Tampa politics: A-Rod for mayor?

Candidates real and imagined abound to replace Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. See who has a real shot at winning.

By Chris Ingram

Affable and competent Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is term-limited from running for re-election to a third consecutive term as mayor. Mayor Bob was long-speculated to run for governor in 2018, but doubled down on Hillary Clinton’s run for the Oval Office with hopes of landing a plumb assignment as Ambassador to Ireland or the Vatican (both naturals for this Lucky Charms eating Catholic).

As we all know, Buckhorn’s bet went to the house, and Donald Trump is in the White House and ol’ Bob is left to ponder what could’ve been, and what to do next.

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Lesson learned: Win first. Measure for drapes second.

Buckhorn’s dilemma is the last thing on the minds of several aspiring pols who would like to replace him.

The list of aspiring Gasparilla-keepers is longer than complaints about the lack of crosswalks across Bayshore Blvd., or potholes across city roadways. Still, political ladder climbers abound, and someone will get the job that pays $151,507 per year and comes with a dedicated Tampa Police officer for guard duty. That sounds good, maybe I will run.

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A ubiquitous Tampa pothole.

Earlier this week, one of the mayoral aspirants paid a polling company more money than it was worth to test a “sample ballot” of some of the potential candidates. The poll asked voters from a list of likely mayoral wannabes which one they liked best, if the election for mayor of Tampa were held today. For the record, it’s not being held today – or this year for that matter; in fact, it’s not even being held next year. The Tampa mayoral election will be in March 2019. Yeah. March 2019. That’s about 20 months from now, hence this poll being a waste of money. But alas, politicians with more money than brains like polls that tell them how good their sample ballot numbers are and how high their name I.D. is – unless they aren’t.

The wasteful survey gave the option to “vote” in the poll for one of six hopefuls which the geniuses behind the poll (and the unnamed candidate who paid for it) thought should top the list. The options were given in the order that follows – even though actual voter ballots list candidates alphabetically: former State Rep. Ed Narain, former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, City Councilman Mike Suarez, Councilman Harry Cohen, architect Mickey Jacobs, and former County Commissioner Ed Turanchik.

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Ten bucks you have no idea who this guy is.

It is worth noting, all of the candidates are Democrats with the exception of Jacobs (though the race is officially non-partisan, the last Republican to serve was Bob Martinez who changed parties from Democrat to Republican while in office). It is also worth pointing out that I know five of the six candidates (all but Jacobs). That doesn’t bode well for him, because I am a Republican. I also live in Tampa. If a Republican is to have a chance at winning a seat on the lowly but powerful pothole review board, much less mayor of Tampa, he needs every Republican in the city to vote for him; and even then, he doesn’t have much of a chance.

So we can start this ill-conceived survey by eliminating Jacobs from the list of real contenders.

But before analyzing the viability of the rest of the so-called field, it’s also important to consider who is missing from the list. Those names include: Councilwoman Yoli Capin; Hillsborough Commissioner Ken Hagan (who doesn’t even live in the city); author and professional speaker Topher Morrison; and I’ll throw in lawyer and state legislative candidate Bob Buesing because I like him (and he bought me breakfast a few months ago, and I can be bought for a $9.99 omelet and cup of coffee at First Watch). Oh! And last but not least, don’t forget about former MLBA player Alex Rodriguez; he is on the list because I needed a catchy title to this column to get morons who don’t care about politics and government to read it. Welcome morons! 

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A-Rod: “You want me to run for what?”

So let’s look at who the poll’s puppet masters think is “in” and dissect them.

Of the five legitimate candidates, I like all but one of them (and I am not saying who the one I don’t like is, but if any of the them take me out to Datz for lunch I will tell them it wasn’t them).  In fact, some of the candidates I believe are, or would be fine public servants – in a self-serving, unaccomplished, egotistical, political ladder-climbing sort of way. I used to fondly think the same way about Marco Rubio. Today I see him as worse than termite dust (which I currently have in my house causing me to think Rubio may actually be better than termite dust), but that’s another column.

