Jan 16, 2006

South Tampa Awash In Pam's Pipe

By DANIEL RUTH

 

Simply because she imposed a $1,500-per-unit fee on real estate developers in the dead of night with less public input than Josef Stalin soliciting the advice of Poland on five-year grain plans, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio is being accused of being an imperious, haughty, let-them-eat-Cuban-toast bully.

Tut-tut, harrumph-harrumph.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.

Far from the unfortunate appearances that she treated the Tampa City Council as more persona non grata than Terrell Owens showing up on Donovan McNabb's Christmas card list, the mayor really acted with great sensitivity, compassion and erudition in imposing the $1,500 fee on developers to offset the building of a $48 million water pipe extension into south Tampa.

Due Diligent

Oh sure, Iorio could have consulted city council on her plan to impose the $1,500 de facto tax on new commercial and residential construction south of Interstate 275.

And then what would have happened? Whining, that's what, with folks like council members Rose Ferlita and Shawn Harrison getting all due diligent complaining about the impact the increased fee will have on developers.

Who needs that sort of discontent?

As a practical matter because Iorio cares about as much what city council thinks about anything as ... any other Tampa mayor, why go through with the charade of consulting the lower house on a matter she had unilateral power to implement?

As well, Iorio could have called for public input on the extra 1,500 clams, and we all know what a debacle that would have become.

You start asking the public for their opinion, and the next thing you know they start giving it to you. Icky-poo-poo.

So fine, had Iorio rolled her eyes and gone ahead with the public hearings, you don't need to be a political consultant to predict that a bunch of real estate developers would have showed up to whine and pout and kvetch about how unfair and onerous and antiprogress the $1,500 fee is.

Heavy Heart

Iorio could pretty well have predicted that!

So why bother with wasting time having hearings to hear what she already knew?

Rather, the ever coolly efficient Iorio simply made the best use of her time and did exactly what she wanted to do. To paraphrase Mel Brooks, "It's good to be the mayor."

Of course, the need to speed up the water pipe construction was largely due to south Tampa immigration occurring at a pace not anticipated until 2025, when it is expected every street corner will have a Starbucks selling chi-chi frou-frou blends of coffee for $175 a cup.

Developers have hinted with all the subtlety of Ronda Storms on a cosmetics shopping spree that they will be forced with a heavy heart to pass along the $1,500 water pipe fee to (alas) homebuyers.

To which, one might well conclude: Yeah? So?

Let's face it, yuppies, Gen-Xers and other snooty types with more money than common sense have been more than happy to buy into south Tampa's inflated real estate market for years.

So it's rather unlikely too many of these folks who already think nothing of paying out the wazoo for all the accouterments of the nouveau riche south Tampa lifestyle are going to balk at an extra $1,500 for their slice of SoHo paradise.

Really now, when you're already paying obscene amounts of money just to be able to be a beautiful person, a mere $1,500 to make sure you don't have to bathe in Pellegrino water is a drop in the bucket.

 

This story can be found at: http://www.tampatrib.com/MGBSMMO8IIE.html

 

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