Perhaps the biggest criticism has been on the lack of communication with and input by local residents for the project, known as the Facility for Outdoor Experimental Research and Training or FORT, which has been in development for more than a year.
The project's proponents attempted to rectify that Thursday night in the packed cafeteria of Pinecrest Elementary, but the is intention to educate locals about their proposal was met with fear and outrage.
Florida House District 64 was cobbled together from parts of northeast Pinellas County and the Carrollwood and New Tampa areas of Hillsborough.
Its incumbent Republican State Representative, James Grant (one of the 'young guns' you'll hear about from time to time), probably would have sailed back into his post last November with the rest of 'em had it not been for a convoluted series of events that led to his election getting postponed for nearly six months. That race was finally decided today and, as you might have guessed, Grant sailed back into his seat.
If you live in the district and didn't even know there was a special election, don't feel bad. The election had a 6.6 percent turnout.
Grant's opponent was a write-in candidate, Daniel Matthews, who didn't raise any money leading up to today's special election. Matthews' candidacy was at the heart of the lawsuit that delayed the election, but Matthews didn't file it.
With a unanimous vote of the Hillsborough County School Board, Jeff Eakins got a promotion today.
The acting superintendent, who has been serving in the capacity of superintendent in the wake of MaryEllen Elia's dismissal, will get to keep that job; the signing of his contract, $225,000 salary and all, made it official at a regular school board meeting. Eakins's wife was in the audience, as were his parents, who came down from Ohio for the occasion.
Eakins signs his contract. Right: School Board Chair Susan Valdes.
“[It's] kind of a dream come true in my life and every day I will never forget where I came from and everyone who has served me throughout my career in order to place me, really, here today,” Eakins said.
TOUGH STANCE: Mulhern was known for speaking out on issues she cared about.
Mary Mulhern recently converted her grown daughter’s former bedroom into an art studio. She’d like to spend some time there, but she hasn’t yet; she keeps getting roped back into politics.
“It’s going to be hard for me to totally remove myself,” she said.
Last month, as the outspoken progressive’s eight years on the Tampa City Council drew to a close due to term limits, she wanted to help other progressives win council seats. So she campaigned. One of those candidates, Guido Maniscalco, did win.
As Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner prepares to vacate his seat due to term limits and run for County Clerk in 2016, the field of candidates vying to replace him is likely to be crowded.
The first to announce his candidacy is Brian Willis, 31, a Democrat who works with the transit advocacy group Connect Tampa Bay. He announced he's running this afternoon with a media release and a polished campaign video touting his accomplishments and the list of things he'd like to do for the county.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner has been a champion of progressive causes on the Board of County Commissioners since he was elected in 2008. He was the sole Democrat on the board at a time when Tea Party rhetoric seemed to dominate the conversations that occurred on the dais, especially when it came to things like transportation and the environment.
Say what you will about carbon sequestration, but if a governing body unanimously supports it, said governing body obviously knows a) there is an excess of CO2 in the atmosphere that is damaging our environment, and b) humans are causing that excess in CO2.
Thus, the Hillsborough County Commissioners, which voted to support allowing companies who exceed carbon emissions standards to buy up green space in Hillsborough County, which will then be preserved, gets a gold star.
The Democrat, whose district includes parts of Tampa and a solidly Democratic part of south St. Pete (gerrymander much?), further confirmed her kickassness Tuesday, when she did that thing...what's it called...where you call someone out for allowing power companies to rip off consumers while ignoring the looming threat of climate change.
Members of the Bay Area Activist Coalition, a group that fights for fair treatment of African Americans and other minority groups, had a message for members of the Hillsborough County School Board and its interim superintendent, Jeffery Eakins, Tuesday afternoon.
Cases like that of Brittany Overstreet, they said, will not stand.
Overstreet, an African American student at Chamberlain High School in Tampa, was brutally beaten by a school resource officer, while she was handcuffed. She was accused of bringing mace onto the campus, which hasn't been proven. She got upset when a school official ripped her bag out of her hands, and the situation deteriorated from there.