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Gina Grimes


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Gina Grimes
Series Title:
Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman administration oral history project
Physical Description:
1 sound file (52 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Grimes, Gina
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:
City planning -- Florida -- Tampa   ( lcsh )
Tampa (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Oral history   ( local )
Online audio   ( local )
Oral history.   ( local )
Online audio.   ( local )
interview   ( marcgt )


During the tenure of Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman (1986-1995), Gina Grimes first served as the Assistant City Attorney and later as the Chief Assistant City Attorney. The interview begins with Ms. Grimes discussing her education and how she came to work for the Tampa City Attorney's Office. The interview continues with a discussion of Tampa DRI (Development of Regional Impact), FQD (Florida Quality Development), and regional environmental and transportation issues. The interview ends with Ms. Grimes discussing the Freedman administration and how it differs from the three other administrations she has worked for.
Interview conducted January 11, 2006
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
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 028545937
oclc - 180111767
usfldc doi - F50-00006
usfldc handle - f50.6
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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


1 Sandy Freedman Oral History Project University of South Florida Interview with: Gina Grimes Interviewed by: Robert Kerstein Location: Unknown (Tampa, FL) Date: January 11, 2006 Transcribed by: Rebecca Willman Edited by: Robert Kerstein (9/06) Reb ecca Willman (9/07/06) Audit Edit by: Cyrana Wyker (8/28/07) Final Edit by: Nicole Cox (09/20/07) [Tape 1, Side A] RK: This is an interview with Ms. Gina Grimes, January 11, 2006. Thanks a lot for taking the time to speak to me. d to be here. RK: What was your position during the Freedman administration? GG: When I, when I first started with the Freedman administration I was just an Assistant City Attorney. And over the years I was elevated to Chief Assistant City Attorney. R GG: I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and went to school, high school here in Florida, and then went to Florida State for a few years, moved back up north, finished my underg raduate at Dukane University in Pittsburg and then came back to Florida and RK: Did you work in private practice before the city hired you? GG: No, I went right from law intern. And once I passed the bar, I was offered a position as an Assistant City Attorney. And at that time, Governor Martinez, then Mayor Martinez was the Mayor of the City. And after about a year, I six months he decided to run for Governor and Mayor Freedman was the Chairwoman of City Council, and by virtue of that position she was then elevated to the Mayor. And at the end of his term, she then ran for reelection for her first full term. RK: And when did you get your promotion?


2 RK: What are some of the prima there are many. Freedman was mayor, I worked in the area of land use and development approvals. And during that time t here was a lot of development taking place in the City of Tampa. Right before Martinez left office he annexed part of what we now know is New Tampa. And so right when Mayor Freedman took office, that was a period of time when all of the property owners out in the New Tampa area were applying for development approvals. So I was very much involved in the development approval process for all of the New Tampa area. And there were other parts of the city older parts of the city that also were undergoing a lot of development at that time, so I was involved in a lot of those different projects and activities. RK: And who were some of the dominant city staff people that worked in the same field, that worked with you in a sense? GG: I worked with Pam Aiken who wa s the City Attorney under Mayor Freedman, and Pam sort of passed the torch to me as far as the zoning and land use work. I worked with some other very talented people in the other departments. Susan Swift was the Director of Zoning at the time, also Gloria Moreda was her Zoning Administrator, and Cindy Harden. Cindy Harden recently worked for the City of Clearwater as their Planning Director, but at the time when she was in the City of Tampa she actually handled all the historic preservation regulations. In fact, I believe under Mayor Freedman is when, when the very first historic district other than Ybor City the Hyde Park Historic District was first recognized and designated. And Cindy, along with the help of Susan basically established the historic preser vation review and approval process for the City of Tampa. And since then of course, we have a couple other historic districts and many, many landmark sites and the, the regulations and the structure of the historic regulations and the review process was es RK: And you worked on that also? very it was a major project, and once it was implemented it seemed to work very smoothly. RK: Did you have occasion to interact with the Mayor on any of these issues? GG: Did I have direct contact with her? Yes. A lot of times when Pam Aiken was still Ci ty Attorney, she would bring me along to the Senior Staff meetings which of course were chaired by the mayor and attended by all of her senior staff people, and sometimes


