We couldn't help but notice that four of the six letters to the editor published in the Tampa Tribune today featured Pinellas County residents, all expressing their excitement about a daily rival to the Tampa Bay Times in their area. All four of those letters indicated that they were happy to have a more conservative alternative than the "liberal rag" that is the Tampa Bay Times, according to one such letter writer named Maryellen Crowder from Palm Harbor.
One of the four citizens expressing gratitude for a Times alternative was Pinellas County Commissioner Norm Roche, who has had his issues with the paper for a while now. Roche wrote today:
"This (the start of the St. Petersburg Tribune) is tremendous news for Pinellas County. I look forward to some unbiased and objective ‘journalism’ with respect to the many challenges we face here in Pinellas County.
I believe strongly that our local news media organizations have an equal-to or even greater responsibility that we who seek the honor of serving our local governments and communities.
Thank you again for expanding our news coverage opinions here in Pinellas, and I look forward to my subscription."
Roche was one of the "Fluoride Four," as the Times editorial page dubbed them, the four commissioners who voted in support of removing fluoride from the county's water supply in 2011. Of those four commissioners, two (Nancy Bostock & Neil Brickfield) were ousted in last November's elections, while the third, John Morroni, has disavowed his vote, and reversed himself on the controversial issue in late November of 2012.
Roche, however, has remained adamant that he did the right thing, announcing in November that the entire issue had been whipped up by "an editorially manufactured public hysteria."
Roche was also outed by former Times reporter David DeCamp in the fall of 2011 as making incendiary comments under a pseudonym on the Times website about a variety of topics, including some of his colleagues and other elected officials.
He also used his anonymity to criticize the Times.
Another letter to the editor in today's Tribune, written by a Dan Calabria from Pasadena, said he looked forward to "honest and balanced reporting without the dominant far left agenda that we have been subjected to for too long."