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Tampa Bay Bucs are ‘open’ to helping fund moving Confederate monument

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

After the Hillsborough County Commission originally voted to maintain a controversial Confederate statue, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers both called on commissioners to remove the statue, which they did in a re-vote last month.

The deciding swing vote was cast by Commissioner Sandy Murman, who said had changed her mind about moving the monument because a private donor had come forth to try to raise the more than $100,000 required for the county to move the statue to a different location.

South Tampa based attorney Tom Scarritt came forward prior to the second and final vote on the monument to say that he would work on a fundraising campaign to generate the funds needed to move the statue. Scarritt said that at some point he would attempt to contact the Rays and Bucs management to see if they could help out with the financial campaign.

Considering that the fund has only brought in $4,315 in the first 20 days since it was established, Scarritt might want to give those groups a call. However, it’s not 100% certain how the Bucs would react.

“I’m always interested in hearing whatever the details are, and then we’ll go from there,” said Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford on Tuesday. “Nobody’s contacted me as of yet.”

The board’s vote meant that the 106-year-old, called Memoria en Aeterna, will be moved to the Brandon Cemetery. If the private campaign cannot raise the sufficient funds, the county will be obligated to fund the costs of transferring the monument.

“It set the right tone for Tampa and let everybody know who we are,” Ford said of the Bucs decision to comment on the controversy. “It’s a great city.”

Although the donations are coming in slowly, they are coming in. Recent contributors to Go Fund Me site include Tampa City Council members Yolie Capin ($150) and Harry Cohen ($250), as well as former (and maybe future?) councilman John Dingfelder ($250).

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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