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Bay Buzz

The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

On fourth day of early voting, Tampa turnout nears 7.4 percent

Turnout on the fourth day of early voting picked up a bit as 346 voters went to the polls Thursday. That pushed overall turnout so far to nearly 7.4 percent with three days left of early voting and election day next Tuesday. At this point, absentee ballots account for more than 91 percent of all ballots cast.

Here are the precincts whose residents so far have voted the most (and the least):

 

10 highest

123 (Tampa Garden Club) — 17.93 percent

133 (Palma Ceia Baptist Church) — 15.43 percent

139 (Christ the King Catholic Church) — 14.2 percent

137 (St. Mary's Episcopal Church) — 12.89 percent

218 (American Legion Post 248, 2105 N Jamaica St ) — 12.88 percent

111 (Elks Lodge 708 on Gandy Blvd.) — 12.72 percent

112 (Bayshore Presbyterian Church ) — 12.39 percent

219 (St. John Presbyterian Church on N MacDill Ave.) — 12.23 percent

117 (Bel Mar Presbyterian Church) — 12.07 percent

135 (Good Shepherd Lutheran Church) — 11.55 percent

 

10 lowest

353 (USF Marshall Center) — 0.41 percent

356 (New Tampa Family YMCA) — 2.93 percent

213 (St. James House of Prayer Episcopal) — 3.46 percent

338 (New Life Pentecostal Church of God) — 3.71 percent

355 (New Tampa Family YMCA) — 3.82 percent …

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Tommy Castellano statement on Jackie Toledo

Tampa City Council District 6 Tommy Castellano on Thursday issued this statement (click here) on the campaign of Jackie Toledo, one of his opponents in Tuesday's primary election.

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Turnout for Tampa city election reaches 6.7 percent (so far)

You might not think that the pace of early voting in Tampa could get any more slack, but that's what happened Wednesday.

Just 299 Tampa voters cast ballots during the third day of early voting, down from 341 and 352 the first two days. That brought the total number of ballots cast to 14,343, or about 6.7 percent of all Tampa voters. (About 93 percent of ballots cast so far were mailed in as absentee votes.)

Precincts in South Tampa continue to have the highest turnout for the March 3 election. Here's a look at the highest and lowest rates of turnout so far:

 

10 highest

123 (Tampa Garden Club) — 16.68 percent

133 (Palma Ceia Baptist Church) — 14.16 percent

139 (Christ the King Catholic Church) — 12.86 percent

218 (American Legion Post 248, 2105 N Jamaica St ) — 12.13 percent

137 (St. Mary's Episcopal Church) — 11.89 percent

111 (Elks Lodge 708 on Gandy Blvd.) — 11.87 percent

219 (St. John Presbyterian Church on N MacDill Ave.) — 11.46 percent

135 (Good Shepherd Lutheran Church) — 10.71 percent

117 (Bel Mar Presbyterian Church) — 10.56 percent

109 (Joe Abrahams Fitness & Wellness Center on Interbay Blvd.) — 10.5 percent

 

10 lowest

353 (USF Marshall Center) — 0.41 percent …

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Early voting remains slow in Tampa

The second day of early voting for Tampa's March 3 primary pushed the city's overall turnout above 6 percent, but just barely.

So far, Tampanians have cast a total of 12,829 ballots — 12,136 absentees, 693 through early voting and two provisional. On Tuesday, 352 voters cast ballots through early voting, 11 more than on Monday.

So far, here are the precincts with the highest and lowest rates of turnout:

 

10 highest

123 (Tampa Garden Club) — 14.46 percent

133 (Palma Ceia Baptist Church) — 12.89 percent

139 (Christ the King Catholic Church) — 11.09 percent

111 (Elks Lodge 708 on Gandy Blvd.) — 10.49 percent

218 (American Legion Post 248, 2105 N Jamaica St ) — 10.73 percent

219 (St. John Presbyterian Church on N MacDill Ave.) — 10.31 percent

137 (St. Mary's Episcopal Church) — 10.3 percent

227 (Wellswood Baptist Church) — 9.59 percent

112 (Bayshore Presbyterian Church) — 9.55 percent

109 (Joe Abrahams Fitness & Wellness Center on Interbay Blvd.) — 9.55 percent

 

10 lowest

353 (USF Marshall Center) — 0.31 percent

356 (New Tampa Family YMCA) — 2.26 percent

250 (Iglesia De Cristo Misionera on N Armeina Ave.) — 2.3 percent

248 (Oak Grove United Methodist Church ) — 2.86 percent …

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Pinellas Commission to state Legislature: Expand health care, by any means

CLEARWATER -- Take the money for our constituents.

