Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Buck-O-Meter

Tracking the promises of Bob Buckhorn

Establish accountability standards for infrastructure upkeep and repair

"As mayor, Bob Buckhorn will establish Accountability Standards for each of the city’s departments and their functions, from filling potholes to clearing storm water ditches. The city will know what the city’s pressing problems are and how long it should take to fix them. The mayor and city employees will stand accountable to city residents if the timetables established for resolving these issues are not complied with. As a first step in this process, Bob Buckhorn will complete a full city-wide Infrastructure Assessment to identify our neighborhoods’ needs and begin to address them."

Establish a landlord training program

"Bob Buckhorn will establish a Landlord Training Program, which will train the city’s landlords on code requirements, code enforcement procedures, and techniques for maintaining their properties in a manner that will help prevent code violations in our rental communities."

Create a series of initiatives to improve parks and public spaces

"To facilitate the development of safe, enjoyable public parks, Bob Buckhorn will create a series of parks initiatives. These will include: The development of a Parks Advisory Board made up of residents and businesses in neighborhoods surrounding city parks to advocate for and help support those venues; A commitment to identify corridors for the development of a city-wide greenway/trail from MacDill Air Force Base to New Tampa using existing rail lines and new development partnerships; Developing parks partnerships with existing parks advocacy groups such as Parks Forever and the Mayor’s Beautification Committee; Encouraging the effective use of the city’s undeveloped open lots for the development of community open spaces such as playgrounds, pocket parks and community gardens."

Work to obtain funding for the reclaimed water program for the city's neighborhoods

"Bob Buckhorn will fight in Washington and Tallahassee to obtain funding for the expansion of the STAR program to each of the city’s neighborhoods."

Conduct a city-wide lighting assessment

"Bob Buckhorn will work with TECO to conduct a city-wide lighting assessment to determine where city lights need to be updated, repaired or replaced."

Appoint a Deputy Mayor of Neighborhoods and Community Empowerment with specific duties

"Bob Buckhorn will appoint a Deputy Mayor of Neighborhoods and Community Empowerment whose primary mission will be to advocate for and address the needs of each of the city’s neighborhoods. This deputy will increase the city’s responsiveness and accountability to its neighborhoods by providing a single point of access to all city programs and services related to neighborhoods. Departments under the authority of the Deputy Mayor of Neighborhoods and Community Empowerment will include (among others): Community Affairs, Code Enforcement, Parks and Recreation, the Office of Women/Minority Business Enterprises, the Office of the Neighborhoods, Clean City and the Office of Community Technology, to name a few. This new position will came as a result of the elimination of existing redundant positions and will remove a layer of bureaucracy."

Maintain the size of the police force

"Question (from Tampa Police Benevolent Association): Would you consider the continued reduction of police officers through attrition or layoffs of police officers as a way to cut costs within the department or the overall city budget? Please explain. Answer: (by Buckhorn): No. The city of Tampa has coverage of 3 officers per thousand citizens, which is adequate. I think one of the reasons we have (been) successful at reducing crime is because of the number of officers we have patrolling the streets."

Maintain pension benefits for police

Question (from Tampa Police Benevolent Association): Would you attempt to impose any type of legislation that would reform or reduce the pension benefits that Tampa police officers currently receive? Answer (by Buckhorn): No.

Support the Step Plan for police pay increases

Question (from Tampa Police Benevolent Association): Would you attempt to suspend or eliminate the Step Plan (which, before it was suspended last year, awarded pay increases to officers annually as they work toward becoming master patrol officers in their first 11 years)? Answer (from Buckhorn): "NO. In fact as you recall, I tried unsuccessfully to discourage the (Pam Iorio) administration from doing the same and floated a number of proposals to them that would have avoided that."

Plant 1,000 trees per year

Bob's plan includes: ... plant 1,000 trees per year in our parks, medians and right of ways.

Support USF research efforts

"As mayor, Bob will provide continued support for research sponsored by the University of South Florida through assistance with zoning, land use and regulatory changes necessary to facilitate the development and clustering of spin-off companies. This includes development of additional opportunities around the USF Center for Advanced Medical Learning & Simulation (CAMLS) in downtown Tampa."

Coordinate waterfront development

"If Tampa intends to make its waterfront a central focus of downtown urban planning, the development of the entire waterfront must be a coordinated, citywide effort. As mayor, Bob Buckhorn will immediately bring together economic development, business, housing and environmental stakeholders to develop a complete Development Master Plan designed to make the best possible use of all of Tampa’s waterfront areas and the surrounding neighborhoods. A financing plan to complete the Riverwalk and an aggressive marketing plan to program the use of our riverfront venues will be included."

Establish Neighborhood University

"Buckhorn wants to further empower existing neighborhood leaders and support the development of new leaders through the establishment of a Neighborhood University. The Neighborhood University will provide a formal leadership-training program for neighborhood leaders modeled on the Tampa Chamber’s successful Leadership Tampa program. In addition, the Neighborhood University will house and build upon the existing City’s Neighborhood Empowerment program offering enhanced technical support services for the City’s neighborhoods."

Balance rights of citizens to protest at Republican National Convention while keeping downtown safe

During a March 8, 2011, televised debate, Bob Buckhorn was asked how he would balance the rights of citizens to protest during the Republican National Convention with his responsibilities to keep downtown Tampa functioning and safe. He responded: “People who want to express themselves need to be given an opportunity. For me, it’s a very fundamental premise: you break the law, you’re going to jail. Absent that, you’re entitled to say whatever you want to say within reason. But we will conduct ourselves accordingly. Our police department will conduct themselves accordingly. I want to make sure that when the entire world is watching Tampa, Fla. that we stand up and we are proud of this city and that we behave accordingly.”