorio.

"First, this stuff could go to her head, and she might make a mistake herself," Nabob said.

"Second, even if it doesn't go to hers, it usually goes to the heads of the people around her, and then she gets stuck defending them out of loyalty.

"Third, if she stays perfect long enough, then even that becomes something you can make fun of.

"So, my basic advice is to ride out the honeymoon and see what develops. Remember, there's nowhere to go but down."