TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa mayoral candidates will return to the campaign trial following Thursday night's Spectrum Bay News 9 debate.
- Former Police Chief Jane Castor and Philanthropist David Straz debated Thursday night
- PREVIOUS STORY: Candidates spar on leadership, transportation, crime stats
- Tampa mayoral run-off election April 23
Former Police Chief Jane Castor and Philanthropist David Straz traded jabs on stage at the Tampa Theatre as they tackled a variety of issues: crime, transportation, development, affordable housing, red light cameras and who is best fit to lead the city.
The candidates disagreed about the use of red light cameras in the city.
Straz: "Red light cameras don't solve accidents. They cause accidents."
Castor: "We are one of the most dangerous cities in the nation for accidents. Red light cameras reduce "t-bone" accidents."
The topic of past cuts to the city budget drew different responses.
"We have cut to the bone on our personnel," Castor told the audience. "And if we cut any more there’s going to be a degradation in those stellar services that our citizens have grown accustomed to. We can not cut any more positions in this city."
Straz countered by asking what was cut in the budget.
"To say there is no fluff in the budget is indicating someone who doesn’t know what budgeting is," he said. "You can’t cut budget in the city for 8 years in a row, and have no fluff there. What did they cut?"
Straz said if he is elected mayor, he would work on finding that fluff in the budget and cutting it by 10 percent. Both candidates agreed they would not look at raising taxes.
Castor also discussed her police background and how it prepared her to possibly be mayor:
"I have led through good times and bad," she said. "I’ve handled the RNC and Super Bowls. I know how to get things done. ... I'm the person you want answering the phone at 3 a.m."
The candidates took shots at each other about their finances, along with a Tampa Bay Times report that Straz took campaign contributions worth more than $500 despite earlier saying he wouldn't do so.
Straz called Castor's police career "one year's of experience repeated 31 times."