Café con Tampa is a weekly gathering of regional leaders, neighborhood residents and interested parties to discuss critical issues facing the Tampa Bay area — and have a nice breakfast.
The organizers have generously invited me to opine this week about Florida’s ever-changing political and media landscape.
Held every Friday, Café con Tampa offers a platform for a range of speakers from well-known politicos and civic leaders, as well as lesser-known figures seeking a chance to meet and speak with concerned Tampa citizens. Where I fall on the spectrum may be debatable, but nonetheless, I am grateful to be included.
While politics is the most popular topic — of which I will surely discuss in depth — arts and social issues are often on the Café con Tampa menu. Unlike most neighborhood and civic organizations, Café con Tampa prides itself for shying away from advocating a particular ideology, focusing instead on a community conversation where diverse citizens meet and discourse on matters important to them.
Among recent invitees: House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who faced a less-than-favorable crowd; consumer protection attorney Ryan Torrens, a political outsider seeking to gain a toehold with voters in his bid to become Florida’s next Attorney General, as well as a transit forum featuring a panel of Tampa’s leading Tea Party activists, each an opponent of a proposed county transit tax.
Upcoming guests include St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker, Florida Agriculture Commissioner candidate Denise Grimsley, and Kevin Gibbons, who will talk about “connecting Ugandans with health care using motorcycles.”
In other words, you never know exactly what to expect at Café con Tampa – and that’s a good thing.
This week’s event begins 8 a.m. upstairs at the Oxford Exchange, 420 W. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa.
While all are welcome – there is no membership fee or RSVPs – organizers ask for a $12 cash donation at the door, which covers the included breakfast buffet – the restaurant charges whether attendees eat or not.
Breakfast itself is well worth the visit, with a carte du jour fitting in well with Tampa’s rich culture – often including the classic Café con Leche with Cuban toast.
Students and grassroots leaders who may not be able to afford the $12 donation are welcome to discuss scholarships to cover the meal.