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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Roche plans to spend weekend with the homeless



Norm Roche, the tireless campaigner for Pinellas County Commission who faces Republican incumbent Karen Seel in District 5 this cycle, wants first-hand experience at Pinellas Hope. He plans to spend the weekend beginning Friday, Aug. 22, at the open-air shelter for the homeless off 126th Avenue N.

"I thought the best way to get a grip on this place is to stay there," Roche told Bay Buzz. "Is it helping or just an out of sight, out of mind sort of thing?"

Bay Buzz caught Roche early in his planning. He's not yet spoken with Pinellas Hope officials. His invite list isn't quite worked out either. Roche said he hoped to ask fellow Democratic contenders for the commission, Paul Matton, Darden Rice and Rene Flowers, to join him. But he's uncertain about inviting Seel, saying he didn't want his fact-finding effort to be seen as a campaign gimmick.

"The best way to gain perspective is to be there and live it," Roche said, "rather than commenting from some nice office."

Will Van Sant, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:32am]


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