Representatives from the Sierra Club, Gulf Restoration Network, Greenpeace, and the Surfrider Foundation were present, passing out literature and ensuring the climatic hand holding went off without a hitch.
While the fallout over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Gulf Coast oil drilling in general was still a major issue, the event was also in solidarity with Hands Across the Land, a spinoff group which is focused on opposed to the practice of fracking.
“Budget cuts are traditionally presented from a coldly fiscal point of view, with little if any attention paid to the burden they actually create for people who depend on the affected services,” said Ward Cox, administrator of For the Family, of the meeting. “The town hall meetings are intended to change that by personalizing the impact in a way that helps people realize that "There but for the Grace of God go I." The fact that our ongoing economic slump puts more people in need of services must also be taken into account. As people understand these dual considerations, it is our hope that a more balanced approach will be taken in determining future budget cuts, though the process of reaching policymakers is made more difficult by the lack of sufficient lobbying resources.”
One of Mayor Buckhorn’s main focuses so far into his tenure has been the attraction of Tampa residents to spend time downtown and encouraging bike travel throughout the area has been a part of that effort.
At his State of the City address, Buckhorn harped on how improving Tampa’s infrastructure will bring in the coveted young professionals that are moving to growing cities like Charlotte and Austin, and becoming a cyclist friendly city is a key step in the right direction.
The mayor was part of the Southeast Regional Bike Safety Summit and rally Thursday morning in order to take an in-depth look at improving the cycling climate of the city. Key players in Tampa’s bicycle/transportation world were featured as part of a panel on cyclist safety and improving Tampa’s infrastructure.
The problem we face is that Hillsborough county is about to propose a sales tax increase as the nucleus to solving the transportation problem.
Unfortunately the tax increase proposal is approaching the problem in a bass-ackwards manner.
The first step in resolving the transportation problem is realizing what, and who, caused it. Once we learn how these deficits were created we can attack the causes, instead of focusing on getting the money without addressing what we're doing wrong.
It's surprising that not many people are asking how we ended up with an exponentially exploding transportation deficit. Elected officials don't talk about it. Some refuse to talk about it. They treat it as though the deficit was an act-of-God. They say, "well folks, the deficit is balooning and we don't have money to fix it so the only thing we can think of is to increase your sales tax". But in fact, God didn't create this deficit, they did. And they're going to continue doing it if we allow it.
The truth is that the citizens of Hillsborough have been victims of a scam. The scam has been perpetrated for decades. The perpetrators are the county commission, both past and present. Those in charge have mismanaged our future by approving growth without requiring developers to fully pay for the impacts. The beneficiaries are the land developers, as well as, those that have a financial interest in land development.
In a conference call on Thursday morning hosted by Fix The Debt's Florida chapter, Donna Shalala — former Health and Human Services secretary under President Clinton, and currently the President of the University of Miami — agreed that tort reform is needed to help curve rising health care costs.
Shalala co-hosted the conference call with her Fix the Debt Republican colleague Justin Sayfie, former Jeb Bush speechwriter and publisher of the Sayfie Review. Both called on Congress and the president to decide today on a long-term fiscal plan going forward, especially with sequestration — draconian budget cuts to social programs and defense — coming up in March.
Shalala said the sequester "will be a disaster for Florida and the nation," since it could potentially cut programs that aid the disabled, as well as the elderly and public institutions. But she added that in the end, some programs will have to be eliminated.
A reporter asked Shalala whether the cuts that Fix The Debt are calling for are entitlement programs or due to the fact that health care costs are escalating. Shalala said it was a combination of both, and talked about how important it is for doctors and hospitals to move away from the current fee-for-service system and toward an integrated system where everybody is accountable for slowing down the costs.
President Obama is just a wolf in sheep’s clothing to Chairman Omali Yeshitela of the African People's Party, or as he describes him “White power in black face.”
