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Politics

Redner, Miller state their cases

The candidates square off in an online forum.

By JANET ZINK
Published March 14, 2007


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TAMPA - City Council member Gwen Miller and her re-election challenger, strip club owner Joe Redner, went head-to-head Tuesday during an online candidate forum.

Redner and Miller will face each other March 27 in a runoff election for the at-large District 1 City Council seat.

"This is probably the most interesting council race in the history of the city of Tampa," panelist Ed Turanchik said before asking Redner how he would balance owning adult businesses with service on the City Council.

Redner answered that he owns only one adult business, the Mons Venus strip club on N Dale Mabry Highway. But he said that if elected he would not vote on matters related to any adult business.

"I will voice my opinion but I will not vote," he said.

Redner also said that the city's adult entertainment laws should be strictly enforced to fight prostitution and illegal drugs.

"If the law is used properly we wouldn't have any problems with adult businesses," he said.

Miller, a former schoolteacher, declined to comment on the issue, saying adult businesses are the purview of the city attorney, code enforcement department and police. Several times, she repeated her commitment to "work with the mayor" to improve the city.

And she reverted to previous pledges to not cut property taxes. Early in the campaign, Miller said she supported cutting Tampa's property tax rate. She later said she would not support cuts, then said she wanted to see what happened with property tax reform at the state level.

Last year, the City Council cut Tampa's property tax rate for the first time in 20 years. The 2 percent cut forced the city to cut its budget by $3.3-million. Miller said that hurt Tampa's nonprofit organizations. "I don't think we should hurt them two years in a row," she said.

In fact, the city's nonprofits were spared last year. Mayor Pam Iorio had suggested taking money away from some, including Lowry Park Zoo, to accommodate the tax cut. But the City Council rejected that and dipped into Iorio's emergency reserves.

Redner said he supports more property tax rate rollbacks. Property tax revenues would still grow, he said, if developers in urban areas could build at the highest densities possible.

Redner said he wants to stop growth in open areas in North Tampa where rain feeds into the Hillsborough River, which supplies most of Tampa's water.

He also said developers need to pay for the impact they have on neighborhoods, using school expansions as an example.

Miller said she thinks developers do a fine job providing the city with what it needs.

The entire forum is available online at www.tampagold.com.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or 813 226-3401.

[Last modified March 14, 2007, 05:50:23]


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