Advertisement
  1. Opinion

Times recommends: Luis Viera for Tampa City Council

Published Oct. 19, 2016

Six candidates are running to fill the Tampa City Council seat of Lisa Montelione, who is leaving mid term to seek election to the Florida House. While all six are serious candidates, Luis Viera is best prepared to give this north Tampa district a strong voice at City Hall.

Viera, 38, a Tampa attorney, offers a solid mix of advocacy for neighborhood concerns with a bigger vision for transportation and job development. He sees a larger role for mass transit in the University of South Florida area, where thousands are employed on campus and at local hospitals. While Viera supports the recent investments downtown as a tool for boosting the city's economics, he notes north Tampa has too many unmet needs, from parks to recreation centers. A USF graduate, he knows the district well and has given back to the community through his work with a variety of civic and professional groups.

Jim Davison, 62, an emergency room doctor, wants to give the district's diverse neighborhoods a more unified voice. Orlando Gudes, 49, a retired Tampa police officer, wants to increase the police presence in New Tampa and turn vacant property and land into civic space. Avis Simone Harrison, 52, a home school evaluator and former teacher, would keep a lid on taxes and work to improve area schools. Gene Siudut, 43, an editor at the Tampa weekly newspaper La Gaceta, has a proactive agenda for addressing a range of issues, from jobs and poverty to blight and aging infrastructure. Cyril Spiro, 46, a physician and entrepreneur, would expand job training and look to attract startup businesses to the area.

All of the candidates in this race see a need to direct more attention to the city's north, and all offer substantive priorities, most relating to public safety and transportation. They all are familiar with the district and the process of governing.

Viera has the most depth. His urgency on transportation is a plus for a growing region that has experienced three failed transportation measures in recent years. He has the best grasp of how to maximize USF as a catalyst for economic growth. Viera also speaks thoughtfully about some of the city's hot-button issues, such as the creation of a police oversight board. His knowledge of city government, balanced agenda and measured style would make him effective on the seven-member board. Council races are nonpartisan and open to all voters. The district includes New Tampa, the USF area and Forest Hills. If no candidate wins a majority, the top two finishers go to a runoff Dec. 6.

For Tampa City Council District 7, the Tampa Bay Times recommends Luis Viera.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1.  Jim Morin -- Morin Toons Syndicate
  2. Career Foreign Service officer George Kent and top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, right, are sworn in to testify during the first public impeachment hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Wednesday Nov. 13, 2019, in Washington. JOSHUA ROBERTS  |  AP
    Here’s what readers had to say in Friday’s letters to the editor.
  3. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
Visitors head to Florida's Old Capitol building on the first day of the annual sixty day session, Tuesday, March 5, 2019. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis addressed a joint session of the Florida Legislature Tuesday in Tallahassee.  SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The Florida Legislature appears determined to pass legislation requiring parental consent.
  4. Some of Tampa Bay's largest companies are being sold or are up for sale. Times files and Bloomin' Brands
    Tech Data is just the latest in a growing list of public companies bought up by out-of-state firms.
  5. A house for rent in St. Petersburg.  [SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN | Times] SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN  |  Susan Taylor Martin
    The City Council has afforded renters more protections from discrimination and unjustified late fees.
  6. Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, during the first public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. ANDREW HARNIK  |  AP
    Here’s what readers had to say in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
  7. Leonard Pitts undefined
    No controversy ever ends quietly on social media, writes Leonard Pitts.
  8. In this Oct. 11, 2018, photo, rescue personnel perform a search in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach. GERALD HERBERT  |  AP
    While it is too late to stop global warming, we can prevent it from getting worse, two scientists write.
  9. Florida's toll roads
    Here’s what readers had to say in Wednesday’s letters to the editor.
  10. President Donald Trump talks to the media before leaving the White House, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) MANUEL BALCE CENETA  |  AP
    President Donald Trump’s conduct is the issue as House begins public phase of impeachment inquiry.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement