TEN QUESTIONS ON CLIMATE CHANGE FOR TAMPA’S NEXT MAYOR
A coalition of local civic, environmental, religious, and public health groups submitted the following ten questions to all seven mayoral candidates. The answers of the six responding candidates are below in the order of submission. The authors and sponsors of the survey follow candidate responses.
Note that all indicate commitment to 100% clean energy by 1045 and commitment to either a Climate Action Advisory Council or Director of Sustainability and Resiliency. Both policy positions would be significant changes in the Office of the Mayor of the City of Tampa. Since Tampa has a strong mayor form of government, the mayor can lead or block mitigation, adaptation, and transformation on climate impact and environmental justice. The public health risks and economic costs are increasing unimpeded. Action is required.
1. Sea level rise: Dr. Timothy Hall of NASA recently reported to the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Commission that 30” of sea level rise by 2060 was “probable”. As mayor, what can you do to prepare Tampa for tides that are 2 ½’ higher?
|Topher Morrison||This may not be the most politically correct answer but we have to face reality: We cannot out-engineer Mother Nature. If she wants to flood us, she will. But while we can’t out-engineer her, we can cooperate with her. To this effect, I do think we need to take proactive measures and take action now so we can mitigate the effects of rising tides to the best of our abilities. I have proposed making Tampa the city with the highest amount of green space in the world to facilitate our cooperation with nature. In the short term we will have to invest in sea walls, living shorelines, retrofitting houses and buildings, and green infrastructure. But the only long term solution is collective action against climate change. We need to focus our policies and development in an environmentally conscious direction. When I am Mayor, I will join Mayors from all over the world in their climate action and participate in Ready for 100. I will work with the private sector to create public private partnerships as a way to take climate action and encourage clean energy policy and smart eco-friendly development. I have also pledged my commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement regardless of our President’s stance.|
|Ed Turanchik||Global warming and sea level rise is the greatest, existential threat we face. Winston Churchill once said, Americans will always do the right things, after they have tried everything else. In this case, the nature of the threat is so substantial that we cannot afford to “try everything else.” Rather, the most conservative strategy is to prepare for this threat, undertaking strategies that have current value, and not defer action until remedial steps become far more expensive, or impossible. Having said that, the starting point for taking investment action is undertaking a detailed modeling of the City and the County to understand the impacts of various incremental increases in sea level, and then evaluate capital investments and planning in connection with each increment. It would be a sea level rise sensitivity analysis. Capital investments should be evaluated in connection with this analysis. By example, the efficacy of the current investments in stormwater improvements being undertaken by the City of Tampa in south Tampa has not be evaluated in context of sea level rise. Basing drainage systems on gravity systems might well be an antiquated approach. Likewise, major investments in retooling roadways such as Bayshore Blvd should be evaluated within the context of sea level rise models. Bottomline, I want Tampa and Hillsborough County to have a long term sea level rise strategic plan that will be used to guide public capital investments and private land use.|
|Harry Cohen||As a member of Tampa City Council, I worked with Susan Glickman (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy) to have Tampa join the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition. This coalition include four counties and nineteen municipalities who have determined that one of the best ways to address sea level rise is to take a collaborative, regional approach similar to what we see in the Southeast Florida Climate Compact. This will allow us to share data, but one of the top priorities of this group is to create a regional resiliency plan that will contain very specific action items for our local governments to take. To me, the three most important actions moving forward are to fully integrate resiliency into transportation and land use planning, harden our existing infrastructure (like sea walls) and take concrete steps to make the situation better, not worse by reducing emissions.|
|David A. Straz, Jr.||
As mayor, I will incorporate climate
change considerations into all current and|
future city planning. We will consider adopting the Southeast Regional Climate
Change Compact for the Bay area. The city planning departments also need to encourage innovations in building techniques and materials to mitigate the effects of climate change. Recently, the city of St.Petersburg was one of 25 cities that received $2.5 million in resources to combat climate change from the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge. I want Tampa to become a leader, not a follower, when it comes to planning for climate change.