So here are the five analyzed:

Ed Narain – Ed is extremely likeable, is smart, has decent name ID in parts of the city, and (unlike Marco Rubio), he has a day job (albeit government related) working for a large telecom company as a lobbyist or something. Ed is a family man with really cute kids, and he has a good heart and good intentions. He would make a fine mayor. He barely lost his race to the state senate against Darryl Rouson last year. To win the mayoral race, he’s going to need to expand his name I.D., and become known as more than just “the black candidate.” If he plays his cards right, he can probably do it, but it’s going to be a challenge. Joining a Rotary Club would certainly help him in this endeavor.

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Former state Rep. Ed Narain and family.

Jane Castor – Jane probably knows the streets of Tampa better than the guy who paved them. She served for decades as an officer with TPD, and retired a few years ago as the city’s police chief. By most accounts she did a great job as chief, but she has a few scandals under her belt to explain, including the set-up of a DUI of a lawyer in the Bubba the Love Sponge case by one of her officers, as well as the whole issue of “ticketing while black” of the city’s black bicycle riders.  She’ll get past all that, but being on defense isn’t how you want to start your campaign. Castor would be the city’s first openly gay mayor (ensuring her getting the endorsement of the liberal mullet wrapper Tampa Bay Times), even though ironically she was a Republican until just about two years ago. Thanks a lot Ana!

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Former TPD Chief Jane Castor is a familiar face.

Mike Suarez – I like to kid Mike that he is Bob Buckhorn’s “Minnie me.” I’m not sure Mike likes that comparison, but I’d take it to the bank if I were him. I would also take his hair. I am mostly bald. Mike is not. I would kill for his perfectly coifed hair if I cared about having hair. Speaking of grooming, Suarez has groomed himself to be mayor. Like Buckhorn, he is affable, and that matters more than smarts in politics because voters are really shallow and stupid (see Donald Trump). He will likely present himself as an extension of the good times (less all the potholes and police scandals) of the Buckhorn administration. Like Mayor Bob, Suarez won’t embarrass the city, but he’s not exactly going to be a dynamic visionary leader either, and at the end of his term, Tampa will most likely still be riddled with potholes and flooded streets. It could be worse.

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Good natured and good hair, Councilman Mike Suarez is Buchkhorn, Jr.

Harry Cohen – Of the six candidates whom I know, I know Harry the least. Like others, he’s got good grey matter, and a grasp of the issues, but he’s not exactly the most mesmerizing candidate you ever met. But hey, neither was Pam Iorio and she did a great job as mayor of Tampa. Still, voters don’t want smart, they want fun and likable. Don’t believe me? Remember Bill Clinton beat George H.W. Bush. WTF! But in a multi-candidate race, Cohen could be a consensus builder and sneak to victory.

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Councilman Harry Cohen could be consensus candidate.

Ed Turanchik – Of all the candidates with smarts, Ed is the most cerebral. He knows transportation like it’s his job, and I would imagine he also has the best grasp on where to get the finest vegan and gluten-free green smoothie in the city. While that sits well with Tampa’s liberal elite, and all the fools out there who think they have a gluten allergy (doctors say less than 1 percent of the population is actually allergic to gluten, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at all the over-priced gluten-free options at swanky south Tampa restaurant menus), it might not sit well with the just-slightly left-of-center Tampa voters. Thus, it doesn’t bode well for Turanchik’s prospects that he’s more Bernie Sanders than Joe Biden. Choo! Choo!

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Former Hills. Commissioner Ed Turanchik needs to share his vision beyond rail.

So there you have it, my official analysis of the unofficial candidates for Mayor of Tampa. May the best candidate win – announced, unannounced, or pie in the sky wishful thinking rumor mongering for someone else to get in it by people like me.

Go A-rod!

