"I don't know. Have they become archaic? There are some who would make that argument. Has the nominee been pre-decided? Clearly in both of these cases we know who the nominees are going to be. ...but what I think what this does is energize the activists. And I think that's important."
But is it worth a total of $100 million dollars of federal tax money for both conventions?
Buckhorn was speaking before a live audience at the Newseum in Washington D.C. It was part of a live webcast hosted by Politico featuring the mayors of the host cities for this summer's political conventions. Charlotte's Anthony Foxx followed Buckhorn in being interviewed by Politico ace reporter Mike Allen.
Regarding Occupy Tampa, Allen began by saying, "You gave Occupy the Heisman?," referring to the stiff-armed pose of the famed college football trophy.
The Mayor quipped, "I didn't let them occupy much of anything," before describing the anecdote back in April where one of his Davis Islands neighbors, folk singer Ronny Elliot, posted a sign decrying the "Clean Zone," the formerly named area of downtown where there will be heightened security during the convention (the city has since changed the name to the Event Zone.)
"I live in a place that would typically not be Occupy friendly," the mayor said, prompting Allen to ask what he meant by that.
"You know, there probably aren't a lot of Democrats out where I live," which might be news to Jim Davis, Linda Saul-Sena and others.
"But no, I would not let them occupy for a simple reason, and that is:because the public parks are open to anyone and everybody. And I'm not going to let someone take over a public park for whatever purpose. So we wouldn't allow let occupy a park in downtown Tampa (Curtis Hixon) and I think most of the mayors around the country that did found themselves having to extract them later on.."
(Occupy Tampa members were allowed to sleep on the sidewalk of Curtis Hixon for several months, though arrests did occur during that period. The group itself opted to take up Joe Redner's offer to move to West Tampa in late Decemeber, where they have established an encampment).
When asked about the protesters coming to Tampa for the RNC, Buckhorn didn't say anything he hasn't said previously. He believes that 99 percent of those who will come to protest will be law abiding, and the "anarchists" that come looking to create mayhem will be dealt with.
"We've been monitoring their activities and studying their tactics and we'll be ready for them but you can assume that they will be there."
When asked by Allen if he was worried about protesters, the mayor demurred, saying he worried about hurricanes. "We will deal with it, we will deal with it well, there will be incidents I'm sure. We expect that. But we're going to do it in a way and in a form and a fashion that will make Tampanians and Americans proud."
When asked about hurricanes, the mayor said how it had been over 90 years since the city faced a direct hit (in 1921), prompting Allen to quip, "So you're due."
"Thanks, Mike, " Buckhorn replied.
In talking about what the delegates and reporters can look forward to in Tampa, Buckhorn referenced Ybor City, which then led him to address the recent (and some would say absurd) discussion about the controversial Spanish spelling of 7th Avenue.
Buckhorn spent a few minutes doing what he does best, acting as an ambassador to the city, detailing what he says are the great amenities that the city offers (USF, Moffitt Cancer Center, CAMLS).
The Mayor was then subjected to questions from audience members. One included what he had to say about these "racially charged times."
Buckhorn responded that the question was "way above my pay grade," but didn't stop there. He said that interjecting race into the presidential race was "an abomination."