|Jane Castor||Sea level rise is real threat to coastal cities across the U.S. and it is important that we begin preparing for the impacts of climate change here in Tampa. As Mayor, I will appoint a new Director of Sustainability and Resiliency, the first in our city’s history, who will help to conduct a full analysis of Tampa’s most vulnerable public infrastructure threatened by sea level rise and seek recommendations on how best to protect assets like water and wastewater treatment facilities, emergency operations centers, and critical municipal buildings. This type of review is important not only to become a more resilient community, but also to protecting our economic viability. Moody’s recently announced that as part of its criteria for setting municipal bond ratings, the agency would begin factoring in how cities and states are preparing for climate change. As Mayor, I will require that all new city projects consider potential flood risk in their design. That may mean building a little higher or incorporating natural flood defenses, like green infrastructure, but it’s the right thing to do to protect Tampa’s future. Miami is a good example of a city leading on preparing for the threats of sea level rise. Following damage caused by repetitive king tides, Miami is now financing $400 million to protect vulnerable infrastructure.|
|Mike Suarez||As a City we can do a couple of things. I’ve been pushing for our City to use pervious asphalt and other materials to reduce flooding. In addition we could try “green infrastructure’ especially along the bay to increase absorption and provide natural barriers to rising waters.|
2. Storm surge: Tampa was rated by the recent KCC insurance industry study as “America’s #1 most vulnerable” to destruction from storm surge. What will you do to reduce the potential for catastrophic damage to our community from a major storm event?
This report was instrumental in
bringing our community’s attention to the importance of investing in climate
resilience. For the few people who don’t believe in climate change this
report served as an argument for the financial implications of ignoring the
environment. Our next administration will have to make some tough decisions
with regard to infrastructure for Tampa.
Building up our storm surge walls is only a start. We need to redesign our city with more
green space per square foot than any other.
Soft soil, thick shrubbery, and many more trees will help us to create
spaces capable of absorbing waters more efficiently. While the solution isn’t easy, it’s still a
pretty simple concept. Concrete
bad. Soil Good. |
But let’s be clear, the single most important thing we can do as a city isn’t inside the city at all. It’s making sure that our administration at a federal level changes. As your Mayor, I will roll out the red carpet for our next Democratic presidential nominee whoever he or she may be and I will “rally the troops” of Tampa to make sure we elect a new president that is progressive, and puts people in charge of the EPA who are not enemies of the EPA themselves.
|Ed Turanchik||It depends upon the category of the storm. Cat 4 and 5 storms making a direct hit on Tampa would inflict catastrophic damage for which no prevention measures appear to exist to prevent such damage. Rather, we must be in the position to provide immediate response and relief after the storm. This would reduce loss of life. For lesser storms and storm surge, prevention measures such as increasing roadway heights or introducing other barriers to water intrusion might be feasible, though given our topography and geography, these could be difficult. One example is that Bayshore might be reconstructed overtime at a higher elevation and improved to be a better boulevard/greenway design in order to solve several problems at once.|
|Harry Cohen||When it comes to major storm events, the top priority of city governments is to ensure the safety of their populations and have a plan in place to strategically deploy critical assets for an effective recovery. We need to make sure that our energy infrastructure is able, as best it can, to sustain wind damage and be up and running as soon as possible. We can take steps that I outlined above to reduce the impact of storm surge, but in a catastrophic storm there are potential worse-case scenarios that no amount of infrastructure hardening can prevent.|
|David A. Straz, Jr.||
Protect property by adhering to up
to date mitigation plans such as outlined by|
National Flood Insurance Program regulations. Project financing is one of the top cited obstacles faced by our cities and neighborhoods. I will create the financing vehicles and public-private partnerships that Tampa needs to implement sustainability solutions.
|Jane Castor||Storm surge and flooding are the leading causes of natural disaster losses. At home here in Tampa, we see Bayshore Boulevard flood during even moderate wind storms off the Gulf Coast. It is critical that we understand which areas of the city are most vulnerable to storm surge and ensure that our residents and infrastructure are protected. One of the ways we can mitigate the impact of storm surge is by making our coastlines more resilient. For example, I am excited to see MacDill Airforce Base complete their living shoreline mangrove restoration project this year. In addition the base also has an oyster reef stabilization project. These types of projects can help reduce wave action from intense storm surge and simultaneously serve as an important coastal habitat. As Mayor, I will actively look for opportunities where we can take leverage the co-benefits of protecting our city and the environment simultaneously. I will also ask the newly-appointed Director of Sustainability and Resiliency to identify our most vulnerable areas and undertake a review of ways to mitigate damage from the powerful storms that will inevitably come to our city.|
|Mike Suarez||We should look at ways to provide barriers that are natural, like a living shoreline (build up of vegetation along our shoreline) to absorb the wave energy and reduce the severity of the surge. It will not be a quick fix, but the more we put into providing some form of barrier that is both strong and porous, I think we can reduce our risk in a major storm.|
3. Renewable energy: As Mayor of Tampa, will you join more than 100 other mayors and pledge to make Tampa a 100% Renewable Energy City by 2045, which will not only reduce carbon emissions and air pollution, but will create a great many well-paying jobs for our people?
|Topher Morrison||I was the first candidate to make this pledge and I will stand by it when elected Mayor. I am the only candidate who has developed a Green City Plan to move Tampa in this direction, and up until January 30th at the South Tampa Mayoral Forum when a similar question was proposed, none of the other candidates had stepped up to make a comment about transforming our city to a 100% renewable energy city, and I question their genuineness with their enthusiastic answer of ‘Yes!” If they were really committed to it, why isn’t it on their platforms on their website? Mine is. You can download a copy of my Green City Plan here: https://topherformayor.com/greencityplan/|
Yes, but I think this date is too
late to attain this goal. Tampa’s
trash burning power plants is one of the biggest point sources of greenhouse
gases, so I believe we need to develop a complete protrusible processing
strategy, trying to minimize the amount of protrusible materials going to the
plant. Such a strategy would move us
more heavily into recycling and composting, which is a problematic area unto
itself given the lack of overnight and regulation of the back end of the
recycling chain, virtually all of which is overseas in lightly regulated
The bigger and more important challenge is to move the entire community to renewable energy. To this end, TECO should not be investing in additional fossil fuel facilities, but should be moving towards solar and battery storage, using the national grid for back up. I also am a proponent of moving towards free-market, decentralized renewable energy. I see TECO’s role in the future as being akin to a gas transmission company, it it moving solar generated electricity around the grid, as well as providing appropriate backup supplies.
|David A. Straz, Jr.||Yes. I will present this pledge for action to my Quality of Life Cabinet in my first 100 days as mayor.|
|Jane Castor||Absolutely. Mayors across the country are stepping up to meet the challenges brought on by a changing climate. Tampa has already pledged to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement regardless of the actions being taken in Washington, D.C. One of the most important first steps to agreeing to a pledge such the Paris Climate Agreement or Renewable by 2045 is understanding our current baseline. As Mayor, I will order a full energy audit of all major municipal buildings. From there, we can seek expert advice on which of our buildings and municipal services are most energy dependant and energy inefficient. With that information in hand, we can develop a plan to retrofit inefficient buildings and fleets, develop a renewable energy portfolio strategy, and make the shift to a greener, cleaner city.|
|Mike Suarez||Just saying I will make a pledge is not enough. I will continue to look for ways to reduce our carbon footprint by reducing our fleet of vehicles and having more electric powered cars at our disposal. I would like to have a contract with a Zip Care type of company where short term availability of cars can replace the large number of gas-powered vehicles we own.|
4. Transportation: How do your plans for better mass transit and other transportation issues take sea level rise into account, and what will you do to reduce emissions from fossil fuels in our city?
