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Mike Salmon


Material Information

Mike Salmon
Series Title:
Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman administration oral history project
Physical Description:
1 sound file (67 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Salmon, Mike
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:
Water resources development -- 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), Mike Salmon served as Administrator of Water Resources and Public Works. Mr. Salmon worked for the city of Tampa from 1977 (beginning under the administration of Mayor William F. Poe) through October of 2004. Under Mayor Poe, Mr. Salmon was Director of the Department of Public Works. Mr. Salmon describes the "refuse to energy" plant project that he directed beginning in 1983, under Mayor Bob Martinez (1979-1986). He also discusses the construction of the Tampa Convention Center and the Florida Aquarium. The topics of storm water, drainage, freeboard, urban renewal, and the Model Cities program are also covered in the interview. The interview ends with Mr. Salmon discussing his overall impressions of the Freedman administration.
Interview conducted on June 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
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 028546131
oclc - 180112976
usfldc doi - F50-00014
usfldc handle - f50.14
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


1 Sandy Freedman Oral History Project University of South Florida Interview with: Mike Salmon Interviewed by: Robert Kerstein Location: Unknown (Tampa, FL) Date: January 11, 2006 Transcribed by: Rebecca Willman Audit Edit by Nicole Cox Audit Edit Date: August 30, 2007 Final Edit by: Nicole Cox Final Edit Date: September 11, 2007 [Tape 1, Side A] RK: This is an interview with Mr. Mike Salmon, on January 11, 2006. Thanks a lot for speaking with me sir. RK: Can you tell me som ething about your personal history? Where you were born? small town at 20,000 population. I went to University of Missouri at Rolla for my undergraduate degree, and th en worked about six and half years before I went back for two masters at University of Pittsburgh. I then worked in Joplin Missouri as Public Tampa and began in 1977. RK: A nd what was your position with the Poe administration? RK: And what were the primary responsibilities? MS: In that case, streets and storm water and design and construction of general public facil ities the essential city engineer function; exclusive of water and sewer. Water and sewer each had their own engineering departments but the Public Works Department built the buildings and streets and storm sewers for the city. RK: And would what were th e you mentioned to me earlier before we started the recording that one of your major projects was energy plant? administration when Dale Twatchman left the city and I moved into hi s position. He was Administrator of Water Resources and Public Works. When I got that position, the city


2 had gone through negotiations and concluded those negotiations were ready, to closed down for the mayo ral overlap was in that the 92 Act. And we spent quite a bit of time getting ready to redo that again; had to re bid it. So during that time, I will have administered the expenditure of something on the order of 200 to 250 million dollars on the facility, rebuilding it twice to m eet the environmental requirements. RK: Did you get federal money to help you? MS: No. No, there was no federal money available. Early on it was thought that the project could be done in concert with the county, but that failed to materialize, and we b uilt ours and the county built theirs. So there was no other contribution other than the obligation of revenue bonds from solid waste collection. administration the question arose at the time about who was going to be in charge of a project in the city because the determination had been made to expand the existing facility on the McKay Bay site. And the county was asserting that they were going to b e in charge of the project, and Mayor Martinez did not think that was a good choice. And so Mr. Twatchman at that point started off taking on the project for us as a city project. And it was ready to be constructed, the construction had not begun at the ti me he left, and I picked up the project and carried it on. RK: Do you know what motivated the project to begin with, why the city thought it was a good idea? MS: The city and the county both needed to solve some problems that were associated with opera ting the landfill, which was notorious out, off of I 4. And [they] were looking for solutions to solid waste disposal, acknowledging that there was no elimination of landfill. They were always going to have to have a landfill, even if it was for residue fr om the Refuse to Energy facilities. But at any rate, the state was running into problems all over the state locating landfills, and mandated a study of Refuse to Energy or, some other terminology they used to look at the concept of recycling and all kind s of other solid waste alternatives to landfills before a final decision was made on how the solid waste was going to be handled statewide in the metropolitan areas. There were a large number of areas that were mandated to study this question, and out of t determination to move forward with Refuse to Energy. And the city then went on its own


