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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.

Unlike Florida Media, Israeli, Jewish-American Press Didn’t Trivialize DeSantis Trip

June 5, 2019 - 7:00am

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ just concluded trip to Israel aimed at cementing ties between Florida and the Jewish state found a serious audience.

In contrast to the Florida media circus that demeaned and attempted to undermine the bolstering of scientific, agricultural, economic, and political cooperation, the Israeli press reported on substance, not manufactured peripheral issues.

Andrew Gillum: The Running Man

May 18, 2019 - 8:45am

Andrew Gillum brought healthy doses of his charisma, bankroll, and grit to Tampa on Thursday in an effort to rally Democrats for the 2020 election and beyond.

The main photo op for the local press was his presenting a large facsimile of a $100,000 check to Florida Democratic Party chairperson Terrie Rizzo. The dough, according to Rizzo,  will be used to register and energize Democratic voters to “turn Florida blue.”

Jeff Vinik Selling the Lightning -- Unthinkable? Not So Fast

May 13, 2019 - 9:00am
After only two home playoff games, Amalie Arena stands silent

Jeff Vinik selling the Tampa Bay Lightning would never enter the mind of most local hockey fans, but the idea is not at all far-fetched.

In fact, over the next 15 months it is rated a 50-50 proposition to those paying close attention to the machinations and business travails of the former hedge fund manager.


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