Yeshitela, along with other members of the African Socialist Party, also known as the Uhuru Movement, discussed their stances on President Obama’s second term as a part of their “Black Resistance, White Solidarity” conference being held at the Party’s longtime headquarters, the Uhuru House in St. Petersburg on Monday night. The Party has a long history of activism ranging internationally to locally, with Yeshitela starting the movement following the Civil Rights movement.
Obama’s quick ascension to power and connection to corporate and political interests is highly suspicious to Yeshitela, who says it seems strange that the first black president is named Barack Hussein Obama as opposed to a common African-American name. He also feels the problem isn’t so much racism as it is Western style capitalism, that one factor in Obama’s rise and subsequent popularity is that he represents that “everybody can make it” idea purported mainly by the Democratic Party.
While Obama had solid connections in the Democratic Party, especially the Chicago machine, Omali is critical of his lack of connections to any key players in the black community. Obama instilled a sense of pride in most African-Americans simply because of his race, all while being un-beholden to black interests Yeshiteli says.
“The thing that he had going for him was that he did not have any connections to the African community, no base in the African community to be accountable to. He didn’t have to make any promises to Africans; all he had to do was be black and show up. Then this uninformed, underdeveloped nationalism took over from there. We were so proud of him because he looked just like us.”
With the approaching “fiscal cliff” less than a month away, there’s been a large amount of controversy over tax cuts and the perceived economic fallout for many Americans. Local constituents and representatives of Bay area liberal groups and unions gathered Monday in the office of Representative Bill Young in Seminole to argue against increased tax cuts for the top two percent, leading to the Congressman getting into a confrontation with a protester — more on that later.
The protestors set up inside the floor of the office, passing around pizza and singing the usual staples as well as “fiscal cliff carols,” Christmas songs modified to reference the crisis in Washington. In keeping with the season, one man was dressed in a full Santa Claus outfit, and after a rousing speech on elves’ rights in the North Pole attempted to have one of the staff members pass on a gift-wrapped piece of coal to the 21-term Representative.
Kofi Hunt, a community organizer with Awake Pinellas, hopes that the event Monday raises awareness about the hard times facing middle class Americans and the economic impact these cuts would have.
“We think the importance is that the middle class right now is being squeezed, they don’t have the money to pay their basic bills. For the wealthy they've done better than they've ever done, there’s record numbers in terms of profits. They don’t need tax cuts like the middle class does.”
With less than 24 hours before polls open, Mark Danish feels that he can win.
Danish is running for the State House from District 63 and though his campaign is lacking the funds of his opponent, Republican incumbent Shawn Harrison, he feels that the tried and true method of going door to door and personal phone calls will help him win.
District 63 was recently redrawn and consists mainly of Lutz, parts of the USF area, Town N’ Country, Seminole Heights and Ybor, and leans more Democratic.
From a podium in the middle of the football field, Romney rallied his supporters with his usual rhetoric of encouraging job growth and questioning the policies of the current administration.
The former Massachusetts governor said the Obama campaign is getting "smaller and smaller" as election day nears.
"They've been diminished by the greatness of the times. The president is talking about characters from Sesame Street, playing silly word games, attacking me day in and day out, even though he knows the attacks are not true. This is a president that is not standing up to the scale of the times."
Romney stuck to his usual speaking points, including his "five point plan" that he thinks is necessary for the United States to prosper again economically. One interesting aspect of the candidate's speech was his encouraging bi-partisanship, focusing less on bashing Democrats and more on what he believes is a failure by the Obama administration to work across party lines.
Romney cited his tenure as governor of the liberal Massachusetts as how he can accomplish progress with Democrats.
"This is a big job ... and it can't just be done by one person, or even one party. For us to get America back on track, it's going to take us reaching across the aisle. The President said he was going to do that, he has not. His is the most partisan presidency I can remember in modern times."
Romney joked that he's had experience in a state that has a "few" Democrats and touted his state budget and lowering of taxes during his term.
"These are the kinds of things you can do by reaching across the aisle and not worrying about who gets the credit."