Friday, August 1, 2014

Harry Cohen & Jeff Brandes participate in "Stand with Israel" rally in downtown Tampa

Posted By on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Part of the crowd at today's Stand Up for Israel rally in Lykes Gaslight Park.
  • Part of the crowd at today's Stand Up for Israel rally in Lykes Gaslight Park.

A cease-fire in the conflict in Gaza quickly unraveled this morning, with at least 44 Palestinians killed. Israel and Hamas accused each other of breaking the cease-fire. Israeli officials say it broke down after gunmen emerged from one or more Gaza tunnels and opened fire on an Israeli soldier, with at least one of the militants detonating an explosive vest.

"I think that the events in particular today that appear to have precipitated the end of the cease fire are so tragic and underscore how serious the tunnel situation is and what a real national security challenge Israel faces," Tampa City Councilman Harry Cohen told CL moments before he took to the stage in what was billed as a Tampa Bay Community Rally for Israel that took place this afternoon at Lykes Gaslight Park in downtown Tampa.

Tampa attorney Mark Wright was about thirty seconds into his prepared remarks about his recent trip to the Israeli city of Ashdod when his voice was drowned out by a loud siren, a pre-arranged sound cue used to exemplify the air sirens that go off to warn of incoming rocket attacks in southern Israel both before and especially during the current 25-day conflict with Hamas.

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Mitch Perry Report 8.1.14: Will House GOP fail to approve a bill that would speed up deportations?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Activists for immigration reform gathered on 7th Avenue in Ybor City on Thursday night
  • Activists for immigration reform gathered on 7th Avenue in Ybor City on Thursday night

The House of Representatives is scheduled to depart from Washington tonight, and perhaps they'll end up passing their own immigration bill dealing with the recent influx of tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants into Southwest Texas. Or not. Yesterday House Republicans (some with an assist from Ted Cruz) decided that none of their options were palatable. This is the part where we say this was not a bill on immigration reform, which the Democrats have been pleading the Republicans to take up for the past year. No, this was for a $659 million bill that would speed deportation of Central American children who have migrated to the States by changing a 2008 anti-trafficking law, prompting the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza to write this morning that "House Republicans simply cannot be led." 

This has prompted some Republican-on-Republican hate, with Pennsylvania Representative Charlie Dent saying, "There are some people around here who go through all sorts of contortions figuring out how to say no."

The House is in session for one last day today, so perhaps they'll realize that for the sake of their own reputations before they return back to their districts that they should do something, anything, to deal with the recent humanitarian crisis on our southern border.

Lord knows it's what their base cares about. A Tea Party Patriots poll published by Breitbart News yesterday shows that 34.6 percent of GOP voters say stopping the flow of undocumented immigration is their one priority. That's higher than stopping President Obama's "illegal overreach" with his executive powers (the reason the House is suing Obama), higher than repealing Obamacare, or the issues with the IRS or Benghazi.

Meanwhile in Ybor City last night, the group Reinces in Tampa held a half-hour rally to support the undocumented Central American children who have crossed the southern border in to the U.S.  Don't believe the concerns about violence down there? Among the people present at the rally was a woman named Lurvin Lizardo from Honduras, who told CL (through a translator) that her brother, a taxi cab driver named Javier, was shot and killed by a gang in 2010 because he wouldn't get out of the taxi cab he was driving, prompting the gang member to shoot him dead instantly......

In other news..

Charlie Crist's running mate, Miami-Dade business woman and Democratic party chair Annette Taddeo (hold the Goldstein), made her maiden solo trip to Tampa as a potential lieutenant governor nominee yesterday.

Les Miller has replaced community member Anne Madden on the HART board. Expect to see more electeds take over the transit agency in the future.

And learn more about Tim Schock, a 41-year-old private equity consultant who says there needs to be new fresh and Republican blood on the Hillsborough County Commission.

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hillsborough County taps Les Miller to replace Anne Madden on HART board

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Is this how the reconfiguration of the HART board begins?

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) announced today that County Commissioner Les Miller will replace Anne Madden on their board, after Madden announced her departure from the board earlier this month. The significance of this is that Madden was a representative from the community selected by the County Commission. Miller's entrance now brings to four the number of commissioners on the HART board.

Earlier this week Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill announced a comprehensive transportation plan after more than 14 months of meetings with the Transportation Economic Development (TED) policy leadership group. Funding for the proposals would need to come from a one-cent sales tax that would go on the 2016 ballot.

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Annette Taddeo takes in West Tampa in 1st solo campaign appearance in the Bay area

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Annette Taddeo (she's dropped the Goldstein for the campaign) in West Tampa today.
  • Annette Taddeo (she's dropped the Goldstein for the campaign) in West Tampa today.

The importance of the Latino vote in a Florida statewide election has never been more apparent than in this year's gubernatorial contest. Two weeks ago Charlie Crist chose Miami-Dade County Democratic chairwoman Annette Taddeo to be his running mate if he wins next month's Democratic Party primary against Nan Rich. That follows the decision by Rick Scott months earlier to name former Miami-Dade state lawmaker Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a Cuban-American, to become his Lieutenant Governor.

This afternoon Taddeo was actively working the Hispanic vote, coming to the Latin-rich West Tampa area to press the flesh with voters, many who appeared to only speak Spanish, in her first solo campaign appearance since being asked to join the Crist campaign.

At her first stop at La Pequeña Colombia on Armenia Avenue, Taddeo said she was "shocked" when she received a call initially from Crist campaign manager Omar Khan that she was being considered to be the choice for LG, but was ready to say yes when Crist himself called her just two days before he made it official earlier this month.

