I was attending San Francisco State University in 1985 when shantytowns were created on the campus, a form of continuing anti-apartheid protests that rocked college campuses across the country opposing the U.S's support of the racist policies of the South African government. I'm not even sure why it took until that year for the resistance to break out in America, but it did in a big way, and it was an electrifying moment for our generation, many of whom were looking for a cause greater than themselves.
Full divestment was the term used back then, and slowly but surely, university systems began divesting their investment portfolios that included stock in companies that did business with the P. W. Botha-led government.
It would be five more years before Nelson Mandela was finally freed at the age of 71. Although I did not attend, I certainly remembered when he spoke at the Oakland Coliseum in the summer of 1990. The Stadium, home to A's and Raiders games and classic concerts, was packed to the gills with 58,000 people in attendance simply to hear this international icon talk about his new life as a free man. It was the last stop in an eight-city tour of some of America's biggest cities, and it was memorable.
Although he lost 27 years of his life stuck in a small prison cell, he lived 23 years more as a free man and for five years became the president of South Africa. His mark on this world will never be forgotten.
Now on to more frankly pedestrian matters.
Well, they may not even be sure how it happened, but the Tampa City Council ended up facing a hostile crowd in their chambers yesterday paranoid that all of the drinking establishments in this town were all of a sudden going to start getting massively conservative, with a proposed ordinance that could have seen a certain number of them banned from serving booze after midnight. But that prospect did not happen, and likely won't in the future.
Today all of the candidates competing to replace the late Bill Young in Congress will meet up together for the first time at a candidates forum in St. Pete. Yesterday one of those candidates, Republican David Jolly, put on his first commercial ad of the nascent campaign - with former mayor Rick Baker in a featured role.
And speaking of St. Pete - there are a committed groups of activists tired of talking about the poverty rates in Midtown, and are willing to do something about it. Read about the Agenda 2020 plan in this week's CL.
But that won't be happening. Or probably not. The freshman U.S. Senator from Massachusetts announced yesterday that she has no intention for running for higher office, at least not until she finishes up her first term, which isn't for five more years.
But as every article reporting on this development adds, a guy by the name of Barack Obama said the same thing early into his one and only term as Senator.
The news that Bill Hyers has left Charlie Crist's campaign has sent ...well, not exactly shockwaves through Florida's political community, but at least some minor reverberations.
Hyers was branded one of the hot Democratic consultants in the country after his success in ushering in Bill DeBlasio's overwhelming victory over Joe Lhota in New York City's mayoral election last month. He told New York Magazine yesterday that he never really had fully engaged in his role with Crist however, saying, "I never started, and ended up just deciding to stay in NYC. Great town."
Of course it is, Bill. But you knew that before you decided to work for Charlie. No?
Ever since the city of Tampa went with their cool, new solar-powered parking meters in the downtown business district a few years ago, I've been slightly befuddled about the actual rules of the road, so to speak.
For instance, on more than one occasion I've been popped for parking without feeding a meter on a Saturday, even a Saturday night. Okay, now I understand the law, and am now hip to the fact that I need to do it - on a certain side of Kennedy Boulevard. But why couldn't it be more explicitly stated in the streets of downtown? It's an issue I've discussed with some friends, and now poor Rolfe Arnhym is feeling the pain as well.
The two previous greatest endings that immediately come to this reporter's mind in college football happened within each other in the early 1980's - the classic wild ending of the Cal-Stanford game that ended John Elway's amateur career in 1982, and Doug Flutie's magical Hail Mary pass to Gerald Phelan in Boston College's last-second victory over Miami in 1984 (that game also took place during Thanksgiving weekend).
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah to all of our readers out there today.
While those fortunate enough this weekend will gather with friends and family to eat, shop, watch lots of pro and college football, see movies and do other fun things together, there's another group of folks who are going to be under a lot of anxiety by this weekend.
They're called congressional Democrats, wondering how well the Obamacare website, healthcare.gov, will be working.
That's because after the disastrous rollout of the site became apparent last month, President Obama, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and other White House officials vowed that the site would be completely working by the end of November.
That would be this weekend.
That's because the job itself isn't partisan, though in Florida one has to run for the office as either a Democrat orRepublican (or non-party affiliated). I mention that because the two leading voices of opposition to a new directive being issued out by Secretary of State Ken Detzner are Republicans SOE's — Pasco's Brian Corley and Pinellas's Deborah Clark.
Internationally there are cries that this shows the U.S. is disengaging from the Middle East. Based on Americans weariness with Iran and Afghanistan, some might argue how terrible that would be. But just as importantly, there is dissent in Washington not just with Congressional Republicans about the deal. New York Senator Chuck Schumer said yesterday that the deal actually makes it much more likely that Congress will pass additional sanctions against Iran after they convene in Washington after the Thanksgiving break.
But will Florida voters actually get the opportunity to vote on the measure a year from now? The concern isn't so much Attorney General Pam Bondi's belief that the measure is unconstitutional — the Florida Supreme Court will soon rule on that and it would be shocking if they agreed with Ms. Bondi. No, the concern has to be will John Morgan and company get the 683,149 valid signatures submitted to the state's Division of Elections in early February?
A new Quinnipiac Poll was issued this morning, showing Rick Scott closing in on Charlie Crist in the race for governor in Florida in 2014. Crist leads Scott 47-40, which is the closest the two men have been in the Q survey. It was a 10-point spread back in June, and a dramatic 16-point spread back in March.
The quickest analysis to make about the closing gap is that Rick Scott has been seriously working it over the past few months (any which way we he can), and it's no longer a fantasy that Charlie Crist would oppose him. Now he's a very real candidate, with all of his flaws and foibles (and they are considerable). But let's not get carried away here. While Scott has been making the rounds all over the state, until a few weeks ago he did not have a serious challenger. Again, all due respect to Nan Rich, but the Q survey shows Rich losing to Scott by eight points, and getting skunked by Crist 60-12 percent. We'll have more on this survey in an upcoming post.
Well, Marco Rubio gave what his aides were describing as a "major" speech to the conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute yesterday. Rubio said that Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama should not make any deal that allows Iran to continue enriching uranium, a stance that aligns him with other hardliners like Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu.
It appears that all of Hillsborough County's power players — the County Commission and the constitutionally elected officers — want to get rid of the county's Civil Service Board, or at least significantly reduce their power. However the man who runs the board says that would be a mistake.
And earlier this week the city of Tampa held a big party celebrating its 126th birthday. A bit unusual to celebrate this particular anniversary perhaps, but it's always somewhat significant when all of Tampa's living former mayors congregate. Except not all of them were there.