3 believe expanding theirs at this time and ret rofitting for whatever emission requirements they had and we have met our the City of Tampa has met its requirements. RK: And do you work with Tampa Electric? MS: Tampa Electric is the purchaser of our power. RK: And did that work smoothly? MS: I t hink it worked alright. Tampa Electric is a, good citizen. We had some, conflicts about what they should have to pay for the energy, and there were some federal laws that impinged on those decisions that were beneficial to the city. And some state laws ass ociated with the way the Public Service Commission identified facilities that Tampa Electric was planning; that combination made it advantageous for us for a period of time oth its energy and the avoided cost of the capital that TECO [Tampa Electric Company] did not have to spend to either build or maintain the identified units which were at that time a ation capital cost; our consequent payment for that would be lesser if we had a new contract. have to negotiate that issue. RK: What was your position d uring the Freedman administrations? MS: I was Administrator of Water Resources and Public Works during that time which meant that I had water, sewer, solid waste and public works, plus a small environmental function. RK: And were you there throughout h er time in office? MS: Yes, yes. RK: Were you one of the Super Chiefs? MS: Yes. RK: And what were the major endeavors during that period of time that you were involved with? MS: Over that period of time there were things that overlapped. The city built the Performing Arts Center during beginning in, in [the] Martinez administration, and completed it for the most part in that time frame. There were some clean up issues, conflicts with contracts and that sort of thing that overlapped into the Freedma n administration. And then when Mayor Freedman came into office, she was in a position where we had designed and bid the Convention Center construction. Which was I believe, about 70 million dollars. And she ultimately received those bids and sent that


4 for ward for construction, not without some trepidation I think. But nevertheless we were able to meet the budget requirements on that, and so she moved forward with building the Convention Center. RK: Does the city technically own the Convention Center? MS : Yes, owns and operates the Convention Center. RK: And how did it work out in terms of revenues and expenditures? MS: Well, I happen to know that there was never any thought that the debt service was things the city does with the Performing Arts Center, and with the Convention Center and with some of the other that might come in, be they taxes or just income to bu siness such as stadiums and that sort of thing. In the case of both the Performing Arts Center and the Convention Center an operating cost standpoint. In other words continuing to be a burden. And will be for, you know the 20 years or whatever it is that it been in operation for about 15 years now, so I suspect it has another 10 or 15, where the debt service will be important. out how to, how to make it larger so it at tracts another step or another size of convention to the community or more overlapping which is another possibility. And as a consequence, there probably would be another debt service activity at some point. But you know, does the county benefit? Does the hotel/motel industry benefit? Does the city benefit? Who benefits and how to take revenues from those various areas and, and allocate them to construct a facility like that. RK: So do you recall how much the city is allocated for each year roughly on the debt service? MS: You know, I knew early on what has happened is some of that was done when interest rates were high and most of those facilities had been refinanced three or four times. And each time they either took some capital out or they reduced the debt service I recall. I, I recall the Convention Center was in the range of 10 mill ion dollars, I think maybe below that now. The Performing Arts Center itself turned out to be about a total of 40 [to] 41 million do llars. So whatever the interest rate would generate on that something in the range of four million or less. Two and a half to four million, depending on the rates.


5 RK: So a very small percentage of the budget of the city? what ends up tax. So that has some significant impact on, on the debt service capacity of the city, without additi well, there is a subsidy for the Performing Arts Center that the city pays each year as one of the contributions [to] the, all the governments around here, and they apply for arts grants and that for the Performing Arts Center. The Convention Center is wholly supported by the city with occasional small inputs from the Convention and Visitors Bureau. RK: So ev en if the Convention Center operates in the black as it is now, that is no relevance to retirement of the debt. MS: The capital, right. RK: Now what about the Aquarium, were you involved with that as well? Was that similar? y involved in the Aquarium except where we stood back and guaranteed certain things, and when it failed to meet those obligations the city had to take facility except that in backstopping the debt service that was guaranteed by this private operator, the city had an interest in making certain that the facility was, was built in the way that everyone represented and done in a proper way. So we had a representative who f ollowed that project during its construction period to make sure the iron and the concrete was there and that sort of thing. After somebody says, this is what we want to build and it that is, they do the proforma in terms of people going into look at fish, and revenue is in the door, then somebody says, this is the thing that will do that. And we made sure they built the facility that was supposed to do that. Well it failed and the city had to take it over, and has had to make payments on that facility for a long period of time. RK: Sir, was that during the Greco administration that the city took it over? MS: Yes. The Greco administration had to, I believe, had to pick that up. RK: Downtown has, or had, two different tax increment financing districts I believe, is that true? going to ask the question. RK: OK but that sold it