3 they would bring some of their department people to talk about specifics as far as an y issues that were priority at the time. RK: Land use can be very controversial. GG: Very! something you spent a lot of time on as far as different parties had interest there and what they wanted? GG: One of the very first and probably the biggest development out there of course was up there now and it is truly like an additional city Tampa Palms was probably the first major was the first major development out there. a Development of Regional Impact. And the DRI process was somewhat new in the state of Florida, and the City of Tampa had its share of gentleman by the name of Ken Goode. Then there first Florida Quality Development FQD. It was a sp ecial designation given to certain required. And so under her administration we were awarded basically the first Florida An d Tampa Tech DRI, I remember, as I was trying to think back in preparation for the interview, we were involved in a major controversy involving the USAA sign out there. It was, at the time, she was working with Colonel Joe House who was an executive with U SAA, the insurance company. And they were trying to develop a huge office complex out there. And there was a lot of resistance from the state and the mayor stepped in and kind of shepherded it through the process and eventually the development was approved and now built, and occupied by a lot of employees. RK: What was the problem the state had? GG: I believe it had to do with just the size of the development as well as the location and whether or not there was sufficient mitigation of the impacts. RK : Did the Freedman administration annex any additional territory in New Tampa? there might have been bits and pieces. My recollection, it was mostly the Tampa Palms area, the Tampa Technology Park, which was mor e of an office, retail, DRI component that Tampa Palms had. And then we had the we had Hidden River


4 Corporate Park, that was another huge DRI out there, very successful. Probably fully built out and occupied citizens involved in formulating the plans? GG: Not, not like there is to the extent there is today. GG: It was, it was raw land back then. Raw land. And there really, there was very little retail. I think she was involved in the approval of the first shopping center out there, the Publix shopping cen ter at the intersection of [County Road] 581 and Amberly [Drive], or Tampa Bay Boulevard [corrects herself] Tampa Palms Boulevard. The first shopping them along 58 1. RK: Did environmental groups get involved at all? the way they were administered had mitigation requirements that I think addressed all of the environmental issues. And there are huge, thousands of acres that are protected as complain or object to because of the stringent mitigation measures that were put in all really worked out very well in the long run. Because its years GG: Oh those, those types of mitigation measures were significant. And those developers will tell you that they probably, they put millions of dollars into the roadway out there to that major roadway. One of the interesting things too about 581 when I look back on it onto 581, or if they did, they use more see in the county with Dale Mabry [Road], have as much of stop and go traffic, you have more through traffic. And most of the access points are off of internal or frontage roads that lead out to that road, so I think that was, that was significant too. But those developers paid millions in, not just mitigation building roadways, and paying mitigation fees, but they also paid millions in impact fees.


5 RK: Is Bruce B Downs [Boulevard] 581? GG: Yes, Bruce B Downs, right. RK: Were impact fees used for the first time in New Tampa or was the City of Tampa already using them? GG: I think I know it funded, just tremendous amount of roadway improvements throughout the city. And it dopted for the New Tampa area, it was adopted citywide, citywide. RK: Do you know how the administration viewed New Tampa? Mr. Mayor Martinez, or the next area was it viewed as an opportunity for the city to expand in terms of population and jobs and pote ntially tax fees? developing undeveloped land, and development approvals and the review process that would take place. So it was, it was somewhat of a learning process because there just the review process were such large tracks like that, in such large numbers, I want to say Tampa Palms is 5000 acres and 13,000 dwelling units, and ret ail on top of that. So it was significant and I that all occurred right when she, when she came into office, so we, we learned quickly on how to administer a development review process. RK: And did you have to interact with state officials a lot? GG: Ye s, when you are involved in a DRI review process you work not just with the State Department of Community Affairs, but also the Tampa Bay Regional Planning And we were involved in a lot of interaction with the state level officials on their review RK: And what about the county, how did they play any role at all? city, we had sole jurisdiction over all the development approval. Sometimes now they get involved in, in environmental issues out there on, in areas that abut county jurisdiction lves in the environmental areas that are, [that] lie just outside of the city boundaries.


