When it comes to the question of whether to equip cops with body cameras as a way to prevent police interactions from becoming violent, writes Elizabeth Behrman in The Tampa Tribune, there's a range of opinion among local law enforcement.
While Tampa and Sarasota as well as Pasco counties are planning to incorporate them (Temple Terrace already does), Pinellas and Hillsborough sheriffs have said they're reluctant because of added costs and possible legal implications, among other things.
One potential hazard, noted Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, is the fallout that could occur if an officer shuts off his or her camera before a heated interaction, and forgets to turn it back on; the officer could be accused of intentionally leaving the device off.
And a single, brilliant star rose in the east, more vibrant than the rest, as if like a beacon.
"What's that?" asked Gary, as the star's immaculate light struck him with the intensity of a thousand white-hot suns.
"Probably viral marketing," said Rodney, and went back to learning to play "Smoke On The Water" on his hammered dulcimer.
Gawker published a partial list of the seriously bonkers things people tried to carry/conceal on flights this year, only to have them confiscated by the TSA. In addition to the cavalcade of knives (my favorite was hidden in an enchilada), drugs and a wholly inordinate number of sword canes were a decommissioned warhead, a spear gun, a cannon barrel and something called a "WWII blasting machine." Now think about all those tests in which TSA security missed like half the shit the testers brought through, and enjoy your Christmastime travels!
UNLUCKY 13: Candidates Sink, Overby and Jolly in a debate during the endless CD-13 race.
Not all news stories, particularly the complicated ones, can be wrapped up in a couple of sound bites. But some stories, either because of lengthy legal processes, political posturing or private obsessions, drag on and on.
Here are the worst offenders — news stories in 2014 that stuck around well beyond their expiration date.
1. Will Jeb/Won’t Jeb?
Just as Christmas comes earlier every year, speculation on prospective presidential candidates begins earlier each election cycle.
“Election seasons overlap,” says USF Political Science Professor Susan MacManus. “You can’t even finish one before you talk about the next one.”
In this week's CL, Publisher James Howard states his intention to marry his longtime partner on Jan. 6 — supposedly the first day same-sex couples can be wed in Florida.
But not so fast. When he called the Hillsborough County Clerk of Court's office today to find out how to obtain a marriage license, he was told that the office would not be issuing licenses to same-sex couples.
The confusion stems from a memo issued by Greenberg Traurig, the Miami-based law firm that represents county clerks. It's true that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle in favor of same-sex marriage in FL, but the memo informed clerks that they could be breaking state law if they married gay couples, since (in the law firm's view) the Hinkle ruling applies only in Washington County, where the lawsuit was filed.
It's possible that Judge Hinkle will issue a clarification of his ruling, which could settle the confusion. Meanwhile, Equality Florida CEO Nadine Smith is warning clerks who refuse to issue licenses that they will be "hit with costly legal challenges" and is urging supporters to call their county clerks to let them know "denying marriage is unconstitutional."
It happens every three months or so. Someone on your Facebook or Twitter feed shares a link to a list attempting to define you and your city. Some of the lists are pretty accurate, others are way off, and most of them we’ve come across in the past year or so (it’s impossible to resist clicking) contain at least one blatant mischaracterization of Tampa or St. Pete.
EYEFUL TOWER: A rendering of the “Alma” proposal from Alfonso Architects.
Imagination is a wonderful thing, as is democracy. However, the idea that crowd-sourcing design makes for excellence is fatally flawed — witness the camel (a horse created by committee).
St. Pete’s mayor and City Council are soliciting public input from every citizen over 18 years old on the eight design finalists for the new St. Pete Pier. Although the process was developed by a diverse group of stakeholders to be “fair, comprehensive and transparent,” it is doomed to disappoint. Seeking consensus on design leads inevitably to the blandest, least controversial option.
Shatterton slouched into a chair on the other side of the desk, and asked the recorder to tell him about Monday. "I'll tell you about Monday, on one condition," said the recorder, through the smoke. "You gotta promise to think about it. You gotta promise to learn."
Pinellas Clerk of Court Ken Burke said that Bay area clerks will NOT be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples come January 6, when a judge's stay on the ruling that called Florida's law against gay marriage unconstitutional expires. According to the local clerks' legal counsel, the expiration of the stay only affects rural Washington County (where a couple fighting the law lives), and Bay area clerks could be prosecuted for issuing the licenses before a "binding order is issued by a court of proper jurisdiction." In related news, Washington County, Florida IS NOT READY FOR THIS PARTY.
A holiday diorama created by the Satanic Temple has been on display in the state Capitol building's rotunda for several hours now, and, probably to the surprise of the end-days set, the sky has yet to open up with fiery rain or a locust swarm.
Created by two members of the group who live in Tallahassee, the display is one of several to go up at the site that represent a religious or philosophical point of view. There's also a menorah, a Festivus pole made of empty Pabst Blue Ribbon cans, and a tribute to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Last week a Christian Nativity was on display. That was taken down Monday due to seven-day limits imposed to make time for all of the displays, and this week a poster depicting the Nativity scene went up.
"There are multiple holidays for multiple religions, and of multiple origins, celebrated at this time of year," said Lucien Greaves, the Satanic Temple's co-founder, in an email. "No one viewpoint holds a monopoly on the celebratory spirit of the season, and we hope that people can put their differences aside and enjoy this break from normal activities in whatever way they see fit."
If it hadn't been for the Nativity scene, the other groups might not have thought to follow suit, said John Porgal, one of the Tallahassee residents who created the diorama.
The final weekend before the date on which we celebrate the birth of the King of Peace was absolutely great for one moment Friday evening; then it all went, well, back to normal, unfortunately.
FRIDAY, DEC. 19
The Supreme Courtrejected Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's motion to delay the start of gay marriages in the state. Hopefully this means our AG will drop the issue and return to flying around the country on the legal firms' dime, screwing with the lives of diverse groups of people instead of just the one.