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Sandy Freedman


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Sandy Freedman
Series Title:
Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman administration oral history project
Physical Description:
1 sound file (265 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Freedman, Sandy
Kerstein, Robert J
University of South Florida Libraries -- Florida Studies Center. -- Oral History Program
University of South Florida -- Tampa Library
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Community development -- Florida -- Tampa   ( lcsh )
City planning -- Florida -- Tampa   ( lcsh )
Tampa (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Oral history   ( local )
Online audio   ( local )
Oral history.   ( local )
Online audio.   ( local )
interview   ( marcgt )


Former Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman, discusses her life in politics in Tampa, Florida. She begins the interview with a brief discussion of her childhood and how she came to the Tampa Bay area. She also discusses her tenure on the Tampa City Council as a council member and later as chairman of the council. Ms. Freedman discusses her time as acting mayor and mayor of the city of Tampa from 1986 to1995. She also discusses city programs that were significant to her as mayor: Tampa Neighborhood Cleanup, the Growth Management Act of 1985 (neighborhood element), the Community Reinvestment Act (implemented on a local level), Tampa Heights building and redevelopment project, the sister-city program, and the building of the Tampa Convention Center. The interview ends with Ms. Freedman reflecting on her time as mayor and what she would have done differently.
Interview conducted on May 31, 2005.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System Details:
Streaming audio.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Robert Kerstein.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 028545913
oclc - 180111635
usfldc doi - F50-00005
usfldc handle - f50.5
System ID:

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C O P Y R I G H T N O T I C E T h i s O r a l H i s t o r y i s c o p y r i g h t e d b y t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a L i b r a r i e s O r a l H i s t o r y P r o g r a m o n b e h a l f o f t h e B o a r d o f T r u s t e e s o f t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a C o p y r i g h t 2 0 0 7 U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a A l l r i g h t s r e s e r v e d T h i s o r a l h i s t o r y m a y b e u s e d f o r r e s e a r c h i n s t r u c t i o n a n d p r i v a t e s t u d y u n d e r t h e p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e F a i r U s e F a i r U s e i s a p r o v i s i o n o f t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s C o p y r i g h t L a w ( U n i t e d S t a t e s C o d e T i t l e 1 7 s e c t i o n 1 0 7 ) w h i c h a l l o w s l i m i t e d u s e o f c o p y r i g h t e d m a t e r i a l s u n d e r c e r t a i n c o n d i t i o n s F a i r U s e l i m i t s t h e a m o u n t o f m a t e r i a l t h a t m a y b e u s e d F o r a l l o t h e r p e r m i s s i o n s a n d r e q u e s t s c o n t a c t t h e U N I V E R S I T Y O F S O U T H F L O R I D A L I B R A R I E S O R A L H I S T O R Y P R O G R A M a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a 4 2 0 2 E F o w l e r A v e n u e L I B 1 2 2 T a m p a F L 3 3 6 2 0


Sandy Freedman Oral History Project University of South Florida Interview with: Sandy Freedman Interviewed by: Robert Kerstein Location: Unknown (Tampa, FL) Date: May 31, 2005 Transcribed by: Rebecca Willman Edited by: Sandy Freedman, Rebecca W illman 12/20/06 Audit Edit by: Cyrana Wyker 9/12/07 Final Edit by: Nicole Cox 10/16/07 [Tape 1, Side A] RK: This is an interview with Sandy Freedman, Mayor of the City of Tampa from 1986 to 1995, and the date is May 31, 2005. Good morning. SF: Good morning. RK: Where were you born? SF: I was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1943. RK: And when did you move to Tampa? SF: I was about two and a half years old when I came here. RK: Do you know why they moved here? SF: My father bought a bus iness on Franklin Street, he was in the jewelry business. And he had been in the jewelry business in Jersey, in Newark, and be cause he was interested in [inaudible] business oriented [inaudible] and was there for 50 years. RK: And what neighborhood did y ou move to? SF: We moved to Davis Island, and I lived in that house until I got married. RK: What high school did you go to? SF: I went to Plant High School. RK: And what college?


2 SF: First I went my freshman year I went to University of Georgia. A nd then I transferred to University of Miami. I was a tennis player in those days, and Miami had a very good tennis team and in Georgia it rained all the time. RK: And when did you graduate? SF: I graduated in 1961. RK: And you came back to Tampa right away? SF: I came back to Tampa and actually worked for some months at the Tampa Tribune as the first copy girl. RK: How did you perceive Tampa when you came back, did you have any reactions that you recall as to what kind of a city it was? SF: Well it was still a small town, I mean it was growing obviously, hundreds of thousands of people in the area, but it was still a very small town and everybody knew everybody. Still provincial in many ways. RK: Provincial meaning ? was controlled by really a handful of downtown men, predominately white establishments; blacks and whites were led very separate progressive city. RK: Were women active in politics at all? SF: Not when I returned, no. I think there might have been a woman on the school board, but [inaudible] RK: When did you get married? SF: I got married in 1965 [inaudible]. RK: Okay, and you ran for City Council in 1974? S RK: Did you get involved in any political groups before that? SF: I had a degree in government and was always interested in local government from the time I was in grammar school because I had a teacher, at Gorrie Elementary, named Ms. Baker who would require us to bring in current events. I think that was the 5 th grade, every day we had to bring in current events and talk about them, and so from that point


3 on I was interested in government, mainly local government in particular. And I t hink the first time that I ever got involved in a political campaign, I was probably about 16. I [5 6 minute inaudible tape] SF: [A rezoning at E & W Davis for commercial. Eventu ally a] family who had lost their son donated some money so that the park would be named after their son. And that was the piece of property that really got me going on the zoning issues and growth management and land use concerns. RK: And when did you de cide to run for City Council? SF: I had always thought I would run for City Council. I really, it sounds silly, but I always wanted to be the Mayor someday, and that was the, as I said, the emphasis was on state and local government when I went to college It just always intrigued me because that was where the action was. And I remember telling friends when we were first married that someday I was going to run for City Council. And that was kind of unheard of, a woman! And everybody would laugh. And I reme mber in 1974 when then Mayor go into the private sector, and there would be a special election to replace him, and I knew that there was a member of the City Council w ho would be running for mayor. And Greco has resigned and Vince going to run for City Council! And he, I remember him saying exactly, anything until I get home! [Laughs] But I did announce that same week that I was going to run for City Council. RK: Did you have a core group that was helping you? SF: I had just some friends and family members and it was, in those days like today, but of course campaigns cost so much less. I remember deciding with my husband that because I was unknown as a political entity that rather than ask people for money I would just take any contributions that came from friends and family. An d we would finance the for contributions. And it was expensive. In those days I think the campaign cost about 25,000 dollars, probably it might be five times that much today, or six times that much SF: Yes. That was before we had any single member districts so they were citywide seats, yeah. RK: And did you usually go to speak to neighborhood organizations, to business groups?


4 SF: I went everywhere I could go. In fact, civic associations had forums and I would, I somebod going to all those people and telling them who I was and why I was running. But as I said, nobody knew me as a political entity; my name was fairly well known because I had been had no idea who I was. So you could go anywhere and everywhere that you possibly could. I remember going to ell there are always people [Laughs] And I remember somebody taking me to the catwalks [laughs] want any part of hearing, you coul their eyes roll, but you knew they were, like, L ady, all I want to do is fish, get out of my life! [Laughs] RK: Did you have strong opposition? SF: There were a lot of people in that race. There was a woman named Irene Hadley, t here was another woman named Barbara Reeves, there was there were a couple of men running; I think there were five or six people running in that time. RK: And was there a runoff? Did you have a runoff? SF: There was a runoff. And I think I ran first but a woman named Irene Hadley was in the runoff as well, and she had been endorsed by the Tribune. And I remember right s. But I remember after a couple of weeks of, of her nastiness if you will, I went to the editor of the editorial page, James Clendinen, at the Tribune and unannounced I might add. And I remember taking all of the clippings and putting them down on his des f this is the kind of person that you want for service on the City Council, then endorse her again. But if not, you ought to think twice about it. And surprisingly enough, I guess he thought I had so ght. They did a dual endorsement. And they had endorsed her solo, alone the first time around. And so I won the seat. RK: Was the Tribune very influential? SF: Yes. Much more so than they are today and than any newspapers are today. They really, pretty influence on the winners. Some said that people and I actually saw this people would clip out the editorial box that they would place in the paper the Sunday before the elections a nd actually walk into the polling places and, and just mark those same names. People at that time considered them to be able to control maybe 50% of the electorate. It was really, very, very influential. Especially the Tribune The [ Tampa Daily ] Times was already it was the afternoon daily, and it was not as influential but, they had a


5 remarkable hold on, on who ran the city. Which is not surprising in those days actually and they were part of the establishment, so RK: It was a nonpartisan race I know, but did political parties play [a] role at all? SF: No. In those days it was nonpartisan of course as it still is today. But in those days almost everybody was registere d as a Democrat even if they were so conservative they Democrats, and then freq uently would vote for the most conservative Democrat that really was a closet republican. RK: Did any issues stick out in your mind when you were running that you emphasized? SF: Zoning issues were always important and they continue to be important, wh ich I think shows how local government really is, and how close to the people it really is. Unfortunately then there were very few active neighborhood groups unlike today, they were mostly in the affluent neighborhoods, and there was very little organizati on of any other groups. There were, in those days, groups that had influence within their particular sphere. I can remember a number of groups in the Hispanic community that were very, very influential and could count on hundreds and hundreds of votes ba sed upon who they chose for their slate, if you will. There was a man named Virgilio Fabian who was a dear friend of mine just wanted their voices to be heard and, an d the Hispanic community was certainly a They all had large families and the group was large, maybe 60 100 people and they got out with the yard signs and put them up and they made phone calls, and they had fish fries and spaghetti suppers at MacFarlane Park. And as a result of their efforts, in the Hispanic community they really turned out votes. And everybody voted. They, people who they had influence with went to the po lls in those communities. And there were some in the African American community that had similar groups. The newspaper, the Florida Sentinel Bulletin owned by the Andrews family, [it] is still owned by the Andrews family today if they endorsed you then t here was a certain percentage of the African American community that would turn out and almost that entire percentage would vote the way the Florida Sentinel Bulletin suggested So that there were those influential groups. But the main issues really were t he zoning and land use kinds of issues. And also I think people I think the people, at least I came in contact with for the most part really wanted to break out of the good old boy network and get some independent minded thinkers. RK: You mentioned the g ood old boy network, and before, the downtown establishment. Who were these people?


6 SF: They were bankers and business people and some lawyers. Chester Ferguson, who was a well known lawyer, was one of those people. The president of the Exchange Bank wa s another. The president of General Telephone; several of the other bankers; Tampa Electric was also a very prominent, always a very prominent player, not nearly the way it is today B ill Mac Innes in those days and he had a tremendous amount of clout. Those were the people who controlled the Chamber of Commerce; they were the people who controlled many of the boards in Tampa and the, certainly the Financial Institution Board of Directors. So t hey were wired, if you will, and they as well, had people that they turned to when the political season came around and, and they could turn out their voters. Tampa Electric, ame is true of General Telephone company and the banks, and, and those large businesses. They, there was a vested interest in being in control of local government and they let their people know that they needed to, to turn out to help continue that. And it was all white men. RK: Is there anything you can say about what policies they tended to support? Or what they generally SF: Whatever worked for them. I mean, if it was a question of business, a question of I nk for many years one of the banks had meant inordinate profits for them, you know, millions of millions of dollars going into that bank [or] one or two banks. And i are today, the big national banks. So these people had a tremendous stake in, in who was running city government and how their fortunes were going to be made. RK: You were elected to City Council, and Tam pa has a strong mayor system of government. Did you feel when you were on City Council that you were able to make your mark in terms of influencing important policies? SF: Oftentimes I felt that I had some influence on, on making things go in one directi on something in this form of government, even if the money is appropriated, the mayor Council even all seven of them want the later years I was on the City Council I was very interested in housing. And Bob Martinez was the mayor at that time. And I, I remember talking about housing very earl y on in the tenure, my tenure on City Council, and none of the mayors were interested in the community or better the people [and] the conditions that they lived in. An d it was very frustrating because nobody ever even wanted to talk about it. No matter when I any housing, not until I became the mayor much later.


7 But the major inf has such a tremendous focus on and should have is the future of this city as it relates the o e, and that they may not see the fruits of their labor for many years that important as the future unfolds, and yet I think they spend less time. And I I know when I was on the City Council most of the council members never even read the it, they did have a, and do have a huge impact on the future of the community RK: Did the attorney SF: In 1974, when I was first elected, and Jan Platt was also elected at that time. And she was very interested in having a charter review commission, and we established th at in 1975. And we had a charter review commission that each of us appointed members to, and as part of that effort, we revised the city charter, and included in this city charter, over objections of the mayor of the time having a council attorney and a bu dget analyst for the City Council. And those two positions were part of the charter that was voted upon, and successfully voted upon. And so those positions have been in, in city has, city council has financial information as gospel without having the ability to really investiga te it and, and RK: When you were first elected, I think Mayor Poe came into office. Did you, the City Council have a good relationship with the mayor? SF: We did have a good relationship with him, and I had a good relationship with him union, and police also have their own union. But the firefighters union was very influential in t hose days. The police PBA union was not so influential, they were just the firefighters, and the mayor who negotiates the contract for the city were at an impasse. And whe n that happens, the City Council gets involved in the negotiations and has to either agree to the contract, or not agree to the contract. And the contract came to the City Council and the council voted five to two I remember because we were dubbed first example that I had ever seen in my brief time with City Council and in governmen t, where the city had withheld information from the union. And we had a lot more money than the government was saying we had in order to pay them better wages and all. And when that was brought out, because it had gone to arbitration before it came to City


8 Council; it had gone to a Special Master is what they call it. And through his investigation it was found out that the city actually had the money that the firefighters said they had, but the, the city government, the administration had said, W e When that came out, it just seemed a question of fairness that we should approve the contract and give the raise to the firefighters. There was a lot of acrimony after that between the five members who voted with the firefighters union and, and the City administration, until Mayor Poe left. Does anything stick out in your mind about these elections? Did you win easily? Were th ere important issues? SF: The issues were pretty much the same. The firefighters five was dubbed a major issue union in those days. And, they, they wrote countless numbers of editorials about these five people who issues really were pretty much the same over the years. We had building issues like where to build the art museum; the very one in 19 this y ear, in 2005, has been so build it. We were doing other building projects, the library was being expanded. We were tackling the sewage treatment plant, which was s pilling effluent into the bay until that time, and polluting Tampa Bay. And, and spending huge amounts of money to, to clean up the bay. We had an incinerator that was also spewing toxic material into the air, and we had to clear that up and so we spent mo ney on that. So those were big issues that, that big debate. And it always seemed like, as much as things changed they stayed the same. RK: Were there any change in th e politics as far as neighborhood organizations becoming more active? the part of the administration, D Of course, we know now that kind of behavior. And that, it was, it was really a fear that administrators had, that they have to do what the people wanted them to do, which is kind of amazing becau se the people elected them! But that was always the attitude. see crack cocaine. And Bob Martinez was the mayor at the time and he was going to run


9 were a ci about it. And that was difficult to deal with initially when I first became the m ayor because people who lived in the neighborhoods that were affected by the open dealing of crack and, and drug sales, they were so angry at the city for having done nothing for years, and allowing this to creep up on them that it was really sad; but it w as also I was afraid that, that these people were, were really going to, to do something to the city. And I remember when I first became the mayor I think they would have hung me in effigy if they could because they were so angry at the city in East Tampa and in College Hill and Ponce de Leon neighborhoods, and several other neighborhoods, because they city had, had totally left them without any assistance. And little by little, we had to win back that trust. But that took a long time and many years. RK: Perry Harvey Jr. was elected to City Council in 1983, the first African American to be elected since 1887. Did that make a difference in terms of representation of the African American community? SF: Yeah, I think that was one of the turning points. Perr y was the head of a local community for many, many years. His father before him was the head of a Florida Sentinel Bulletin and the Andrews family. And they had involvement as a result of the longshoremen and the shipping and everything with some of the major white establishment figures. And an American community had for justice, if you will. And Perry was a tireless advocate for he aggravated people because of it, because they thought he was one dimensional, but somebody had to be at that time. He, he constantly badgered the establishment, th e City Council, the mayor, for things that would better the African American community. And the entire time he was on the City Council that was his major contribution. RK: While you were on City Council with him, was he able to achieve any success? SF: Oh, I think Perry did. I think as we look back people will see that as a turning point r African Americans who have served and continue to serve on the City Council but nobody beat the drum like Perry. The more recent ones have been more go and he was willing to make waves, as I said. And ange red an awful lot of people, and scared a lot of people. But his methods were worthwhile because they raised the consciousness of the community. He along with some others.


