By Mike Echevarria
I attended the Tampa Mayoral debate on October 3, 2018 and decided to provide an appreciative perspective of the debate. An appreciative perspective looks for what I liked most as opposed to what I liked least. In addition, the appreciative take asks if the debate was positive, optimistic, and uplifting versus negative and pessimistic. Here are my major takeaways.
The debate was hosted by the Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay committee of the Greater Tampa Chamber Commerce https://www.tampachamber.com/emerge.aspx . This committee is comprised of young professionals between the ages of 21-35 years of age. It was great to see the commitment of these younger leaders to the future of the City of Tampa.
The mood of the debate was upbeat about the future of the City of Tampa. There are many positives going for the city and the candidates were all optimistic about the future.
The candidates maintained a respectful and civil tone throughout the debate. Although, there were a few light-hearted jabs amongst the candidates, laughter and not gasps followed.
The major issues and opportunities were discussed. The issues were transportation, the Rays, potential budget shortfalls, citizens safety, education and the state of the neighborhoods. There was even a question about the candidates’ favorite businesses. It was apparent that all the candidates like to eat!
Here are a few ideas/quotes that I liked:
“We are only as strong as our weakest neighborhoods.”
“Its’ always about the process!”
“All neighborhoods should rise with the tide.”
“Bob Buckhorn got Tampa to fall in love with Tampa. The next Mayor needs to get the world to fall in love with Tampa!”
“Tampa is a big City with a small-town feel.”
“Suggesting the use of UAG’s (Urban Aerial Gondola’s)”
My appreciative takeaway is there is a great deal of positive momentum, hope and optimism for the City of Tampa’s future. A lot of work remains to be done on some major and pressing issues. Tampa’s future is bright if we remain civil, respectful and collaborative. We can chose to focus on what’s going well now with the City and leverage those assets into a big Vision for our community.