We cannot have an intelligent
conversation about transit without including transit-oriented
development. These two are mutually
inclusive and to develop transit without updating our building codes and
requiring developers to create transit-oriented design is irresponsible. Furthermore, as we update our building
codes to compliment transit, we need to update our building codes to match
the highest standards of environmentally friendly design. |
I’m the only candidate to also offer up a transit solution that takes into consideration storm surge: Urban Aerial Gondolas. We must look outside of America if we are to find innovative solutions to our transit needs that are also green friendly. Gondolas are the most affordable form of mass transit, they can operate above flooded roads with no problem, and they are eco-friendly. Not to mention, they are a great way to transport people while connecting them to nature.
I have a robust transit plan called
the Tampa GO Plan that will create a complete transit system for our city
within five years. Go to www.tampa2020.com for more information. I have been a champion of a robust ferry
system, which has demonstrated capacity to reduce greenhouse gases. |
I want to reframe our land use plans to build greater densities around these Go Corridors. I want to shift to electric buses and power these with solar energy panels that are incorporated into the system, so that we can capitalize this major operating cost.
For the most part, most of the proposed Go System exists at elevations greater than 11 feet, so that capital investments in same would be fully amortized under the most aggressive sea level rise scenarios.
|Harry Cohen||Yes. The bottom line is we need to incorporate resiliency into transportation planning. My transportation plan will provide world-class mass transit options, as well as improve safety conditions for bicyclists, that will provide viable alternative to single-passenger cars. For every 10,000 cars we take of our streets each year, we reduce emissions by approximately 47,000 TONS. I will work to transition HART to an all-electric fleet.|
|David A. Straz, Jr.||
We need a regional transit solution
and my background as a diplomat and my|
experience at building consensus and getting people to work together will be very useful during the process. My experience as a diplomat will also assist me as I make planning for climate change a focus for our city planning department.
I also want to restore the 20% cuts that were made to the Tampa city bus system. This has had a terrible impact on the elderly and others who don’t have access to transportation. This makes it harder for them to get to the grocery, doctor’s appointments and the drug store. We will investigate the use of buses that do not rely upon fossil fuels.
The All for Transportation funds are a game
changer for providing more transit options to all Tampa residents. As Mayor,
I will encourage the use of zero emission buses HART runs through our
congested downtown core, improve biking infrastructure, and be open to rail
service, which all help reduce emissions and improve mobility options. As I
mentioned before, as Mayor I will undertake a thorough assessment of the
city’s carbon emissions, and then develop a plan to retrofit the worst carbon
offenders and begin a transition to power the city on renewables. |
And a quick note on the intersection between the engineering behind mass transit and sea level rise. I recently learned about a trend being adopted by engineers called “designing for non-stationarity.” Apparently, for decades most of our infrastructure was designed – at least in terms of climate and weather risk – by looking at the historical records, such as average rainfall or frequency of heat waves. There is now a movement in the civil engineering industry to look at the future risks. I’m not an engineer, but this approach makes sense to me and I think we should be designing infrastructure, including public transit, to be adaptive to both population changes and weather extremes.
|Mike Suarez||Mass transit vehicles (electric), because it should reduce the number of vehicles on the road, should reduce our emissions.|
5. Fossil fuels: TECO plans to replace coal with fracked gas at its obsolete Big Bend plant, which will lock TECO in to emitting substantial greenhouse gases for decades to come. What do you think TECO should do, and how will you act to accelerate TECO’s move away from fossil fuels to solar energy?
I’ve stated many times that TECO
will not be endorsing me due to my progressive views on switching over to
green energy sources, and battling their lobbyists to make sure that
residents who have solar energy collection can not just get credits (which
they never get to use), but can in fact receive compensation for returning
energy to the grid. This will be the
most effective way to incentivize Tampa residents to switch to solar and make
a significant shift in the culture of Tampa with regard to clean energy. |
Sadly, as Mayor, this issue of their new plant is outside of my control because they will be creating this facility outside of the city limits. This means that my impact will be relegated to the bully pulpit that comes with being the Mayor. A public outrage campaign can go a long way here and I plan to be the candidate and the Mayor who has no problem raising a little hell to represent mother nature.