10 RK: During the 1970s and into the 1980s while you were on City Council, most of th e growth in Hillsborough County was in the unincorporated area. SF: Oh yeah, the city I think was losing population. There was the white flight that was know, we di whatever the case. RK: Did you have any interaction at all with the board of county commissioners who, who was the primary governing authority for the unincorporated county? SF: We had some minimal amount, but it was always us and them. And it still is to this problem because of course, we had a higher crime rate and we h ad the drug sales were any public housing, in the unincorporated areas. And for many, many years, up until the And there was never a feeling that everybody lived in Hillsborough County, whether you liv ed in the city limits or you lived in the unincorporated area. I think the County Commission not sure they have today but up until recently I thought they had made some progress toward realizing that we were all in this togethe r. RK: On City Council did you have any influence at all over the Tampa Housing Authority? SF: The mayor appoints the members and still appoints the members of the Housing Authority. They may be confirmed by the City Council, but that, the confirmation s were that was controversial. RK: Then as far as policy making they went their own way to a lower extent? SF: They went their own way and they were supposed to be c reated by the legislature, the housing authority, and they were supposed to be independent. From time to time different RK: Is it the same with two other important authorities, the Port Authority and the Aviation Authority? Did they operate pretty much independent of you? SF: Well, first of all, both of those were also created legislati vely. But the composition was always different. The mayor appointed a couple of members, not to the Port Authority at all. The mayor would sit on the Port Authority, but that came much later in irst mayor to sit on the Port


11 Authority. Before that no member of the County Commission or the mayor sat on the Port Authority, they were all members appointed by the governor. And so a group of influential businessmen, once again would get together and s ay, W e want this one, that one, the other one. In the Aviation Authority, the governor makes several appointments to the Aviation Authority and the County C ommissioner sits on that. So the influence of, of the mayor on those two authorities is much more limited than it could be on the housing authority. RK: When were you elected Chairman of the City Council? And I think that was the is that right? SF: It was the chairman, yeah. And then, then when I became the first woman who was elected to that job, then everybody got confused, W as it the Chairman? The Chairwoman? The Chairperson? The Chair? c alled me all kinds of things. I was elected over the objections of Mayor Martinez. In 19 not 1991, way before that; [1983] something like that. And it was pretty clear at that point, he had just won his second term as mayor, office. And I had just been elected, along with the other members of the City Council, he would probably resign, and whoever was t be the chairperson. And I remember after that election that night, it was the same day that we were all sworn in and then the e lection for council chairman immediately followed the swearing in ceremony. I, I remember walking out at the same time that he did of the funny he was dismayed that he had so mebody that was not an ally who was going to chair the City Council. So RK: Do you remember what the vote was on City Council? SF: It was very close; it was a four to three vote. A man named Tom Vann also wanted to be the chairman. And there was a lot of wheeling and dealing behind the scenes on the, sure to this day, but I think what happened is they had, had indicated that the Poe camp had indicated they would support V ann. And when it came time for the voting, they did not. And it was a surprise to me and I think to everybody else that Tom Vann, rather than voting for Haven Poe, he wound up voting for me, and he was the swing vote. SF: I think he was just piqued as I probably would have to, that he had kind of been


12 promised and kind of placated and everything and felt that he was going to get elected, and then they pulled the rug out from him. RK: This is probably 1983, is that SF: So mething, yeah. RK: Because it followed the election immediately? Is that true? SF: Yes RK: Okay good. Now does the chairperson have significant influence of the operation of the council? Did that make a difference in your role in the City Council? SF: Oh yeah, the chairperson is in charge of running the, the office, and making sure the budget of the office, the City Council office. And the employees of the office, and doing the employee evaluations, wh ich here before we had never done, but I initiated it employee evaluations, and you know trying to run it a little more business like than the haphazard way it had run before. And also he ran the meetings. And there had been Council Chairmen who have rough shod over the citizens who came to speak in front of them those people shall remain nameless; and then there you can run a much more democratic but firm meeting, which I think is what I did, and it was more controlled. Council was a very unique body for Rules of Order; we had a chairman for many years in the early days when I was first g particularly well, and he had certain prejudices and biases that came through pretty loud and clear during the course of meetings. Cutting certain people off, and certain things like that. And I was determined that we were going to change that because it in time. So there was more influence that the chairman could exert, and I think I did exert. And you could bring things up more readily. I mean, if you were really interested. I remember housing business, at least it was starting to be talked about. Because I could talk about it every time I got the microphone, which I had every, every week you know. Not that I did, but it was easier to get things accomplished. RK: Because you were chair did you have more discussion with the mayor, with Mayor Martinez at that time? things. He had switched political parties which really aggravated me. He had been a long


13 became a Republican and that really be, and as fair to the employees. He had some appointees city people who, who worked for him that had great disdain for the City Council. It was like, W So there were we could have been a resigned to run for governor I was going to become the acting mayor and be in a you in it. So I guess it was more fractious than it needed to be. RK: His primary focus during the time he was mayor, I believe, at least to a large extent was downtown development. SF: Yes. RK: Did you have any differences with him on how he approached dow ntown development? SF: There were, there were several things that I recall. I was very concerned about the convention center. Mayor Martinez embarked upon a land acquisition for the Convention Center which is where it currently is today, down at the wate r, and I believed it was the wrong location and was very vocal about it. Because there was no room for expansion own[ed] the land, which kind of got my goat a little bit a nd made me wonder too. But that probably was unfounded concern. But, and I voted against many of the land acquisitions and the location of the Convention Center because I was concerned about future expansion. We were building the Performing Arts Center w hich I wholeheartedly supported, except things were getting out of hand and construction costs, and cost overruns and problems like that, which I had to assume when I became the mayor. There was a lot of focus on downtown development. We started doing the tax increment financing at that time, and and turn it over to the private secto r. And some things that are a little less than democratic than I believed to be the case. Some of that has proved to be accurate from my point of support those. RK: So the mayor stepped down to run for, successfully, for governor. And you became Mayor of the City of Tampa. Was your title Acting Mayor? SF: I was the Acting Mayor, yeah.


14 SF: [Laughs]. They were funny things. Well, we had a swearing in ceremony, which was almost to my way of thinking it was like a civic celebration. I guess it was Mayor Martinez had, had been out of town a great, he was running for governor, and so in effect, George Penn ington, his Chief of Staff had been the acting mayor for roughly a year. I out of town traveling around the state, running for governor, oh, five out of every seven d ays of the week. I knew it, and I would meet with George Pennington quite regularly; he and I were good friends and had known each other for years. But George was actually running the city; he and a couple of the other top administrators. I remember I th ink it was in December or January of that year, six months before I became the mayor or so. We had a terrible freeze. And I remember the head of off campaigning somewhere around the state. And saying, W that can be opened, and people are going to die from the cold, homeless people are going to die from the cold. Is there something we can do? Can we open Curtis Hixon? The Convention Center, the old c onvention center. And I remember calling George and George, we, we have to do something to help the e need to open the Con vention Center And in effect, perhaps they would have done it anyway contact. And we opened the Convention Center for the very first time and developed a system whereby on those very, ver y cold winter days that we would open some city owned facilities to house homeless people and get them in out of the weather and, and clothe them clothe them if we could, but certainly provide cots and blankets and food. And I remember calling Cesar Gonzma rt and the Columbia restaurant, who was the owner of the Columbia restaurant and telling him we were going to open the convention center, was there anything he could do to help us? And Cesar came down with, with his, I think it was December with members of restaurant staff and they cooked huge pots of Spanish bean soup and fed all the homeless people and that, that was for days. Because it continued, the cold, for some days. And we had cots and blankets. I remember going there and realizing, I think it wa s the first time any of us realized that when we housed the homeless people we had to separate the men and the women, so we put them in different rooms. And a lot of good came out of that, because we learned some lessons, and learned how to deal with helpi ng the homeless during these kinds of weather conditions. And, and we continued to do that to even today. RK: So you were now Acting Mayor and George Pennington stays as your Chief of Staff is that true?


15 everal reasons. First of all I had learned to work with most of them. I had known many of them. George Pennington, before he School. And my children all attended Berkeley from kindergarten through graduation. And I was on the board of Berkeley Preparatory School, in fact I became the Chairman of closely with George Pennington for many, many years and knew him well, and thought that George could continue to serve, and he would serve me as well as he served Mayor Martinez. Lou Russo, who was the Finance Director, and I had a good relationship. So I asked him to stay on. And I asked most of th e people to stay on for two reasons. First of all most of them were good public officials and knew how to do their jobs. But more importantly and I guess, selfishly, I knew I was going to run for mayor the following year, and the business community was ver y skittish about having a woman as the mayor. And I knew that these people had had a lot of involvement with the business leaders, and they could calm the waters if you will, for me. And that it would help me politically. And as I began to say before, wh en I first became the mayor in the day, we had an elaborate swearing in at the Convention Center. I had a political team of consultants in place. And they felt that it was really important to start off with almost a public celebration of a new beginning. F irst woman mayor and, and here was somebody who was talking about neighborhoods and housing, and, and a more open and democratic kind of government, and people working together. And that was really the theme. A lot of meant a lot of people never got that but what it really meant was, keep the good business and more development, as we wer e doing. And anyway, this big it was a huge, huge crowd of people, and it was, it was kind of euphoric because there were parts of the community that were finally getting a voice. The African American community, women in the community, Hispanics, neighbor hoods much voice in the community; and a change from the old guard running the show. [It] scared a lot of people though I have to tell you that. Real scary. RK: When were the first riots during that period in College Hi ll? Was that after you were acting mayor? SF: Yes. That, it happened as I had said, we had turned a blind eye toward crack cocaine and the problems that were occurring. We had a high unemployment rate of African American males; police were 99% of [the] p olice department was white male. There were just a lot of conditions that caused a whole host of problems that began in the fall of, fall and winter of 1986, shortly after I became the mayor. Dwight Gooden, the basketball the baseball star was arrested by the police, or chased in his car by the police and then arrested. They believed that he had had drugs in his car and the African American community was incensed that one of their heroes was you know, arrested. And there were several deaths of African Ameri cans at hands of police.


16 One, a retarded man named Melvin Hair, I think was his name. I think his mother called because he had a knife and was threatening her I think I recall this correctly. The police came and tried to, to apprehend him, and, and one o f the police officers got him in a choke hold and he suffocated and died. And there was all hell broke loose in the African American community. And riots and rocks and bottle throwing and burning of cars, and cordoning off whole sections of the police, by the police of parts of the African American community. It was very scary times, I remember sleeping in the office for three nights at one stretch with the whole staff there and figuring out what we were going to do. I remember going with a group of Africa n American community leaders, Reverend Lowry, Bobby Bowden, Perry Harvey, [and] a whole number of leaders after the first night of rioting, wearing a bullet proof vest. Going into the neighborhood and walking door to door, trying to calm people over the ob jections of my staff, my family and police chief and everybody else. But they, I thought that, that the community needed to see me, to see that I would come to them. That had never been done before, and to promise that we were really going to try to make c hanges and better their lives. And little by little took a long time, we had many nights of rock and bottle throwing and serious, serious problems and it was very scary. I remember the first time I ever saw the SWAT team going in their uniforms which were like ninja suits watching them crawl on their bellies through the neighborhoods, trying to get into place in the dark. And being there and seein g how the hatred that many people in the African American community felt toward whites, and the police in particular. We had to make changes or else we were going to go up in smoke. And it was a difficult, difficult time. And I think, I think I got elected police take care of it. That I did go into the neighborhoods, and I think people even if they disagreed, they thought maybe it was courageous to go out and really confront the problems. RK: Did the p olice support your going out? a woman running the show. And then I had officers to the day I left who would walk up to me and see me and talk to me, and say they had very few women in the police department at that time when I left we had many, many more. We had very few African Americans and Hispanics as I said, and we had many more then. Still not enough today, but they were less than excited about the fact that I would go out there with them and try to help calm the community down. RK: You knew you were going to run for mayor in 1987 while you were acting mayor. What steps were you taking to try to secure your election? Who community, how did you raise funds?


17 acting mayor when Martinez left. And in those days when the chairman was elected, the chairman was for t he full four year term. There was one effort to I think I was out of town I think somebody tried to make a motion to remove me or something but it died. The forces were still at work to try to get rid of me. But, so I knew I was going to be the acting mayo r and I wanted to run for mayor. So I put out a net nationally, to find some political consultants that wanted to run a first rate campaign, and one like we had never seen before. And I knew I was going to have raise a lot of money in order to do it. So I went looking for those top fight political consultants who had worked with women before women. And I located somebody named Ray Strother in Washington. And Ray had done more women than any other political consultant in the country. And he came down, and it was just, it was eye opening. And it was really unnerving. And we spent a whole weekend, and it was a real learning experience. He told me what would have to take plac e in order to win. been used very much and it was pretty poor development of, you know, commercial and everything. Well he knew how to produce them, but he said there were certain things as a let me just mention some of the things that Based upon extensive focus groups around the country, first of all we had to develop a look A woman had to develop had to develop the look because people were so attuned to t he fact that here was a woman running for public office, that they would focus on all of those other things those extraneous physical things without focusing on what the message was. So one of the first things we did was develop the look. And I wore very little makeup we got the look. He had somebody come in and show me how to apply make up, we got my hair cut and whatever. And said, I color of your hair, So I started to color my hair b ecause the gray was starting to ailored things that was when women were buttoned up in suits all the time. Cotton, linen, the natural fabrics were the fabrics used. You had to use dark colors. The only bright color that was recommended was red. Red was the power color for a woman at that time. Jewelry was very limited. You had to wear very small earrings, only gold, no stones but very limited jewelry. My father was in the jewelry business, and I had a lot of very nice jewelry but I our jewelry and that would mean that you were rich, or whatever it was.


