A slickly produced, funny but disgusting video attacking Mayor Jane Castor’s proposed wastewater recycling program, which the city administration calls the PURE program but opponents call “toilet to tap,” has received almost 3,000 views on the Tampa Bay Young Republicans Facebook page.
It features a mother and young daughter pretending to be enthusiastic about drinking “potty water,” and claims the program will cost $6 billion and “triple your water bills.”
“The video is almost 100% inaccurate,” responded Castor spokesperson Adam Smith. “There is no plan under discussion to convert reclaimed water into drinking water, and there hasn’t been for years.”
The $6 billion, he said, refers to the 30-year estimated cost of expanding the reclaimed water irrigation network, which because of the cost is not “a preferred alternative.”
Instead, the mayor is proposing to pump millions of gallons of highly treated wastewater into the Hillsborough River, which is a source of city drinking water. Castor’s goals, Smith said, are to stop over-pumping Sulfur Springs and comply with minimum flow requirements in the Hillsborough River.
The ad also plays on past accusations against Castor of conflicts of interest, saying she would give contracts for the work to “her friends and family”; Smith said the contract for studies of the mayor’s proposal was awarded through bidding.
Young Republicans President Brittany Lakhani said the ad was produced for free by former president Jake Hoffman, who operates a digital production company, and was intended to “raise awareness,” not as a campaign ad.
“We would welcome a competitive candidate” against Castor in the March 7 election but aren’t aware of one, she said.