1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

‘Any given day, it might be our last day’

Police and fire unions decry David Straz’s ad attacking Jane Castor for her police pension. Straz says ‘double-dipping is double-dipping.’
Fire and police union officials criticize an ad by Tampa mayoral candidate David Straz attacking public pensions. March 22, 2019.
Fire and police union officials criticize an ad by Tampa mayoral candidate David Straz attacking public pensions. March 22, 2019.
Published Mar. 22, 2019

TAMPA — Police and fire union leaders on Friday called a recent television ad from mayoral candidate David Straz outrageous and divisive, but Straz stood by his claim that it would be “double-dipping” for former police chief Jane Castor to accept her police pension and a mayoral salary if elected.

David Straz attacks Jane Castor for planning to accept mayoral salary while drawing police pension

The ad implies a pension benefits for police officers who put their lives at risk are some sort of perk, said Abe Carmack, president of the Tampa Police Benevolent Association.

“For the Staz campaign to make accusations as they did yesterday could not be more outrageous,” Carmack said. “The men and women of the Tampa Police Department aren’t given anything. They earn the pension they receive through the contributions they make and the hard work they do every day protecting the citizens of Tampa.”

Both the police and fire unions have endorsed Castor in the April 23 runoff election.

Straz appears unfamiliar with the work of firefighters and other first-responders, said Joe Greco, president of IAFF Local 754. Firefighters and police officer have shorter life expectancies than the general population, Greco said.

“It’s an extremely dangerous way to make a living,” he said.

The Straz campaign released a video message from the candidate moments before the news conference began. In it, Straz said he applauds the service of police officers and firefighters, but didn’t back down on his charge that Castor would be “double-dipping” if she accepted the $160,742 mayoral salary while collecting her monthly pension of $10,044.22.

“I get it. The unions are defending one of their own,” Straz said.

His message can be viewed in its entirety below.

The city’s police and fire pension board confirmed Castor’s current monthly pension benefit Friday. Police and fire union employees pay 9.72 percent each month toward their pensions.


  1. Visitors head to Florida's Old Capitol building on Tuesday, the first day of the annual session. The same day, the advocacy group Equality Florida denounced four bills filed by Republican lawmakers, calling them “the most overtly anti-LGBTQ agenda from the Florida legislature in recent memory.” [SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Most of the bills try to eliminate local ordinances, and Republicans say they’ve been unfairly labeled.
  2. Attorney Joseph Bondy tweeted this photo of his client, Lev Parnas (right) with former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi on Friday, Jan. 17. Bondi on Friday was named on of President Donald Trump's impeachment lawyers. [Twitter]
    Parnas’ lawyer tweeted out the photo of the former Florida attorney general along with #TheyAllKnew.
  3. Florida Senator Rob Bradley, R- Fleming Island, watches the action on the first day of the session, 1/14/2020.  [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
    A popular bill would allow judges to dole out punishments less than the mandatory minimum sentences spelled out in state law for many drug crimes if the defendant meets certain criteria.
  4. Vice President Mike Pence take selfies with supporters after giving a campaign speech during the "Keep America Great" rally at the Venetian Event Center at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, January 16, 2020.  [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    ‘Come November the American people are going to have our say,’ Pence said.
  5. Rep. Stan McClain, an Ocala Republican, presents a bill that would allow Florida public colleges and universities to sponsor charter schools, during a January 2020 meeting of the House PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee. [The Florida Channel]
    Alternative authorizers have been found unconstitutional in the past. But that isn’t stopping the effort.
  6. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, members of the Florida Cabinet, left, and the Florida Supreme Court, right, stand at attention as the colors are posted in the Florida Senate during the first day of the Florida legislative session in Tallahassee, Tuesday, January 14, 2020.  [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
    The court ruled that Amendment 4‘s “all terms of sentence” include the payment of all court fees, fines and restitution.
  7. Thousands rallied and marched from the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center to the Florida Historic Capitol to demand more money for public schools Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. Thousands of school workers from around the state thronged Florida's Capitol on Monday to press Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature to more than double the nearly $1 billion the governor is proposing for teacher raises and bonuses.  (Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat via AP) [TORI LYNN SCHNEIDER  |  AP]
    The PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee cutting exercise would come in nearly 25 percent below Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal.
  8. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.,, center, speaks as fellow candidates businessman Tom Steyer, from left, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. listen, Tuesday during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) [PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP]
    The candidates’ proposals reveal differences in how they plan to approach the issue.
  9. Vice President Mike Pence points to supporters before speaking during a campaign rally at the Huntington Center, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) [TONY DEJAK  |  AP]
    Vice President Mike Pence will take the stage in New Tampa, at the Venetian Event Center at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, at 1:30 p.m. It wasn’t planned that way.
  10. <Samsung D70 / D75 / S730 / S750>
    For the first time since he was nominated by Gov. Ron DeSantis for the job of Florida Surgeon General, Scott Rivkees appeared before senators to answer questions that have been percolating for nine...