Trio to be honored for efforts in bay area

Published October 14, 2006

Three people who may play significant roles in helping decide the fate of the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority will be recognized for their leadership next month.

The Tampa Bay Partnership will present lawyer and past chairwoman Rhea Law, state Rep. Bill Galvano and state Sen. Mike Fasano with its Chair's Cup for Excellence in Regionalism award Nov. 17 during its Annual Meeting & Community Update. The partnership promotes economic development in the region and supports planned legislation by Galvano and Fasano to create a regional transportation authority.

Fasano has said he will submit a bill during the next legislative session that would create the regional authority and also abolish the embattled Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority. Galvano has said he is leaning that way with the legislation he plans to file.

Law, meanwhile, has been brought in by the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority to help right its ship as it faces ongoing questions about its bidding practices, an alleged conflict of interest by one of its board members, and the way it hires and pays its outside counsel and lobbyist.

Betty Carlin, communications manager for the partnership, said the award for Galvano and Fasano does in part recognize their role in pursuing a regional transportation authority. More broadly, it honors their service as chairman and vice chairman of the bay area legislative delegation, according to a luncheon invitation.

While Law has said she played an advisory role in that effort, Carlin said the award for her is more of a general recognition of the many leadership roles she has played with the partnership.

"She's been very involved in our organization over the years on a lot of different issues," Carlin said.

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Ken Anthony's run for the Hillsborough County Commission is taking shape without an edge.

Anthony chose round yard signs to promote his candidacy for the District 3 seat. The Republican insurance agent said the idea was hatched during a brainstorming session on political signs.

The idea was to stand out from the pack. The group of volunteers considered various colors, but decided an unusual shape would make the boldest statement.

The signs cost a little more than run-of-the-mill rectangles. But Anthony said they signify his willingness to "think outside the box."

Anthony faces Democrat Kevin White, a member of Tampa City Council since 2003, in the Nov. 7 election.

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Like their views on many issues, the campaign signs of District 7 Hillsborough County Commission candidates Mark Sharpe and Tom Scott are somewhat similar, at least in color. Both are navy blue with gold accents, making them not so easy to distinguish at first glance.

Sharpe, who is seeking a new term in the at-large seat, said he chose the colors as a nod to his Navy service. Scott, who is challenging Sharpe after being term-limited out of his District 3 seat representing central and eastern Tampa, said he has used the same colors in each of his elections.

There is one notable distinction: Scott's signs have a "Let's Keep" before the candidate's name and make it clear he's a church pastor. Sharpe said he feels Scott's signs suggest he is the incumbent.

"I am an incumbent," said Scott, with 10 years on the board compared to Sharpe's two. "I'm a seasoned veteran."

Just not in this seat.

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As is often the case, strip club owner and Democrat District 5 county commission candidate Joe Redner provided much of the levity during a political forum, this one before the Tiger Bay Club of Tampa this week. "Well, here I am again," said Redner, a perennial candidate, by way of introduction.

Fielding a question about how he would comport himself on a board often described as dysfunctional, Redner said, "Either get along with me or I'll kill you."

One Tiger Bay Club member asked specifically how she could rationalize voting for a man who is arguably not someone she could describe as a role model to her children.

"Well, maybe you shouldn't vote for me," he responded, before describing how well he treats his dancers.

Staff writers Bill Varian and Janet Zink contributed to this report.