|Ed Turanchik||TECO should not make this investment, and as Mayor of Tampa, I would encourage them not to do so as it is neither in the long term financial or ecological interests of Tampa’s citizens. I would be prepared to retain the appropriate financial and legal counsel to evaluate intervention in appropriate PSC proceedings related to this matter. And I would use the bully-pulpit to encourage them to reconsider it and invest instead of renewable energy and battery storage, plus encourage policies to promote distributed solar energy.|
|Harry Cohen||It is clear that coal-powered plants are one of the primary contributors to greenhouse gases and reductions in air quality, and it is important that we move beyond coal in our region. That said, it is extremely disappointing that the new owner of TECO, which has demonstrated a commitment to being a leader in renewable energy in both Canada and other states, is not planning on taking similar innovative steps here. Our next Mayor needs to be a strong advocate for making Tampa a leader in renewable energy, and I will approach TECO as a partner in making this happen.|
|David A. Straz, Jr.||
I am a big believer in the use of
solar energy and alternative energy sources now|
and in the future. I am aware that the Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit against TECO to stop the conversion of one of its Big Bend power station units to fracked gas. I will monitor this situation and do what is right for the people of Tampa.
|Jane Castor||As Mayor, I will work to ensure the City of Tampa aggressively increases its renewable energy portfolio. TECO is recognized as a leader in the deployment of solar arrays across its facilities, an investment of more than $1.5 billion – and I believe that’s a commendable first step towards increasing our renewable capacity. However, I also recognize TECO currently provides energy to more than 700,000 customers and that the electric grid is not designed for – nor are enough renewable sources currently operational to meet current and projected demand. As Mayor, I will encourage utility providers to modernize the grid as more electric vehicles hit the road and sources of renewable feed energy back into the system.|
|Mike Suarez||I believe TECO should do what they are currently doing in other localities; accelerating their use of alternatives to provide power to our area.|
6. Protecting our families and communities: Tampa is particularly vulnerable to the climate related health impacts from vector-borne diseases, heat, storm surge and flooding. As Mayor, what plans do you have to educate communities about these threats, and help them build resilience and protection for their families?
|Topher Morrison||The keyword here is education. We need to invest in large scale education initiatives for our residents of all ages so they can better understand how to deal with health concerns. We also need to address mental health concerns associated with extreme weather because it is well known that avoiding this can result in a much larger health epidemic in communities. The Mayor does not have free reign over healthcare but I can use my bully pulpit to prioritize public health– physical and mental. According to the Lancet Countdown, some of the best ways to mitigate these health impacts is by promoting active transportation and clean energy. I have addressed both of these at length in my Green City Plan and even gone one step further. We need to focus on equitable access when trying to create a cultural shift. This is why I want to create walking and biking trails to connect our neighborhoods and mandate that buildings have larger awnings to create more shade. Good urban design can make a 20 minute walk seem like a 5 minute walk while bad urban design can make a 5 minute walk feel like a 20 minute walk. We also need to plant more trees (I’ve committed to planting 100,000 additional trees in Tampa during my term) to provide cooling and shade on our roads as well as our roofs. It is crucial that we focus on changing our codes and making Tampa a more walkable and bike-friendly city because the positive effects of that ripple into larger public health issues.|
|Ed Turanchik||I would work in conjunction with Hillsborough County and the Health Department to develop appropriate instructional materials related to such threats as they have frontline responsibilities for these. See other answers as they pertain to this question.|
|Harry Cohen||Mosquito control is currently handled by Hillsborough County, and it is important that we make this a greater priority as other places in Florida have done. To a certain extent, vector-borne illnesses are only as preventable as our determination to control the mosquito population. This has two major components: what the government does and what our residents do. As mayor, I will lead an educational campaign to teach Tampa residents the importance or searching for and dumping standing water, to replace plants that hold standing water with plants that do not, and to prevent standing water from accumulating to begin with. We can place larvae-eating minnows in ponds and fountains. The bottom line is the best protection is prevention and awareness is key.|
|David A. Straz, Jr.||Educating people about the health impacts from climate change is a good idea. I can envision a city-wide effort to involve the collaboration of several arms of local government, including sanitation, environmental protection, housing maintenance, health services and public education.|
|Jane Castor||I am a big believer in harnessing the power of partnerships. Leadership on issues such as the community health impacts of climate change must start with the Mayor, but I believe developing solutions for these problems is best left to health professionals and educators. As Mayor, I will work to facilitate productive partnerships with state, federal, and non-governmental entities working on the community health impacts of climate change.|
|Mike Suarez||Although the City is not in charge of providing the spraying for mosquitoes, as Mayor I will speak out to do more to inform our citizens about standing water and how to always protect their families from these types of diseases.|
7. Supporting frontline communities: Older adults, children in low-income communities and some communities of color are disproportionally affected by and less resilient to the impacts of climate change. Do you have a plan or program that would support these special vulnerable groups?