6 RK: But that had no relevance to these capital project s, I guess. RK: In terms of finances? MS: Not in that instance. The redevelopment mechanism was contemplated to be used for blight desi gnation was for the downtown area, was an important designation to allow Convention Center construction. Nor to the, well, to any of those three facilities that we RK: During the Freedman administration as well, the Port Authority I believe was active in developing the Channelside area, in terms of the cruise ship facilities and so on. Did you coordinate with the Port Authority? Did you have to work with the Port Authority? MS: No, the Port Authority pretty much owned or controlled their own property and their own destiny. And that was the time frame when the Port Authority [began] real estate development activity or developed their confide which goes on today. A lot of what is going on may be not even related to the Port, [but] development purposes. RK: One of your resp onsibilities was storm water, is that true? RK: Can I about were there any, expansions to the facilities necessary during the Freedman administration? What were r egulations tightened or loosened? MS: Storm water, in my opinion has been [the] stepchild of the city for many years, many capital planning and maintenance and operation, and long term capital improvement. this administration, e significant expenditures in the area which is a environment, with the rainfall intensity as we have in this semi tropical environment during the rainy season is alw ays going to be a challenge unless somebody deals with it very deliberately in the environmental area as well as in the facility design and


7 operation area. And there is not an adequate maintenance activity ongoing right now to take care of the problem. I mean each year, when it rains, the inlets, some place in Tampa, will start backing up flooding and some yard flooding and that sort of thing as a result of a lack of cap acity in the system. Now some of that will happen because of the nature of the intensity of level of service, a management term, the level of service that the city get s out of the storm water system is just wholly inadequate, and has not been looked at in any kind of important to accomplish something tangible in the term of office, storm water suffers a season. It just is a way of life. RK: And it would be very expensive to fix, is that their problem? doing it or not having a longer term view. If we have comprehensive planning in the community for land use and all that sort of thing, we ought to have comprehensive RK: Do you know when most of our present facilities were constructed? MS: Well, you can generalize about that and what it amounts to is it varies de pending on where you are in the city. Some of the facilities like the south interbay were built in the early 1900s as a part of the redevelopment or development of the south interbay. And they were done pretty much on a non technical standard agricultural run off basis. So the property development and that sort of thing. So South Tampa is kind of a wasteland from the standpoint and this is a generality, there are places that drain fine but there are an of things the facilities. RK: Are other parts of Tampa in better shape? MS: The best part of Tampa is the area of East Tampa which was referred to as the 29 th Street Outfall Project which was a product of urban renewal and Model Cities programs. Very large amounts of money, probably 35 million dolla rs were spent to take that particular area of town, create a standard drainage system. Now those design standards are not current now, because that was again, started 30 years ago. But put in a standard design storm system, and then put in curbs and gutter s and improved streets; or a much better ditch system, a ditch system that had positive outfall and that sort of thing. There


8 were times where people routinely, every summer walked to their car from the house you know, with their shoes off. And this draina ge system took a lot of that away. Not all of it, One of the outcomes of that was a lot of retention ponds put in that neighborhood. And the neighborhood does not like developed right now to try to make a park like environment around them and make them that has really, very good drainage comparatively. RK: And that was in the 1960s primarily with federal money? MS: That was completed sometime around 1980. RK: And what about New Tampa, sir? MS: New Tam pa has systems that were entirely developer designed and built. Many of them are taken care of and maintained by much of the system is taken care of and maintained by the neighborhood associations or the community development districts, that are special ta to maintain the road cross pipes and inlets pretty much that were designed to current meet th e requirement. There were a couple of adjustments that were made. There was an allowance of a one foot freeboard, that was allowed at least in the Tampa Palms, the early development areas that was allowed. And the requirement initially required two foot freeboard. Well the one foot freeboard is, is fine, if you have positive outfall and no problem getting rid of got water lying just below the roads, and the yards are we t a significant part of the wet season. The two foot freeboard would have, would have prevented that, would have had the water low enough that the damage to the streets that is being seen up there in some cases, would not have been occurring. And the wet y ards, you know, the spongy yards significant flooding up there, except where something gets blocked, you know, paper, trash, vegetation gets into any inlet or a pipe get s blocked or something like that. RK: Can you tell me what freeboard is? MS: Well freeboard would be where you create a pond and the difference in elevation rather than t he two foot of the prior standard. Well the one foot, given the capillary action in the soils is going to have a [moisture at the surface] a significant amount of the time. Actually the pond needs to be down to not have a wet condition in the yards.