6 GG: One of the other, I th ink significant issues that I wanted to touch on as far as the development review process and development approvals that took place under Mayor were in the downtown area. I remember her working very closely with Downtow n Partnership to work on not just the downtown DRI, which was another area wide DRI. In fact, in the City of Tampa there were two major it was the downtown DRI and also the Westshore DRI. RK: And what was the reason for ha ving the area DRI? GG: The reason you do an area wide DRI is that you can address the impacts and the mitigation for a much larger areas of an entire area, like an entire downtown, or the entire Westshore business district, as opposed to addressing impac ts and mitigation on a parcel little on a larger scale on a more scale than just parcel by parcel. And it al lows all of the, all of the development within the impacts of all the development. But on the the one, the one project that I worked on downtown that I think wa s significant, had to do with the downtown development regulations that she implemented. She worked, I worked with Roger Wehling, who at the time was the Director of Planning. And Mayor Freedman directed that we come up with and we just about did it overni ght with a set up of development regulations for downtown. And given the time frame that we had to work on it and given the product, I thought it, it actually worked out o ut better than if you have too much time. But we developed a set of regulations that included not just design review of the buildings, but it also, imposed requirements dealing with public art, for all the buildings that were developed downtown; public o pen space requirements for the buildings downtown. Also, if you were building on a parcel that fronted the river, you had a riverwalk requirement you were required to construct a riverwalk and there I mentioned the open space, all those requirements collec tively still exist today and finally now you can see some of the products of those regulations which include the riverwalk the Marriot would have developed a riv erwalk like the one that they have developed, and now you see the riverwalk and the specific design guidelines that she implemented for the riverwalk, you now also see carried forward on some of the public parcels that have been developed that include that that riverwalk concept connecting the riverwalk from parcel to parcel. So I think eventually as those remaining parcels along the river develop or that extends pr obably all the way up from Stetson down and around the river, around the bend over to where the Convention Center and the Park are, on the water by the Beneficial Bridge.


7 GG: Right. RK: A re they also going to be subject to these regulations? development very much at all. But they are being administe a testament to really the flexibility in those standards and, and the foresight that she had in implementing them at the time. It took a while for development to come downtown but now these regulations that were a dopted under her administration are being applied to all these, all this new development downtown, and I think you have much better product than you know, had there been nothing on the books, or had if there had been something that was just piecemealed. He r approach to looking at it on a broad basis, and implementing, you know, not just design but the open space and the park and the riverwalk components f her labor in that regard. RK: Do you know what motivated her desire to have these guidelines? GG: I think at the time, every, as every administration has dealt with, not just Mayor Freedman, but subsequent administrations pressure to start something do wntown. the question is always, why? And her master plan for the downtown and her downtown development design regulations are I think now finally coming to fruition and I think such a broad basis. RK: Did were developers upset at all at any of th ese guidelines? GG: There not much if any opposition to the downtown development design regulations. I recall that the downtown artnership? GG: It it was a group of business people that formed just a partnership that sort of monitor issues that effect the downtown area. And at the time, they were in support of those types of design regulations because they were actually at the tim e they were interested in supporting anything that would help bring development and building downtown. RK: Was Jim Cloar the director then?


8 GG: No, I think it was an employee director. They had a chairperson I want to say it was Parke Wright, but I RK: Really? GG: [Sounds in agreement]. And also, along the same lines is, she also implemented drafted and implemen ted the Channel District design regulations which were much like the downtown design regulations, but not as detailed not as comprehensive. Because at develop at t he pace that it is now. And I think that what she was trying to do was to really encourage, even more so than downtown but encourage reinvestment in the Channel District. At the time it was more of a warehouse district then. But her design regulations for the Channel District were modeled much the same as they were for the downtown, where they had the design rate and the public open space contributions I think that the downtown design regulations can tak now is all being reviewed to determine compliance with her Channel District design regulations. RK: Was the Port Authority involved with those regulations at all? GG: Actually the Port Authority was a separate DRI. RK: Oh. it, they probably were vested from the Channel District design regulations and they, they really were considered like as separate development form the rest of the Channel District. the retail complex is what has helped spur a lot of the residential development in the Channel District. RK: Did you look at any other cities when you formulated the design guidelines? recall specifically, but I think we were just trying to create what they thought was


9 modeled just to fit that unique area. Especially with the river. There were I failed to mention there were a couple other restrictions that she had built into the d owntown development regulations. Those dealt with view corridors on the ends of various streets. She wanted to protect the views that people had as they drove down the streets downtown; the views they had of the water and of the, of the river, and places l ike UT [University of Tampa] actually. She wanted to make sure that at the ends of those streets, where they dead ended into the river, or those parcels that you know, butted the river and where the streets dead ended into those parcels, she wanted to make sure that those view with protection of the view corridors too. RK: What other issues? GG: I think also worth mentioning is the Westshore DRI because that also is an other area that you have over there. The benefit to a DRI like that is that eve rybody who builds within the DRI has the benefit of the capacity that was approved under that DRI, meaning you know, X number of square feet of office, and of retail and of residential. You just approved, and the mitigation that you have to pay for that capacity, for that building that you conduct is already set out in this planned if you want to build X amount of office, this is what you pay in mitigation. And that, just having that k ind of information and that kind of security that you can build and, and plan for, and you know, you know how to plan for your that is invaluable to developers when they know t RK: When you say mitigation, that involves traffic and what else? GG: It can, it can traffic. Not schools, but police, fire, parks, all of that all of those kinds of impacts that are felt when a development goes forward or addressed in mitigation was provided for or downtown. RK: Did you interact closely with some of the developers who were active downtown or Westshore? GG: Yeah, as whenever a developer comes in and applies for either a DRI approval or an amendment to a DRI, they worked with city staff as far a s filing the application and development order, where you set out what all the mitigation is and what all the development entitlements are.


