News from the front: I attended Candy Lowe's "Tea and Conversations" event at the Golden Corral on 56th Street in Temple Terrace. It was quite the event! So many candidates appeared that I could neither keep track of nor say hello to everyone that I know.
Since the event was at Golden Corral, the tea was sweet and cold, and the conversations were many. There were two candidates for Tampa mayor there, and candidates for various other offices: school board, state house, county commission, and several for judge. Because of limited time and large number of candidates, questioners in the audience had about 30 seconds to ask a question, and the candidates had about 45 seconds to answer. It was supposed to run for 2 hours, but ran well over that time frame.
The room reserved was filled to capacity the whole time. In fact, it was over filled, and there were many candidates who waited outside of the room for their turn to speak, and to face the well informed and unafraid-to-ask-difficult-questions crowd. At various points those of us outside the meeting room became so loud that candidates inside the room could not be heard. One thing: at least a few of the candidates voiced concern that they were unaware of the event until a few days before.
Representatives from at least two organizations were there as well. The Democratic Progressive Caucus of Tampa Bay, and the Black Caucus. If there were others, I did not run into any of them.
To wrap up: I’m glad I went. This is what politics should be, and has been in the past: lots of people, a little bit of chaos, and lots of candidates. Florida misses out on this kind of event because our state fair is in January, far away from the political season. And that's too bad, too. Candidate forums used to be events in their own right, drawing a diverse and interested crowd, and were often _the_ entertainment. I thoroughly enjoyed this event, and the almost carnival-like atmosphere. I look forward to more events like this. It was exciting and full of energy.