18 You should never carry a pocketbook or a purse which I found to be extraordinary where are you going to put your stuff? Men had pockets, and their things were in their pockets. But wo men [End Tape 1, Side A] ___ [Tape 1, Side B] RK: Okay, we were learning about what the political consultant was telling you. SF: Political consultant book, because men never carry a pocke tbook, and so when they come up on stage, or they come in to make a speech or whatever, they have all of their notes and everything in a pocket And that was almost at because you had to have your comb, and your lipstick and, and your notes and everything else. Well, that one I never could live up to, but I could see the logic of it because people would focus on the difference. And what he was trying to get across as the consultant, based upon all these focus groups and work that he had done was that everything had to be as equal as possible so people would focus on the message as opposed to the physical. And this great difference of having a woman and a man and that m ade a lot of sense. toed shoes or sling back shoes. Because those were kind of for floozies [laughs]. You had to wear a plain pump in a dark color and you had to obviously wear pantsuits stage, so, but you had to wear the omnipresent suit, and, and the buttoned up blouse underneath. So those were some of the early things. A nd then we had to talk about delivery, and how you made your speech and using your hands, and all the other things that so we worked on that a lot, and worked with a speech doctor to help in the delivery of, of making speeches and everything. A fellow name d Michael Sheehan who to this day still works for the Democratic National Committee, and does all the, the speech doctoring for major political candidates in the National Convention. I worked with him many years later in 1992 when I was one of the speakers at the Democratic National Convention. And Michael helped me to deliver that speech. So that was one of the things. And then we hired people who would help with the, the direct mail and, and all the other aspects of the political campaign. Fundraising I had always been very successful after that first campaign in sending out a letter to friends and supporters. A personal letter, Dear Sam, Dear Joe, Dear Sue; as opposed to a form letter telling them that I was going to run and ask them for support and fina ncial support as well. And I raised a lot of money each time with that fundraising letter because it was always very demeaning to call up and make appointments to go have to ask people for money. It was, the entire time, my


19 career, it was just the hardest thing to do and the most demeaning thing to do. So we, we sent out direct mail pieces that generated a lot of money and of course I would go and make pitches for financial contributions. I had one experience very early on, the very first time I ran for C ity Council that I want to go back and tell you about, which was kind of the guideline for me, in all future campaigning and fundraising. And that was, as I said earlier, the first campaign we decided that I would basically fund the campaign from our own p ersonal money. And I solicit any money from anybody. And one day I got a 250 dollar check, which was a lot of money in those days from someone who had gone to Plant High School with me, a doctor. And he had been a year or two ahead of me, but I had known him for many years and I thought, O And I wrote a letter back, saying, thank you very much for your contribution. And low and behold, the very first zoning, after I became a member of the City Council in 1974, there he was, wanting this zoning on Bayshore Boulevard, for his office, and wanting me to support it. And I did not. It was wrong then, it would be wrong today. And he did I mean, he actually told me that. And I thought he contributed just because he was interested in good government and he knew me for years. So it was a lesson to be learned and to be remembered. People always want something very few exceptions. When they contribute to your campaign they want access, they want special treatment, they want something, quid pro quo. Family members and some personal frie nds, generally not. But most people do. And so it was always hard to ask for campaign funds. The second thing that I was going to tell you about was is when in 1986 when I knew I was the acting mayor and I was going run, Hugh Culverhouse was the owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And when he had moved to town, he became a friend and I knew his daughter well, she was a friend and we socialized. And he had supported me in previous City Council races. And I went to him and asked him for his support when [I] ran for mayor, and he said of course, he would do whatever he could to help. And there was a well known businessman named Al Austin, who was the developer of most of the properties in Westshore at that time in the Westshore business district. And Mr. Culve Austin to be supportive of me as mayor. And I, I knew Al, had known him for years in fact my husband had done some legal work for him. And so I asked Hugh Culverhouse if he wou hat you should do is just, you go visit with him, you know him and make an appointment and go see him, and tell him why you want to run for mayor and ask him for your help his help. made an appointment. And I remember I had a briefcase. I was carrying a briefcase in those days. And he graciously invited me into his office he had two wi ngback chairs I remember it like it was yesterday, because it was so astounding to me. He had two wingback chairs, and we sat opposite each other, and we had some small talk at first. And


20 then he knew why I was there, and then he leaned forward, and his ey es narrowed, and he how many children do you have? three how old are they? And at the time, I think the kids were like 14, 17, 20 close to that in age. The two older ones the oldest one was in college, the, the middle one was getting ready to go to college, and my youngest one, my daughter was 13 or 14. And I told him the ages of the kids, and he said how do you think you can be mayor and raise those kids the right way? Well, I had all I could do to contain myself, I went ballistic practically and I know my voice rose, and I launched into a diatribe about how my kids were better citizens than he ever would be and how they had learned so much from my being involved in government and that they were really going to be the best citizens that this country had to offer, and the kinds of people that we needed and everything, and that I was just taken aback by the whole thing. And I picked up my briefcase and I remember that exactly because I had that briefcase, and picked up my briefcase and marched out. And he did not support me for mayor. And no matter what Hugh Culverhouse would do. He did support me in future elections however. But it was a, a tremendou s learning experience, because I had never been confronted so overtly with the woman issue. And to RK: I believe Mr. Austin was a prominent Republican and a strong supporter of Mayor Martinez SF: He was. RK: Might that have influenced his perspective? SF: That did influence his perspective, and he also was a very, very close personal friend and supporter of Helen Chavez who turned out, was going to run for mayor at the same time. And he did support her. But of course her kids were all grown by that point. So I guess it was okay that she could run, but it was really an amazing lesson for me. So there were lots of lessons along the way not in politics anymore. So anyway, as, as time went on, we built up this campaign and we enlisted the aid of hundreds and hundreds of volunteers, and we walked door to do or. We had rallies, we did everything, and it was really a very professionally, probably the most professionally run a pro from Washington, and that, the first time tha t had ever happened first really modern political campaign and, and I raised 500,000 dollars and then stopped the fundraising. But that was the large st amount ever raised to that point for a campaign. RK: And what was the maximum one could get for that point?


21 SF: I think 1000 dollars at that point, you could give 1000 dollars. But it was, I remember, I think I lost probably 10 or 12 pounds. It was a rduous work. I won handily it turned out. But it, I went everywhere. I mean, we had rallies and we had fish fries and we because, and I was still running the city. And we we re really having difficult times. Not just from the racial disturbances but we had really bad economic times. So there were a lot of things happening at once. RK: Who were your major opponents? SF: Helen Chavez, was in the race. RK: And she had been o n City Council? SF: She had been on City Council. Charlie Spicola, who was also a member of City Council, he ran. And I think there were several others who ran as well. RK: Was Bruce Samson running at one point? F: Bruce Samson was rumored to run. He never did run. He was rumored to run; business community was trying to get him to run, in, in 1987, and then again I think they were trying to get him to run in 1991. But he never did run. RK: You had mentioned the Tampa downtown establishment before. Di d any of these people strongly support you? SF: Most of them it turned out did. I think they saw the handwriting on the wall. I know that some of them were just beside themselves that they were going to have to deal with me. But little by little I think t hrough actions and, and personal relationships being developed, I think I won them over for the most part. There were some who never did accept the fact that I, I was the mayor and that they would have to deal with me. And, and those were some really dieha rd good old boys. But for the most part, I think most of the business community became receptive. RK: You mentioned the Washington people helped you. Did you have a local campaign manager as well? SF: Bob Buckhorn kind of assumed that. I Bob came to me as a friend of someone and I met him and he was like 26 years old, 24 years old, very young and energetic and a real political junkie. And he got involved, and I saw his promise, and he was very good at, at doing the nuts and bolts. And Bob became the camp aign manager. But he would dispute this. One of the things that I was always concerned about, and I had seen going back many years, I had seen campaigns get out of control by the candidate. The consultants come in and all these people take charge, and then are at the end of the day. They and I vowed that I was never going to be in that position, that I always was going to know what was going on in my campaign, who was doing


22 what, who was being talked to, and I was, at the end of the day, I was the one who was going to be responsible, so I had to be able to look myself in the mirror and know that that was who it was plus, everything that was being done I was comfortable with. So, from time to time Bob and I had little praye r meetings over that. But nevertheless he, he did a really good job for me, and then came to work for me after I was elected. RK: Was he new to Tampa? SF: Bob was new to Tampa. He had come down; he had graduated from Penn State. And he had wanted to be in the military, he wanted to be a, a pilot and there was some misdiagnosis of an eye exam when he was in, somewhere up in the Panhandle when he ly. Turned out his eyes were fine, but something happened. So he came down here to work on the John Glenn campaign for President. And was selling Land O Lakes Butter; was a salesman for Land O Lakes. And on the side he was working and doing campaign stuff, and then I brought him on board, paid him to help in the campaign. RK: And did you have a fair number of people who were relatively new to town work for you? SF: Oh yeah, we had a lot of people like that. I do want to tell you one story that comes to mind about someone introduced me to Bob. And this was a prominent local attorney, very politically active. And this person came to me when it became apparent that I was going to become the ma yor, or the acting mayor, and said, this And I bought this whole business, and it was very flattering. And I he, this fellow got involved in the campaign, introduced me to Bob, and Bob came on board, and the guy was helping. And then I was looking around the one person that I knew I was going comfortable ins with him. And so I had asked this lawyer, along with Reese Smith, who was the former head of the American Bar Association, and Mike Fogarty who was then the president of the Hillsborough County Bar Association to look around and try to identify several people who might be the kinds of people that I would want to be the city attorney when I became the mayor or the eady helping in, in, you know laying the groundwork and everything, still selling butter anyway. But I had been introduced to Buckhorn. And one day I got a call from a long time friend of mine, a lawyer who had gone to Plant High School with me. And he s I need to talk to you ine I was in So I met him across the street at the Hyatt for a cup of coffee. And he said to me, Sandy, and he named the fellow, the lawyer that had been helping me identify id you authorize so and so to ask


23 me if I want to be the city attorney? with the other two pe ople to give me some names it him hy? ell he came to me and told me that he could make me city attorney as long as I would guarantee him all the bond business for the city. And I went ballistic. I had a short fuse for that kind of stuff. And I apologized profusely, said nothi ng to do with my campaign. You have nothing to do with who the city attorney you will never get any bond business from this city And he never did. He came to me years later and kept trying and trying and never did. And that was another lesson. That peopl e who are even volunteering in your campaign might not be doing it for the right reasons, and doing it for their own reasons. So you had to really be in control of the campaign, and knowing what people were doing. And not allowing people to do things tha would come back and bite you. And there were, that was a pretty good lesson to learn too. And then I wound up getting Mike Fogarty, who was the city the head of the Hillsborough County Bar Association one d ay it just popped into my head that, W hy am I And he said yes and we had a wonderful relationship until the day he died. RK: You won easily. Did you do roughly the same for each neighborhood in Tampa? SF: I did. And, and the reason I remember that I did is because there was only one, one And it just always stuck in my memory because of the about 60 something percent of that vote. And so I did well. RK: Did you interpret your election as a mandate for any particular policy direction? we there were a number of them. I think what it was is that people saw that we were really trying to make change and trying to help everybody for a ch ange, as opposed to just some small segments of a community. And, and I think that was pretty much the way people viewed it. And I think that was indicative of why, throughout the community there was such widespread support. RK: Do you think your gender m ade any difference at all? SF: I think at that point there was a, a feeling there were, was always a feeling of, from some people is to this day and you know, mind the house. But I think there was a real desire for change and that there was a new wind afoot that women could do that job, and might do it better or differently than men. And that was the case nationwide because women, lots of women, came into office throughout the country at various leve ls, but in particular there became


24 several dozen women mayors in large cities around the country. Many more so than there are today. SF: Every now and then I would hear it and it was always ki nd of sub rosa and it was people were. Yeah. Tampa business community had changed to some extent, some o f the people who had been very active now were elderly or just SF: Yeah. RK: Passed away. SF: There had been some changes; there was a lot of movement in, in the major institutions. Some of them, prominent bankers were leaving or had left or had retire d or whatever. Or some of the HL Culbreath was the chairman at TECO, having taken over from Bill MacInnes. Bill Starkey, he was the head, he was very progressive and came from the outside and moved here the head of General Telephone. And Bill was a big sup porter and a staunch ally and friend. And so there was a, a change, I think a little bit more modern or progressive thinking. And a little bit more open to more people being involved in, in the decision making of the community. RK: So you worked relative ly well with these new business people? SF: Yeah, for the most part. RK: Can I read a quote from you from your SF: Sure. esidents cannot allow our lives and/or destinies to be manipulated by tho only in the bottom line SF: Well up until that time, and I think some extent after that time, that people who were the most influential in the community and could make things hap pen were really only interested in making it happen for themselves, be it financially or whatever. Or their own kind really benefit overall if everybody was raised up and was ab le to participate in the democratic process of the community and the decision making, but also in the economic aspect of the community.


25 I never did understand why some of these old time leaders and some of the newer ones e better off if everybody, if all the boats, you know, rose. much control. But that was what it was. And so there was a very conscious, I mean, not only the words but the e ffort was underway to make that happen for people. And it was widespread in, in many ways. Whether it was expanding the, the women and minorities in the police department, to putting more women in I, my administration appointed more women at the top levels of city government than ever before, even to this date. We had assistant city attorneys, and I did have ultimately a woman city attorney. I made the first major in the police department who was a woman. And we had people in the fire department, and they r department. We had, we had very few [and] when I became the mayor, we had many more. But what was happening in the African American community in terms of getting them involved, the neighborhood effor t you know, we had very few neighborhood organized groups. I put Steve LaBour in early on and we began organizing neighborhood groups. That was kind of radical, W e want your help As opposed to saying, D and patting th em on the head because we were afraid of them. There were just so many ways that we could reach out, and, and hopefully bring everybody along and raise everybody up as opposed to just doing things that benefited a few. But that did rile some people up bec business. It was really expanding opportunity for a lot of people. years. What was on the top of your agenda? In other words, what d id you look at first? SF: Well we had to get the African American community interested in being a part of the community. They were interested, but they were afraid of the community and they were very distrustful that was one of the things that had to, ha d [to] happen early on. And that took an awful lot of effort. I mean, I went to churches every week. I went to neighborhood meetings. I walked the streets, literally walked the streets and 22 nd and Lake and in College Hill and Ponce de Leon. And, and met w ith community, African American community leaders. I got a lot of heat from some of the white community for doing that. But it was necessary because I thought it was the right thing to do but it was also necessary because it was for the good of the overall community as well. Then housing had long time been of interest to me. We started a, we did a neighborhood to do it at all but it was good for them because they l earned about the housing conditions in their particular areas, and the housing stock. And we found out, as I expected, that more than half of the housing stock in the city was substandard and we had to do something about that. So we began the challenge fu nd and the effort with the banks to improve the housing stock and the nonprofits and we did thousands of housing rehabilitations.


