It started out sounding like a praise-a-thon. But along with praise came expressions of contempt and arrogance from some commissioners in dealing with the fact that many citizens expressed concerns about putting a name on ELAPP. The concerns had nothing to do with Jan Platt. She is respected by everyone. It was more about avoiding what could end up being political. Remember when the Moral Courage Award was renamed after Ralph Hughes?. What a disaster that was. The bottom line is that when you start naming everything after politicians you will eventually end up with political backlash.
The renaming took place at the regular Hillsborough County Commission meeting on Wednesday October 16, 2013. During the renaming discussion, Commissioner Miller expressed contempt for those that felt ELAPP shouldn't be renamed. He revealed that when he gets emails from citizens that disagree with what he wants to do, he solves it by getting rid of them (the emails, not the constituents). Hmmm...I guess that's one way to justify your actions. If you delete all opposing emails then you have nothing left in your inbox but letters from citizens that agree with you That way I guess you'll always be right.
That being the case, Commissioner Miller will now be called affectionately, Commissioner Delete.
Here's what Commissioner Delete said...
One particular resident wrote a critical letter to Chairman Ken Hagan and tells him that the community was cheated out of a fair process.
How does Commissioner Hagan respond? In a letter dated August 26, 2013, Commissioner Hagan tells this citizen, "Since there is nothing the County can do to stop this development, and you feel the County acted improperly with Redstone's approval, I strongly encourage you to consider legal action."
Hmmmm. We have a sitting commissioner...no wait, not only a sitting Commissioner, but the Chairman of the BOCC telling a concerned citizen to sue what we've elected him to defend. There appears to be a strong whiff of arrogance, spritzed lightly with a hint of sarcasm in the air...do you smell it?
Well, Commissioner Hagan, your wish is going to be granted.
"There was no abortion, nothing, we didn't have any rights," Leza said Saturday in front of Jannus Live in St. Petersburg. "That woman was Gloria Steinem."
On Saturday, feminist, journalist and writer Gloria Steinem spoke against Amendment 6 — read more about the amendment here — at the I Am Choice rally at Jannus Live. More than 15 people spoke at the rally, which was attended by 400 plus people. The crowd was primarily composed of young women, with older women and men of all ages also in attendance.
"We certainly think women's issues are family issues because women primarily run their households," said Barbara Zdravecky, president of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.
Margaret Iuculano is running against incumbent Kevin Beckner for the Countywide Commission/District 6 seat. She is selling herself as a successful business person with the skills and business acumen necessary to manage the county’s multi-billion dollar budget.
Recent articles have shed a sobering light on her proficiency as a business manager. She’s had commercial property foreclosures, tax warrants for unpaid taxes, as well as, bankruptcies.
But new information that’s come to light may end up showing that she’s not the one that made all those bad business decisions. It was her crystal ball that screwed up.
A brief study of Margaret reveals that she consults with a “corporate psychic” when she makes those tough business decisions.
The politicians sold the convention to us saying it would provide an economic boost. It was historic and an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. All along they told us that county residents would not suffer during the convention, especially outside of downtown Tampa and certainly not in more distant parts of Hillsborough County. As long as we didn’t venture into downtown, life would go on as normal.
As we approach the start of this yet-to-be-determined economic windfall, officials have now changed their tune. We’re being told that some services will be suspended until after the convention. Sheriff David Gee told WFLA TV Channel 8 on yesterday’s 6 o’clock news that, “We’re stretched. There’s no doubt, we’re stretched”. That’s a far cry from what officials were saying less than a month ago.
Leading up to this convention, officials felt the need to promote the idea that there would be little impact outside of the convention area. They spent a lot of time prior to this week conducting a public relations blitz.
Radical Canadian femme rocker Peaches wrote Free Pussy Riot, in solidarity with the band. The Knife, Lykke Li, Miike Snow and others joined Peaches in the video.
Finally, someone almost got a chance to use the “Taj Mahal” Regent in Brandon. That someone happens to be a five foot alligator. He was luckier than most Hillsborough citizens. He almost got inside the Regent. Unfortunately for him he was discovered before he made it through the doorway and was captured and taken away. If he was looking to rent the ballroom for a gator event he should have known, looking inside is by appointment only, and it’s frightfully expensive.
He may have gotten tired of waiting, like the rest of us, to enjoy the Regent as a community center. His gator relatives over in Carrollwood probably bragged about their community center, the Carrollwood Cultural Center, which offers concerts, theatre shows, children’s programs, art shows and a whole host of community activities at little or no cost to residents.
When you compare what local residents got for the $7M spent to build the Regent vs. what the Carrollwood Community Center offers, it makes you want to snap at Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham, who was instrumental in obtaining much of the county funding while he sat on both boards (the Board of County Commissioners and the Regent’s board), but has since done nothing to change it from a private catering palace to a real community center.
Here's a comparison of scheduled events at the Regent vs. the Carrollwood Center for the month of June 2012:
The charges stemmed from a 2006 gift of $500,000 given by businessman and political powerbroker Ralph Hughes to Norman’s wife, Mearline. The Ethics Commission had charged him with receiving a gift and not reporting it, as required by law.
Once a Probable Cause finding is reached by the commission, the defendant must either admit guilt by signing a Consent Order, or agree to a full blown trial before an administrative law judge.
In spite of the claims made by Norman’s attorney, Mark Levine, to fight the commission finding even if it meant undergoing a full blown trial, he admitted his guilt in a signed statement on February 9, 2012.
The Ethics Commission must approve his signed admission of guilt. A meeting has been scheduled for March 30, 2012 to bring the case to closure.
George Niemann is a Daily Loaf contributor, R-LAND, UCAN and FSP activist.
The views expressed are my own and not necessarily the same as the organizations to which I belong.
Former Hillsborough County Administrator Pat Bean and former County Attorney Renee Lee have refused to agree to the findings of probable cause by the Florida’s Ethics Commission on September 9, 2011. As a result, a trial date has been set here in Tampa.