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Whispers on Iorio; a meager salary

By ERNEST HOOPER, Times Columnist
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 4, 2002

There are so many rumors about Supervisor of Elections Pam Iorio that they are starting to sound like a string of bad jokes.

Did you hear the one about Pam Iorio quitting her office to challenge Rose Ferlita for her City Council seat?

That's not it; she's going to jump back in the mayor's race.

Wrong, she's going to be next secretary of state.

Wait a minute, I got the real scoop: Pam is going to buy a house in Siesta Key and run for Congress against Katherine Harris.

(That last one is just wishful thinking on my part.)

Iorio's response to all the trial balloons? She needs poll workers, not rumors.

From one perspective, the rumors are understandable. After the smooth-running primary effort headed up by Iorio, there may not be a more popular politician in town outside of Dick Greco. She has brought pride to our residents the way the Bucs do when they beat the Dolphins.

But much like the Bucs, Iorio will tell you the season is not over. Her sole focus continues to be her Super Bowl: the Nov. 5 general election in which there will be more voters, more touch screen machines and more unfamiliarity from the electorate.

There may be a greater political goal in her future, but a more realistic time for those aspirations is 2004, not now.

* * *

You have CEOs pulling down six-, seven- and (in some extreme cases) eight-figure salaries for running businesses, and some of them don't even do that good a job.

Now, compare their duties to the charge given to Gen. Tommy Franks. In essence, he's the CEO of Central Command. His decisions impact the world and alter the course of history.

You would think a four-star general would have a comparable salary. Think again. Franks' base pay is $138,204. Sure, his transportation is provided, including his own jet, and the housing provided to him is a home overlooking the bay.

But he deserves at least $500,000. Don't you think?

It's not like he gets a lot of days to enjoy that waterfront view.

* * *

Congressman Jim Davis has helped deliver a $325,000 federal grant to the University of South Florida. The grant is part of the Transition to Teaching program and will help USF's College of Education train, place, and retain an estimated 105 to 150 midcareer professionals interested in becoming teachers in Pasco County.

I didn't understand why the teachers were going to Pasco and not Hillsborough, but Hillsborough schools spokesman Mark Hart said the district hopes to win the same grant next year. After all, the district's teacher of the year, Bloomingdale High's Ron Dyches, is a career military man who made the transition.

* * *

Mayoral candidate Frank Sanchez added new meaning to the term political animal when he attended the annual Blessing of the Animals at the Franciscan Center.

But you can't accuse Sanchez of pandering for the influential animal lovers' vote. His Riverside Heights home is about three blocks from the Franciscan Center and, as he was quick to point out, he has two cats.

* * *

I asked my wife if she really thinks cleaning is so bad, why did she purchase four vacuum cleaners? That's right, four. One for the carpet, one for the tile, a wet-dry vac and a hand-held vacuum.

Her reply: "Any woman who lives with you needs at least four vacuum cleaners."

I guess that's all she's saying.

-- Ernest Hooper can be reached at (813) 226-3406 or

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