Tampa soft launches planning-based web series, but is anyone watching?
Shot from the middle of proposed CD 13.

Marine Boat Ship Canal Downtown Urban Metro Skyline Tampa Bay Florida
City Council members didn't even know about it.

Planners with the city of Tampa Thursday gave Council members an update on a new web series focused on the city’s planning efforts. However, Council members seemed to know nothing about it.

Council chair Orlando Gudes said he was a bit bothered a few days prior when he started getting asked about it by members of neighborhood associations.

“We have a show out there, but this Council knows nothing about this show and what’s going on,” Gudes said. “I learned about it because they called me. They didn’t know what it was and I didn’t know what it was.”

The show, called Planning Today for Tampa’s Tomorrow, is hosted by city planner LaChone Dock. It airs live on the city’s website at 6 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month. It then lives on the City of Tampa YouTube page.

The first episode, clocking in at almost an hour, aired Sept. 21 and featured Administrator of Development and Economic Opportunity Carole Post and Planning Director Randy Goers. It introduced viewers to the planning department and some of the projects the city is working on.

Post said the show is part of Mayor Jane Castor’s effort to keep neighborhoods informed and engaged as she implements her Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow initiative, and it will operate in a Zoom town hall-type setup to allow viewers to ask questions.

During the first episode, Post told viewers the show will allow for a regular and routine forum where the planning department can share ideas and interact with residents to get feedback on ideas, policies, programs and initiatives.

“It’s much of what we do now, but we tend to do it in an ad hoc way, on an as-needed basis,” she said. “While that will certainly continue, we felt it was more important to have a more structured, regular routine forum that everyone can calendar for, plan for and know what to expect.”

The second episode aired Oct. 19 and featured Chief City Planner Stephen Benson talking about growth and change in Tampa. On Tampa’s YouTube, the first episode has just 35 views as of Thursday, while the second has 140.

Post told Council members Thursday the planning department tried to email blast as many people as they could to get the word out.

“We cast about as wide a net as we could,” Post said. “Sometimes these things take traction once they recognize it and know what it is, they’ll tune in.”

Council Member John Dingfelder said he, too, was shocked. He also had concerns about the show’s potential content.

“I just want to make sure I don’t tune in one day and see policies or discussions that haven’t been vetted by Council,” he told Post.

Post assured him the show was not intended to get ahead of any Council rulings.

“But it is intended to start to bubble up ideas and concepts either as we’re having them with you or, in some cases, before,” she said. “So when we come to you, we can say we floated ideas or thoughts and here are the thoughts we’re hearing from the community.”

Post invited Council members to appear on the show as guest speakers and pitch ideas for future episodes.

Daniel Figueroa IV

Bronx, NY —> St. Pete, Fla. Just your friendly, neighborhood journo junkie with a penchant for motorcycles and Star Wars. Daniel has spent the last decade covering Tampa Bay and Florida for the Ledger of Lakeland, Tampa Bay Times, and WMNF. You can reach Daniel Figueroa IV at [email protected].


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