9 RK: G oing back to South Tampa for a moment regarding the storm water issue. I believe that some neighborhood groups, or a neighborhood group during the Freedman administration, kind of urged steps to be taken, is that correct? They saw the flooding as a major p roblem and called for changes? Did you deal with that at all? MS: The only outcry that I recall, there was a period of time when I was Administrator of Water Resources and Public Works, and storm water was housed in the Sanitary Sewer Department. I think there was pretty much a concerted effort not to do anything with situation. And there was a group of people at that point who rose up and became very concerned about t he condition of the receiving waters, the canals and lakes that are on the Westside of the interbay peninsula between Kennedy [Boulevard] and Gandy more canals that are involved in the situation where they have had sediment build up and tidal action now precludes the boat navigation in some of those situations. And some of them have had significant siltation and have environmental problems. Well those people started c RK: I see. ble waters adjacent to their homes, for which they paid higher taxes. And that debate I never think, needs to look at. My personal view is that those property owner s need to pay for it, or help pay for it in some way. And during, all the way up to the end of my term, they, we never worked out the still debating it, it was in the paper last week. RK: And how long when did you leave the city, sir? RK: Only a year, so 2005? MS: Yes. Well, I left in October of 2004. RK: Now was another one of your responsibilities the waste water treatmen t plants? MS: Indirectly. The waste water treatment plan is under the sewer department, the sewer department is under me. There was an ongoing program of expansion and improvements going on. I initiated some portions of things that went on there. But mos t of that was initiated by the department head and supported.


10 RK: Who was the department head there? MS: Well there were various department heads in that location. Jack Morris was actually, I guess Elton Smith was a department head for a period of time, then Jack [End Tape 1, Side A] ___ [Tape 1, Side B] RK: So we were speaking about the people who headed the had responsibility for the waste water treatment plants. M S: Yeah, the sanitary sewer department or waste water department, whatever they call department, and Mr. Metcalf moved up at that point to the Director and has been the Direct or, all that, all that time up to now, 2006. And that was an ongoing program. That A program to spend enormous amounts of money. RK: Did we have to, did Tampa have to do the AWT or was it a choice? MS: I think in order to meet regulatory requirements and reasonable environmental goals, removals associated with sewers, plus the nutrient i ssue that dominated this warm water bay. The nutrients were causing a significant amount of the algae blooms and other kinds requirement. So that was the reason AWT was t the effluent is probably better water than exists in the bay in many cases. Particularly in the upper Hillsborough Bay, you know, which is still kind of an industrial area ship painting, ship maintenan ce. Spilled cargo phosphate for example was a big issue and the AWT plant was the first step in that. RK: And was this expanded during the Freedman administration? T he plant, did it have to be expanded?


11 years, or eight and a half years in office something in that order. Because there was a fear that we were going to go over capacity and find ourselves with growth limited. That was what happened, and that was the reason an additional, I think 36 MGD of capacity was identified as needed and c onstructed. That growth has not occurred quite the way it limiting in what the city can do. RK: And how was it financed, the expansion? MS: Utility bonds. Water, sewer and solid waste are pretty much funded with utility beneficial to the sewage treatment plan. But there are grants that can be gotten both from state and regional governments for water. And some of those for storm water as well. Solid waste pretty much does not get any, any significant grant program. RK: And utility bon ds, bonds backed by the utility tax? utility tax. MS: Revenue bonds and utility, and city utilities taxes. RK: And was the Convention Center th e same? MS: [The] Convention Center was a utility tax, but it was not done on water sewer RK: OK, OK And they charge us, right? MS: Shows up on your [bill]. RK: Yes. MS: Shows up on your bill, and they very carefully show it on the bill as a tax that they ecause you were with the city so long sir, but is there any way you can focus on the Freedman administration in terms of try to identify that administrations priorities regarding what you were in charge of? Or any changes in any of the programs you were in mind?


