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Dems Open 2021 Door for a GOP Mayor in St. Pete

September 21, 2019 - 7:00am
Jeff Brandes would be a powerful opponent in a predominantly blue city

An ordinarily innocuous St. Petersburg City Council race has roiled local politics and become a key bellwether as to who will be the next mayor of Florida’s fifth largest city.

The race to succeed term-limited Rick Kriseman as St. Petersburg mayor is two years away, but political machinations suddenly opened the door for a Republican to capture the mayoralty in this Democratic stronghold in 2021.

It started July 1 with a monumental gaffe by a political pro who should know better.

St. Pete Mayor Kriseman Said to Be Eyeing Governorship

August 24, 2019 - 6:00am
Rick Kriseman

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is a man with ambitions that could reach as far as the Florida Governor's Mansion or the U.S. Capitol building.

The whispers by insiders on both sides of Tampa Bay are screaming “Governor.”  Kriseman and his team, however, can assess the political landscape at the end of his second term in 2021, a year before both Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio will be up for re-election.

Anti-Semitic Left Handing Florida to GOP

August 19, 2019 - 8:30am

If the Democrats hope to beat President Donald Trump in 2020, they probably will have to achieve that without winning Florida.

The country’s third most populous state and most crucial battleground has a sizable Jewish population.  Best estimates are that approximately 7 percent of ballots in Florida during presidential election years are cast by Jews, a demographic that historically has been reliably Democratic.

E-Scooters: Tale of Two Cities

August 5, 2019 - 7:15am

For the under-30 zealots who enjoy the free-wheeling e-scooter culture in Tampa’s urban core, it is the best of times.  For seniors, the disabled, children, and strollers confined to the pedestrian experience, it has been a nightmare.

Only a few months into a one-year pilot project, scooters have caused at least one death, countless injuries, obstruction of legitimate commerce, and eyesores throughout the city as riders leave piles of the vehicles on private property, street corners, in the middle of sidewalks, and gutters.

Zany Two-City Shakedown Scheme Has Alienated Rays Fans

August 1, 2019 - 9:00am
Stu Sternberg: What is the opposite of "beloved"?

Two months ago the attendance-challenged Tampa Bay Rays could at least boast of a fiercely loyal, though modest, fan base.

No more, thanks to Rays owner Stu Sternberg, striking out with a far-out proposal to play half a season in Tampa Bay and the other half in Montreal where Major League Baseball failed 15 years ago. That franchise moved to Washington, D.C. and thrives today.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement in June, at the end of the two-day owners’ meetings in New York. National sports media reports of the scheme ranged from comic to desperate.

Florida‘s Thoroughbred Industry Weathering National Furor

July 27, 2019 - 6:00am

Horse racing fatalities this year at Santa Anita’s fabled Southern California track have put the Sport of Kings under the scrutiny of politicians, animal rights activists, the media, and the thoroughbred racing industry itself.

Thirty horses died in racing or training since Christmas at Santa Anita.  As if the unusually high number wasn’t cause for consternation,  a freak accident at Del Mar racetrack to the south on the second day of its summer meet brought more headlines.  A racehorse broke loose during early morning training, collided with another and both died.

E-Scooter Safety a Growing Florida Concern, as Tampa Records Its First Rider Death

July 15, 2019 - 9:00am
Scooters in special lanes found safer than on sidewalks

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signing of a bill greenlighting e-scooters in bicycle lanes is a little-known triumph to come out of the 2019 legislative session. It will mitigate certain safety concerns and issues with pedestrians -- particularly the elderly, disabled, and toddlers who populate Florida’s urban sidewalks.

But there is more to be done to shore up scooter safety.

Fans, Media, Politicians Agree: Rays Struck Out

June 27, 2019 - 9:00am
For most home games, you can count the house at Tropicana Field

The few remaining wisps of goodwill remaining between Tampa Bay and its Major League Baseball franchise evaporated this week when team owner Stu Sternberg floated a fantasy of having his Rays split its home games with the City of Montreal.

Reaction was swift and negative with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, calling the hare-brained scheme “nonsensical” and a possible violation of the team’s agreement with the City of St. Petersburg. The attendance-challenged Rays currently schedule all 81 home games at St. Pete’s Tropicana Field.

Those Cute, Pesky E-Scooters: Amenity or Menace?

June 19, 2019 - 7:15am
E-scooter riders in Los Angeles

It’s been a rocky road for electric scooters.

Embraced by many American cities, including Tampa, the dockless, shareable two-wheelers have experienced mounting injuries, many serious. Initial enthusiasm has been replaced with a healthy dose of reality.

Sure, they’re cute, cheap, and offer Millennials a downtown diversion. But rider irresponsibility coupled with poor regulation and lax oversight caused many cities to eliminate e-scooters or remap when, where, and how they are used.

Jane Castor Energizes Tampa Arts Community

June 13, 2019 - 1:30pm

If Variety reviewed the Mayor’s Forum on the Arts, held Wednesday night at Hillsborough Community College, the gathering would have been described as nothing less than “boffo.”

In fact, the venerable staple of entertainment news might have showered the Tampa event with more superlatives than were heaped on “Gone With the Wind.”

It was that electric.

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