The unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent in July. That news will dominate political coverage over the weekend, obscuring whatever collateral damage Mitt Romney did to himself at the Olympics last week....Joe Redner's news that he's booting Occupy Tampa out of Voice of Freedom Park in West Tampa made headlines yesterday, making us regret not writing about it two weeks ago when Redner told CL the same thing. We had spoken to him about the recent issues arising from some in the West Tampa community who don't approve of the (very modest) encampment.
Speaking of protests, the St. Petersburg City Council yesterday engaged in a spirited discussion with their city attorney and a member of the St. Pete Police Department regarding the Event Zone rules and regulations that will encompass part of downtown St. Pete on August 26, the day that the Republicans take over Tropicana Field for what they're calling the "world's largest cocktail party" (that still remains the Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville, of course). Part of the problem here is that while Tampa had two years to prepare for the four days when the Secret Service will take over parts of the city for the convention, St. Pete officially learned just last month that August 26 is now a National Special Security Event, which means essentially if you do your grocery shopping at the downtown Publix on Sundays, you might want to move that up to Saturday later this month, and avoid having the police inspect your grocery bags..
The mainstream media craves reporting anything on the stadium front for the Tampa Bay Rays, so yesterday there was finally some news in this never ending saga, as the Hillsborough County Commission voted to send a letter inviting Rays owner Stu Sternberg to meet with them about future stadium plans.
Of course you might remember that Rays management before the season said they didn't want to talk stadiums in 2012 - they just wanted to concentrate on raising their home attendance figures. Well, going into this weekend's series with the Baltimore Orioles at the Trop, the Rays are only averaging 164 more fans per game more than the Cleveland Indians, otherwise they would have the worst attendance in all of Major League Baseball this season.
Well the dream is over in St.Petersburg for the thousands of people who don't want the city to raze the Pier and replace it with the design concept known as the Lens. Feeling the pressure from the public but even more so by elite opinion, the Council ended the idea of having a referendum on this fall's ballot that would allow the public to decide how the city should go regarding the iconic structure.
Hardly known as a touchy, feely group, the Hillsborough County Commission voted yesterday to approve creating a committee on diversity in the country, which will include a member of the gay community. That's somewhat significant considering the county remains the biggest in the state that doesn't include the LGBT community in its human rights ordinance.
And we have a look at some of the more interesting races in Pinellas and Hillsborough County in the August 14 primary in this week's CL.