12 MS: No, not really except each mayor is different. The, the situation I recall when she first came into office that dominated my activities and occupied my time in particular was the Co nvention Center construction. She was not a big supporter of the Convention conflict about occupying that waterfront site with the Convention Center. And when she came into office it was very clear that the amount of money that was budgeted for that for example as an excuse to not support the project [if] it was too expensive Somewhat similar to what was going on here with the, with the art museum to some extent, although occur. But with the Convention Center we spent an enormous amount of time and effort making sure that the budget was, was accurately met. We brought it in under the budgeted amount at the time of the bid, and then managed it with very small change cent somewhere between five and ten percent. Which is something that happens, changes occur, even mayors want different things done when they see they have a choice in regard ree, usually even a reduction in a quantity from a contract is more expensive because that So at any rate we brought that in under, under budget and as a consequence were able to move forward with that project, which had been lingering out there since probably the Poe administration. There was, there were chamber committees that had recommended, on several occasions the construction of a convention center and Mayor Martinez finally you know, stepped up and authorized the design and moved forward with it. But there was a long period of time there where we were identifying the size of the, the convention center, and the scope, and what it was to do, and what it was to be, and those sorts of things. And then where it was to be, how much it was going to cost, and all these kinds of things. We traveled around the country actually looking at different convention center venues to see how they worked, how they were laid out; and they have a particular characteristic design if y ou, if you look at them. Back of house, the house of the transition. All the services come in the back and that sort of thing, and all the people come in the front, and th en you have this mix of meeting rooms and, and exhibition space site and make it happen. So we spent a lot of time on that in the Martinez administration. But Mayor F reedman is the one who, who decided to go forward and initiated that, that construction. And it was, that was a very good project for the city. It went very well. That, that history heard that name b efore, but Howard Curran was a retired navy captain, a graduate of the Citadel, who came to work for the City of Tampa after retiring, and was responsible for both the AWT sewer plant, early on, way before I got involved with the sewer department as Admini strator. He was building that facility and getting the grants for it, and that sort of thing. And when he


13 finished that first phase I got him to come back and help me with the, with the Convention Center and so he was the construction administrator behind both of those as a staff member for the City of Tampa. Mayor Freedman knows him. And he was just extremely well respected. RK: How do you spell his last name, sir? MS: C U R R A N or A good engineers, good project administrators, just, was an exceptional individual. Any rate, he built the Convention Center for me. He was in the construction office there along with some other people Don his aide in that construction. And that was a good project. The design was [by] H OK, it was a nice project. I was always proud of that building and the way it came out it laid on the site good, its job for what I believe the initial Channelside that will contribute and benefit. You k RK: Were you involved with the effort with the Freedman administration to get a convention center hotel that was, I believe to be operated by a not for profit organization but was very much a city project?... MS: Even before that when we were negotiating initially to build the Convention Center, ration that came to the city that included a hotel, and office building and the Convention Center. negotiated the deal on the Convention Center and the Mack Corporation who built One Mack Center and the County Center. And then I think, sold both of them, but at that point built both those buildings downtown. A New York developer had come in here and we were having good conversations with them. We negotiated a deal on the Conv ention