Chris Ingram is a political consultant, media personality, columnist, and political analyst for Bay News 9. Follow him on Twitter at: @IrreverentView. 


My apologies…

My apologies if you received and inadvertent email with story links from Irreverent View in the last 24 hours. I recently changed the platform and accidentally and unknowingly sent that out.

One of them included an “April Fool’s Day” post from several years ago about a number of county commissioner’s being arrested by the FBI. It was a joke.

Chris Ingram


Unfit “tone and substance” for the Tampa Bay Times

One-sided journalism is propaganda, not journalism.

Editors note:  I submitted the following as my bi-monthly column submission to the Tampa Bay Times two weeks ago. The editor rejected the column saying it “does not fit in tone or substance.” I pointed out to the editor that the subject matter was in the ultra-liberal New York Times (and referenced in the column) days earlier. I further pointed out that the Tampa Bay Times has a regular columnist who frequently calls names, bashes Republicans and makes baseless claims, while my rejected column does none of that.

 mullet-wrapper_editedThe editor later said they would be running the New York Times piece in the Sunday opinion section, which they did.

Not surprisingly, subsequent to my rejected column with its “unfit tone and substance,” the Tampa Bay Times has run multiple front page stories and editorials on unproven allegations of sexual harassment against Donald Trump. 

Regardless, the Tampa Bay Times’ decision is an example of a today’s liberal media. They embrace thought-provoking differences of opinion — so long as those opinions are theirs, and they conform with the propaganda it calls journalism. I have notified the Tampa Bay Times‘ editor that I will no longer be writing for the paper. One-sided opinion is merely propaganda and is not something I wish to be associated with. Shame on me really, what should I have expected from a paper that in over 100 years of existence has never endorsed a Republican for president or governor of the state of Florida?

I have cancelled my subscription to the Tampa Bay Times. You can do so by calling this number: 1-800-888-7012.

Images were not included in column submission.

Here is the column: 

Hillary Clinton’s hypocrisy

Last year, while addressing the press in Iowa, Hillary Clinton said, “Today I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault… don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed and we’re with you.”

But practicing what she preaches has never been Mrs. Clinton’s strong suit. As it relates to addressing sexual predators, she has taken a blind-eye to the one who is most front and center in her life: her husband Bill Clinton.

Out on the campaign trail, Donald Trump has tried to make an issue of Mr. Clinton’s behavior, but he is not making the connection as to why it is relevant in this year’s campaign for the White House.

The relevancy is not the fact that Mr. Clinton has been accused of rape (by Juanita Broderick and Eileen Wellstone), has engaged in what can only be characterized as workplace sexual harassment (in the cases of Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky), as well as groping (Kathleen Wiley, Christy Zercher, Sandra Allen James), not to mention claims of extramarital affairs; no, what is relevant is Mrs. Clinton’s behavior as it relates to her husband’s misogyny. Because she is right. Victims of sexual assault (and harassment), have the right to be heard, and the right to be believed.

But over the years, Mrs. Clinton has chosen to not help women who are victims of her husband’s assaults. Instead, she has vilified and denounced those women who have accused him of rape, abuse, and workplace harassment. She once referred to Flowers as a “bimbo” and “trailer park trash,” and referred to Lewinksy as a “narcissistic loony toon.” Her husband has admitted to relations with both women – both of whom were under his employ at the time of his mistreatment.

Imagine for a moment if a prominent Republican had been accused of rape, sexual harassment in the workplace, or had carried on with a young intern. No doubt, liberals, feminists, and Hillary Clinton would have certainly (and appropriately) condemned them, called for investigations, resignation, etc., and would have repeatedly reminded us that the victim was the woman.

Over the years, Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly had the chance to stand up for her husband’s victims, but she has done none of that. Instead, she has chosen to ignore what’s right for victims, in favor of what is best for her and her political aspirations by defending her husband and attacking the victims.