|Topher Morrison||Climate justice is a very important issue to me, and it goes hand in hand with Social Justice. Globally as well as locally, it is always the marginalized communities that are affected the most by climate change. Our black and brown children are experiencing Asthma and Eczema at record levels, and it’s a known fact that marginalized communities live in the worst air polluted areas due to monolithic multi-lane freeway encroaching in their neighborhoods. I am committed to investing in these communities to ensure that they are well protected from the effects of climate change in our city. And to go even beyond, the most under-served community in the face of climate change is the homeless community. I am the only candidate who has a plan to address this and it involves 4 steps: Injecting Capital into Housing First, Ride to Work for the Homeless, Homeless not Helpless education program for compassionate allies, and City funded community housing.|
|Ed Turanchik||These would be developed as part of the overall climate change and residency strategy that we would develop. I would like to increase the energy efficiency standards for all rental housing, that would both reduce our carbon foot print and save money for renters.|
|Harry Cohen||We need to better utilize programs that help low-income residents make energy improvements to their homes. As we invest in both a resilient transportation infrastructure and affordable housing, I am committed to ensuring that we take action to avoid unintended displacement or gentrification in the neighborhoods that we are trying to serve.|
|David A. Straz, Jr.||
I will encourage all city departments
to engage in climate action plan implementation efforts to better prepare and
protect neighborhoods from|
impacts. The city should partner with community-based organizations and coalitions to conduct action research and popular education that supports community-led efforts to build resilience and advances adaptation planning
priorities identified by residents of vulnerable communities.
|Jane Castor||One of the most challenging events a mayor can face is leading a city through a severe weather event, such as a hurricane evacuation, response, and recovery. I can tell you, as the former police chief, keeping the public safe – especially our most vulnerable citizens – will be a top priority of my Administration. As Mayor, I will appoint a new Director of Sustainability & Resiliency who will report directly to me. This person will be responsible for city-wide sustainability initiatives, but will also be charged with making sure the needs of our most vulnerable citizens are recognized in our climate action and resilience plans.|
|Mike Suarez||No, not specifically. Many of the ideas I have expressed will be implemented throughout the City.|
8. Health care, housing and other assistance for people displaced by climate change: 50% of Tampa Bay’s population lives in coastal areas 10’ or less above sea level. It is quite likely that during your tenure as Mayor extreme weather events will create unprecedented demands for health care, housing and other assistance. The recent Lancet Report on Health and Climate Change found that public health departments across America are significantly underfunded. What will you do to prepare your city and its residents?
