tampabay.com

Two with experience and a fresh face vie for seat

The race pits a former county commissioner, a City Council appointee and a political newcomer.

By BILL VARIAN
Published February 28, 2007


TAMPA - Tom Scott touts his experience, serving 10 years on the Hillsborough County Commission, which he says gives him the know-how to get things done.

Frank Reddick says he's made the most of his four months on the Tampa City Council after being appointed to the job in November and that, combined with his community service, has earned him the privilege to continue.

Lynette "Tracee" Judge says she represents a fresh face who will bring a lifetime of living in the community to help make it a better place.

All three are seeking to win election to the District 5 seat on the Tampa City Council representing much of central and East Tampa.

Scott, 53, a native of Georgia and pastor of the 34th Street Church of God in the heart of the district, is coming off an unsuccessful run for a countywide seat on the County Commission. He says he's running to continue his work on behalf of district residents, particularly in the areas of affordable housing and transportation.

As a commissioner, Scott led efforts to have county government do more to promote construction of affordable housing, including the hiring of an affordable housing officer whose job is to focus on that task.

He helped lead unsuccessful efforts to find new spending for transportation. Scott pushed for creation of a special taxing district in East Tampa that channels additional money toward neighborhood improvements, and persuaded fellow county commissioners to dedicate more than $6-million toward widening 40th Street, though it's a city project.

He said he wants to continue advancing those efforts on the City Council, and to help oversee redevelopment of the Central Park Village public housing complex, initial plans for which he helped shape.

"I'm about progress," Scott said. "I'm about accomplishment. I'm about doing."

Reddick, 51, a Tampa native and president of the Sickle Cell Association of Hillsborough County, ran for office three times before his appointment to the City Council in November. As a former neighborhood association leader, he takes credit for pushing to have the East Tampa special taxing district expanded after Scott helped create it, adding several historically black neighborhoods outside the original boundaries.

As a council member, Reddick led the effort to have the city purchase Gene's Bar in East Tampa, the subject of neighborhood complaints about fights, drug use and noise for two decades. He said that effort shows his ability to quickly make a difference for the better.

His Web site highlights his efforts as a council member and neighborhood activist to help remove blight and enhance recreational options for children. By contrast, he says Scott has comparatively little to show for his decade representing much of the same area.

"He has failed to adequately represent the people of District 5 as a commissioner," Reddick said. "It bothers me that he wants to represent the same constituents he had for 10 years."

Scott noted with some humor that two areas of accomplishment Reddick chooses to highlight would not have been possible without his work to create the East Tampa special taxing district.

Judge, 42, a public school social worker and community activist, has generally chosen to avoid that fray. She is promoting a five-point plan to help revitalize central and East Tampa, home to many of Tampa's historically black neighborhoods, as well as some of its poorest residents.

Sure, Judge said, she doesn't have the political experience. But she said Reddick can hardly claim credit for wholesale change for the better in four months, nor can Scott after 10 years representing much of the same area.

"If you don't like what you've seen in District 5 in the past 10 years, it's time for a change," she said.

Judge said she wants to make neighborhoods safer by promoting policing and code enforcement. She said she will seek to promote efforts to build housing that people in her district can afford to buy, not just rent, and she will emphasize economic development, including seeking chain restaurants that are now largely missing from the core of Tampa.

Judge said she also wants road and other infrastructure upgrades, including construction of sidewalks near schools. She said she will work on neighborhood beautification, including looking for ways to make the small business strip across from the redeveloped Belmont Heights Estates public housing complex more attractive.

"I'm running to help bring about a change and take my activism to the next level," she said.

Reddick said there is another thing voters should consider that gives him an edge. He said he has managed to work well with other City Council members and Mayor Pam Iorio's administration, which is critical to get things done.

Scott in particular has clashed with Iorio and City Council members, most recently over plans to redevelop the Central Park Village complex.

"It's obvious Mr. Scott has a problem and a poor relationship with the mayor, or other members of the council," Reddick said. "You're bringing some of the hostility from the county to the city with a vote for Scott, and the city doesn't need that."

Scott said there's no hostility. People can disagree and still get along, he said, adding that it is the job of an elected official to raise questions.

"If you want someone to go in there and not ask hard questions, then go ahead and endorse Frank," Scott said. "The voters don't elect you just to go along with the mayor."

Bill Varian can be reached at (813) 226-3387 or varian@sptimes.com.

. BACKGROUND

Lynette "Tracee" Judge

Date of Birth: Nov. 5, 1964.

Political experience: None.

Education: bachelor's degree, University of South Florida; master's degree, Florida State University. Both in social work.

Marital status: Married, no children.

Source of income: Hillsborough County School District.

Contact: www.lynettejudgein2007; (813) 630-5071.

 

Frank Reddick

Date of Birth: Nov. 5, 1955

Political experience: Appointed to Tampa City Council in November. Ran unsuccessfully for State House (2000); Hillsborough County Commission (1996); and City Council (2005).

Education: bachelor's of science from Paine College in Augusta, Ga.

Marital status: Single.

Source of income: City of Tampa; Sickle Cell Association of Hillsborough County.

Contact: www.reddick2007; (813) 220-6751.

 

Tom Scott

Date of birth: Sept. 27, 1953.

Political experience: Hillsborough County Commission, 1996-2006.

Education: bachelor's in criminal justice from the University of North Florida.

Marital status: Married with three grown children.

Source of Income: 34th Street Church of God.

Contact: www.votethomasscott.com; (813) 241-2860.