Monday, March 23, 2009

Pam Gives State of City Chat -- No Bicycling Mentioned

I have seen my share of mayors as an ex-reporter covering city hall for papers around the country and there's few mayors as genuinely likable as our own Pam Iorio here in the city of Tampa. She biked with the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club's inaugural bike ride last year and she has a terrific old-time 'fro that reminds me of my own head of curly hair I sported in high school decades ago.

Pam gave her state of the city speech this morning in a room that was too small at the Tampa Convention Center. To be truthful, the vast majority of attendees were city employees wondering if they would have a city job one year from now. Stuff about cutbacks and layoffs. You know the recession drill during these hard economic times.

There was an upbeat 14-minute video showing city highlights like the Ikea groundbreaking and the 40th Street road project followed by Pam chatting for 25 minutes or so about how Tampa is the fourth most popular city in the country (gee, who knew?) and about how commited she is to mass transit/light rail.

She was preaching to the choir and it was a pleasant lovefest of city employees and a few local movers and shakers.

No mention of bicycling. And there was no Pam at the downtown Tampa crit and festival on Saturday. It would have been nice to see Pam on a bicycle pedaling on the VIP lap around the crit course and it would have been a super photo opp.

City workers arrived to hear if they will have a job next year.

I did meet my new best friend, Irv Lee, the city's public works chief, after the speech and I also met John Moors, the convention center's administrator. I lobbied Moors (no "e" by the way) to install a bike rack near the entrance off Channel Drive and he said he would check it out.

No comments: