By Jim Bleyer
Tampa City Council candidate John Goodwin welcomed his opponent, incumbent Charlie Miranda, into the District 2 race with more than a shot across the bow; the young progressive fired a volley into the veteran politico’s midships.
Miranda filed for reelection Friday. With the campaign in its early stages, he’s already leaking water.
Godwin, a national security and technical innovation consultant who works with the US defense, diplomatic, and intelligence communities, offers himself to Tampa voters as an inclusive community activist with fresh perspectives.
“There were four races I could have filed for, but the race where I could make the biggest difference is Councilman Miranda’s District 2 seat,” Godwin told Tampa Bay Beat. “He just had too many abominable votes on the most important issues.”
Godwin got more specific:.
“I couldn’t accept his continued neglect of our communities of color, our LGBT neighbors, and our environment. Flipping this seat from Miranda to me will result in a more progressive approach that the council has needed for nearly 30 years.”
Godwin can count on strong support from young progressives, influential businesspeople, and veteran Tampa politicians who value fresh perspectives. Those have been in short supply on the Hillsborough side of the bay.
Seeking transit solutions, protecting the environment, and improving Tampa’s national image as a welcoming city for business, tourism and raising a family stand atop Godwin’s to do list.
Backing Godwin up: a powerful resumé of community service.
He dedicates his time to numerous groups: the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Hillsborough County Foster Parent Association, Hillsborough County Child Care Facilities Advisory Board, and the Tampa Tiger Bay Club. He also volunteers with local schools.
Godwin and his wife Catherine are active licensed foster parents for Hillsborough County. They and their two-year-old son live in South Tampa.
Promising new and innovative leadership, Godwin said he will help prepare Tampa to be a 21st century city while protecting its history and character.
Checking Miranda’s record makes Godwin’s case. The shopworn Miranda will have problems resonating with voters that care for the environment; favor racial, ethnic, and gender inclusiveness; want gun safety measures to protect children and families, and are sensitive to the needs of the entire community.
To term Miranda’s record “undistinguished” would be extremely charitable. His positions smack of a neanderthal caught in a time warp. Let’s take a look at some of them:
—-Attempted to have Tampa Bay Buccaneer Hall of Famer Warren Sapp banned from playing after he had a misdemeanor marijuana possession conviction.
—-Opposed the city’s human rights ordinance. “I don’t support homosexuality,” Miranda commented.
—-In 2016, voted against decriminalizing marijuana.
—-In a cowardly move, Miranda waited until the council chamber was deserted and the video cameras were turned off, when he proposed at the end of a meeting on July 31, 1998 to have city council members receive an annual raise. “I deserve it,” he said in defending the proposal.
—-When the council voted to look into filing a product-liability lawsuit against gun manufacturers to recoup the cost of gunshot deaths and injuries, Miranda objected, stating “more people die in auto accidents than gunfire. Where do you stop?”
—-In 2016, Miranda opposed a drainage fee to address flooding across the city, claiming that “we can’t fix the flooding.” Within the first year, 45 tons of trash that was clogging pipes were removed. Flooding has decreased considerably on the west side of the peninsula.
—-Miranda voted against a plan for police to impound the cars of prostitution customers, but voted for increased penalties for the prostitutes themselves.
—-In 2017, Miranda walked out of council chambers to avoid a vote on the banning of gay conversion-therapy clinics.
—- Miranda voted against establishing a Citizen Review Board of the police department, which was designed by leaders in the black community following the “biking while black” scandal.
Qualifying for the Tampa city races ends January 18. The election is March 5. Besides Godwin and Miranda, others qualifying for District 2 include Nicholas Glover and Moshiah Lightburn.