Thursday, May 21, 2015

Summer Guide 2015: ReMARRY - Gay marriage and the SCOTUS decision

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2015 at 9:07 AM

Come late June, we’ll all either be celebrating or lamenting the decision on same-sex marriage handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

And it all hinges on one guy.
THEY DO: Hillsborough County Clerk of the Circuit Court Pat Frank presides over a mass same-sex wedding on Jan. 6 in Joe Chillura Park in Tampa. - KIM DEFALCO
  • Kim DeFalco
  • THEY DO: Hillsborough County Clerk of the Circuit Court Pat Frank presides over a mass same-sex wedding on Jan. 6 in Joe Chillura Park in Tampa.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Proposed "body farm" doesn't pass smell test for Lithia residents (Updated)

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 2:25 PM

Professor Erin Kimmerlee addresses the audience
  • Professor Erin Kimmerlee addresses the audience
Since USF announced a proposed “body farm” at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's training facility in Lithia, area residents have been up in arms.

On Friday afternoon, The Tampa Bay Times reported USF announced it will cancel its plan to pursue such a facility at that location.

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.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The House race you never heard of wraps up

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 10:41 PM

  • myfloridahouse.gov
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.

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New Hillsborough Schools superintendent's contract approved during very nice hearing

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 6:30 PM

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.
  • 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.

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Contrary, and proud of it: Mary Mulhern looks back on her eight years as a Tampa City Council underdog

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2015 at 11:33 AM

TOUGH STANCE: Mulhern was known for speaking out on issues she cared about. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • 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.

Now, she says, it’s time to take it easy.


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Monday, April 6, 2015

Transit activist is first to file in what will probably be a crowded Hillsborough Commission race

Posted By on Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 6:32 PM

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.

Brian Willis
  • Brian Willis

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Beckner to run for Hillsborough Clerk

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 4:47 PM

County Commissioner Kevin Beckner. - HEIDI KURPIELA
  • Heidi Kurpiela
  • County Commissioner Kevin Beckner.

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.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Unlike Tallahassee, intelligent climate change talks happen in Hillsborough

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 7:19 PM

Lower Green Swamp Preserve (Formerly Cone Ranch) - FLICKR USER MARIELLA SMITH
  • flickr user mariella smith
  • Lower Green Swamp Preserve (Formerly Cone Ranch)
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.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Rep. Castor calls out PSC chair on crappy energy policy

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2015 at 6:29 PM

We already know Congressman Kathy Castor is cool.

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.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Activists politely ask Hillsborough School Board to tackle school-to-prison pipeline

Posted By on Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 6:42 PM

  • Facebook
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.

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