According to a report in the October 2, 2016 New York Times, “Outwardly, [Mrs. Clinton] remained stoic and defiant, defending her husband while a progression of women and well-funded conservative operatives accused Mr. Clinton of behavior unbecoming the leader of the free world.

But privately, she embraced the Clinton campaign’s aggressive strategy of counterattack: Women who claimed to have had sexual encounters with Mr. Clinton would become targets of digging and discrediting — tactics that women’s rights advocates frequently denounce.

The campaign hired a private investigator with a bare-knuckles reputation who embarked on a mission, as he put it in a memo, to impugn Ms. Flowers’s ‘character and veracity until she is destroyed beyond all recognition.’”bill-clintons-victims-2

While nothing Mrs. Clinton says is, in my opinion, credible, and her actions or inaction on sexual assault victims won’t change my vote, I am dumbfounded by the number of women who claim to be feminists who are willing to give Mrs. Clinton a pass.

Perhaps having blinders on and being in denial about Mrs. Clinton’s pathetic actions involving her husband’s misogynistic behavior makes it easier to cast a ballot for her; but it sends a terrible message to young and impressionable women who look up to Mrs. Clinton as role model.

“Don’t let anyone silence your voice,” she says. Unless that is, she is doing the silencing and the silence benefits her. Mrs. Clinton’s hypocrisy suggests she’s just fine with it remaining a man’s world.

Chris Ingram is a columnist, Republican political consultant, and political analyst for Bay News 9.

What is killing our reefs?

I happen to be one of those conservatives who believes global warming (or climate change, as it is now more accurately called), is real and caused in part by man. That said, global warming is also partly a natural phenomenon. Some experts suggest man’s contribution to the changes in climate are just 1 percent to 2 percent. Global warming skeptics suggest the impact is practically negligible and that efforts to slow it are unnecessary given the economic and regulatory burdens those efforts create.

Published in The Tampa Tribune, Sunday September 28, 2014 By Chris Ingram

Earlier this month, my wife Amy and I took a trip to St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, for a week of rest and relaxation. It was our fourth visit to St. John in the past 12 years.

St. John is unique, as it is mostly preserved thanks to the generosity of the Rockefeller family, which donated 5,000 acres to the U.S. government in 1956. Following subsequent purchases of land by the federal government, Virgin Islands National Park now covers 60 percent of the island.

St. John and the park are famous for its coral reefs and picturesque beaches — one of which is considered among the 10 best in the world. The park has miles of trails for hiking through mountainous tropical rainforest, and the reefs are favorites of snorkelers and scuba divers — though the latter is prohibited in most reefs within the park’s boundaries.

During our week in St. John, we visited a different beach or two each day, selecting those with the best snorkeling. September is the beginning of what is usually an active hurricane season in the Caribbean, so there are fewer tourists, many restaurants and tourist-related businesses are closed and the normally packed streets of Cruz Bay, the largest town in St. John, are nearly bare.

A colorful (and fast) Reef Squid swims the reefs of St. John.
A colorful (and fast) Reef Squid swims the reefs of St. John.

The trade-off of having to potentially dodge hurricanes is an acceptable one when you consider you can go to the most popular of St. John’s beaches, Trunk Bay in the park, and share it with no more than a half-dozen people on most any day there isn’t a cruise ship in port at nearby St. Thomas.

Although much of St. John will never be developed because of the national park, that doesn’t mean St. John’s ecosystem is being adequately preserved and protected — directly or indirectly.

The first time we went to St. John a dozen years ago, we snorkeled at Trunk Bay and were dazzled by the plethora of fish, sea turtles and vibrant colored corals just 75 or so yards off its sandy beaches. Every time we have been back since that first visit, we have noticed the corals are in decline, and the overall health of the reef appears worse.

Unfortunately, other reefs we snorkeled looked to be in similar deteriorating condition.

The obvious question is: What is the cause of the rapid deterioration of St. John’s coral reefs?