The Pinellas County Commission sent that message Tuesday by unanimously approving a resolution that "urges the Florida Legislature to pass legislation to expand health care in Florida."

The resolution, brought for consideration by Commissioner Janet Long, doesn't use the words "Medicaid expansion," but states that the county "supports any expansion of health care that draws down Florida's rightful share of federal funds and increases access to health coverage for our citizens."

The resolution notes that nearly 50,000 Pinellas County residents who live at or near the poverty level and would be eligible for health care expansion, including access to coverage for mental health care, and that the county spends more than $21 million a year to provide health care to roughly 7,000 residents who fall into the coverage gap. 

Commissioners said the recent news that Florida is not expected to receive $1.3 billion in federal funds -- the Low Income Pool prorgram -- used to to help hospitals treat poor and uninsured patients has ramped up the sense of urgency. …

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Buckhorn: Nothing wrong with calling School Board members "mean girls"

In the heat of last month's firing of Hillsborough County schools superintendent MaryEllen Elia, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn had some strong and gender-specific words for the School Board members who ran her off. "Mean girls" was one phrase he used.

Might that characterization cost Buckhorn some female votes? Is he worried? Having second thoughts?

Not so much.

When asked about the quote during a party for Elia Monday might, Buckhorn had this to say:

"As the father of two daughters, I do everything I can to empower them. I expect my daughters to have the same chances as anybody else. That was a reference to a TV show."

He stood by the way he has characterized the board members. "It has nothing to do with making any derogatory comments," he said. "It was all about castigating and condemning a bad decision ... by certain school board members who happen to be women. I would have said the same thing if they were men."

The words just might be different, and not gender-specific. "I would have called it juvenile, I would have called it similar to eighth grade."

 

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Tampa election turnout so far under 6 percent

Yvette Chapman (Charlie Miranda's daughter), Iris Pastor (Harry Cohen's mother), Steve Levine, Bryan Farris, Guido Maniscalco and Vivian Warren greet voters outside the Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library Monday morning.

Richard Danielson

Yvette Chapman (Charlie Miranda's daughter), Iris Pastor (Harry Cohen's mother), Steve Levine, Bryan Farris, Guido Maniscalco and Vivian Warren greet voters outside the Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library Monday morning.

Early voting for Tampa's March 3 primary started Monday, and by day's end turnout from absentee ballots and early voting had reached 12,426 ballots cast, or a little under 5.9 percent.

Of those, 12,085 votes came in the form of absentee ballots, according to the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections. On Monday, 341 voters cast ballots through early voting.

So far, here are the precincts with the highest and lowest rates of turnout:

 

10 highest

123 (Tampa Garden Club) — 14.03 percent

133 (Palma Ceia Baptist Church) — 12 percent

139 (Christ the King Catholic Church) — 10.58 percent

111 (Elks Lodge 708 on Gandy Blvd.) — 10.14 percent

218 (American Legion Post 248, 2105 N Jamaica St ) — 10.09 percent

219 (St. John Presbyterian Church on N MacDill Ave.) — 10.03 percent

137 (St. Mary's Episcopal Church) — 9.75 percent

227 (Wellswood Baptist Church) — 9.38 percent

112 (Bayshore Presbyterian Church) — 9.32 percent

109 (Joe Abrahams Fitness & Wellness Center on Interbay Blvd.) — 9.22 percent

 

10 lowest

353 (USF Marshall Center) — 0.31 percent

250 (Iglesia De Cristo Misionera on N Armeina Ave.) — 2.3 percent

356 (New Tampa Family YMCA) — 2.26 percent

213 (St. James House of Prayer Episcopal) — 3.04 percent …

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One union, two candidates, two checks, two endorsements

Who is the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 123 supporting in Tampa City Council District 6?