|Topher Morrison||The only way to deal with an underfunded public health department is to increasing funding and invest in resources. I have already publicly mentioned some ways that we can cut expenses in our budget in the short and long term. However, this has to be a multi-modal solution. We need to look at transportation and affordable housing as other issues that need to be tackled in order for us to avoid a major public health crisis. I am committed to investing in transit-oriented development as Mayor and work with the county to switch our mass transit options to environmentally friendly ones. We need to work with code enforcement to ensure our codes for residential infrastructure are up to date with progressive environmentally conscious policies. We should aim for the entire city to be LEED and WELL certified, not just wealthier gentrified communities.|
|Ed Turanchik||Our emergency preparedness plans must address displacements due to catastrophic events. I want to revisit these and ensure that major stakeholders are part of this review. Health and assistance issues have to to be undertaken with the County and State officials, as they have lead responsibility for health department funding and coordination issues. Rebuilding housing post-catastrophic event is particularly challenging due to the lack of housing available for workforce housing. Pre-identifications of areas that can be used temporarily for mobile homes and tent facilities would make sense to me.|
|Harry Cohen||The bottom line with major whether events is that no city, or state, has the resources to handle this by themselves and it takes support at the federal level. It is critical, before, during and after major weather events, that all agencies are clear about what their role is. In Florida, cities do not provide and do not receive funding for health care programs and housing assistance has been gutted at both the state and federal levels. An important component of my housing plan is to embrace the use of repurposed shipping containers as a tool to address our affordable housing crisis. But I go further than that: I would like to see Tampa become a leader in the production of these homes and this could include production of temporary housing that we could export to places dealing with similar weather events.|
|David A. Straz, Jr.||I will see to it that the city’s emergency preparedness operations are operated at the highest level.|
|Jane Castor||Community health centers serve as the first line of defense for addressing the health needs of our citizens. I believe the best role for the Mayor in advancing community health programs is to promote opportunities for careers in public service. While most community health centers are managed and funded by county, state, or federal agencies, Tampa is lucky to have an incredible pipeline of future healthcare providers in training at USF Health, Hillsborough Community College Health Sciences, Ultimate Medical Academy, and Tampa Bay Technical High School. As Mayor, I will support initiatives that increase student awareness and the benefits of entering into careers in public service, health care, and first responders. My team has also developed an outline to address affordable housing, a problem communities continually confront following catastrophe events.|
|Mike Suarez||As you know, the health department and other social services are under the control of the County. However, I will work closely with them to assure we have the preparation necessary to provide the housing and medical services needed.|
9. Leadership: 21st century leadership is about convening committed actors across sectors and demographics so that the best solutions can emerge through their interaction. Will you commit to creating and empowering a Climate Action Advisory Council that will draw together scientific, environmental, community, governmental, faith, business and community leaders to help the whole city engage in transformative resiliency?
|Topher Morrison||Absolutely. In fact, I have had input from local environmental activists and leaders during this campaign including Jessica Harrington the founder of the Environmental caucus and Joseph Cover the founder of 1 Piece Each. My Green City plan has also been vetted by members of the scientific, environmental, governmental, and business communities. I see tremendous value in establishing such an advisory council because it would empower local leaders to maximize their efforts. I am the right person to lead such an initiative because one of my areas of expertise is collaboration and bringing together leaders from different sectors to work together. I literally wrote the book on collaboration called “Collaboration Economy” and will use the same successful strategies I have been using for the last 15 years in my role as Mayor.|
|Ed Turanchik||Good idea —- yes!|
|Harry Cohen||I am committed to having a formal resiliency/sustainability working group, but do not have a name in mind at this time.|
|David A. Straz, Jr.||Yes|
|Jane Castor||As Mayor, I will have a dedicated Sustainability & Resiliency Director who report directly to me and is responsible for creating and executing the first City of Tampa Climate Action and Resiliency Plan. As part of this planning process, we will rely on experts and members in the community to shape and guide our Action Plan.|
|Mike Suarez||I have no problem with creating an advisory council.|
10. Commitment: What else would you like us to know about your commitment to make climate action a major component of your administration as Tampa’s Mayor, about your plans and policies in that regard, and about your past and present climate actions?