10 RK: And they generally have GG: Yes. RK: Can you recall any of the major developers who made a difference? you had in Hidden River Corporate Park, you had Steve Meyers who I know that Mayor Freedman worked with very closely and thought ve ry Corporate Park was very successful. One of the owners out there is a fellow by t he name of Joe Taggart who also is still involved in the development business right now. I think he has basically his own business, does his own individual projects, probably not on the scale of Hidden River, but Ron Rotella, who was involved in the Westsh ore DRI, he represented these developers you had Jake Varn, at the time he worked for a f irm Carlton Fields. You had Tim Johnson, he was one of the founding partners at Johnson Blakely out of Clearwater. You had Cynthia Henderson who was an attorney who eventually was named by Governor Bush to head up one of his departments in Tallahassee I th RK: Was Mr. Weaver involved? GG: Mr. Weaver, he was involved in probably more so downtown than New Tampa or Westshore. He re presents and still represents developers that build downtown. GG: Yeah, I think we did, yeah, with all of them. RK: At one point the administration you might not have been involved with thi s recommended an increase in impact fees. And at least some of the business community and development community had a problem with these increases they protested. Were you involved with that at all? GG: Probably on the fringes of that. Pam Aiken I think w as directly involved in drafting the impact fee ordinance and working with the engineers that provided us with the methodology behind and the costs, estimates behind the impact fees. She worked more closely I think with the mayor on that than I did. But co nsidering what impact fees are in with other areas, so, I they might have complained at the time, but not for long.


11 RK: Any other major issues that you ? GG: I k now we touched on the historic preservation, but that probably was something it has become controversial in some aspects over the years since then, but I think probably the work involved in developing ou know, preservation versus property rights, you know, there you have to be careful in the balance, that you, that you draw whenever you develop those kinds of regulations because both sides have valid points. The other thing we did mention very quickly that we did under was, was a mandate by the state back in concurrency comes from. And right now we see it a s a significant issue with regard to we have available in Hillsborough County, and right now the County Commission and the school board are wrestling with to stop or s low development approvals because of the inadequate, inadequate school facilities that we have available to serve all of the students that will result from all that development. that every local government adopt concurrency regulations, Mayor Freedman working with our office, engaged Steve Siebert, who eventually became the Secretary of the State Department of Community Affairs. And we worked with him in drafting and implementin concurr ency regulations. But that was, that was that concept was you know, all new at know, starting from scratch in developing a set of regulations and a process where we facilities, infrastructure facilities available to serve that development. RK: And did the concurrency drive the need for impact fees to any extent? GG: Actually impact f ees predated concurrency, but just [End Tape 1, Side A] ___ [Tape 1, Side B]


12 RK: So we were speaking about concurrency GG: Right, I was saying that the misconception that a lot of people have about concurrency and impact fees they think that if they p ay their impact fees that they meet concurrency, and while impact fees can pay for part of the, the impact that you have on Because concurrency means there are adequate facilities, infrastructure facilities in place will only pay for a part of th e impacts that your development may have on the infrastructure facilities. So concurrency is like above and beyond impact fees. RK: Does the city coordinate with the county at all regarding concurrency? GG: No. Every jurisdiction is required to implemen concurrent developed different points along the development process where a determination would be made whether or not you have there were adequate fa cilities available to serve your development. And once you reach certain stages of the development or review and approval process, then that capacity on those infrastructure facilities would be effectively reserved for your development. So it was just work ing through the process and when was it fair to reserve capacity, and when was it too, too soon to reserve capacity for the process is separate entirely from the cities. RK: Did the city coordinate with the county in any land use issues? GG: Not that I recall under the Freedman administration. When you have separate local governments like that well today there are intergovernmental coordination requirements under comprehensi ve planning concepts. At that time, the intergovernmental coordination comprehensive planning was fi rst being implemented, the DRI regulations were first being implemented, concurrency was first implemented. So I think all the local governments were just struggling to get those processes in place and they were happy to get it done in their own jurisdicti on and really, at the time, I think it probably would have been overwhelming to require them at the same time to coordinate with other local governments and have that kind of coordination. Maybe now, now that things have settled down and these regulations intergovernmental coordination. RK: We were speaking you were speaking about historic preservation, the conflict between preservation and property rights. Were you involved with the con troversy regarding those two buildings on Madison, owned by I guess, the Lykes brothers?


