NAACP rethinks support of Bob Buckhorn over Tampa’s Jackson House

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The debate over Tampa’s historic Jackson House is causing the local NAACP chapter to rethink how they feel about Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

One former Buckhorn supporter, NAACP member Yvette Lewis, purposely kept quiet in the disagreement over the site.

“I voted for this mayor,” Lewis told Gloria Gomez of Fox 13 News. “I worked on his campaign, I believed in him.”

Now Lewis is not so sure.

“The mayor has a vision of downtown,” Lewis said, “and let’s be honest, it doesn’t include African-American people.”

The mayor has thrown up one roadblock after another in the saga over saving the historic site, and Lewis doesn’t understand why.

“The mayor has put so many stipulations on this house that is unbelievable, she added, “and it’s just this house.”

Built in 1901, the 851 Zack Street address was visited by several entertainers and civil rights leaders, many of them staying there during the years of segregation.

Radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge and former councilmember Linda Saul-Sena tried to save Jackson House from demolition last September. Both maintain the city obstructed the deal with last minute, unreasonable deadlines and charges.

“Whatever plan he has is a lot more sexier than restoring a dilapidated house for African Americans,” Bubba told Fox 13 News.

Bubba then played a “Spice Show” clip Buckhorn jokingly, offers a key to the city if Spice could get Bubba’s radio show off the air.

“You can pull Bubba’s switch,” Buckhorn said. “Just turn the power off.”

Lewis has no say as to what occurred between Bubba and the mayor. She just wants the issue back on track.

“We don’t have an African-American Museum,” Lewis said. “We don’t have anything, we are losing our history in Tampa, and it seems as though the people we elect to office don’t even care.”

“It’s time for us to knock on the Mayor’s door and say we want to save the Jackson House.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.