Jackie Toledo?

Well, there’s that $1,000 check Toledo got from the union on Nov. 20. And there’s the Dec. 4 letter from union business manager Todd Vega saying the union “was proud to support Jackie Toledo for City Council District 6. We feel that Jackie’s enthusiasm, determination and strong commitment will serve the residents of Tampa and the City Council well. We are very pleased to endorse a candidate such as Jackie.”

How about Guido Maniscalco?

There’s another $1,000 check that the union has now written to Maniscalco’s campaign. And that check came with another announcement from Vega on Monday: “Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 123 is proud to offer its SOLE endorsement of Guido Maniscalco in the Tampa City Council District 6 race. Guido has proven himself to be a person of integrity and commitment who upholds the values of Tampa’s working families. We put our full support behind Guido’s candidacy and the ideals he represents.” …

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Scenes from the last days of the Bro Bowl

Saturday at the Bro Bowl in Tampa.

Photo courtesy Jonathan Bergmann

Saturday at the Bro Bowl in Tampa.

With a construction trailer expected to arrive on site Monday, skateboarders flocked to the Bro Bowl this weekend for one last ride before a fence goes up and the bowl is demolished, to be replaced by a graffiti-free replica nearby over the next year.

Tampa photographer Jonathan Bergmann was there Saturday with the St. Petersburg Photography Meetup Group and shares these photos.

“Our group just showed up and started taking photos,” Bergmann said by email. “I don’t know if word went out in the local skater community that the ‘end was near,’ but I suspect that word gets around, so there definitely was an awareness when I talked to some of the guys that were there. … It was interesting for me to go and see these guys skate on such a ‘vintage’ skate park. The graffiti is amazing.”

Built in 1978, the Bro Bowl was the first skate park to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. That took place in 2013, after a campaign led by local skateboarder Shannon Bruffett.

In 2006, Times staff writer Emily Nipps described the collision of cultures between the bowl and the Central Avenue area where it was located: …

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Guido Maniscalco supporter files complaint with City Hall over Jackie Toledo photo in front of city seal

A supporter of Tampa City Council candidate Guido Maniscalco said this photo Maniscalco's opponent, Jackie Toledo, uses the city's official seal for political purposes without the permission required by city code.

Times files (2014)

A supporter of Tampa City Council candidate Guido Maniscalco said this photo Maniscalco's opponent, Jackie Toledo, uses the city's official seal for political purposes without the permission required by city code.

It’s been nine months since Tampa City Council candidate Jackie Toledo made news with a photo showing her in front of the city seal in Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s private conference room.

Now a supporter of one of her opponents has filed a complaint with City Hall that Toledo has been using the seal for political purposes in violation of the city’s code.

By displaying the photo online since last May, when the Tampa Bay Times first wrote about it, Toledo “has used the city seal as part of her official campaign hundreds of times,” said West Tampa restaurateur Joseph Procopio, a supporter of one of Toledo's opponents, District 6 candidate Guido Maniscalco.

Procopio said he began to look into the use of the seal this week after another Times story about Toledo running a TV ad with video shot at an Interstate 275 construction site. The Florida Department of Transportation said she did not get permission to shoot the video, nor did she provide FDOT with the required proof of $1 million in liability insurance for the shoot. …

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One more vote needed for Fenway Hotel approval

DUNEDIN| A single vote now stands between the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the United States of America and the Fenway Hotel.

Via a unanimous vote, city commissioners on Thursday followed a citizen advisory board’s recommendation and preliminarily approved to the health and wellness society’s conceptual architectural plan and development agreement. A second public hearing and final vote is set for March 5.

City staff said the society wants to kick off construction in May on a $5 million renovation that would transform the deterioriating Fenway into a 102-room international conference center

Commissioners applauded tai chi leaders for nixing an adjacent 27-unit townhome proposal amid neighborhood opposition. Due to the property’s historic zoning, the non-profit — which said last month that it was still “committed” to pursuing the project’s residential portion later — would need a new commission-approved development agreement to build on its remaining land. 