13 Vaka. She actually represented the ARC and Barrio Latino Commission on hist oric preservation issues. But the private attorney working on that was David Mechanic. And he at the time, worked for McFarlane Ferguson, who represented the Lykes brothers their offices were actually in that building. RK: I guess that was the most cont roversial as far as preservation? eferred to as the Lykes settlement that separates the historic designations process from the historic architectural review process. So now those are considered to be that was the big controversy in that matter is that the question of designation and archit considered to be two wholly separate processes that are actually administered by two separate sets of staff people. Because the thought process was that you should first consider designation and then look a t issues such as architectural review and that it in that case, one of the primary issues was economic feasibility of the rehabilitation of that considered historic significance they were already, they had already they jumped the gun and were already looking at the issue of economic feasibility of the rehabilitation. And the, the Lykes brothers at the time though that that those processes should have been considered separately. RK: So the City does things differently now because of that lawsuit? GG: Oh yeah. Still those, those restrictions and separation of powers are still in place. RK: And were they awarded by a judge or were they worked out? GG: It was worked out by a se ttlement agreement, and then subsequently City Council had to adopt regulations that actually implemented the settlement agreement. RK: And can they ever change? alwa ys wants to, to make changes to the Lykes settlement. I think by virtue of that fact processes. If someone could get the two parties back together and agree to amend it, probably the process could be amended. RK: Do ? GG: Go ahead no


14 RK: Did you have to appear often before City Council? GG: Because City Council is primarily responsible for development approvals and I was involved in all the land use issues, I app eared in front of City Council quite often on, on land use and zoning issues. y Council have both represented? In other words, some wanted more regulations on developers, some less? pretty balanced as far as individuals that were pro develop ment versus individuals that were development. Some were more conservative than others, but it was pretty balanced over the years. RK: Would any of that stick out in terms really be concerned about planning issues and regulatory issues? GG: Any council members? RK: Yes, yes. GG: Probably Linda Saul as she will tell you, a former planner, or she used to be a planner, worthy or vocal, on the issue, and the concepts of planning. Most of the other none of the other Council members I recall had a background in tha t area. A lot of them were small business owners, couple lawyers over the years. None I recall being planners other than Linda. and use, in other words, does the mayor and the administration kind of set the tone, or is City Council dominant? GG: The administration definitely sets the tone whenever there is a development proposal. In any kind of development agreement with a devel oper, it is within the the agreement to council for their approval. So you have both the executive branch and the legislative branch that are involved in the process that check and balances this, but the administration of the strong mayor would be responsible for developing the proposal, negotiating it, drafting it, putting you know, pen to paper. And then it would be really up to council to vote it up or down. It really is development plan, and up to them to vote it up or down.


15 RK: And that emanates from the City Charter? GG: Right, right, right. RK: Did generally, I believe is it true that usually City Council did support the administration? GG: I think so. I think Mayor Freedman Mayor Freedman more so probably than Greco, was careful about council overstepping their boundaries as far as their powers careful not to let council step too far beyond what its powers were. But I think that the council supported almost the majority of her proposals whenever she presented them. She was, I remember one thing that she said that I think was interesting and certainly I she made very infrequent appearances at council to ask them for anything. And the reason for that was so that when she did go down there, that it would be they would know that it was a matter of significance and priority to her. And it would give it a cer tain level of importance, so I think she was very protective of and conservative about her appearances at council and only went down there in person to ask them for something when it was something that was really significant or important. And I think peopl supply and demand sort of thing. It was valued, her appearance at council was valued and council just to address them. RK: Did you have to interact at all with any neighborhood groups? GG: Sure. Over the years, yeah. They in fact have you? RK: Yes. GG: That you heard a lot about the neighborhood element which was, we were probably on e of the first jurisdictions in the State of Florida to have a neighborhood element as a component of our comprehensive plan. But neighborhood empowerment definitely came to be under the Freedman administration. With her recognition not just of neighborhoo d associations, but development of the neighborhood liaison and her city administration GG: We worked, yeah, we worked with the neighborhood groups after that. RK: And did they impact land use decisions at all in their neigh borhood?


