Tariq Zidan ponied up more than $1,000 and was named the honorary Mayor of Land O’ Lakes.
He didn’t win the title through a shady deal in a smoke-filled room or making bribes to fix an election.
Zidan won the honorary title fair and square.
He raised the most money during the campaign which ran from early March until late June. The funds go to the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce, and the mayor’s sash went to Zidan.
“It feels fantastic,” said Zidan. “This was my first shot at fundraising, so I’m not a heavy-hitter. But I’m very satisfied with my first efforts on my way to becoming a heavy-hitter with fundraising.”
Zidan succeeded in his first fundraising effort by putting together a trio of successful events at area venues: A Bunco game night at Copperstone Executive Suites, a trivia night at Stage Left and a karaoke night at City Grill. Together, they raised the amount that earned him the win. He credits April Saland and Elisabeth Butterfield with making the Bunco and karaoke events successful.
Zidan, who runs Zidan Marketing & Media, an online marketing and web design company, was honored with the title at the chamber’s awards and installation banquet on June 26. It was also a celebration of the organization’s 40th anniversary, and included the installation ceremony for the chamber’s new officers.
As the new mayor, Zidan can look forward to ceremonial events such as ribbon cuttings and other appearances.
Zidan also gets to direct some of the money he raised to the charity of his choice. He chose the Bubba The Love Sponge Foundation, which was founded by the popular radio personality. The charity assists the surviving family members of fallen officers and first responders.
For Zidan, it’s a chance to help families who have lost loved ones serving the community.
“It’s what makes our country great,” he said. “We’ve got to pay it forward to the people who make it all possible.”
Zidan joined the Central Pasco Chamber last October. The Lutz resident has been a member for just a small part of the chamber’s 40 years, but said it’s already done a lot for him.
“It has presented the opportunities to create some great relationships and foster those relationships on a business and personal level,” he said.
One of those relationships is the reason he’s the mayor today. The now former mayor, Terri Dusek, convinced Zidan that he’d be a good replacement for her when her term ended. Now that he’s the mayor, Zidan said he’ll be active in finding more people to run for the office.
Each mayor is different, and Zidan wasted no time in putting his own stamp on the office. He’s already updated the traditional sash by adding a large clock to it. It’s a tribute to rapper Flavor Flav, who is known for wearing clocks at appearances and concerts. Zidan believes the accessory gives the sash a needed bit of flash.
“I figured I’d give it an untraditional spark. Bling it out a little bit,” he said.
While the mayor title doesn’t come with any real responsibilities or tangible duties, Zidan said the benefit of having the race is very real for the chamber and its goals.
“It creates attention and gets people interested, which is always a good thing,” Zidan said. “I think that chambers that don’t do it are missing out on an opportunity for an organic degree of exposure that they can only benefit from, and the Central Pasco Chamber has done that,” Zidan said.
Published July 15, 2015