14 Center including construction details and all kinds of stuff that was what I was involved in to get that accomplished. And that fell through. And that was planned to be on that particular site. That was how that site came to the city because we had authorized, or was acquired for the site. With that, we had already defined the site with probably about $50 million dollars worth of investment in land, something like th at. Land was very expensive for that project, because of dreams people had about what downtown land was those were the numbers we were dealing with. At any rate, the Mack Corporation [deal] fell through. We already had the land and were already heavily invested into the project, so the city picked up the project, went through with the design and got to the point where Mayor Freedman came into office, where the bids came in. Now there was already that sunk cost for the $50 million dollars in the site whe n we brought it in, on budget and built the facility. So during a lot of her administration that, that project well, during four years probably of her administration, that site was under construction and in the development of operating strategies and marke ting strategies and those sorts of things. RK: And trying to get a hotel? MS: And trying to get a hotel. And actually, that, there was another hotel proposed where the street from the Convention Center. That site the city had negotiated [a] deal on that site for the development of that hotel, and agreed on it all and then City Council voted not to support it. And Mayor Freedman has her own theories about all of that and I have none, changed their mind on that project, which had been going forward fairly quickly. And they changed their mind just before Mayor Greco came into office. An d when Mayor Greco came into office, the Marriot Waterside became a reality, which is a beautiful hotel. RK: Were you involved with the group, I think you were, that went to different neighborhood associations with the Mayor? MS: Yes. RK: Is there any way you can generalize about the concerns of residents that you tend[ed] to hear? Certain questions or issues? MS: Well I can generalize about them. You go to the wealthy neighborhoods or the reasonably wealthy neighborhoods, and they were concerned abo ut traffic and garbage cans and stuff like that. You got to the poor neighborhoods, they were worried about


15 opened the door. Those public meetings opened the door for wha t I think are the neighborhood associations and Tampa Homeowners Association of Neighborhoods, THAN, which is now active in the whole neighborhood office, which Mayor Iorio has in place now. kind of interplay between public that they have better access is improved. And to the public. I always felt like you needed to tell them the truth, rather than what they reality to what the city can do for the c itizen, and what the city can do as a result of its revenues and this sort of thing, so, and what the overall push for the city can be for any particular activity. he city just because a neighborhood pushes or a particular leader in that neighborhood, which it can fall to, pushes for a particular service in an area, as opposed to delivering pretty much equal service citywide. That transcends the issues of wealth and culture and race and all those things if you simply try to deliver equal city service to all the citizens. The arguments about taxes paid here, versus taxes paid there, all those things never really impressed me. You know, it was a general government philo sophy from my standpoint, so I saw those conflicts all the time. I thought the neighborhood meetings were useful and official, I was City Engineer of a little town called Moberly, Missouri. And Moberly Missouri is [a] Davis Island and Harbour Island, put it that way. So you take a lit tle town like that and somebody, talk to them about it very specifically. We had the opportunity of selling some bonds for both sewer and water expansion and construction of a new water Some of it was general obligation bonds which required a 2/3 majority to pass in a bond issue, and then the revenue bonds needed the 50% under Missouri law. And it all passed; And I can swear I would go to these meetings with little ladies around the city and meet with them and talk to them about these things, and you know, you meet with civic organizations and other kinds of things, and I found that very empowering to be able to help the community accomplish what they needed to accomplish b y explaining public facilities to them, and what needed to be done and what it was going to cost, and what the benefits were. Well, that same thing transcends into this larger city with these neighborhood organizations and I enjoyed that.


16 RK: Did you the city, programs under your responsibility ever change that you recall, the priorities, due to citizen organizations calling for changes? of that had to do with traffic and transportation. Traffic flow, too much traffic; bypass traffic where the large roadways, the major arterials were too clogged to carry the traffic and neighborhoods were getting bleed off traffic; speeds; traffic regulation; stop signs; four way stops those kinds of things. The speed hump thing, you know the speed bump, now. All those things are outgrowths of and traffic calming, the idea of traffic calming I think i building roads that are [designed] with a certain capacity and maintaining that capacity beca use almost all traffic calming strategies force traffic out of neighborhoods back onto already overloaded roadways. Without dealing with the capital costs of the loss of capacity that the roadway has, but it deals with the issue of the quality of life in t he edged sword to go out there. You can get votes by taking traffic clogged because everybody says, t he roads are clogged. You know that, the idea is people live and cars and all that so tradeoffs that I saw. And I saw that in the neighborhood discussions, a lot of that. RK: Can I ask two more questions, sir? MS: Sure. RK: You worked I think relatively closely with Mayor Freedman, i s that true? MS: Yes. RK: How would you characterize her leadership style? MS: She was interesting. Every time I went to work for a Mayor, except for Mayor Poe, who hired me, there was always a time of transition and building trust and trying to unders tand what their goal and emphasis is. And without fail, every mayor came in with some opinions about what the city did right, and what the city could do, and what the city things you want to do may well be illegal. They may be fiscally impossible or the tradeoffs that you