16 GG: You know it was very informal initially. Again, as I mentioned, the comp planning come out whenever there was a development proposal in their neighborhoo d, and either object or support. But as time went on under the Freedman administration and neighborhood groups were actually formally recognized, I think they appeared more as, you know, as an entity as a whole appearing in front of council or, or working with the administration on issues that were important to their entire neighborhood and not just to them as an individual. So we worked with a lot of the neighborhood groups. We worked I worked a lot and still work with Margaret Vizzi who I think everybody recognizes as the first neighborhood activist in the City of Tampa, or one of the first anyway. In fact I sit on the Citywide active in, in land use issues. RK: So this whole emphasis on fostering neigh borhood organizations is clearly something you saw during your time in with the city? by recognizing and empowering neighborhoods, it was an impediment to development But actually when you recognized entity to which you can go and present your development proposal and ge t feedback, address concerns so that when you go in front of the local government for your formal development approval, you have an idea as to what the collective group in the area tgun approach where people just randomly show up at council or the County Commission and object, you can you know, you can know in advance and you can there can be an identified group that you can go to and present your project to, and I think it, in the e nd, it facilitates development approvals as opposed to serving in some kind of impediment to them. You you can go through. And I think a lot of times developers, th ey appreciate that. They no GG: Sure. adership? GG: I think [if] there was one word I would use to characterize her and her administration that is genuinely sincere about positions they take. And she never took a position for purposes of her own agenda or any kind of self serv ing reasons, it was always she always had the interests of the citizens and, and the constituents at the fore front. And she never


17 thought, I never thought she had any kind of re ally aspirations beyond being the mayor, you know. She was like Greco in that regard they cared a lot about the City of Tampa, really good job at being the mayor of th e City of Tampa, and they, they were she was very sincere in that concern, and that goal. And her style was, in my view, I thought it was now a days, they want to micromanage things. She was very deferential to her department heads, she always displayed a lot of confidence in their abilities, and let them run their own departments. She might have said things to them about different issues, b ut she never got involved in you know, their decisions to hire people, fire people, you know, how to run their department should be for a mayor. There are more broad issues and bigger is sues that they need to be worried about, than you know, hiring and firing decisions and running departments and worrying about how departments are structured and that sort of thing. I think when you ot looking at the broader policy very, she was very deferential with all of her, all of her department heads and employees. RK: You were there just for short period durin g the Martinez administration or ? GG: Yeah, I believe, I came maybe it was longer maybe it was year. Maybe it was summer It was a short period of time. RK: Okay. And did you stay on during the Greco administration? GG: Yes I did. RK: Okay, can you GG: I even stayed on through the Iorio administration. RK: Oh, geez, Okay. [laughs] have historical perspective of sorts, how would what would you say about the Freedman administration in terms of kind of, the evolution of Tampa using any criteria you want. In other words, when people look ba ck 50 years from now, potentially, what might they say about this administration? at she


18 growth. It was talked about more in the Greco administration, but act ually the groundwork was all laid in the Freedman administration. example that some of the growth communities so to speak, development community felt that she went too fa r in terms of regulations. GG: They always think that, they always think that. Usually you know, they think that the all of the development approvals were issued under her administration. They were some of them were simply amended under the Greco administration, and but the development approvals themselves occurred under her administr ation. And his administration really administered those development approvals, but, but she laid the groundwork. Her administration was the one that actually reviewed the development proposals and issued the development approvals, so. RK: For? GG: For a ll the growth you see taking place now. Well thank you very, very much. GG: Sure. RK: I know how busy you are, so it was nice that you could come by. GG: Thanks.

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Grimes, Gina.
Gina Grimes
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Robert Kerstein.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (52 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (digital, PDF file)
Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman administration oral history project
Interview conducted January 11, 2006
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Streaming audio.
During the tenure of Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman (1986-1995), Gina Grimes first served as the Assistant City Attorney and later as the Chief Assistant City Attorney. The interview begins with Ms. Grimes discussing her education and how she came to work for the Tampa City Attorney's Office. The interview continues with a discussion of Tampa DRI (Development of Regional Impact), FQD (Florida Quality Development), and regional environmental and transportation issues. The interview ends with Ms. Grimes discussing the Freedman administration and how it differs from the three other administrations she has worked for.
Grimes, Gina.
Freedman, Sandy.
2 610
Tampa (Fla.)
Office of the Mayor.
Tampa Port Authority.
City planning
z Florida
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