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Know Your Candidates: Tampa City Council District 2, Joseph Citro, Julie Jenkins, and Charlie Miranda

Julie Jenkins

Julie Jenkins

Mary Mulhern is leaving this at-large seat because of term limits, setting up a race between Joseph Citro, Julie Jenkins and Charlie Miranda, who is switching from his current District 6 seat to run citywide.

Citro, 56, touts his 14 years of service on the city’s civil service, variance review and code enforcement boards. He says Port Tampa Bay is an under-utilized economic asset and promises a focus on recruiting Fortune 500 companies.

“Do we stay that city that is a stop-off point between Disney and Mickey Mouse and the beaches of Pinellas County,” he says, “or do we become that 24/7 economy?”

Jenkins, 53, a crime watch organizer and development director at St. Peter Claver Catholic School, has the backing of Mulhern, plus former City Council members Linda Saul-Sena and Gwen Miller.

“I’ve been selling the city of Tampa to the country for 20-plus years,” says Jenkins, who has a background in marketing, hospitality and the airline industry. “I’m a leader. I get things done. I’m responsive to neighborhoods, community and business.” …

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Know Your Candidates: Tampa City Council District 6, Tommy Castellano, Guido Maniscalco and Jackie Toledo

Jackie Toledo

Jackie Toledo

Charlie Miranda currently represents District 6, which covers West Tampa and parts of South Tampa, but he is leaving the seat because of term limits, ensuring there will be at least one new face on the council.

Tommy Castellano, 64, bases his campaign on four decades running his own air conditioning company in West Tampa. If anyone understands what small businesses face, he says, it’s him.

“I’ve employed hundreds of people,” he says. “I’ve paid millions of dollars in salaries, payroll taxes, unemployment taxes, Social Security taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and if there’s a tax I haven’t mentioned, I can guarantee you I’ve paid it.”

Jeweler Guido Maniscalco, 30, says his experience as president of the MacFarlane Park Neighborhood Association gives him insight into neighborhood issues. He says he would campaign on behalf of a sales-tax referendum to expand transit, which he says is the “missing puzzle piece to our success.”

“The biggest issue is transportation,” Maniscalco says. “I’d like to use my position to be an advocate for why we need improved transportation, alternative methods of transportation.” …

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Know Your Candidates: Tampa City Council District 4, Harry Cohen vs. Kent King

Kent King

Kent King

South Tampa’s District 4 typically leads the city in voter turnout, and this year it will choose between first-term council member Harry Cohen and Kent King, a manager for alcohol distributor Southern Wine & Spirits.

The roots of this race can be traced to the residential canals along Tampa Bay west of West Shore Boulevard.

Cohen, 44, has worked with Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s administration to line up money to dredge all or part of 10 canals. That challenge got harder in 2011 after the Army Corps of Engineers canceled a $1.25 million grant to the city, but dredging started in 2013.

The scope of the dredging was a spur to challenger King, 52, who commissioned a study concluding that more dredging would raise property values enough to pay for itself. (Cohen notes that residents had wanted the canals dredged for 30 years, that dredging began during his term and that he continues to work on the issue.)

More broadly, King says he would be a more effective representative for South Tampa. Cohen, he says, has not done enough to bring spending on roads and drainage to the district and should have done more to oppose new multi-family housing there. …

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Know Your Candidates: Tampa City Council District 3, Yolie Capin vs. Paul Erni

Yvonne Yolie Capin

Yvonne Yolie Capin

In Tampa City Council District 3, council member Yvonne Yolie Capin faces longtime city Code Enforcement magistrate and youth baseball coach Paul Erni.

Capin says she wants to continue a wide-ranging focus on economic development.

A retired jewelry store owner, Capin, 65, proposed the city’s domestic partnership registry, led an effort to declare the Cuban Tampa’s “signature sandwich” and has worked with an advisory committee on ways to leverage cultural resources for economic development.

Each, she says, underscores something that makes Tampa distinctive and attractive to new businesses and new residents.

“Economic development leads to quality of life,” she says.

Erni, 48, who says he has heard more than 8,500 code enforcement cases since the administration of Mayor Sandy Freedman, wants to focus on neighborhoods.

As a code enforcement hearing master, as well as on the Public Nuisance Abatement Board, he says he has voted to fine and close businesses that caused problems for neighborhoods. …

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