26 Then we started doing some things that were feel good but they were good. We, we did That gave people who were privileged, and had a good life the opportunity to go into neighborhoods that were underprivileged and help paint the home of a senior citizen who needed repairs for their home, roof, y ard, whatever, one Saturday and in April. And we had teams of people doing this and we would paint over a hundred homes each year with the help everything paid for by the private sector, and paint donated and everything. But it not only helped those senior citizens and those handicapped people disabled people whose homes qualified but it gave a sense of community to all the people who participated. They, for the first time, many of them, most of them, for the first time had never gone into some of these nei So that was another thing. We did things like the Hillsborough River Cleanup, which seemed kind of silly at first, I mean to, when I told the staff we were going to do this volunteers and go out and clean up the river, they thought I was crazy. They oftentimes thought I was crazy actually. But first of all, it focused on the river which we had always turned our backs to the river development, and otherwise and environmentall y. But we of garbage out of the river with thousands of volunteers. And then people would realize, W ait, we better take care of this river And that, it continues to this day. I just won a planning commission award actually for the clean up because people now realize the value of the river. And then we did one of the most radical things I think I, we ever did and when the staff really thought I was my craziest. I rem ember going once to a, early on in the administration, going to I would go to neighborhood meetings and community meetings. And I would go by myself or take one person with me, frequently Buckhorn. And people would ask me all kinds city was doing, what I wanted to do and then they would ask me all kinds of questions on potholes and the questions ons about that say, we have to get back in touch with you and tell you what. And we would always get back in touch with them. But finally after doing a few of those I came into a staff meeting which we had every Wednesday morning and I had all my top staff and all the ow the next time I go out to one of these all of you with me And there was this giant sucking sound, Gasp! Oh my! And I could see them looking at each other like, O And I was still new to the job. And it was less than a year into the administration, and they still weren' t sure about me, some of these hold you know to use you will have looked


27 And they all t was manda tory. us. And I remember they just were, I mean, kicking and screaming all the way. And, and he went a few times, but he really rebelled there who could answer the questions, and that was the budget stuff that people wanted to know about. And I remember those first couple of times, I mean, they were really afraid, these staff people. They had never interacted with the neighborhood people before. They always had a buffer, they always had a deputy, they always had a, a somebody that they could get to call them back but they never would. And here they were being face to face confronted with them, and oftentimes angrily confronted with these r were getting enough of the pie. And, and being treated in a timely fashion. And we went we would go to at least one a month and we went to hundreds over time. And they grew to really like them. And the neighborhood people, olly, that was then they would clamor for them. Because this would be the one tim e during the year that they would get a lot of their questions answered. And they would really understand how city government worked. And it the same way now because I with the c sugges questions even if you tell them, N And we did that for the longest time and it was a great experience for us as a team beca use after the first couple of times I suggested that, W first. meet at such and such a place h ave a light dinner before hand and we can get together and talk about things and, and just you know, socialize. or heads like the storm water head or, or the public works director or whatever. So it really became a, a camaraderie type thing for all us, and we got to know each oth er better. We go to work together better, and we became a team and a family. That was the hardest part


28 about leaving city government, it was this big family and you become very attached to people and close to them when you spend so much of your time with t hem. Oftentimes you spend more time with them than you do with your family. RK: One point with neighborhood organizations can you say something about your thinking behind that? SF: Yeah When I first became the mayor, as I said there were, there were whole areas of the city that felt disenfranchised and were angry at the city for one thing or another. And we had very few neighborhood associations. And so I guess it was maybe 18 months it was after I became elected as the mayor; Steve worked in my campaign, I got to know him, and then I realized at some point, maybe a year and a half or two years after it was within that time frame that I wanted to hire somebody who just dealt with neighbo rhood issues, who could be kind of like the ombudsman and the, the person who coordinated from all of these various departments. And if a citizen had a problem, they could call Steve, and he could get the information and get back to them. And then he could help to develop a working relationship with the neighborhood groups, and also, we started helping them actually organize, which was really crazy. And the staff thought that D really going to fight with us! Whereas, it made our life much easier, and certainly made it easier for them if they were organized as groups. And over time, I guess we organized when I left we had well over 50 neighborhood associations. We did things li ke, it was really radical we let them decide where to put their what their priorities were, to put the sidewalks in their neighborhoods. We used to just go in and put the sidewalks down whether they wanted them or not. And finally we said to them, you know I get to them this year, if not this year, next year in your neighborhood where this so it was, every neighborhood got some of the pie as opposed to a few neighborhoods getting most of the pie. We spread the wealth if you will, and it was much more equal. And then the other thing that we would do with them I mean, some of the things were simple. Neighborhoods wanted an identity, and so the neighborhood signs that you see all over t he community identifying [inaudible] or College Hill or, or Lincoln Gardens we, we designed a sign, with a, I think we had a, a competition by artists, and then each neighborhood could get two neighborhood signs placed where they wanted them on two differe nt ends of the neighborhood so it would give them an identity and a sense of place, and a sense of community. And we did all kinds of things. We did neighborhood clean ups, those were some of the it demonst rates different types of neighborhoods. We would have neighborhood clean ups, and what we were encouraging the neighborhoods to do on a Saturday morning, we said, W e will supply you with the out there if you get your neighborhood together and go out, and clean the alleys and clean


29 ups, potluck or something afterwards for everybody, or a picnic, or whatever you want to have And that would build a sense of community. Well, they loved the ideas. And we would have, almost every Saturday morning, a neighborhood clean up. And I would put on my jeans and I would go out there with the garbage trucks and the people and everything and help do the clean up and then stay for the, for the lunch afterwards or whatever. Well this particular Saturday morning, I remember i t was pouring down rain, pouring up, but I was willing to go. And I remember calling John Dunn, who was the Director of Communications, and would coordinate some of this and get the me dia there and everything. Because that would help them and the sense of identity and everything for the get some recognition by the media [that] they were out there and everything. This particular neighborhood clean up was in Hyde Park. And so I called Joh o you think the neighborhood clean up is going on? et me check and find out A few minutes later he called me back, it was right here, and he Okay So I, I was k ind of grumbling because it was pouring, and I put on a windbreaker and everything and my old clothes and my clean e riding and riding. And in Hyde Park they have all those alleys behind the houses. And finally we go down this out and I talk to the garbage man ell, where are all the people with the neighborhood clean up? [Laughs] And they said, N up. that pouring rain. If it had been a sunny day they pr obably would have. But not [inaudible]. If we had been in another neighborhood in a poorer part of town, they probably would have been out there right there with the garbage men [laughs]. RK: You had me ntioned the comprehensive planning that Florida initiated, I guess with the Growth Management Act of 1985, and one thing that Tampa did related to what wrong, but I th ink you might have been the first city SF: We were. We did a neighborhood element. You could do there were certain elements that had to be done, water, sewer, solid waste certain elements that were required by the legislation. But then you could, there w ere, there were other elements that you could do. And we decided we wanted to do a neighborhood element. We were so engaged in the whole neighborhood effort. And we did so much master planning everything we, we had a process in place in city government tha t the budget process would take into account neighborhood concerns and everything, that we decided to do a neighborhood element and we were the first city in Florida to do a neighborhood element.


30 they still bother with those kinds of things anymore or not. RK: How did you formulate it? Who, who wrote it? of the neighborhood groups. And when we went to the m, and we took input from them. And, and then we had public hearings. You had to have public hearings on the elements of the plan before you submitted it. And so that, the public was intimately involved in the planning and development of that neighborhood element. And they were wholeheartedly behind it. I remember Margaret Vizzi, who remains a community activist, and one of was one of Margaret was very much involved in it and spoke on its behalf; went to Tallahassee I think on a number of occasions to lobby for it and support the element. It was another way to really legitimize that whole neighborhood movement and to try to etch it in stone, if you will, you know, make sure th the mayor. RK: You mentioned a challenge fund before, and I believe that Tampa was recognized nationally for this housing effort. Can you just say a little bit more about that? About how it was funded an d how it was? SF: After we realized what a terrible situation we had in substandard housing, we had to like Tampa United Methodist Center, and a whole host of other nonprofits, and the banks and some credit unions actually. To come together to help those properties that we identified as substandard, help those homeowners either renovate their properties w hether it was putting a new roof on, or really doing a wholesale renovation. And then later on, actually building new construction, new homes. And I knew and had talked about even before I became the mayor that there was federal legislation that required the banks to give back to the community called the Community Reinvestment Act. And in order for banks to continue to operate, they had to give back certain percentage into the community. Now they could donate it to charitable things in the community. Ther e were various ways. And there were various ways they got around it. But I, and they were always looking for ways to make that Community Reinvestment Act valid for them. They had to file reports quarterly and everything inspectors would d out what they had to do. And they could lose their, their banking were oftentimes looking for ways. And thought, G ee, if they would join with us and donate to a f und, that then could become like a revolving fund, that would help them with their community and reinvestment tax credit and it would certainly help the community we could get some housing done.


31 So when we talked to the banks and the lenders, we realized that yes they wanted to do it, t want to have to do all the loan processing and the paperwork and everything that went with it. Yeah, they wanted to, but they wanted to make it easy. So we said I the nonprofit sector to do the loan processing. They will get a small fee for that so that will help the nonprofit to continue to grow, and and do their good work, and the city will help do the training of all of t his and keep it together. And I remember having a meeting with probably the top ten lending institutions at the time, and explaining this to them. Bob Harrell was very instrumental in putting the whole thing together very creative, creative guy. RK: What was his position? SF: Bob was the Director of Housing and Community Development at the time. He wound up ultimately becoming a Director of Finance. And then he was the Chief of Staff for the last few months of my administration he was a really talented g uy, could do anything. And we made this pitch to them. And they said, And as a result of this partnership they, we did all this housing. Renovation and then new construction; and all the nonprofits got involved in it, and then w e expanded I think at one point all the banks in the community were involved in it. They saw it as a wonderful way to get their tax credit. And then we even engaged a I know the head of General Telephone Credit Union. I knew him personally. We went to hi m and said, Bucky Bucky Sebastian was his name, too credit union. And then the y joined in and then the other credit union. So we had banks and the credit unions, and the nonprofits and the city all working together. And it was a really novel approach nobody had ever done it around country. And it won all kinds of national awards, an d it was listed in, in David Osborne wrote a book and it was the bible for the first Clinton administration; and it was part of that whole book a whole chapter devoted to that I think. And it became a wonderful instrument to provide housing. Really I, we n ever would have been able to tackle the thousands and thousands of homes that we did. Then we got the homebuilders involved who, who would come in and do the new construction. And all of this occurred during very difficult economic times. And the Florida homebuilders actually inducted me in their hall of fame, and I was the first political person who ever was. Because during that time so many of the building trades and the homebuilders locally were actually saved because they did this renovation and recon going on in residential construction because of the hard economic time. So it was really a win win all the way around.


32 RK: You just focused on particular neighborhoods or was it citywide? many census tracks that were totally substandard. I mean lots of census tracks. Most of which were north of Kennedy [Boulevard], I think down in Port Tampa an d maybe one other south of Kennedy. And we focused originally on those worst census tracks. But then it became a program that went citywide. Wherever there was need, it was built. RK: At one point was there a special emphasis on Tampa Heights? SF: We, we did a tremendous amount of work in Tampa Heights. That was the beginning of Tampa Heights. I remember taking Vice President Gore there shortly after he became Vice President in 1993 we took him. He came to Tampa one of the first communities that he came to after they took office, I think it was March of 1993, and they were elected no, yeah President Gore came to Tampa Heights because we had been doing so much and that was the program that we want ed to showcase, and that they wanted to see, the housing stuff. And then many communities around the country began doing similar type programs. They modified them to meet their needs and everything but it was a way to really do a tremendous amount of hou did 20 homes a year a focus. And we used as the backbone, and the backstop of this entire challenge fund, the community deve lopment block grant money that was coming from the federal government. Because that would be the loan guarantee money that would make the banks guarantee those loans, yeah. RK: Can I ask you about a couple of development projects through your administration? think you had to make a decision whether to go ahead with it. Can you speak ab out that? SF: Yeah. When I became the mayor in 1986 we were really mired and a mess. We had acquired a lot of land where the Convention Center sits, at the south end of Franklin mber all of really thought the Convention Center ought to go because it wa s locked in by water and And I remember the entire Christmas vacation of slowed down, and then of course the week of Christmas and New Years we were kind of off really ago nizing over, S Here we had spent 23 million dollars, all we had we had architectural contracts underway, we had all these things. We spent 23 million dollars, acquired all this land but it was


33 just as mess and we had this lawsuit going on. And I talked to a lot of the business leaders, and, and I really was had a terrible time grappling with it. From a development standpoint it was probably the worst decisions I had to make in, in almost nine years I was the ma yor. But how could I explain 23 million dollars that we had spent? Sure we had the land, but needed and everything else. with it I, we had to go forward and build a Convention Center, and I made the decision. I remember meeting with Bill Mack, who was the New Jersey developer who had developed some property in Tampa and wanted to develop t he he wanted to build the out at the Marriot Airport there at the airport hotel, and going into a private room with him, just the two of us, without any of the staff peop le. And having been completely we finally came out of that meeting and we had compr omised. I had given him a little bit more and he had taken a lot less. And we got the lawsuit solved. And then we were able to go ahead and build the Convention Center. And when we built the Convention Center it came in on time and on budget which has ne ver happened to this day for public works project in the city at that magnitude. And, it was such an important project to the city, but it was also important to me because I just had so much personal investment in it, that I was immersed in every detail. E very Wednesday morning I got a briefing on the project and if we were a day behind I cracked the whip so we could get it done on time and on budget. It was a little under budget. I got involved with the architects and I even, I picked the carpet; I mean I even picked the tiles. They, they still have some of the carpet that I picked. I got involved with every detail of it, because if we were going to do it, we were going to do what I thought [was] first class and right. And it turned out to be a fabulous b expanded. And now, time has a way of proving things correct sometimes and it and so it, it continues to lose a little ground in the industry. RK: Initially, if I remember correctly with the Mack proposal, you would have a Convention Center and a hotel; and went ahead of course without the hotel. Did you I know you tried to attract a hotel ? SF: Tried to attract a hotel from, from the time we se ttled with Mack, and never could. One of the problems was that the land across the street from the Convention Center, not on the waterside, where the Marriot currently is we wanted to protect the water. But we wanted the land across Franklin Street [it] wa


34 was bad; no hotels were being built in cities anywhere in the country. There had been a glut of hotels built in the, in the mid and financing, with getting a hotel built. And we thought we had a deal worked out in November of 1995 shortly before I left offic e. And we had worked on it for ages. And it was a very unique arrangement, whereby developers would build the hotel, and the city would ultimately own it and then we would be able to recoup the costs and everything. It was a very difficult deal, and I had to go out of town and when I left town, I was sure the City Council was going to vote for it. And they had all indicated privately to me not all of them, but most of them privately to me, that they were going to vote for it. And in the two or three days I was gone and it came in front of the City Council, the hotel when south and by four to three vote they did not vote for it, and the deal was dead. And part of it was the work of Bill, and Dick Greco who was going to be the mayor he wanted to be able to tak e credit for building a hotel and he was working behind the scenes and convinced a couple of the council members not to do it. And they knew that he, you know But it, it truly was a better deal than the deal that he ultimately struck for the city at less cost. I remember Bob Harrell was furious because he had been the architect of the deal. He was the finance director at the time and when Greco orchestrated his deal a couple of years later, Bob looked at the n umbers and the numbers were far better for the city with the deal that, that we had tried to accomplish. And it would not have been out on the RK: Another development initiated dur Arts Center. SF: Yeah. RK: Did you have to make any decisions regarding that? SF: Oh yeah. That was a project that I inherited about half way through it as best I remember. And it was mired in all kinds of p roblems, all kinds of problems cost overruns, you name it, it had it. And again, we had to really shepherd that one along, and it was late when I got it and it was way behind schedule. And we finally brought it along and [took] a lot of criticism of the pr oject for Mayor Martinez, and, and obviously were the [inaudible] cry was a white elephant and, and today, people say, H ow did we live so long without that kind of a fa cility and without that kind of entertainment and the cultural things that have come along? and a great gem. RK: Were there particular groups or individuals who opposed it? SF: Yeah. A lot of the neig


35 een touched by it [in] one way or another. They may not even all the school kids go, you see the school buses lined up there e veryday. There maybe, maybe a business that has come here as a result of having this outstanding cultural attraction. And that is one of the major things that new businesses seeking relocation look for cultural more so than sports actually the cultural cli mate of a city. So a business might have come here as a result of having that great facility and, and they might be employed in that business. Even if they economic i mpact in the community with all the shows that come in and the people that spend money and all. But takes a while to win people over. The Aquarium is much the same way. I think that project has gotten an awful lot of criticism and it was the first thing down there on the waterfront in the channel district and all that. But now you know, Channelside has been transformed and largely because something had to go there first, and the Aquarium was the something. SF: Oh yeah, yeah. People still criticize the Aquar ium. And it has cost the city more than we [End Tape 1, Side B] [Tape 2, Side A] RK: The Aquarium was a difficult project in that it was quite controversial? SF: Yeah, the Aquarium, first of all was probably overly ambitious in its mission. The peop le who, the board of the Aquarium and the director and everything the mission from the beginning was, as much education as entertainment [laughs], and that was kind of nave to believe, that people would want to come to something that was so educational an d not have the, the dolphins or the manatees or something more entertaining. So in its again. So then, little by little it became apparent that it had to have more entert ainment value and that is what has taken place and much greater marketing. And now, of course, there are a whole host of things happening in the Channelside area. I think what people forget they oftentimes liken the Aquarium and that area of town to the inner harbor in Baltimore where the National Aquarium called came and then the rest of the area developed and shops and restaurants and