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The CL Intern Issue: USF ahead of the curve on sexual assault policies

With universities across the U.S. being investigated for violations, USF's programs seem prescient.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 11:14 AM

REAL PEOPLE: Members of USF’s Relationship Equality and Anti-Violence League, which hosts peer education and awareness events.
  • REAL PEOPLE: Members of USF’s Relationship Equality and Anti-Violence League, which hosts peer education and awareness events.

Colleges all across the country are taking heat for the way their administrations deal with sexual assault cases, as more and more students speak up about how such cases are handled.

In early May, the Department of Education released a list of 55 colleges that are now under investigation for potential violations of the federal anti-discrimination law under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The law prohibits gender discrimination at colleges that receive federal funding. Sexual harassment and violations are considered forms of sex discrimination, and Title IX requires colleges and universities that receive federal funds to investigate and resolve any sexual assault claims in a timely and impartial manner.

Florida State University is among the schools being investigated, following complaints over handling of the notorious Jameis Winston case. Others on the list include Vanderbilt University, Emerson College, and the University of Connecticut. Twelve more colleges were added in early July.

But where these and other schools are scrambling to update their sexual assault policies and procedures, school officials at the University of South Florida say they have been ahead of the curve for years. USF has had victim advocacy departments on campus since 1992, said Nanci Newton, director of USF’s Center for Victim Advocacy & Violence Prevention.

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Tim Schock says it's time for new Republicans on Hillsborough County Commission

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 10:50 AM

On Wednesday morning both Tampa Bay dailies' top story above the fold was on the plan unveiled by Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill for a one-cent sales tax referendum to pay for a new comprehensive transportation plan for roads, buses and light-rail.

But if it does go before voters in 2016, Tim Schock will be voting against it.

"I'm absolutely opposed to the one-cent sales tax for light-rail," Schock repeated to CL on Wednesday. The 41-year-old private equity consultant is running in the GOP primary for the countywide District 7 County Commission seat on August 26, where he's a heavy underdog to quasi-incumbent Al Higginbotham.

"Quasi" in the respect that, while Higginbotham has served on the board for some eight years already, technically he's not an incumbent since he's running for the first time in a different, countywide district seat that's been occupied by Mark Sharpe for the past decade. But Schock says it's definitely time for some new blood on the board. "I really think that we do constantly need a new perspective," he says, adding that if Higginbotham is able to win this year and is re-elected in 2018, that will have been 16 years serving on the BOCC, which he says is an "awfully long time."

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Mitch Perry Report 7.31.14 - Joe Scarborough turns on Israel

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 9:18 AM

Israel's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza is now in its 24th day, and it's getting harder to read and watch what's happening with reports of the IDF killing Palestinians while Hamas continues to shoot off their mostly ineffective rockets (the body count is now 1,370 Palestinians and 56 Israelis). Yesterday U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that “all available evidence” suggested that Israeli artillery had hit a United Nations school in Gaza full of civilians who thought they were in a safe zone.

While most people in the mainstream television media steadfastly refuse to say or do anything that would be deemed controversial,  MSNBC's Joe Scarborough apparently didn't get the memo this morning, saying that Israel was engaged in "indiscriminate" killing.

“This is asinine,” the former Florida Republican congressman said on Morning Joe. “This continued killing of women and children in a way that appears to be indiscriminate is asinine.”

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The CL Intern Issue: Just do it — millennials find satisfaction in working on their passions

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 1:32 AM

Reuben Pressman of Check I'm Here.
  • Reuben Pressman of Check I'm Here.

The media used to dismiss millennials as lazy, spoiled kids with the attention span of a goldfish. But given the success of people like Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, and Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook — both of whom made their marks well before they turned 30 — older generations are now seeing millennials as “The Entrepreneurial Generation.”

This wave of young entrepreneurial energy has hit Tampa Bay in a big way, as college students and grads start their own businesses and forge their own paths.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rubio joins bipartisan group to co-sponsor bill that aims to curb sexual assaults on campuses

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio joined up with a bipartisan group today to announce his support for a bill that aims to curb on-campus rape that will include an annual survey of students about their experience with sexual assaults.

The introduction of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act comes just weeks after a Senate subcommittee survey showed that 41 percent of 236 American colleges had conducted no investigations of alleged assaults in the last five years. Under the new rules, colleges would be required to assign on-campus “Confidential Advisors” with the task of being a trusted resource for victims of assault. 

A statement issued from Senator Rubio's office said that currently an American woman who attends college is more likely to be a victim of sexual assault than a woman who does not attend college. For whatever reasons, colleges and universities haven't been able to adequately address the problem. Rubio's office says that the the current lax oversight of the federal laws on the books "has the perverse effect of incentivizing colleges to encourage non-reporting, under-reporting, and non-compliance with the already weak standards under current federal law."  

Senator Rubio participated in the news conference introducing the bill today:

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Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Wyllie soon to be at a craft beer brewery near you

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 11:31 AM


The Libertarian Party of Florida is hoping to persuade the bloc of newly registered voters this year — thanks in part to Amendment 2 — to get behind their candidate for governor this year, Adrian Wyllie. Now the party is going after the craft-beer crowd.

Fresh off his best poll rating yet in last week's Quinnipiac gubernatorial survey, Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie has just announced his "30 craft breweries in 30 days" tour, which will see him make several stops in the Bay area, specifically in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Dunedin.

Wyllie says his campaign will focus on craft breweries to show support for a small-business industry that was nearly waylaid by a dubious bill in the Florida Senate that ultimately died before getting a final vote.

“As a small business owner, I know firsthand the obstacles government places in our path, and how they can crush an entire industry with the stroke of a pen,” said Wyllie in a statement. “If we truly want to restore the economy and create real jobs, we first have to get government out of our way... and that’s what I intend to do as governor.”

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