CL looks forward to hearing from GOP Congressman Bill Young at a Tiger Bay Club event next Friday, where he'll speak a month after he was re-elected to a 22nd term representing Pinellas County.
Politico reports that Washington Democrats have identified Young - who turns 82 next month - one of the top four most vulnerable Republicans they're targeting in the 2014 congressional elections.
To which we say - we've heard that a few times before.
It certainly makes sense for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to circle Florida's 13th Congressional District as one that they might be able to swing, considering that Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by more than 5.5 percentage points in Pinellas on November 6. But Young beat out his Democratic challenger Jessica Ehrlich by 16 percentage points, 58-42 on that same ballot. That's a shellacking anyway you look at it, though Democrats have been down so long that looks up to them, as that was the second best result anyone from their party has performed against the Indian Shores Republican since he began running in 1970, and only the second time he's been held below 60 percent of the total vote.
How long Young will want to keep serving in Congress is the question. And it's not unfair to say that when he does leave, the Democrats will have a strong chance of capturing the seat, based on the demographics of the district. But as far too many pundits have learned over the years, that time may still be a long time from now.
In other news, isn't it a bit ridiculous to be focusing on the 2014 elections right now? Not really. Hillsborough County School board member April Griffin told us earlier this week that because the perception is nobody wants to talk politics she'll refrain until talking about her next election bid - until January - when she'll officially announce she's running for county commission for the district 7 seat that will be vacated by Mark Sharpe.
Apparently Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi didn't get the memo that now that the election is over, "Obamacare" isn't going away. Though she continues to attack the law, Florida health care advocates say too much inattention to it by state leaders means we won't be ready to implement the exchanges when they become the law of the land in 2014.
And in the wake of another death this week in the Tampa Bay area due to a driver texting at the time, it's no better time to look at not only potential legislation dealing with this issue here in Florida, but how we can seriously try to address the issues of distracted driving that plague most of us. Check out our cover story on this issue in this week's CL.
Last night, during a banquet at the Nielsen headquarters in Oldsmar, the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists (TBABJ) gave out its annual Griot Drum awards in recognition of outstanding media coverage of people of color, particularly African-Americans.
Creative Loafing writers took home two awards in the under-100,000-circulation print division. Mitch Perry won 1st place in features for his April, 2011 profile of Goliath Davis, the controversial former St. Petersburg deputy mayor. Arielle Stevenson won 1st place in community/public affairs for her June, 2011 story about St. Pete's neglected African-American landmarks.
Other winners included Dalia Colon of healthystate.org and WUSF; Demorris Lee of the Florida Courier and the Tampa Bay Times; Elizabeth Dougherty of Food Nation Radio Network; Keisha Pickett of blackinthebay.com and Power Broker Magazine; Fred Bellet of the Tampa Tribune; and Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times.
The awards presentation, which was emceed by the Times' Ernest Hooper, followed an engrossing panel discussion led by Deggans featuring three local African-American news anchors: Channel 10's Reginald Roundtree; Bay News 9's Erica Riggins; and WFLA's Josh Thomas.
In a couple of weeks, he'll be going into what he considers a prime-time beat — covering crime for the Baltimore Sun. His last day at the Times is this Friday.
For the 35-year-old Colorado native, it's always been a dream to live near Washington D.C. And he couldn't be happier about his new assignment.
"I have quite a few friends up there, but I was wary of living in Baltimore having watched every episode of the ‘Wire’ (ironically I’m taking the same beat once held by David Simon)," George emailed Cl late last week. "But friends who have passed through raved about the city, and once I interviewed at the Sun I realized just how important the position was to the paper and to the community. One of my friends joked that taking the Baltimore cops beat is like becoming the White House correspondent for the Washington Post or a Hollywood reporter for the LA Times."
I still have a MySpace profile. (Or, oh, sorry, according to the last “redesign,” I have a My[_______] profile, or whatever.)
Officially, I sign in once every six months or so, looking for a snippet of music by some band or other that for whatever reason refuses to post its artistry somewhere more contemporary. (These acts are always either death metal bands or gospel/bluegrass/folk performers that did a featured spot at the Grand Ole Opry in, like, ’87.)