36 the years here in the Channelside area now, but the Aquarium is [on] a much greater financial foo ting already expanded once and another expansion is being planned. And their yearly memberships are way up, and all kinds of good things are happening. RK: You mentione d before recruiting out of town businesses to relocate to Tampa. Did you get involved in that as far as going on recruiting trips? SF: Oh, I went on many, many trips in this country and to Canada and even to Europe on trade missions. And it was always int eresting to me how there were certain things that people in Tampa thought were the real draws for this community to lure new businesses. they like all these sports te ams that we have. But they never popped up as the most important things that they were looking for. One, and always at the top was the educational system. Were we a com munity that was developing educational opportunities and really developing our well educated workforce? And did we have educational higher educational institutions as well as good educational system K through 12? Obviously we needed work and we still need work on those things. Another one that always surprised me and always surprised the business leaders many of whom never would acknowledge that it was so, was that they were much more interested in cultural facilities and the cultural climate of the commu nity and the area than they the cultural attributes of a community have a mu ch greater impact and long term impact, not only on the community itself but on luring new high grade businesses to this area. There were lots of trade missions. I remember going to, once with a group to Canada in January and, in the snow and the sleet a nd everything. And the reason we went in January was because it really made the Canadians realize that we were serious. We could be basking in 70 degree temperatures here in Florida, but we really wanted to come to Toronto and Montreal those were the two c ities we went to to talk to them about moving operations or parts of their operation to Tampa and the bay area. And we were so serious about it we would come in January! [Laughs] I remember. And then we would take trade missions to Europe, and took a n umber of those and led a number of those. We went early on behind the Iron Curtain, right after the wall came down. I remember going to Eastern Europe and to Hungary and to Prague and to East you never knew whether those trips be it the domestic ones, oftentimes you could find out from the domestic ones but the European ones whether they were as beneficial as you hoped. Because sometimes three, four years


37 ify this part of Florida, as opposed to Mickey Mouse land or Miami was always an important thing west coast of Florida that has so much to offer. RK: Did the companie s ask much about tax rates or tax incentives? SF: Oh always. When the company would come here and relocate they wanted to know about tax incentives and they wanted to know about infrastructure improvements that you could make for them. And they wanted to know about impact fees if they were going to build a new building. They wanted to know about the workforce and, and what incentives they could get by hiring certain aspects of the community you know, people that were trained, or training people those kind s of things. There were a whole host of things that they wanted to they even wanted to know oftentimes about hiring their spouses. You know they if, they wanted to know what effort the community would make to hire you know, spouses of the top business ex ecutives in family. And there would only be one income producer as opposed to the two income producers of that family in the city that they were leaving. There were all kinds of things, never, you know RK: Who usually went on these trips besides yourself to recruit companies? SF: Sometimes the, the chairman of the County Commission. Sometimes somebody from t he Port or somebody from the Airport depending upon what the the Airport was always a big draw. I mean we have such a wonderful airport that was always one of the selling points you can get in and out quickly. Your people can go off on their sales missions or whatever and travel easily. And that was a big selling point. So frequently you take somebody from the airport either the staff or the Airport Authority, or occasionally the Port. Then Chamber of Commerce people would go, both Chamber staff people freq uently from the Committee of 100, the economic development arm of the chamber. And sometimes some of the volunteer people form the chamber. RK: From your perspective, did it make a difference whether they would locate in a city as opposed to the county? they came into the city, built a building or whatever. But there were benefits all the way to get them to the area to commit to the area and then we would vie city/county as to the location they would ultimately set up in. But the main thing was to get them to Hillsborough County. RK: Were there any annexations of county land whil e you were mayor?


38 them but we did quite a number of them. RK: Did the county resist in any way or ? SF: Really RK: Or oppose them? SF: Really and truly the county, later. And, and generally it was, I think we kept them pretty well informed and we kind of made it a rule for the property owners who would get their land annexed. If they wanted to be annexed And I think some years later after I left when, when the city and county got into a lot of wars over the a nnexation, it was because I think the city began to seek out these property owners and said, W we can do for you And I think that really riled the county. But annexation is not always t he solution. Sometimes it costs you a whole lot more to annex then. Because you have to put in all of the infrastructure and things like that than it does, than is warranted. And you have to do that cost benefit analysis pretty, pretty clearly before you g o into it. You got to know all the, the pitfalls. Sometimes you do it [you] ne there any controversies over impact fees during your administration? SF: Well [laughs], we probably were the o nes who initiated the impact fees in this city. There might have been a very small impact fee under the Martinez administration for transportation. But we did initiate more impact fees. And it was always controversial because no body ever wants to pay them nearly charge what they should charge, what really is the cost. But we did raise impact fees and I think we initiated a few more impact fees and of course the homebuilders were always upset and the general contractors were upset and all the, all the people that you would expect to be they would be. RK: Did you have a difficult time getting City Council to improve the increase s? SF: Sometimes they would balk a little bit. I think they always ultimately went along with them but they would get the brunt of the I mean, we would meet with the interested groups that, that were opposed to it. But if we thought it was fair, we would go ahead and propose it. But of course the public hearings happened with the City Council, so they


39 would get the brunt of it, of the, the hollering from the interested parties the ones that RK: During your administration there were major controversies [phone rings] RK: During your administration controversy arose regarding Super Bowl that was slated to come to Tampa for 2001, I believe? I might be mistaken. SF: No, it was before that. It was 1991; I think that was the Super Bowl RK: Oh yes, yes SF: Yeah. RK: 1991, that was when you were out of office. SF: Oh yes. [Editor's note: subsequent to interview, SF corrected that she had not yet left office in 1991.] RK: Can you tell just something about that? SF: Well, you have to firs t drop back a little bit and remember what took place in the late there, the unrest and everything else. And then here we are, we have a Super Bowl coming to town, and the Super Bowl is usually thought to be benefiting the affluent you know, all the parties and all the things that go with it. And the Super Bowl committee had scheduled Gasparilla to coincide with the Super Bowl. They had changed the dates of Gasparilla to coincide with the Super Bowl. And then there was a group of African Americans who came together as a group and protested the fact that this was going to take place because Gasparilla was an all white male orga NFL was concerned about that. They had caught wind of it because this group of African publicit y and here they had agreed to have the Gasparilla event go in tandem with the Super Bowl. And all hell broke loose really. Everybody starting screaming. The African American community was upset if, if this white group was going to put on the Gasparilla. And the NFL was concerned the middle of it. Because the city has, historically always provided all of the services the police the fire protection, the clean up; provided the sanitation department; the public works department puts up the barricades and puts up the, the parks department puts up


40 the bleachers and all of these city services are provided. Most of which the city pays for, a little bit of which the Gasparilla people pay for. And here we were in the middle of it, and they all came to me and said, do something. have a Super Bowl and Gasparilla if this all white male Krewe is going services yourself able to put on Gasparilla you need to have an integrated Krewe, and you have to make some accommodations. And everybody went crazy. They just and, and unfortunately I think it could have been resolved but the head of the Gaspar illa Krewe that year, the captain of the Krewe was somebody who was really dug A, to African Americans, and, B, I think he had wha t he had to do. He was above it all. And I think had there been somebody who was a little bit more moderate who had been the captain of the Krewe that year making the going you put on the event then. And it fell apart. And so here we were, and we had the Super Bo And so a group of African Americans, led by Bob Gilder, and some whites, Henry Brown was one of them I remember who was a Krewe member and some others, said, W ell, nd put something on so the visitors and the people here alike can have something. And they cobbled together this makeshift kind of parade and everything and gave it a name called Bambaleo going to come ar ound and the city would help with the would be involved. And the city would help with the services, the police and fire and all the other services. And lo and behold, and the day came and it poured. It rained, I mean it rai with and then the rain really put a damper on things. And the following year and of course, the Super Bowl went on. And that was a tough Super Bowl anyway because we ha d just had the Gulf War and Blackhawk Helicopters were flying overhead, and all those kinds of things people had to go through security systems and, and then the following year, the Gasparilla Krewe did integrate. Not very many African Americans were invit ed to join but they did. And then other krewes began dozen krewes of all types, women and African Americans, Hispanics [phone rings] RK: So now there are many krewes pa rticipating? SF: Many krewes participate and there are


41 women in the krewe of, the Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and once again the mayor surrenders the key to the City. I do want to back up a minute and tell you a little bit about Gasparilla. When I became the mayor, for all the years that preceded, the mayor had always surrendered the keys to the City the week a few days before the Gasparilla parade and d dragged the mayor out of the office and said, S urrender! Surrender! And the mayor would say, N And then the day of the invasion the mayor would surrender and give the key to the city to the pirates and they would take over the city and h ave their parade invasion. Well the first year I was the mayor in 1987, the first year of Gasparilla when I was the mayor in 1987, I boat and so I did the obligatory surrender and i t was really not a pleasant experience. And it was really, very distasteful to me, being dragged out, and it was so sexist and everything anyway. And then the following year and then the pirates would take you to lunch at the yacht club. And I was the only woman that would be in the room and all these pirates, maybe two dozen of them; and they had been drinking before hand and all morning long. And they would tell all kinds of jokes and everything off color jokes, I mean it was not a pleasant experience. the next time, the following year, I was already elected as the my administration. The next year I tried to be a good sport again and went thr ough the whole routine and they took me to the yacht club after they wanted me to surrender and everything. This is several days before the invasion and the actual surrender by the mayor. And we had lunch and they had been drinking and everything else and it was 25 men or whatever the number and me. And I knew many of them, many of them had gone to school with me and everything. And then, near the end of lunch, two of the men got into a, an argument but it was a friendly argument kind of thing. But they h ad a little bit too much to drink and everything, and one of them was a prominent local doctor and the other one was a business man and everything, and I was sitting next to the business man and the doctor was across the table. And he was the captain of th e Krewe that year, whatever, and all of a sudden he stood up and then the other guy stood up, and before I knew it, food was flying and then silverware was flying knives and forks were flying. And everybody was into it, and I was down, literally down under the table. And I remember looking at the waiters at the yacht club, who were standing along the walls, and they were all African Americans, and it was the most demeaning thing I had ever experienced in my life. And I remember walking out of there and sayi I am never doing this ever, ever again. And so from then on I did not participate in the RK: Surrender?


42 SF: The surrender. Either the couple of days before, or the actual surrender the day of. It was just something that I could just not abide. An d I know it riled a lot of feathers, and, S and, S and all that kind of stuff. But it was just very, very unpleasant thing, and very demeaning, and I just And after I left office, my predecessors have started the practice again, and I to each his own, I guess. I do remember making one suggestion that fortunately has taken hold at that, at that first or second lunch meeting; I remember suggesting to the pirates that pe rhaps before they came to my office in the morning they would come at lunch time, like 11:30, 12:00. And we would go out, they would drag me out of the office and we would go out onto the, the mall, the Franklin Street Mall. And people would come and they would shoot cannons and all that kind of stuff, and go through the whole charade. But I remember telling them that perhaps in the morning before they should do something a little more productive than just drinking. And they might and I suggested to them th at bly. And they take gifts to the kids, and they take the beads and everything else, so that is a nice little ing. But not much else. RK: There was another controversy involving race and in a sense, development involving a ship named the Whydah? SF: The Whydah. RK: The spelling is W H Y D A H. Can you talk about that? Boston one of them also had a they both had an interest in Texas too, came to the city. And came to the Chamber of Commerce and some of the business community and they said they were interested in buildin g a museum that would show the history of slavery and the museum would exhibit treasure that had been brought up from a ship, a slave ship during the civil war or before the civil war and the name of the ship was the Whydah. And they wanted to build this m useum, which would display the artifacts from the slave ship and tell the story of slavery. And they showed how they would do it in an educational and tasteful way. And they talked to the Chamber of Commerce people. We thought it would be something that wo uld be worthwhile; they talked to me, they talked to some other business leaders. And they did talk, in spite of the fact that it was never acknowledged, they did talk [to] a few, a very few, African Americans about it. When it was publicly announced, t he African American community, led by a couple of prominent people went ballistic. They believed that this was going to be a tourist attraction that would only be detrimental to blacks. They pointed to the fact that this same slave ship and its artifacts h ad been proposed these people had proposed to build a


43 similar kind of facility in Boston, and that it had been turned down in Boston. Well, we had public meetings and public outcries and the African American community was ignited if you will; people, some about were, in the African American community made all kinds of accusations and said even before they knew what they were, had seen the plans or anything, said it was going to be just an attraction and it was going to make a mockery of slavery and the rest. And of course everything got out of hand and they, African Americans pointed once again to the fact that here was the white community shoving something down their throats that affected their lives. A to them much earlier, the community but it was blown way out of proportion and certainly I think that these two individuals had nothing but real interests of education and, and wanted a place to disp lay these objects to tell the story of slavery. But that is not what others thought and the project died. But it once again created distrust, an ill will in the African American community. And they said that no, no African Americans had been involved and, were involved never came forward and said, I knew about it They, they kind of RK: Did the city take any steps afterw making? SF: Well we spent the, I spent, and I think our administration spent, the better part of the nine years trying to bring about greater understanding and diversity and we, we started the communit y campaign to build understanding and diversity with the help of the National Conference of Christians and Jews which was a major campaign as undertaken in 1994 I think it was. We had controversy after controversy. There was a marked sense d have been, we the city, could have been more sensitive over the years, but we really did try and we had a black police chief, we had blacks in prominent positions throughout city government. But the majority community, even though we finally had African Americans and Hispanics and women on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce and all, really still, I think had a marked sense of insensitivity to the African American community. Another example of that insensitivity was when we were going to have a Super Bowl Task Force I think it was a Super Bowl task force again or something. And Leroy Selman, no, not Leroy House was the head of the Chamber of Commerce and I guess we were going to have a task And they put together a committee, and lo and behold everybody was white on it again. ou know, no African Americans, we must have div ersity on this everything chastised him I think it was for the Super Bowl task force, to get the next Super Bowl that we were able to get. And again I, I had to make it public and then the African American community was upset, and everybody was upset with me because, W hy does


44 she always make it public? But they, they unless you made it public, there would be a nonresponsi ve attitude on the part of the majority community. And ultimately Leroy Selmon and others were appointed to the task force, and we got another Super Bowl and everything. But it was always, W hy e told of that? I remember early on when I became the mayor we had no African Americans on the Chamber of Commerce board. And the board is like 30, 40 people I Hispani cs. And I remember having lunch with the head of the Chamber of Commerce, the Executive Director and the President of the Chamber of Commerce. And saying this, I to An d their response to me was, W They being the African Americans who would be, should be involved. And I said, I f I give you a list of African Americans, Hispanics, women, will you consider those people? And they said, Yes An d the first list I gave them completely became members of the board. And thereafter to their own credit, now they had people to draw on, to find them. But say, W e need to do this W hy did you do this? I remember at the time the president, the chairman of the Sports Authority wa s an appointee of mine and he was so upset that this Super Bowl task force and they were primarily the movers behind the Super Bowl of course that I would go public. And his father called me, his father was [a] very prominent businessman who was a friend o f mine and up until that point had been a big supporter of mine. And his father called me How could you do this to my son? And I said, I was sorry but you know, I had priv ately finally I had to be public about it. And [on] that same occasion I remember the president of the Chamber of Commerce coming to me and he had been a big supp How could you do this? you know W Well, w e [Freedma [Response So how could you publicly do this and ruin my term? screwed up or anything, it was, H ow could you have hurt me and ruin my term, rock my boat? I think it still goes on today. Here we are in 2005. RK: Another development project that I think had a happy ending was the hockey arena. SF: Yeah, that one


45 RK: Can you speak about that, I know you got heavily involved with that. SF: Yeah, that was a strange project very strange project. Phil Esposito who was a great hockey player came to me one day and, and said and some other people I think were with him. And he was behind a group that wanted to bring hockey to Tampa. Well that sounded like the craziest thing in the world. Here we were, 90 degree heat most of the time and everything, and hockey in Tampa? Nobody had ever heard of such a thing. But we can do So we went about it, on and on and on. And finally the City Council passed a resolution to go support hockey. And then we went to the County Commission. And there was some involveme participate in any thing. And the following week we were supposed to go to Palm Beach. Phil was supposed to go, and I had planned to go and others, to go and make the pitch to the hockey owners, the other hockey team owners to give Tampa, Tampa Bay, the hockey franchise. W ell, they were devastated, the hockey people. Phil Esposito and Henry Paul and Mel Lowell were the threesome. And they walked out of there and they said, I anything. And I came back to the office and we talked, I talked to the staff and e I think we ought to go down there anyway. do. So we went to Palm Beach and we went into this room in the Breakers Hotel of all white Phil Esposito, and one or two other people to make the pitch. And first of all, these men were in awe of Phil Esposito. He was a, a one of the finest hockey players that ever lived. And he was in the Hockey Hall of Fame and everything else. And they really very much wanted to give Phil a franchise. As it relates to me, it was, W ho in the world is this? the room except the waitresses that were bringing water and coffee and whatever. And the other cities that were seeking franchises all had white men, and only men. And there was this woman in there [laughs]. So it was kind of, one of those really weird kin d of things that I think, clearly the team, the franchise was awarded because of Phil Esposito. But I do think that it had some minimal impact, that here was this woman coming to make this pitch on behalf of her city. And had to get half a point or somethi ng as a result of that. And we got the hockey franchise. And we were not the favored group. And ultimately hockey came to Tampa Bay. [Laughs] But it was a strange, strange scenario with really strange bits and starts all along the way. And then getting the arena and everything else, very, very unusual.


