In Tampa, there was a minor ripple in the political class earlier this year when it was reported that Dick Greco was moving with his wife Linda McClintock to St. Petersburg, though the two would continue to work in Tampa.
For some longtime observers, it was almost heretical to learn that the man who served in four different terms as the mayor of Tampa (and tried again for a fifth in 2011) was deserting the Cigar City for the hipper vibes of Beach Drive in St. Pete.
Part of no longer being a resident in Tampa means that the 82-year-old Greco no longer will vote in Tampa elections. Last week he participated in his first election in a new town – specifically, in the municipal election in St. Petersburg. Greco said it was a very unusual experience, since, for once, he really didn’t now any of the candidates on the ballot personally.
“I was reading about their three council positions and some other issues on the ballot. And I read constantly, everyday, what the newspapers thought about and who they endorsed,” Greco told WWBA 820 am radio host Dan Maduri on Monday.
“I had never been that way in my life,” Greco explained. “Every time I ever went there (to vote) I knew the person, or worked together, or knew their families, and that makes a big difference.”
There were three city council races on the ballot in St. Pete last week, as well as four referendum questions.
The former Tampa mayor also mused how it must be for the “average person” to contemplate who to vote for or how to choose which way to go on a ballot question, wondering aloud about how many actually read political coverage these days. “There’s a lot of people not doing that, not studying what the candidates have done, what they stand for, evaluating what person represents them.”
Although Greco bemoaned the lack of voters participating in the electoral process once again, he didn’t answer Maduri’s question if it was okay to have so few people voting, if they were the only ones truly paying attention to the races.
“I hate to talk about the past,” Greco said, before mentioning again how many people voted for him for mayor in 1967 vs. 2011. “When I ran for mayor the first time, 60,000 voted. Four years ago, 42,000. Okay?”