In Tampa, the Calm After the Storm

Protesters haven't lived up to predicted numbers, and weather may be the big reason.

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As far as property damage, there has been no major destruction in Tampa. The only damage so far has been graffiti in scattered locations, and the city has worked to paint over it.

An estimate of a couple hundred dollars property damage to the city so far would be "on the high end," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said.

No out-of-the-ordinary items were seized in Tampa during the convention's first few days, either, Castor said.

Obviously Hurricane Isaac was a factor for keeping some protesters away, as initially the storm was projected to wreak havoc on the Tampa Bay area.

[Photos: Isaac Pummels Louisiana, Mississippi]

Though Castor wasn't sure why so many fewer protesters came to Tampa, she said she heard that some bus companies canceled on transporting demonstrators to the area due to the storm.

Kovanis said protesters didn't descend en masse in on Tampa because law enforcement "trumped up the scare tactics to try to intimidate people from coming down there."

He also blamed weather forecasters, saying they intentionally misled people into believing what then was Tropical Storm Isaac might strike Tampa.

Jared Hamil, who organized the Coalition to March on the RNC on Monday, said Isaac put a major dent in the protest effort.

Charter buses canceled their trips to Tampa, he said, and the wind and rain kept others from appearing.

"Rain and storms are killers when it comes to a protest," said Hamil, who plans to travel to Charlotte, N.C., for the Democratic National Convention next week.

He also said the location of Tampa hurt the turnout. It's harder to get here from many places in the country, he said, than places more centrally located.

No matter what the reason, there's been no mass of bodies crowded on the streets of downtown Tampa.

"It's not what we expected," said Rose Arnone of the Old Tampa Book Co. on Tampa Street.

Ian Brooke, manager of Gilligan's Hideaway on Morgan Street, agreed.

"I thought there was going to be a lot more," he said of protesters. "I would have preferred having more. Even if they are protesters, they still have to eat."

Reporting Interns Gareth Rees and Brandi Hollis contributed to this report.