|Topher Morrison||I am the most progressive candidate in this race by far. If you go to my website you will see that making Tampa a 100% renewable energy city is one of my top 3 priorities on my platform. As a member of Greenpeace, and the Sierra Club, I will make sure that a good deal for Tampa, but a bad deal for mother nature is a NO DEAL. Throughout my life I’ve been blessed to travel the globe and hike to some of the most remote parts of our world. My connection with nature isn’t a political position, it’s seeded deep inside my heart and has been a part of my character the majority of my life. 9 years ago I gave up my car for a 30 day experiment to offset my carbon footprint. That experiment is still going strong 9 years later and I have no intention of getting a car once I become Mayor. I will be the leader who takes public transit to work, and I’m pretty sure that when the city has a Mayor who needs to get to city hall on time, but is taking the bus, we will see some new attention given toward our transit solutions.|
|Ed Turanchik||I’m a life-long member of Sierra Club. I served as the Growth Management Chair for the Florida Chapter of Sierra Club and the Conservation Chair of the Tampa Bay Group of Sierra Club. My academic training is the ecological sciences. I have a master’s degree in zoology, with my emphasis as an evolutionary ecologist. I will be the only ecologist Mayor of an at-risk American city that can address the science and fact of climate change, and would use my voice at both the state and national levels to raise awareness of this pressing issue. I also am a leading transit advocate, and have built dozens of energy-efficient affordable homes in the 2000’s. Protecting the environment is — has been — and always will be a driving priority in my professional civic and personal life.|
|Harry Cohen||I have been a leader in resiliency and sustainability on Tampa City Council, from bringing forward the Tampa Bay Resiliency Coalition to holding multiple workshops on sea level rise to bring attention to this issue. I introduced, championed and passed a $250 million rebuild of our city’s stormwater system to reduce flooding. Recently, I received the Green Elected Official Award from the Gulf Coast chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council for work on sustainability.|
|David A. Straz, Jr.||
I am not a Johnny Come Lately to the environment. I
was an early supporter of|
Gaylord Nelson, a Senator and Governor in my native Wisconsin. You might best remember him as the founder of Earth Day.
My wife, Catherine, and I have also been proud supporters of Lowry Park Zoo where we have supported the veterinarian hospital and manatee habitat.
|Jane Castor||As someone who has dedicated their entire career to public service and community safety, I am absolutely prepared to take the pressing challenge of climate change in Tampa Bay. Our Administration will directly engage and participate in the new Tampa Bay Regional Resilience Coalition via our new Director of Sustainability & Resiliency. It is time for the City of Tampa to step up and be recognized as leader in sustainability efforts just as our peer cities, like St. Pete and Miami have. When the Mayor shows bold leadership, the entire city will benefit. For example, I congratulate Mayor Kriseman and the City of St. Pete for their recent $2.5 million award from the Bloomberg Philanthropies to address climate change.|
|Mike Suarez||None currently.|
This survey is collaborative project of the Rev. Dr. Russell Meyer (Florida Interfaith Climate Actions Network), Andrew Rock (Buddhists Climate Network), Kent Bailey (Tampa Bay Sierra Club), Dr. Lynn Ringenberg (Physicians for Social Responsibility). Mary Beth Dunn (Physicians for Social Responsibility) facilitated the distribution of the survey to all candidates.
The questions were submitted to all candidates with the following signatures and supporting links:
Professor emeritus, USF Health Pediatrics
Physicians for Social Responsibility-Florida
Russell Meyer, M. Div., D. Min.
Executive Director, Florida Council of Churches,
Co-chair, Suncoast Sea Level Rise Collaborative
Pastor, St. Paul Lutheran Church
Tampa Bay Sierra Club
Buddhist Climate Action Network
Physicians for Social Responsibility-Florida
Garrity, Ph. D.
Director of Training and LatinoAmerica
GreenFaith, Interfaith Partners in Action for the Earth
Organizer, The Climate Mobilization
Pachamama Alliance of Tampa Bay
The Bridge Tampa Bay
Reference reports: The NASA presentation to the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, referenced in Question 1, made on June 11, 2018, may be found on the TBRPC’s website at http://www.tbrpc.org/council-meeting-presentations/
Links to the reports referenced in questions 1 and 2, and also a Jan. 16th report on how climate change is affecting public health are below, as well as the recent IPCC and Lancet reports: