On Pinellas politics this week
A recruitment opportunity
St. Petersburg council member Steve Kornell made a pitch to businesses after Hillsborough County commissioners rejected a proposal last week to create a domestic partnership registry.
On his Facebook page, Kornell posted:
“Attention all Hillsborough County businesses, especially gay owned businesses: If you are unhappy with the decision to vote down the Domestic Partner Registry today, give me a call about relocating to St. Petersburg, a city that welcomes and supports everyone. Located in Pinellas County, which just passed a Domestic Partner Registry.”
After several people pointed out that Tampa has a registry, Kornell, who is gay, replied: “I said Hillsborough County — Tampa is an awesome city — too bad you have to be in such a backwards county.”
The St. Petersburg Redistricting Commission has been considering several maps with new boundaries for the City Council. About 35 residents attended the commission’s first public hearing last week. More meetings are scheduled Jan. 29, Feb. 5 and 12 at 4 p.m. at City Hall.
Once the commission picks a new map, a second public hearing will be held before the council receives the recommendation on Feb. 15. The City Council must finalize the process by May 12.
A political dig
St. Petersburg council member Leslie Curran never misses a chance to lambaste Mayor Bill Foster. Curran, who hasn’t decided if she will run for mayor this year, gave staffers her budget priorities during a workshop last week.
After talking about neighborhoods and economic development, Curran said: “Business retention might be something to focus on.” The remark came after Sweetbay Supermarket announced the closing of the Midtown store in Tangerine Plaza, above.
Agree to Disagree
Some arranged marriages work out, but that’s not the story of the forced flirting between Pinellas and Hillsborough’s transit agencies.
Legislation out of Tallahassee, pushed by State Senator Jack Latvala, required them to discuss merging their agencies. Pinellas was open to consolidation in some form; Hillsborough was open to talking about having more meetings about having more meetings.
The next step: On Monday, at 10:30 a.m., the boards are getting together in HART’s Tampa office to submit their proposal to the Legislature. But because they can’t agree on much of anything, what they are essentially doing is taking the consolidation study and stapling two competing and conflicting ideas to it.
The result: One sloppy book report and an irritated state senator.
Quote of the week
Not everyone on a park bench in Clearwater is homeless, or so learned a group of volunteers with Pinellas County’s homeless count on Thursday.
“Sir, would you like to take a survey?” a volunteer asked a man with an L. Ron Hubbard book on his lap.
The Scientologist was not interested, but he had a counter offer.
“Can I interest you in a stress test?”
Mark Puente can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente. Anna M. Phillips can be reached at email@example.com or (7270 893-8779.