46 RK: Do you have any recollection of how it ended up downtown? Because I know some other people had different locations in mind. SF: Yeah. We had a spot on, on Dale Mabry that the, there was a group that h ad already gotten the land and were going to build a baseball arena or some kind of a facility out there. And they wanted to build the hockey arena on that site. So Phil entered into an agreement with them, and we gave them so much time to come up with the deal. It was on the Sports Authority land and everything. Well they just never could do it. They, there was always a delay. They had every real fast talkers who were part of the group. And it was always something. Tomorrow, bringing the group that, that had the land tied up into my office and saying, and I remember I said this, I knew I I almost got in real trouble for it, or closest I ever came to personally being sued I think. I remember saying to the, the mouthpiece for the group, your house and ma ke sure that you have to move out of town I remember I said that. It was just so aggravating. And meanwhile, while all this was going on, these people are trying to put it together out there, there was a group that wanted to build it downtown. And I co I thought downtown was a better location because it would help downtown and everything. It was near the, they were proposing a site near the Convention Center, but I knew that if I proposed it, since I was involved with the other aspect that then I would, this city would be in a law suit with them. So I was hoping they would fail, but I was saying, Okay now, And finally we packed it in, and I told them, o more. T And then we had to get the land downtown. And I went to Finn Casperson who was the developer of Harbour Island and I had a meeting, a private, very private meeting with all the parties involved, and Mr. Casperson and his lawyers and all. And, and I was the only woman, again, and there were about 10 or 12 people. And Fred Karl was the County administrator. I purposely did not invite Ed Turanchik who was a County Commissioner County Commission. Plus I knew he would publicly talk about the meeting and everything, and I wanted this, to try and pull it off. And I had the meeting of all these people over dinner at look, we want to bring it dow ntown, you need I asked Mr. Casperson if he would buy some of the land that needed to be purchased for it and then turn around at the right time, and sell it to the hockey thing, once they got their ame downtown. And Mr. Casperson helped out. He bought a bunch of the parcels, because if the city had tried to buy it or the county, the price would have gone up and everything. He bought the parcel. The meeting did become public later on. Ed Turanchik w ent nuts, W invited and everything? But it would never have worked had it become public early on.


47 And we got a, a great building downtown. And ultimately the team played there after a number of years playing at the fairgrounds, and then at Tropi cana Field at St. Pete, and finally they got a home. And then ultimately won a Stanley Cup. But it was an interesting Convention Center, the space between the Convention Center and the Aquarium began to fill in as a result of these you know, big development blocks being taken care of. RK: Can you tell us something about the Human Rights Ordinance controversy during your administration? SF: The City of Tampa passed a Human Rig hts Ordinance that would ban discrimination based upon all types of discrimination including sexual orientation which was really the part that got everybody so fired up. The religious right was all worked up with petitions and hundreds of people turned out for public hearings. There was a lot of acrimony. And the County also was in the throes of passing a Human Rights Ordinance, and both the city and the county did ultimately pass the ordinances. And then there was a move to repeal the ordinances. A minis ter who had somewhat of a checkered past named David Caton led the effort to repeal the Human Rights Ordinance. And again it was terribly heated, terribly the sexual orientation part of the Human Rights Ordinance. And there was a public hearing held at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center where over 1000 people turned out. And because there was so much anger involved in it and so many protests, we had to set up police protection and we had to put people through metal detectors and some knives and I recall w ere confiscated. And people yelling and screaming at each other, and, and it was a very unpleasant time in That issue really generates a lot of hostility on the part of some people. People who are st their religion and that people who are gay equal rights, you know, human rights the same was women or African Americans or any other minority. Fortunately the City Council determined that the Human Rights Ordinance should stay on the books and that the sexual orientation component should stay one with the remaining, with the entire ordinance. So we, today here in 2005 continue to have a Human Rights Ordinance in about the community trying to learn to live together. Unfortunately the County did remove the sexual orientation portion of the Human Rights Ordinance and it, it remains to this day very, very divided. As, we remain divided as a community over sexual orientation. RK: Were gays and lesbians relatively well organized during the period that you served? a


48 group there is a group called Equality Florida which had a, a name, a different name at the time of the Human Rights Ordinance that was very involved and they played a major role in keeping the ordinance on the books. Because had they not been organized and had petitions and had supporters to be there and support the cause, the religious right probably would have carried in today just because they turned out so many people. Which oftentimes affects politicians. RK: Last time we did speak about race r elations, but I think I forgot to ask you about your racial slurs policy. Can you mention that? realized that there were city employees who discriminated against th eir fellow employees and citizens when they came in contact. We had instances in the police department where slurs would be made by police officers to one another, both racial and sexual. And also slurs to members of the community about police officers. An the only group of people in the city, personnel to have some discriminatory remarks come out of their mouths that we had other employees citywide. term that it came to be referred by. And what this policy and it never, never had occurred before in employee who uttered a racial or sexual orientation slur be discipl ined. And only in extenuating circumstances would that employee be allowed to continue being employed with the city. It was grounds for termination if it was found to be true. And it was a very, very like, especially in the they were used to saying all kinds of things often in the heat of their job. But nevertheless they thought they could say anything. They used the N word sometimes had used the N word so metimes, and oftentimes women were referred to in a less than proper fashion. And they really hated the policy. The police years. But as we began to administer th e policy, and we found that there were quite a number of people who continued to make those kinds of remarks. And we disciplined and then terminated a number of people; we got people to understand that we meant business. In one instance, it was a very unf ortunate instance, we had a police major who was a fine, fine officer Hispanic, who, when walking down the streets of Ybor City, I think it was perhaps on Guavaween night, or some other celebration in Ybor City night, he used the N word and in the group th at was walking with him was Joe Abrahams who was the director of, the administrator for Parks Recreational Cultural Services. And Joe was a good friend of this police major, his name was Gabe Venero. And Joe came back and was torn, really torn, that he had to report his friend using that word, and we had to fire him. And this was a major. This was a really high ranking officer and a really good guy. And which he shouldn


49 But nevertheless, we disciplined it, we fired him; he appealed it and he lost. And that depart ment, we were talking about anybody in the police department. And we disciplined a number of other people in various other departments throughout the city. publi c recognized that we meant business, and that we really were going to take action, or discriminated against their colleagues in city government. I think it did help to create better race relations in particular. And also it helped in terms of those in the gay towards them. Women also felt, because women in, in many departments but in particul ar the police department were oftentimes really put upon by the men and had all kinds of things said to them. And we disciplined people for that as well. So it was across the board. The policy remains on the books of the City of Tampa to this day. You do think it was administered too often. And I think there were reasons for that because there were people high up in the administration who actually used som e of those terms and I think instead of disciplining, or certainly terminating people, I understand from some of the lawyers who were involved and others, that they would find it hard to make the case. Because then it would be brought to light that some ve ry top level people used those whether or not much like to believe that nobody does anymore but I know be tter than that. RK: Another issue that received a lot of attention during your administration relatively early on involving the police was the take home car policy. SF: That was probably the toughest decision I had to make and the one that I paid the hi ghest price for in the almost nine years that I was the mayor. When I became the mayor I inherited, from the previous mayor, a 16 million dollar deficit. That was right up front you have to have a balanced budget. And so we set about finding ways that we could reduce that 16 million dollar deficit and make the budget balance. One of the things we came upon was a study that the internal audit department had done, I think it was a year prior to my taking office, of the take home car policy that the police department had. The police officers were allowed to take home all police officers virtually all police officers their city vehicle, and they could take it anywhere that they live d in Hillsborough County. So people who paid the taxes and paid for those vehicles, the residential neighborhoods just in the city. The vehicles went all over Hillsbor ough County, and it was tremendous expense because not only was it the cost of the paying for the vehicles in the first place, and we had the cars but it was gas, and insurance for all


50 of those vehicles. And if you drove from downtown Tampa where the polic e station was located and you drove every day to Plant City or Thonotosassa or way out [to] some [of the] farthest reaches of Hillsborough County, that could run, and did run up, a very significant gas bill. And then on top of that was the insurance covera ge that we had to pay every time a car was used. So it was a really high price and it was millions of dollars that the audit showed that we could save if we limited the take home cars. Well, we began to look at that and I knew it was goin g to be unpopular with the police department, I just never realized how unpopular. Plus I had a police chief who said he agreed with removing the take home car policy. And then went back to the troops and said, O h no, I had nothing to do with it. And so th ere were a lot of things that made it more difficult. I recall going to breakfast one morning with the head of the PBA, the police union. His name was Bob Sheehan, and explaining to Bob that we had this 16 million dollar budget problem, and we needed to ha ve more police officers, we were short on police officers we need to that is if we took the take home cars. Then we would have some money freed up to hire additional polic e officers, and also to raise police officers salaries which were lower than the average in the state at that time. And Bob Sheehan told me, and it was just the two of us, Bob Sheehan told me that he would prefer to have the police officers, additional p olice personnel rather than the take home cars. Well, he went back on his word when it was announced that we were going to take the cars from the officers and hire more police officers and raise their pay. Additionally, we talked about, internally, staff ; we talked about the possibility of allowing just the officers who lived in the city to keep their cars, because having their car d probably keep on going. And both the police chief and Bob Smith, who was the administrator for public safety over the police and fire department urged me not to do it just for the police officers who lived in the city because they thought that it would c ause morale problems as well as problems people saying So I acquiesced and I we nt along with the police chief and, and the public safety director. And we took all of the cars from police officers. And to this day, I still have scars from that. And the police union never, ever was supportive again. And it, the officers talk about it e ven now, many years later. My successor, Dick Greco, promised immediately, before he even was the mayor, that everybody would get a car. And now the policy allows take home cars to five counties. You can take the cars not only throughout Hillsborough Count y but to Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee and Polk counties. So it is a very, very expensive policy, and a big perk to police officers. I used to joke that after that, the But it, it is a very difficult, difficult policy. And I paid dearly for it. But I still think I did the right thing. Probably should not have listened, and should have allowed the ones in


51 the city to kept the cars. But the idea of having City of Tampa tax payers money going to five counties, and having to pay for the gas and paying for the insurance it is a huge, huge expenditure. RK: People think of Ybor City in Tampa as an area that has changed dramatically over the past half century, that is, includin g the times that you became mayor. What was your policy perspective of how did you view Ybor City and what did you, how did you envision it developing and what did you do? y because my father once had a jewelry story in Ybor City. And it was called the Gem Box, and he had that store for a number of years and then sold it to a dear friend. And I used to go to Ybor City as a child so I knew Ybor City. And when I came into offi ce there were many forces preservation people, business people, speculators, land investors, speculator types, as well as some residents. Everybody had a different view about what Ybor City should be. And Ybor City had pretty much been decimated because of urban the [End Tape 2, Side A] ___ [Tape 2, Side B] SF: We tried to find ways that we can improve the business climate and the entertainment climate and the histo rical preservation climate in Ybor City. But it was really, really difficult. And the main reason I think it was so difficult was because there were so many forces at work in Ybor City and they never could agree upon anything. There were the preservationis ts who wanted to preserve and we did preserve many, many buildings there, but we had to make sure that we had public safety in mind for those. Then there were the forces that wanted the bars and restaurants, the nightlife to be the only part of Ybor City And we had lots and lots of people who came during that nine years who wanted wet zonings and alcoholic beverage zonings. Many more came even after that. Then there were the young people who wanted to have all the entertainment plus the tattoo parlors an d the piercing, and that had a lot of businesses come in with that. It was Ybor City is in a unique geographical position because its kind of a gateway to housing and an area that was [a] high crime area. And Ybor City had been a high crime area as well. So that was always a problem about how to curtail crime and how to deal with the criminal element. And of course we had a lot of crack cocaine and drug problems during the time I was the mayor. There were just so many forces at work. And then we had the forces that wanted the city to put in the trolley, and they wanted to see it there was never you did one thing and then it, the next day, they said, W hat can


52 you do for me today? It was always a problem when we spent millions of dollars in, in physical improvements and the lighting and the decorative sidewalks and that was never enough. Ybor City just remained a problem always. And it continues to remain a problem. I th too much alcohol in Ybor City; too many kids. There continues to be crime problems. And then of course, we always had so many festivals and, and the night parade in Ybor City and then Guavaween which was 0,000 people there making a terrible dozens of people would always be arrested, and it was [a] frightening place. I urged my kids never to go down there because I knew the, the problems that occurred. And it remains a challenge. There are just many, many forces at work in Ybor City to this day into and therefore it just goes off in a million directions. establish that or did you work with them? SF: Yes. We had, I think it was established shortly before I became the mayor but it really got active and the mayor makes appointments to it. And their job was to help the development aspects of Ybor city to look for new development to try to work with the preservation folks with that development and just be kind of a li aison between all of those the, the preservationists. Then there were residents who continued t o live in Ybor City and they were a voice that we wanted to hear from. There were just so many different interest groups all competing for limited funds, all with a different idea of what should be done in Ybor City. And we tried to get our arms around t hem and bring them together, and once in a while And that, as I talked to people and as I read the newspapers and everything, it still goes icult thing should be something different. Many people thought it ought to be like the French concerned, and a lot of people are concerned. But Ybor City in many respects has turned into a lot of that with the drinking, and the carousing that takes place. And then there were a lot of people who used to laugh because they had such an idealized view of what Ybor C ity was many years ago. And having gone there as a child and as a teenager and as an adult, and my father having a business there and spending so much frequently occurs, you know, that, that, vision that so idealized over time. So it remains a challenge.


