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Neighborhood Report

Lawyer reaches No. 1, in some form

A vanity plate for a Beemer convertible displays the determination of its driver.

By RON MATUS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 27, 2002

As the first day of the first month of the year approaches, meet No. 1.

Technically, he's "0000001" -- corporate lawyer Dick Pollinger, a Tampa newcomer.

He's the guy cruising South Tampa these days in a convertible BMW with a custom license plate.

If you were wondering, 0000001 wasn't his No. 1 choice.

Pollinger just wanted something funny and easy to remember. He asked for "WOOF." But it was taken. So were all the other words he came up with. So the Bayshore Boulevard resident asked for 1.

Sorry, he was told by the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

"01"? Nope.

"001"? Long gone.

The only configuration left was one with so many zeros it barely fit on the plate. Pollinger, 62, took it.

Now his BMW 330CIC "looks like the first one ever made," he said.

Pollinger moved to the Tampa Bay area last year from New York City, where he was general counsel for two midsized corporations. He wanted to escape Northern winters and be closer to his mother in St. Petersburg.

Until a Times reporter came calling, his plate wasn't generating much reaction, he said. Teenage boys flash him thumbs up now and then, and women beam him smiles. But that's not why he got the plate.

"That would be a little embarrassing," he said.

Odds are 1,000,000 to 1 that Pollinger won't be cranking Metallica's One when he tools around on New Year's Day. He plays piano, prefers jazz. In earlier days, he played clubs with a band.

One more thing about one: He's single.

-- Ron Matus can be reached at 226-3405 or .

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