Some suggest that Continue reading “What is killing our reefs?”

Craft beer in Florida meets Karl Marx

I mean come on, this is Flori-duh! We can have a wink and a nod and drink our beer without regulation by legislators bought by Big Beer telling us they know what’s best. Competition is good. Craft beers are winning market share because their beer tastes better than the flavorless mass-produced garbage the big brewers produce. Apparently campaign cash is more important than consumer choice and free markets, and Sen. Kelli Stargel is more concerned with making Karl Marx proud.

By Chris Ingram

State Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) has lead the fight on behalf of “Big Beer” interests to force micro-brewers who produce tasty craft beers to use distributors to sell their products.

Big Beer’s biggest cheerleader has taken thousands of dollars from the Big Beer lobby. She is so overcome with hallucination from her Big Beer buddies’ money, she has proclaimed to be like a mother, saying, “I believe I know what’s best.”

Among other things, the keg monitoring queen apparently knows it is best to limit competition, deny consumers the freedom of choice, increase the cost of buying a beer, and add layers of bureaucracy to budding businesses and the entrepreneurs who start them.

Photo: Florida’s keg beer monitoring queen is Sen. Kelli Stargel.

She is so caught up in the talking points of Big Beer, she has even defended the prohibition-era “three tier” system of beer distribution.

Under this neo-Marxian-like system (one that stresses the monopolistic rather than the competitive nature of capitalism), micro-brewers will be forced into a paper transaction with distributors in order for the micro-brewers to sell their craft beers at their own establishments. No beer will actually change possession between micro-brewers and distributors, but paperwork and money will exchange hands from the micro-brewers to the distributors – who will be acting as the middle-men in this non-transaction transaction; ultimately this will increase the cost to consumers.

Earlier this week Mama Stargel claimed Continue reading “Craft beer in Florida meets Karl Marx”

A Jake Fuller cartoon. Republicans to “Big Beer”: For all you do, this cash is for you!

The Republicans in the Florida Legislature are crawling with scum-bags like Don Gaetz who speaks out of both sides of his big fat mouth!

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GOP takes its cash and tramples on free-markets and consumer choice in favor of big business.

Thanks to Republicans, you may have cracked open your last craft beer

But before the growler bill they were advocating got to a vote, the Senate Rules Committee passed an amended bill that would allow the sale of growlers but would also heavily restrict the sale of virtually all craft beer sold by microbrewers.

Published in the Tampa Tribune, Sunday, April 27, 2014

By Chris Ingram

In what has to be the new poster child of the laws of unintended consequences, craft beer brewers and their beer-drinking enthusiasts have to be scratching their heads and asking, “What happened?”

Craft brewers — or microbrewers — had gotten the Florida Legislature to consider a bill to allow the sale of growlers, half-gallon sized containers of beer that are prohibited by state law. Along with Florida, growlers are illegal in only two other states.

But before the growler bill they were advocating got to a vote, the Senate Rules Committee passed an amended bill that would allow the sale of growlers but would also heavily restrict the sale of virtually all craft beer sold by microbrewers.

The devil is in the details.

SB 1714 would permit the sale of growlers by microbrewers who sell fewer than 2,000 kegs of beer per year. So far so good, but not great. Brewers producing more than 2,000 kegs per year would be permitted to sell growlers, but they would also be required to distribute all of their beers, regardless of size, through an established beer distributor.

Fla. Senate leaders want you to pay more for craft beer.

The effect of the distribution requirement would be higher costs to consumers, since the beer distributors would be due a large cut for their role as a middle man. Adding insult to injury, any microbrewery in the state producing over 2,000 kegs would have to sell its beer to the distributor and then buy it back (after a mark-up from the distributor), to sell their own beer in their own microbrewery.


Is it any wonder we call it the “Flori-duh” Legislature?

The bill is being pushed by (Click here to read the full column in today’s Tampa Tribune.)

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him atChris@IrreverentView.com.

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