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Bob Buckhorn ponies up $1,000 to fund to remove Confederate monument

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has contributed $1,000 to the private fundraising effort to pay for removing a controversial Confederate monument.

“Not a City statue but I have a moral obligation to do my part. Now take it down,” the Mayor tweeted Thursday morning.

“This monument represents a dark time in America; It’s time for County Commission to stop playing politics with people’s very real emotions and remove this monument immediately,” he said in a statement issued later by his office.

The Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners voted  Wednesday to keep the monument in place unless the private sector raises $140,000 within the next 30 days. It was the third time this summer that the board has voted on the issue. Each time they have decided on a different course.

Last month the board voted 4-2 to remove the statue and send it to a cemetery in Brandon, but Commissioner Sandy Murman, the swing vote, said she was only voting to move the monument based upon the fact that a private citizen – South Tampa attorney Tom Scarritt – said he would pursue a campaign to raise the necessary funds to move the statue.

Scarritt was given 60 days to raise $200,000, but fundraising has been slow – until now.

Since the county commission’s decision, fundraising has spiked dramatically on the GoFundMe site, from a little over $8,000 on Wednesday morning to more than $23,000 on Thursday. The community has just 29 days left to raise the $140,000 that commissioners estimate would be half the total costs of removing and relocation the statue. If they don’t, the majority of the board says they would keep the monument in place.

County officials say that $20,000 of taxpayer funds has already been expended on preparing the monument at the Brandon cemetery.

Buckhorn blasted the board after they initially voted to keep the statue in place. He has recently said that the monument needs to be removed as soon as possible.

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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