Happy Monday! Please swim down through your flooded home to your waterlogged Internet Viewing Terminal, and let's begin.
FRIDAY, JULY 24:
The last few grapes of aging human cartoon Hulk Hogan's celebrity turned sour and had to be purged from the vine of stardom when evidence of an n-word-laden rant emerged. Thousands of vaguely racist dudes roughly my older sister's age who don't think they're racist at all are bummed.
After climbing 20 feet to cut a ribbon at a rock climbing gym, we can't wait to see what he does when the St. Pete Pier reopens.
Running a city like St. Pete is no easy job.
You have meetings with police unions, a historically disenfranchised black population you want to help, the whining privileged folks upset that the curbside recycling program isn't exactly as they think it should be... and then you have your rock climbing wall ribbon cutting.
Climbing a rock wall to cut a ribbon wasn't exactly Mayor Rick Kriseman's idea (we have it on good authority that Kriseman's chief of staff, Kevin King, came up with this idea, something we're sure will be reflected in his next evaluation), but the mayor certainly gave it his all at the July 25 ribbon cutting at Vertical Ventures, a new rock climbing gym in St. Petersburg's Grand Central District.
It was a dark and stormy afternoon. Tampa Bay Rays President Brian Auld approached the podium at a meeting of the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club at the St. Pete Yacht Club, where he stood before a packed room of well-heeled individuals.
We sat on the sidelines, waiting.
We figured it was a good time to catch up on the latest developments in the whole Rays stadium dealie, and thought perhaps Auld might say (or not say) something we could plug into our Speculatron 9000, to help us predict The Future of the City.
A while back, we covered a press conference in which State Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) and State Rep. Ross Spano (R-Sarasota) touted the overwhelming passage of bills aimed at curbing human trafficking.
It was one of the few notable (positive) accomplishments to come out of the 2015 regular legislative session before all hell broke loose over Medicaid/low income pool money.
And it was about time lawmakers acknowledge that buying and selling people, as well as holding them against their will for purposes of exploitation, is wrong.
It looks like the county wimped out in their precedent-setting reimbursement for defense costs case against the owner of Keel & Curley Winery in east Hillsborough.
Owner Joe Keel filed ethics charges against Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham in September of 2014 claiming that the commissioner used the power of his office illegally, trying to put Keel's winery out of business He claimed that Higginbotham sent droves of code enforcement inspectors to the winery to find code violations. Higginbotham claimed that his office had received numerous complaints from local citizens, however, Keel said he never saw the kind of opposition that Higginbotham claimed existed.
Keel said the commissioner was biased against the winery for religious reasons, being that they served alcohol.
Welcome to Friday, your bon voyage party in honor of the week, and gateway to those days Republicans would like to see added to your week. Shall we run down yesterday's news before lunch beers lead to the inevitable afternoon decline in productivity? Yes, let's:
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhornannounced the city's $850 million 2016 budget, which focuses on infrastructural areas, including flood prevention, raises for city workers and developer-attracting park and green space. Well, what did you expect? Buckhorn's got a pretty good head on his shoulders; it's not like he's gonna be all, "We're gonna air-condition the city!"... [Note to self: Add "air-condition the city" to list of promises you're probably gonna need to make in 2019 mayoral campaign.]
On Wednesday, Senator Bernie "the Berninator" Sanders (I-Vermont) is going to make the case for why he should be the next president.
The passionately outspoken liberal candidate obviously faces an uphill Democratic primary battle against Hillary Clinton, who is fueled largely by gobs of name recognition and corporate campaign money.
Reach deep; the end of this week's road is within sight. Well, not within sight really, but you know it's there, because it comes every time, at the end of this tedious cycle, this meaningless, repetitive role, this single canyoned groove traversed over and over and ... where was I? Right — we made it past Wednesday!
Pining for the excitement of last weekend's bomb scares? Good news! A suspicious package was reported near a busy intersection in Sarasota, closing a section of U.S. 41. The "package" turned out to be a modified birdcage with "a plastic jug attached, fuses coming out the top, and wires coming out the bottom" — which, again, sounds a lot like a bomb. Some provocative local artist really needs to rethink his or her medium.
It’s one thing to read the headlines regarding President Obama’s effort to restore diplomacy between the U.S. and Cuba, which was most recently evidenced with the reopening of a U.S. Embassy. It’s another to realize that, holy shit, you can probably visit Cuba if you want — that is, if you’re willing to give up some of your daily technological trappings and adhere to relatively strict travel criteria.
In fact, some people say now’s the time to do it. As the thaw between the U.S. and Cuba continues, there’s concern that the country could gradually get Americanized, even in the face of resistance from political leaders.
“You need to go now before it opens up,” says Edward Garcia, president of the Tampa to Cuba Partnership, an agency that organizes cultural tours of the country.
José Marti on the steps of Vicente Ybor’s cigar factory (now the entry to a Church of Scientology bookstore) in 1893.
By virtue of geography and sociology, Florida has often had as much of a connection to the Caribbean as to the United States. Tampa and Havana represent that connection well; people and goods have been traveling between the two port cities for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
1528-39: The expeditions of Pánfilo de Narváez and Hernando DeSoto
Narváez departed Spain in late 1527 and arrived first in Havana, Cuba, to resupply and recruit more sailors and adventurers for his final destination — La Florida. He reached the shores of today’s Pinellas peninsula in 1528 and made his way to the north end of Tampa Bay. Hernando DeSoto, who traveled via Havana to the west coast of Florida in 1539, made landfall on the southern shore of Tampa Bay near the mouth of the Manatee River.
Late 1700s-early 1800s: The fishing rancho
For over 200 years there was very little interaction between the Spanish and the American Indians of Tampa Bay. This changed as fishermen from Cuba traveled north to the Tampa Bay area and set up camp to fish in the region’s abundant waters. When soldiers from the United States Army, led by Colonel George Mercer Brooke, arrived in the area, they encountered one such rancho near the mouth of the Hillsborough and dubbed it “Spanishtown” and the adjacent creek “Spanishtown Creek.” The creek eventually became part of Hyde Park and was filled in by the city of Tampa in the 1910s.