Despite the sweltering heat, more than 100 people showed up today to celebrate the dedication of the Adamo Drive Mural, American Journey, joining Mayor Bob Buckhorn and mural artist Michael Parker in a dedication ceremony to celebrate its official unobstructed view, allowing all a glimpse of Ybor City’s rich history.
But this afternoon, with more scrutiny on the banking superstar than ever (and rumors that he might bolt if the shareholder vote were successful this time around), only 32.2 percent of the shareholders voted to split his duties, thus insuring that the 57-year-old Dimon won't be leaving Chase anytime soon.
The vote was announced at the end of a two-hour meeting held at the bank's Highland Oaks Banking Center Branch, located just a long block east of MLK and Falkenburg Road in East Tampa.
In his opening remarks to the crowd of several hundred, Dimon cited the bank's record profits for the last three years, then segued to the problems that preceded today's highly anticipated event.
"There are things that we're not proud of," he confessed.
Sunday, May 19, marked the Golden Anniversary of the annual Eckerd College graduation commencement in Saint Petersburg. More than 500 graduates, their families and well-wishers, the faculty and the board of trustees all gathered under a circus-styled big top for the ceremony. This year’s commencement address was delivered by Bill McKibben, a world-renowned environmental activist and educator.
McKibben has written several books on global warming and alternative energy, and is the founder of the grassroots climate movement 350.org. The 350 number refers to the amount of CO2 in parts per million which is the safe upper limit on a human tolerance scale.
Scientists, including McKibben, assert that an accelerated greenhouse effect will be the outcome if 350 ppm is exceeded, and that translates directly into bizarre and erratic climate change. 350.org is behind what's considered to be the largest globally coordinated protest, with 5,200 simultaneous demonstrations in 181 countries.
“America's Next Drag Superstar”, Jinkx Monsoon has an incredible ring to it, doesn't it? Congratulations on winning Season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race! Has it set in yet, really?
Last year, the issue of the Pinellas County Commission's 2011 vote to remove fluoride from the water supply exploded, partially because of the Tampa Bay Times editorial page that raged against the four commissioners who supported that measure — John Morroni, Norm Roche, Neil Brickfield and Nancy Bostock. (Times writers Tim Nickens and Dan Ruth ended up receiving Pulitzer Prizes for the editorial campaign.)
With Bostock and Brickfield running for re-election last fall, the issue hung around their necks like an albatross, and was used in every possible campaign forum or event by their respective Democratic opponents, Janet Long and Charlie Justice. In case you forgot, Bostock and Brickfield are now former Pinellas County Commissioners.
Like Pinellas County, the city of Portland, Ore., was one of the biggest areas of the country to not add fluoride to their drinking water supply — until last year when their City Council voted to do so (Pinellas did not do so until 2003). A backlash to that vote led Portland to put a referendum on their ballot today, and indications are that the "self-consciously liberal city" (as described by the Wall Street Journal) could very well vote to ban the additive.
A poll taken just a few days ago indicated that the issue is losing, but obviously anything can happen on election day. Interesting to note that Roche continues to insist to this day that the measure in Pinellas should go up before the public for a vote. That isn't going to happen in the near future but in Portland, the citizens demanded that it did go up for a vote. The way that electorate votes could end up stunning a lot of folks.
Turning back to local politics, you read it here first: Michael van Hoek, whose only previous dip in the political waters was an unsuccessful run for the Democratic nomination for Congress in 2006 in Pasco County, is the new chairman of the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee.
It's already been reported that local Tea Party groups in the Tampa Bay area feel they were scrutinized excessively by the IRS when they applied for a tax-exempt status several years back. In the case of Tampa's Karen Jaroch, it's the second time she's been let down by the government's tax collection agency.
And while Hillsborough County's transit agency, HART, seems to never get much respect, who could be upset about this news: the agency's CFO said that by findings savings in different departments, they're able to add extensive nighttime and weekend services to current bus routes, even while their budget will be dramatically lower next fiscal year.
But after Party Chair Chris Mitchell stepped down to work for the state party last month, the fact of the matter was that going into Monday night's Democratic Executive Committee meeting at the Children's Board offices in Ybor City, they had zero candidates applying to replace him to lead the party.
But the only declared candidate to run for vice chair, Michael van Hoek, was nominated during the meeting to be chairman. He then elected unanimously to lead the party into next year's elections. Moments later, Tim Heberlein, the head of the Hillsborough Young Democrats, was elected vice chair, defeating Gerald White.
Join Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Tampa community leaders this Tuesday, May 21, to celebrate the newly finished Adamo Drive Mural. The dedication is taking place at 2 p.m. which will include a preliminary session with the artist, Michael Parker, and a reception afterward.
As a co-founder of the Tampa 9-12 Project chapter, Karen Jaroch has already gone public about the ordeal she felt her group underwent when applying to the IRS three years ago. She also told CL that she and her husband were recent victims of refund fraud, delaying their tax refund for a full year.
"It was at a critical time when my husband was out of work and I was expecting a sizable refund," said Jaroch on Monday morning at the conclusion of the HART meeting, where she serves on the board. "I believe they're double paying on all of these refunds because these funds are going to untraceable, reloadable debit cards, and I think that's a system that's been broke that I don't think anyone is addressing."
The proposed fiscal year 2014 operating and capital budget for Hillsborough County's transit agency will come in nearly 27 percent lower than last year. The $62 million slated to spend next year is slightly higher than the current amended budget, but it's part of the agency's capital budget, which is expected to have significantly lower revenues — it's penciled in at $15.2 million, compared to $28.5 million in FY 2013.
Nevertheless, HART is expecting even more passengers to ride buses next year, despite keeping the operating budget almost the same.
Cute and cuddly were everywhere Saturday at Pet-A-Palooza, held at Raymond James Stadium. Pet challenges included Twiggy the water-skiing squirrel and a dog diving dock. More than 30 animal rescue organizations were also in attendance. Temperatures crept toward 90 degrees, leaving many of the four-legged attendees panting as their owners sought shade.