17 work with and what are the consequences of shifting those resources are. So when Mayor Freedman came into office I swear it took me two years to become comfortable with what I thought she wanted, what her vision of the community was. I worked for woman mayors before. I had a woman mayor in a city manager form. And that w as, that was different than working for a man, even in city manager form. And I of detailed manager, [and who] knew what was going on. What did she want to know [and] these sorts of things? And in about a two year period of time, some of which was uncomfortable, I think she and I reached an understanding about what her goals were, and what she wanted to see done and where she wanted to go with the city, what her emphasis wa You know, I was a trained public works administrator with not just degrees in engineeri ng, but a degree which approximated a public administration degree also. And from the City Council point of view and that was very advantageous, very frankly. So i n a reasonable period of time, during what I guess was eight or nine years of her term, I came to where I could articulate what she was interested in, what I thought was important wrong. What happens is you just have to make an accommodation and figure out where they would like to go with the community and how you can help them get there is more the issue. And in my case I had to be able to kind of articulate that. An interesting s ign that I could do that was, I thought I could and I did it several times introduce her in a public forum where she was a speaker. [I would] pretty much tell people what she was interested in and how she did things, and how, what her visions were and that you can articulate what you think the, the values and the initiatives and the goals are, and th be moving in the same direction all the time and come back for redirection or monitoring, [End Tape 1, Side B] ___ [Tape 2, Side A]


18 MS: Yes, yes. Very deeply involved in details and that sort of thing. And she was a municip al organization. You had 4000 people at the city, and I think she knew 3999 of them. RK: [Laughs] I think sir the last thing I wanted to ask you would be to ask you if you could kind of recollect. You said you became comfortable introducing her, articula ting her vision and accomplishments. Can you kind of reproduce kind of your introduction for us here? t the quality of life in the community was a product of the neighborhoods and the services the city provided to those neighborhoods. And she wanted the city to be responsive to the citizens and those neighborhoods. She was very much wrapped into the arts a nd, and still is I know. And I think acquired some art work for the city that was extremely high quality. Since art [is] necessarily agree with what some of the art she ac quired, or the emphasis on the arts at administrations. Mayor Poe built the art museum that existed for the city. I think Mayor Martinez was not particularly enamored of the arts, but was very excited about the Performing Arts Center and also the, the Convention Center as it worked out. And Mayor Freedman came in and she was very interested in, in community arts and that sort of thing. So she, she had an aesthetic sense that was I think, very beneficial. She was good with people and was good [at] getting people to move with her toward her goals, those sorts of things. And she sewer and public works, but she understood that those underpinnings of the community were some of the most important. And the quality of service and the quality of the facilities and the reliability was extremely important. So you know, that I, using those ki nds of terminologies and phrasing and that sort of thing, I could, I could introduce her and, with a little humor and a great deal of sincerity. And feel comfortable with knowing where she was going and what she was interested in, what she thought the comm unity ought to be. RK: Thank you very much for spending time with me, I appreciate it. RK: Thank you very much.

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Salmon, Mike.
Mike Salmon
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Robert Kerstein.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (67 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (digital, PDF file)
Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman administration oral history project
Interview conducted on June 11, 2006.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Streaming audio.
During the tenure of Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman (1986-1995), Mike Salmon served as Administrator of Water Resources and Public Works. Mr. Salmon worked for the city of Tampa from 1977 (beginning under the administration of Mayor William F. Poe) through October of 2004. Under Mayor Poe, Mr. Salmon was Director of the Department of Public Works. Mr. Salmon describes the "refuse to energy" plant project that he directed beginning in 1983, under Mayor Bob Martinez (1979-1986). He also discusses the construction of the Tampa Convention Center and the Florida Aquarium. The topics of storm water, drainage, freeboard, urban renewal, and the Model Cities program are also covered in the interview. The interview ends with Mr. Salmon discussing his overall impressions of the Freedman administration.
Salmon, Mike.
Freedman, Sandy.
2 610
Tampa (Fla.)
Office of the Mayor.
Water resources development
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