53 RK: You mentioned preservationists. You had a issue arise regarding the effort to preserve a couple of buildings owned by the Lykes Brothers businesses. SF: Oh yeah. That was downtown Tampa. And Lykes has been a prominent family here for well over a hundred years. And they had enormous business interests. And the head of on public relatio ns. And one day he and the Lykes attorney and a Lykes family member, a distant family relative by marriage, Dave Kerr came to see me. And they sat in my office and we talked and then Tom told me he wanted to knock down the building in downtown Tampa that W olf Brothers was in Wolf Brothers was an old and Tampa. And the building above Wolf Brothers was vacant and the building was old. And it actually two buildings tha t were attached, and next to it was a parking lot. And he came and said that they wanted to knock that down. They had just been through a very, very lengthy, expensive and acrimonious fight over some property that they had south of here, agricultural pro perty, rural property called Fisheating Creek. And that property had been, they wanted to close off a portion of the was very expensive. And finally a settlement was reached with the Florida cabinet and well. And they were really the bad guys in environmentalist minds and property owners minds other property owners minds. Whether And I remember telling Tom and Dave, if you want to knock down that building those two buildings, and you just want to add to the parking lot, you are going to have a real fight on your hands Because preservationists viewed those buildings as being ones that should be preserved. And I thought they should be preserved, at least one of them. And I, I asked what they intended to do long range, and they said that they, long range, they would have a parking lot for some years. But then long range they would put the Lykes ell I think maybe, maybe you might be successful getting permission to knock down the property if you announce what you were going to do with the whole thing, and then actually built the building I mean, we were looking for development and this, Lykes had a very, very big worldwide I left office. And I said, then I thought maybe some people would come to their side, but just to build another parking lot in downtown Tampa, just to knock down buildings, I And I also offered some suggestions for them as to what they could do with the building until they were ready to knock it down and replace it with their, the world headquarters for Lykes. Arts groups were looking for space, and the Lykes family, Louise Fe rguson in particular, Louise Lykes Ferguson in particular for whom Ferguson Hall Louise Ferguson Hall at the Performing Arts Center is named, had a long history in the arts in Tampa. And I thought that members of the Lykes family would really be supported at


54 least for a time being, allowing some of the arts groups to pay a nominal rent and use the building for their offices. Arts groups always are struggling, and other nonprofits as well. And they were looking for a home where they could kind of combine all of these arts groups in one building and share secretarial help and, and various costs could be contained. knock down the building, and he was adamant about it. And I s Because I knew everybody would come out of the woodwork about it. And he was bound and determined to go forward. And they did and when I left office, we were still in the throes of a lawsuit the architectural review board, and the historic preservation board had both getting a demolition permit. And off we went. And the re was a big lawsuit and it was really acrimonious and it went on and on. And there were some really heavy handed things that occurred. An architect who was on the architectural review board was fired from a job that the Lykes family was involved in, and t hings like that that took place. They ultimately were successful money does talk. In the Greco administration they beautiful park there now. But there was a building th at should have been saved I think. time community minded family. And the family was very divided. I had members of the family who apologized to me for the way the th including some of his closest advisors. RK: The Lykes brothers were a longstanding Tampa family going back generations. A newer business you have any dealings with him? SF: Many, many dealings with George. I met him when he first came to town and he is a Doctor Jekyll, Mr. Hyde. He can be, in the course of a minute, he ca n be the most miserable people, and a bully. So there were [an] awful lot of occasions that I had to deal with George. [Phone Rings, tape paused] SF: I had a lot of dealings with George Steinbrenner from the time he came to Tampa and as I said he could be schizophrenic. I remember once, one of the nicest memories I have of George is we were, my husband and I were once on a plane going to New York. And George was sitti ng right in front of us on the plane and a young boy, I guess about 10 years old got on the plane, his mother was with him, and she was crying. And it was apparent that it was a, that the visit was going to visit his dad the parents were divorced or separa ted or whatever. And maybe it was the first time the child had been on the plane,


55 and he sat down next to George, and the stewardess was taking care of him, the, and telling him to be calm and helping him after the mother got off the plane. And George star ted talking to him and was as nice as he could be. And he had been talking to us and back and forth, and I was kind of sitting back and watching, and how, how really good with the child that George could be. And then, and then the boy threw up [laughs]. An d comforted the kid, and he was just as good as he was, could be. He was, George was The boy, apparently the stewardess told him who, who was sitting next to him, and he, and George took his name and, and his address and everything; was going to send him some baseball memorabilia and everything. But he was just wonderful. On other occasio ns though, George could be really a tyrant. And he treated his employees terribly, and it was abusive sometimes, sometimes it could be very charming. I remember two other occasions we were trying to build a hotel in downtown Tampa, we were trying to get a hotel very badly, and we had, we had a request for proposals out to various developers who submitted proposals. And then we were going to make a selection. And as part of the proposal those who gave us the proposals they had to give us $100,000 non refunda ble check that was going to cover the cost of all the things that the city had to pay George and his group were the winning proposal. A fellow named Ronnie Moore owned the prop erty, a local person long time insurance man. And George partnered with Ronnie Moore. And then we began to negotiate. And we could never reach a deal on the negotiations. was the City Attorney, and we were really trying to reach an agreement, but George was just too difficult to deal with. And he would keep changing the, terms and everything. So forward. Well, he was fit to be tied. And he wanted his money back. And it was very clear in the proposals, our requests for bids that these were non refundable to they were going to cover all of the costs of the lawyers and the people who were working on our side to get this deal. Well, George, I think to this day probably still talks about the fact that I did him out of $100,000. And it was very clear but for years after that he talked about it to people at d say, I want my $100,000 back And it went On another occasion George lived in Beach Park and he lived across the street from a canal. Not really waterfront property, but property that you could have a bo at on. And George wanted to build a boathouse and a dock for his boat on city owned property across the street from his house. Well we had an ordinance on the books that said that that said that people could not build doc ks or boathouses on city owned property. Years ago we had had people just go out and build on


56 city owned property and we had all these derelict buildings and docks that we had to contend with and we wanted to stop that. So a couple years before this we h ad passed such an ordinance and George was bound and determined that he wanted to build this, this dock. And I kept saying, George if you want to build the dock, you have to go to City Council and you have to get them to change the ordinance, because we ca allow you to build a dock. And he was furious about it because he said much money to different charities, and he had done so much for the city and he was going to go back to Cleveland. And he was ranting and raving and he really carried on So one day he called me at my office, and it was, I think it was about 11:00 in the morning and this was the final day that I was to tell him that he could not build the dock. And he really let loose. Four letter words of all types, and he was screaming at me. And I in dealing with women George, I thought he, he was just trying to bully me because I I remember all of my staff people, because I always had the door to my office open the staff had their offices in various places close by. They came running in to see what was the matter, they thought something was wrong. I remember Bob Buckhorn coming in, George Pennington, and, and they all came running in and heard me yelling and screaming and realized who I was talking to. And finally I said, George you cannot do use the language. A little while later his then son in law, Joe Malloy called me up and apologized because hen George was calling and he was just appalled that apology. So at, the day went on, and at about 4:30 that afternoon, Glenn Permuy, who was then the director of the Boys and Girls Club of Tampa called me. And he was beside ? which is a big, big event to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club. And Mr Steinbrenner is going, has agreed to underwrite the cost of the dinner which is about 25,000 dollars, and there are going to be 1000 people there. But he, Mr. Steinbrenner has called and said, if you come to the dinner and I always did go to the dinner, and gave out some awards and things like that on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club if I came to the dinner, he would not pay for the cost of the write a check to the Hya tt Hotel, it was downtown the downtown Hyatt Hotel, where W hat should I do? And he was, I think he was kind of saying, P lease stay home, you And I said because I had someplace else I had to be


57 So I went to the other event that I had to go to, and I remember getting there a little late. And the ballroom was filled, the kids were at the tables with the grown ups, 1000 people or more there. The kids eat steak and the grown ups eat dais, and at this particular night, George Steinbrenner had brought in Donald Trump to be the speaker nd of the story to be the speaker. And so the dignitaries were up at the head table and I walked in and walked up to my table, which was right by the head table. And he saw, Steinbrenner saw me, and just, if looks could kill, he, I mean, he was just red fa kind of nodded, I went the evening went on. And I got up and presented the awards and the things that I had to do and everything. And then at the close of the evening, after the speeches and everything, Glenn Permuy got up and announced, and thanked Joanne face as far as he was conce 25,000 dollars. On that night, Donald Trump, as I said was the speaker. And we were, the United States was in a trade war with Japan that night during that time. And for some unknown reason, I have war and the economic situation with Japan in front of those kids. And this is Boys and Girls Club stuff. And, and it was really one of the most unpleasant nights and dinners I ever went to because of that. He spoke of the Japanese in really derogatory terms, kept calling them Japs, using four letter words in front of the children. And I just, you could eing talked about, I mean it was above their heads, most of them, talking about the trade problems, and, and it was really, really unpleasant night. And that was my limit of the experience with Donald Trump. o through with Mr. Steinbrenner and I But as far as downtown more generally is concerned, what would be the major positives that you saw during your administration? SF: I think there were several. First of all we built the Performing Arts Center, a wonderful facility that has brought a lot of people to downtown. And struggled in the beginning but it has enriched the total life of the Bay area. And people have come to downtown who have never been there before. I think some of the hotels around the Performing Arts Center there was a Residence Inn and then a Courtyard by Marriot. And they would not have occurred if the Performing Arts Center had not been there and genera ted the need. We built the federal court house, and I spent a lot of time working with the Federal Government on the Sam Gibbons Courthouse. The federal building, and that was an interesting project, learned some lessons there in dealing with judges fede ral judges


58 who were going to have their way and the high ceilings that you see in courthouses, no matter what the expense. Because those were expensive that was an expensive building, way over budget because of those high ceilings and some of the things th e judges wanted Har bour Island was developed pretty much during the time I was the mayor. There had been too many in my mind, changes to the plan of Harbour Island. And all of the greens space has been taken over by development. But it, it is a good development and allows a lot of people to live downtown. We started the cruise ships downtown, we finally convinced I think I was the one primarily that convinced the port, the Port Authority and the port administration that with all the land that they had, there could be other uses that would be compatible with the port that would be more community oriented, than just port uses. So we had the cruise ship terminals as a result of that. We got the, obviously the Aquarium is built in the port ent, so there have been a lot of positive things. We RK: Was any residential built downtown during your administration? SF: We worked on residential for a long time, and one of the problems with residential was is all the We did start the whole effort to redevelop Tampa Heig hts, which has been an asset to downtown. Closed in living area with the old brick streets and the old Victorian houses oftentimes, and so that redevelopment really started with my administration. And we did an awful lot to clean up that area. The, the cen tral city Y [YMCA] was built when I was you know, these are ongoing things that they conditions oftentimes are what you know, allow coming into play is a result of the market conditions really. RK: Were you able to get funding for the Riverwalk or any part of the Riverwalk? SF: Oh, we did part of the Riverwalk. We did the Riverwalk behind the, the Convention Center the Riverwalk is beautiful around there. We did the Riverwalk at Performing Arts Center, that area. So we did some of the Riverwalk, and then, and then over by the Aquarium. I neglected to mention the St. Pete Times Forum came about break ground while I was the mayor, we broke ground shortly thereafter, but the whole enhanced downtown tremendously. So, we, we built some of the Riverwalk. want to allow it to be done.


59 done. Downtown, when I became the mayor, it was the only part of the City of Tampa that did not have a plan. It was just being allowed to develop and redevelop willie nillie. And I put together a group of downtown business owners, downtown the President of TECO and other people people who had an in terest in downtown to help advise and develop a plan, along with Roger Wehling who was the staff director of that committee. And we developed a downtown plan, which to this day is still in existence and is used. And as results of that plan, a lot of the things that are coming into play now are, are coming into fruition. Some of the developers fought some of that. We wanted more open space, and we wanted access to the river. And Riverwalk to be developed on the private develop the whole thing. And some of it has ra ted clubs. He certainly has made a name for himself. Did he ever have any dealings with you? SF: I had dealings with Joe Redner, not face to face too often. But he, I first met him when I was on the City Council. And he would come to City Council meeting s for one reason or another, and he was always suing the city, and that was one of the things. He s the mayor ing to supply it. But I think he has been underestimated by many some good things with his money and helping the city and little parks and things like that sometimes reported to be. RK: How do you think the newspaper s treated your administration? You think they were fair and objective? SF: I think I got a pretty fair shake from, from the newspapers. The St. Pete Times I think I got a fair shake from all the time. And I got a pretty fair shake from the Tampa Tribune until Doyle Harvill came to be the publisher of the Tribune. And Doyle was a good old boy sexist, and he would call me the skirt around the newsroom. I know that he brought D aniel Ruth to the newspaper and created him in his own image, if you will. He had known Ruth before when he had been at the old Tampa Times And from that day to do a nything without talking to me first Harvill. He gave his employees a terrible


60 time, and the newspaper took several years to recover after he left the paper. They lost a lot of good people and, and they really had a poor reputation. But from that time on w hen The only one at the St. Pete Times a columnist named Mary Jo Malone, who she just had an awful lot of trouble with anybody who had any authority [laughs]. RK: Do you remember any issue in particular where the Tribune was very critical of you? SF: Daniel Ruth would write one or two columns about me a week, he had all kinds of names for me. And he belittles people in his columns Sometimes and is kind of mean spirited I think. And they just would give me a hard time pretty much on most everything. RK: Your predecessor in office was Mayor Bob Martinez who became Governor of the State of Florida. Did that in anyway help Tampa? His being governor, as or hurt us given that he became a Republican and you were a Democrat for example? ing to do with me being a Democrat and he being I have a belief that city government should pre tty much stand on its own, with rare occasion go to the legislature. And when you go, you better go for really, really good reason most democratic mayors go often, with hat in hand ntimes with the other mayors around the country, differed with him. Actually Bill Clinton this is [to] digress for a second Bill Clinton put me on the and I was a part of t he mayors the US Conference of Mayors came with a huge, huge was really hat in hand give us a handout and billions of dollars. And I, along with some others were there to stop that from going into the platform because then he would have today, they go for lots more funding and pension changes and all kinds of local bills. We, times where Martinez you know, helped us. On the other hand, he could have helpe d us a lot, just as being the governor and, and saying, Would you like ? You know, for his hometown. But he never did that either. I


61 to be criticized for giving more to the Tampa Bay area than other areas. So, we, we never got and we rarely asked. RK: You mentioned President Clinton I know that you endorsed him around 1991, is that true? SF: Yes. I was the first mayor in the country actually to endorse him. RK: Can y ou say something about your experience with the Clinton administration? With the SF: I met Bill Clinton well, I had met him a couple of years earlier when he had come t was very bright and articulate and had that charisma factor that I thought he just so personable. And so when he, we were talking before he announced he was running fo r mayor I mean for president [laughs]. And then when he announced, he contacted me and asked, he came I think he came to Tampa four days after he announced that he was going to run for president. And nobody knew who Bill Clinton was. He was the mayor I kee p saying then he was the president he was the governor of a small state, Arkansas, and who knew who he was. So he came to Tampa and he wanted to visit a school that had a lot of kids at risk. He only had a fellow named Craig Smith with him who was his ch ief of staff in Arkansas and was going to be one of his principal people in the presidential campaign. And there were no secret service, there were no camera people, there were no newspaper people nobody paid any attention to him. George Bush, the elder, w as president and I think at that point of his, he was at like 94% approval rating. The Gulf War and all that was going on. And Clinton looked like he was touting a, jousting at windmills. But anyway, he came and I took him to Alexander Elementary School, a nd I knew one of the teachers Sure, come to my class And she taught kids at risk, and most of that school, I think about 80% of the students at that particular school were at risk, and were on the, the school lunch program, the brea kfast program, and all that. And it was, it was really a funny day. He came and we went to the classroom, and we walked in the classroom, we looked up at the blackboard, and over the blackboard was a big banner computer aided, designed banner that said, W elcome Bob Clinton! And he started to laugh, he really thought it was funny deprecating humor that he has would have been upset, oh dear But he thought it was really funny. And the tea he talked to the kids and, and talked about, he was going to run for president, what he did, he had a lot of exchange with the kids. And talked about, asked them about their lives, and school, and I remember the one thing he stressed was staying in school and getting a good education. And we, we came out and there was one reporter from Channel 8, Diane Pertmer was there with the camera. And she did a little interview and he never fo rgot