Unofficially, I still have a MySpace profile because my MySpace profile is tied to an email address that has been defunct for about six years now. And I can’t delete my MySpace profile without accessing the email address that no longer exists to open the email they can’t send there and click the nonexistent link allowing MySpace to delete my profile.
Which is exactly the sort of shortsighted mismanagement and lack of attention to detail that led to the pioneering social network’s demise. Well, that and, you know, the fickle passing of more than a couple of years, which might as well be an epoch in Internet Time.
They may not legislate like it, but let's face it: Most Republicans dig sex as much as the next delegate. Witness the vast influx of strippers, escorts and other sex workers to Tampa for the RNC. They're not all here just to service the visiting news media.
Even the pro-GOP Christian Broadcasting Network worries about the souls of the RNC delegates in the face of the temptation of N. Dale Mabry, Adamo Drive and Drew Park and their concentrations of stip joints. A CBN broadcast last night tied in the issue of human sex trafficking to the RNC and Tampa's world-famous gentlemen's clubs, pointing out that some of the establishment even added special tented entrances so that visiting conservative patrons would not be visible to the general public, paparazzi or others surveilling them:
There's a dark side to nearly any convention, and it appears the Republican National Convention is no exception.
Here's the video:
One of the best pieces explaining Florida, especially its boom past and bust present, was on APM's Marketplace show tonight, tied to both the show's election coverage and an ongoing series about the U.S. economy's challenges.
Reporter David Gura is doing a two-part series on the I-4 corridor and found the little-known Polk County town of Dundee, where the development boom of the '90s and early 2000s saw active orange groves sold for development that, for the most part, never was built after the housing market tanked in 2007-08.
As someone who has groused (yes, groused) for years about Florida's addiction to the cheap thrills of boom-and-bust homebuilding, I was especially bemused to hear the developer in the piece argue that he is upset that government didn't do more to help out the land speculators.
Take a listen. These are the kinds of issues that Florida Republicans should be talking about instead of chanting for a repeal of Obamacare.
Some media-watching observations from the Tuesday AM shift:
1. Love the irony on lots of different levels (liberal vs. conservative, using the formerly "non-hometown paper" as the example) of the Fox News morning show holding up a copy of the Tampa Bay Times/Politico wraparound front page. That and the fact that neither the newspaper nor the show host went up in flames.
2. Tampa took a slogging from The New Yorker in a piece published Monday. Reporter George Packer writes:
It’s not a great downtown in the best of times, combining the charm of urban renewal—highway overpasses crisscross the area where the convention is being held—and all the convenience of the largest metropolitan area not to have commuter rail. It’s also one of the two most lethal cities in the country for pedestrians and bicyclists. (The other is Orlando.) In other words, it’s all cars. Half of downtown Tampa is parking lots, and anyone with enough money to own a car drives to work (there aren’t many other reasons to go downtown). Usually you see a handful of pedestrians on the sidewalks, but this morning, downtown Tampa was weirdly deserted. Between the convention and the hurricane, which hardly materialized, the locals had all got the message to stay away. For that reason, it was even easier than usual to park.
Maybe my mood, and, by extension, the account that I’m giving, were colored by the very first conversation I had on what was supposed to have been the first day of the 2012 Republican National Convention. As I got out of my rental, the door tapped the side of the car that had just pulled in beside mine and left only a few inches to spare. My discussion with its owner was testy but commonplace until he suddenly threatened to punch me in the face. I looked at his jacket and noticed that he was employed by a private security company. That set the tone for the rest of the morning.
With a possibly devastating storm bearing down on New Orleans, many are fearing that the storm will pull coverage away from the RNC in Tampa. How are the two biggest local news organizations playing it online this afternoon?
TBO.com (News Channel 8 and Tampa Tribune):
Tampabay.com (Tampa Bay Times):
Tampa is governed not by a municipal government but by a monarchy. King Joe Redner has ruled beneficently. "An autodidact who dropped out of high school and became wealthy from hard work, intelligence, and imagination—in other words, Mitt Romney’s kind of guy—Redner can quote at length from Supreme Court majority opinions affecting his business interests, and is seldom reluctant to offer a disquisition on the nuances of the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence." (The Daily Beast)
Tampa, apparently, does not have a progressive, openly gay police chief in Jane Castor. (A Google news search for the terms "tampa police chief openly gay castor" comes up empty)
Anarchists are targeting our bridges.