Tampa shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge criticizes two of St. Petersburg's most prominent black leaders
Tampa shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem amplified criticism of St. Petersburg senior administrator and former police chief Goliath Davis on his radio show Tuesday, accusing Davis and state Rep. Darryl Rouson of enriching themselves by exploiting fears of the city's black community.
Using language peppered with profanities and sharp criticism, Clem centered his words on a charge he made on his show Monday; that Davis attended the funeral of cop killer Hydra Lacy, Jr., who was black, but did not attend the funeral of the two city police officers Lacy murdered, who were white. A story in today's St. Petersburg Times quotes the former city police chief saying he "paid my respects" to the families of the fallen officers, but declining to answer specifically whether he attended the memorial service.
Clem, incensed by Rouson's quote in the story calling him a "bumbling idiot," unleashed a stream of allegations and criticisms against Davis, Rouson and City Council member Leslie Curran, recalling the representative's dark past as a crack addict and calling Curran a "dumb b----," following her defense of Davis in the Times' story.
At times, Clem's broadcast took on ugly racial overtones as he talked with a caller who predicted black people in St. Petersburg would riot if Davis was fired. The shock jock countered by insisting that Davis and Rouson were encouraging the city to see its black community as violent and unpredictable, to position themselves as peacemakers.
"They want to keep you down," Clem said, speaking directly to any black listeners. "They want to represent to the white (community)...that you are stupid."
This is not the first time Clem has criticized Davis on his show. Back in 2009, he asked St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Kathleen Ford about Davis, calling him the "quasi leader of the African Americans," and questioning why he had a senior position in city government.
"It's like talking down to them, that they have somebody to quell them and keep them in line," Clem said then.
Ford's response, which quoted professor Cornel West's use of the term HNIC in describing the habit of singling one black person to speak for a group, sparked a controversy which buffeted her campaign; she later said she felt set up by Clem and blamed local media outlets for amplifying the issue.
This morning, Clem took calls from other Davis critics, including SaintPetersblog.com editor Peter Schorsch, while vowing to keep up the blunt, explicit criticism until Mayor Bill Foster acts to discipline or fire Davis.
The display seemed to echo Clem's moves toward becoming a new outlet for political news and discussion in the area, coming to sensitive issues with a shock jock's in-your-face attitude. How this will impact the complex and sometimes-volatile state of race relations in St. Petersburg, remains to be seen.