62 that. He actually invited that teacher to his inauguration, his first inauguration, and she went with her parents. And he saw her several times after that. And always remember[ed] her, and always mentioned that incident. He has a remarkable memory, ab solutely remarkable, and he remembered it. And we laughed about it many times after that when school and, Y Bob RK: Did he appoint you to any type of commissions? would see him in Washington and he invited me to come to Washington. I had to go to Washington once, and he asked me to stay in, in the White House and sleep over in the Lincoln bedroom, which was a real treat. I was up all night but it was a real treat it was a, I think it was in July, it was hot, and for some reason they had an electric blanket on the bed [laughs], and this hot bed. And there was an old ancient clock on the mantle in the Lincoln bedroom that was like a metronome, it would go, [makes ticking noises] all night long night. But I remember getting up in the middl e of the night and reading the Gettysburg Address, which is, in, in that room. One of the signed copies is there in the desk. It was funny. But anyway, he did appoint me to a commission that was to try to figure out solutions to the problem of the entitle ments and, and taxation. It was the National Commission on Entitlements and Taxation, a big long name. And it was to deal with solving social security and Medicare and Medicaid, and taxatio revenue to come up with this. And he appointed some of the members, and Republicans and Democrats from the Congress were other members. And it was an even balance of Democrats and Republicans and it was p retty clear, from the very first day that not much was going to get done by this commission. John Danforth was a co chair, the co chair, and Bob Kerry, who was then the Senator from Nebraska, was the co chairman. And everybody staked out their claim really early on. And it was so frustrating to have to go to Washington and be curtailed in what you could ask the people who were testifying before the committee. I remember Alan Greenspan being there one particular view on what we should do with, with social security, how we should solve it. We could only ask him a particular question you know. But not very pointed we and they, you could always see that, that things were never going to get solved by the commission. Or any of these problems. And to this day, all three of


63 It was a really frustrating thing. I remember when Leon Panetta called me, Panetta was and I The President would like you to serve on this commission And I thought, O h boy, that will really be neat, we can get something done. We ll, it was the first meeting and I realized we probably had a dozen meetings, and they were all day sessions and, and we had all these experts testifying. But you knew pretty quickly that it was just another one of those things that was more window dressin g than anything else because partisan Washington had taken over. And what, even the final report that was drafted was so wishy anything of value. RK: Did you meet any foreign heads of state while you were mayor? SF: I di d meet a few while I was overseas, and I was honored to go with a group of mayors to Israel. The mayor of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek had this, he was the mayor for over 30 years. And he would invite a dozen or so mayors from around the world every year to com e to Jerusalem for a week and come to Israel for a week. And it was part good will, and meeting people from around the world who were colleagues, but also to show what Israel had done. And when, when I was in Israel we met with the prime minister, and the president, [Yitzhak] Rabin was in power, and Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu, who was to become the Prime Minister. He was the opposition party but he met with us. And then in, in Prague, on a trade mission I remember being in the square and being in troduced to [Vaclav] Havel, who was, had just become the president because they had just overthrown the yolk of the Soviet Union. The Queen of England came to Tampa once. [Laughs] RK: What was that like? SF: Well first of all she, about six months after the Gulf War, we got a contact from the Queen, the Queens secretary, or the secret service type person. And they said that the Queen wanted to come and come to MacDill. She wanted to knight Schwarzkopf, and she wanted to come here. And so we began this el aborate secret planning that went on for months and months six months it went on. And her emissaries would come over in the dead of the night practically, because nobody was supposed to know she was coming. And we would do all this planning and, and everyt hing. And then before she came, she invited Mike and I down to, Mike and me down to her yacht which was more like a barge, the Britannia to have dinner, at a dinner party in h Bush actually who was the president at the time. And so we flew down to Miami and we had dinner on board her yacht, and it was a very elaborate thing, and long gowns, an d she was wearing a tiara, and, and the whole thing. And the yacht is really an old barge. And the Reagans were there, and Gerry Ford was there, and his wife, and Jimmy Carter and


64 Rosalyn Carter were there I had met them several times before as well. And t hen after that dinner she took the yacht and came around Florida, stopped in Key West and whatever, came around. A couple of days later came to Tampa. developed as Harbour Island some of the hotel was there and some development. And it was raining, drizzling that day when they docked. We had all these school children there to greet her with flowers and everything. And s he walked among everybody and shook hands, and then, and then she was going to come downtown to walk along what we called the esplanade between the supposed to meet her there and greet her and walk with her and everything. Well, the rain let up and the sun came out and her limousine pulled up across from City Hall right at the entrance to the esplanade. And I was waiting for her, and no umbrellas or anything. And I reme mber that as she got out of the car, and the sun was shining, and she leaned back in, not a very graceful position, and brought out her umbrella. And I said to because the sun is out now One never knows And so she carried her umbrella and her handbag and walked through the throngs of people that were there to greet her and everything, with Prince Philip walking behind her, and I was walking beside her. And then after that we had a reception for her over at the University of Tampa. And in the ballroom [phone rings] SF: We, we had a reception for her and a receiving line and everything at the University of Tampa. And we had a lot of the local business p eople and government officials and all. And presented her with, we had had, a glass artist and we have to give gifts to the Queen. She puts them all in a warehouse or something, but this is what we were told. We had to present her with a gift and she woul d give us a gift or something. And we gave her a beautiful crystal palm tree that we had had fashioned for her by this glass artist named Hans Frbel, who I happened to know of, and Jimmy Carter used him for a lot of presidential gifts. And he was there to help present it to her the artist and everything. And it was very nice. And then she went to, on a motorcade down the Bayshore to MacDill and she knighted Schwarzkopf in a private ceremony there. And then, and I went along, and people were lined up on th e Bayshore waving to the Queen with American flags, British flags, and it was quite unusual for you know, a city the size of Tampa. And then after she knighted Schwarzkopf, there was a little ceremony or whatever and then she the Concorde was there to take her back. And she went back to Britain.


65 RK: Did you ever hear from her again? SF: I did. I got a letter with a little bracelet with the crest or whatever not a valuable that. SF: The sister city program was started I think under Eisenhower, many, many years ago where cities in this country, in America would learn more and pair with cities abroad and t hey would have exchanges, cultural exchanges, business exchanges, whatever worked for them. And Tampa has, had had I think Barranquilla, Columbia was a sister city when I became the mayor. Perhaps one other. And then during the time I was the mayor we ha d a very active sister city committee and a group came to me, first wanting to pair with Oviedo, Spain which was is in Northern Spain in the Asturias province where many Tampans, Spanish families from Tampa, their ancestors had come from. And, and we worke d out a sister city program with Oviedo, and I went with a group from Tampa of about 30 or 40 people I guess to sign the documents Committee ng the province, meeting with government leaders, meeting, meeting business leaders, cultural exchange type things. And hooking up if you will, people to people, and learning more about each other. And then they sent a group to Tampa, you know the two mayo rs meet and the mayor came here with a group. And that has continued as a very active sister city relationship to this day. In fact recently, about 100 people went to Oviedo and they have sent dance troops and other cultural groups here. And I think ther e have been some business relationships developed as well. And then we did a, there was another group that was interested in having a sister city relationship with a city in Sicily, very close to the towns where many of the Italian families in Tampa had c ome from. And this city was, is called Agrigento. Very much like have come here; and back and forth again. And many families from Tampa, Italian families came fr om two cities, small little villages nearby Alessandria della Rocca and, the RK: Was it Santo Stefano. SF: Stefano. And so we went to those little villages and, and some of the people who were with us saw their aunts and uncles and great aunts and grandparents and things like that. So that was very neat. And, and then there was a third one that we developed with Le Havre in France again, a port. And we took a trip with a group of people who, of, many of Fre nch ancestry who came from villages nearby there, and some people who had business dealings and knew of Le Havre. And we also entered into a sister city relationship. I think all of those remain active.


66 And additional ones, one in Turkey, which we began working on before I left office, and I think there were one or two more since then. One in Mexico Vera Cruz I think. And perhaps one other. RK: Can I ask some general questions about changes in Tampa during your administration? How would you characterize the economy? We historically have been a you noticed? SF: Well during the time that I was the mayor we suffered through two very severe recessions. And we got hit harde r than we usually had gotten hit here. The housing industry was just at a real low at one point and fortunately we had our challenge fund to offset some of that, and keep some of those people working. Interest rates, I remember were in double digits, so there was very little development struggling financially as a city city government was, because of the poor economy and business was suffering. We, we were shifting from the man ufacturing; we had lost a lot of the manufacturing. The cigar factories were closing and, and many of the things. And the Chamber of Commerce folks were, they were forever having studies done as to what we should be looking for, what kind of business and d evelopment and everything. We had a big shift from the local b anks that were homegrown people to banks being bought out by the big national banks, and not having any really, people who had a stake in the community running the banks. That shifted completely during the, the almost ten years that I was the mayor those n ine years. And then Tampa Electric had a change of leadership. We had always had people in Tampa Electric who had lived here and Tampa Electric, H.L. Culbreath retired and became the Chairman of the Board, but for all intents and purposes retired the day to day operation. And they brought in someone from the outside know the community and took a long time to learn the community. And [he] then developed poor health and had problems, health problems. So we lost a lot of leadership bec ause of the change in the economy, the change in businesses. During the time that I was the mayor, there were five presidents of General Telephone, their companies first of all because they were coming in new to the company. And then they had to learn the area. And about the time you could get them involved in the civic life of the commun a constant problem in, in the business community of, W ho could you lean on to help


67 make the community better? Whether it was for philanthropy purposes or whether it was for recruiting p urposes for other businesses, it was a real problem. Now, even though the economy is much better, we still lack those major, major companies that helped to defin e a community. Like Minneapolis has Dayton Hudson and [End Tape 2, Side B] ___ [Tape 3, Side A] SF: Until Tampa has some very large homegrown businesses or Fortune 500 ship going to be here for the long haul and can see things through, and not be in an d out. And, things, but in terms of really giving back to the community, the corporations obviously do RK: What did the call centers find attractive about Tampa? SF: They, well they would pay less than they would if they were in New York City. A lot of them came out from the New York area where it, the salaries were higher and also cos t of doing business are greater. And their employees could have a better lifestyle they they were always interested in the commute time. Now our commutes [are] I ever left the back office operations, not a call center per say but the back office ne it was but that was unheard of. But now everything was computerized, and the, the others followed. I, I can remember that Marc Sternfeld was the name of the guy who cam e but he was head of the company had never been done before. But once they found out that they could do that then it became easy. But we, we have to strive for a little bit higher wage paying job, even in the call centers. I mean we did the technology jobs and other kinds of jobs. RK: Did they hire many high school graduates from Hillsborough County? SF: They hire a lot of local people, yeah. And they do a lot of training when they come in.


68 And they, they, they involve themselves tremendously with the school systems, int erestingly enough. Which I think is a healthy thing. But they also are looking at the education system. Are these people qualified as a workforce? Are they producing educated people that can be their future work force? But they also look at, they look at the climate, they look at they always look at the, the hurricane back up provisions. Can the power company give you back up that you need? Because of our weather conditions although they like the climate for the most part but they know that we occasionall y have a hurricane and, and that power is out, and will they have the ability to continue to, to function for days sometimes? They look at that. They look at the cultural climate. They rarely talk about sports. We make such a big deal out of sports, but t hey rarely talk about sports. Sports is so universal. You can turn on the are a who le host of things that they look for. RK: What about changes in politics in Tampa during the time that you were in office? Did you notice certain organizations becoming stronger, others weaker, anything along those lines? SF: Well from a very local stan dpoint, there has been a, a marked change, and was a marked change from the time I was, took office until I left office in the neighborhood empowerment movement. I think that we, we had a large hand in that but people wanted to take more control over what was going on in their neighborhood, have more say about the things that would affect their daily lives the streetlights, the sidewalks, the landscaping, those kinds of things. And as a result of all of those neighborhood organizations being organized and being really active, and encouraged to be active, many of those people got involved in the political life of the community. Some of them ran for office. Rose Ferlita was a ed and involved. Several others, John Dingfelder was the president of the Davis Island Civic Association at one point long before he ran for office. So that was helpful and I think changed it. And, and the fact that I think every local politician now kno I mean, you really have to be interested, and they want you to be interested, they want you to come to their meetings that way. county to a county, which is much, much more conservative, particularly in the eastern part of the county in [the] Brandon, Valri co area. Much, much more conservative, so


69 mostly Republican legislators. And redistricting by the Republican controlled legislature has only made that stronger. So I thi much more conservatism. And more conservatives in, in city government as well. RK: Now when you say conservatism, do you mean lower taxes or social issues or both? SF: I think both. Actually, the tax rate, the millage rate is exactly the same today as it was the third year at, or the second year after I became the mayor, 6.39 I think is what we set. And it is still that even though the property values have raised been tremendous increase in property values s community investment tax that came in, which has given them a windfall since I left office. And in money for capital improvements increases. Social issues are p eople are much more conservative. Or I, at least in the city, I think think RK: Are African Americans more influential now than when you first took office? SF: I would say about the same. I had constantly been surprised and distressed by the fact get more involved in, in the life of the community now in the city, but when I was the mayor the percentage of African Americans was roughly 22%, 23%. I think it probably is pretty much the same now. And yet voting was up k ind of government and leadership. We should [not] look to two or three people to tell us how, how to lead our lives and how to run our government and everything. However, in, as I said in, in the neighborhood movement and everything m up, but with few exceptions in the African American neighborhoods, some are well organized, but just a people always cal l me and ask, and always have C an you tell us who we should talk to in the black community and the African American community who might help us identify other people and so on? to identify even a handful of people that, that really have the ear and, and of African American citizens. RK: What do you look, when you look at your terms in office, what strikes you as your greatest accomplishments? SF: Oh, I think the housing programs that we did were far and away the best thing that we did. Bec ause we provided affordable housing for so many people that otherwise


70 so many people still need to have a helping hand for affordable housing. The other thing that I look back on and I think that we did make a difference, or I do on learning to live to gether a little bit better. And the racial slur policy, the fact that I appointed more African Americans and women to top administrative positions. The first black police chief, the first woman who was a city attorney those kinds of things, I think all had a big part in helping us learn to live together a little bit better. And I think we still see some of the effects of that. RK: And what about your major disappointments? SF: Well obviously I am disappointed that we had such a, a brouhaha over those tak e home cars. I mean at the end of the day when I left office we had many, many more police officers than we had. They were much better equipped, and they were the second or third highest paid department in the state. All that was done, and could not have b een done had we not taken the cars. But that is always overshadowed by the taking of the for the fact that I would have definitely given the cars to the, those officer s who lived in the city. Center. I think we could have done that. The deal that fell apart right near the end of my administration was a better deal than the one we ultim ately got. And we would have had it many years earlier, so it would have bettered the city. things that I would have personally done differently I say that and th en I say, W ell, I was never very good at promoting myself. I was always more interested in just getting the job done. John Dunn and Bob Buckhorn and Steve LaBour used to be after me to do a TV program that probably was something I should have done. I never did lay out a game plan for my own future political career. That was just never on and, and some of the that we did h, you should have had a game plan you I never did, I really had the job think of all these kinds of things but I, it was a wonderful run for me. And it was exactly what I set out to do is to be the Mayor of Tampa, and I was lucky enough to do it. Then I had to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up [laughs].

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Freedman, Sandy.
Sandy Freedman
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Robert Kerstein.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (265 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (digital, PDF file)
Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman administration oral history project
Interview conducted on May 31, 2005.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Streaming audio.
Former Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman, discusses her life in politics in Tampa, Florida. She begins the interview with a brief discussion of her childhood and how she came to the Tampa Bay area. She also discusses her tenure on the Tampa City Council as a council member and later as chairman of the council. Ms. Freedman discusses her time as acting mayor and mayor of the city of Tampa from 1986 to1995. She also discusses city programs that were significant to her as mayor: Tampa Neighborhood Cleanup, the Growth Management Act of 1985 (neighborhood element), the Community Reinvestment Act (implemented on a local level), Tampa Heights building and redevelopment project, the sister-city program, and the building of the Tampa Convention Center. The interview ends with Ms. Freedman reflecting on her time as mayor and what she would have done differently.
Freedman, Sandy.
2 610
Tampa (Fla.)
Office of the Mayor.
Community development
z Florida
City planning
Tampa (Fla.)
7 655
Oral history.
Online audio.
Kerstein, Robert J.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
Tampa Library.
4 856