TAMPA — Veteran politician Charlie Miranda has spent a total of 26 years on the Tampa City Council. Voters on Tuesday decided to let him make it 30 years.
Miranda, 78, won the citywide District 2 race with 58 percent of the vote, defeating national security and technical innovation consultant John Godwin, 31, and engineer Joe Robinson, 64, for the city-wide seat. Godwin took 23 percent of the vote and Robinson won 19 percent.
LIVE RESULTS: See the results in each race.
“Every victory is different. This is a special victory, because when you get anywhere past 70, they look at you like you’re not capable,'' Miranda said. That might apply to football, basketball or baseball, he said, but not on City Council, where using one’s brain is what counts.
”A lot of people helped me out," he added, “and it’s very rewarding when you see this kind of support.”
All three candidates favored expanding the streetcar line and have a light rail network, and all three addressed the need for affordable housing.
“Providing sufficient affordable housing is a multi-faceted issue,’’ Miranda stated in answer to a Tampa Bay Times election questionnaire. “Federal, state, county and city governments all have a role to play and there is not a single answer to this challenge.’’
Miranda, a state horse racing steward and former restaurant manager, stated that his top priority is replacing 2,300 miles each of underground water and wastewater treatment lines, noting that the city is on the hook for spending $10 million a year on repairs.
The incumbent also said the city’s code enforcement office needs to be more proactive, looking for problems like trash and debris, illegal commercial vehicles, overgrowth and construction without permits.
In his campaign, Godwin called for a complete revamping of the city’s housing codes in order to protect historic sites, increase housing supply and provide incentives for developers to add affordable housing in their projects.
He said the city needs to do a better job of inclusivity “with persons of color, with persons with disabilities, with LGBT persons,’’ he answered in the Times questionnaire.
Robinson, a longtime activist who has run for school board and can often be found addressing elected officials at meetings, said his profession made him an asset on the council. He said Tampa could use an engineer’s knowledge on the City Council. He also wanted to make sure there was equity in the money the city spends on neighborhoods. "Certain neighborhoods are not getting their fair share,'' he said.
While Godwin and Robinson said the Tampa Police Department needs to improve relations with minorities, Miranda had nothing but praise for the agency. “Crime has been reduced 77 percent since 2003 and 23 percent since 2015,’’ he stated. He does want to replace aging police vehicles and improve technology, and he also wants to expand the body camera program for police officers.
Contact Philip Morgan at email@example.com or (813) 226-3435.