1. So we're in this part of the perpetual Florida cycle again: To motivate a classroom packed with 87 aspiring real estate agents, instructor Keith Grandy started his one-week, intensive course with the promise of big money: With hard work, fresh licensees in the Miami metro area could make $100,000 a year if they complete at least two transactions per month, according to current property prices and commissions. With 67 condo towers being built in South Florida, a pace not seen since the housing crash of 2007, such a payday seems more than possible to Grandy's students, despite competition so intense that many of them will leave their new career without completing a single sale.
2. Related, to learning lessons, or not, here's St. Pete's Hal Freedman in this morning's letters to the editor: Once again, the Times has made the supposition that with a new baseball stadium, Tampa Bay Rays attendance and revenue would increase, more "big-name" players could be hired and the Rays would be a better team. How did that work out for the Miami Marlins? They soaked the taxpayers for hundreds of millions of dollars, built their stadium, saw a temporary up-tick in attendance, hired "big-name" players, didn't do much better as a team and dumped the players the following year. Bottom line: The Marlins are still a mediocre team, and taxpayers are out the money to build a "factory" for a private, for-profit entity.
3. Also this, also from today's letters, from Dave Loeffert from Dunedin: Lucy Morgan's op-ed was excellent, but I take exception to her concluding statement that Florida politicians have learned nothing over the past 30 years. Politicians have learned very well that most people pay little or no attention to what politicians do, nor do they seem to care. This is evident from the embarrassingly low voter turnout in local, state and national elections. For this reason politicians have also learned that they can get away with pretty much anything. Until we change the character of the people we send to Tallahassee nothing much will change in Tallahassee and that can only be done at election time. Please: Be concerned, spend some time becoming informed, and most important, vote.
5. Beer City USA. Or at least Beer City Florida. Or at least that's what it sometimes feels like of late in St. Pete.
6. As odd as "big-time" college sports itself, really, that USF and UCF — with combined enrollments of more than 100,000 students — are NOT "Big 5" schools when schools like Duke, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt and Stanford ARE.
7. About that awesome picture of the baby turtle up there that ran on 3B of my Times today: A 3-inch-long loggerhead sea turtle hatchling swims in a holding tank on Wednesday in the intensive care unit at Clearwater Marine Aquarium. This is the first loggerhead hatchling of the year admitted into rehab at CMA. The hatchling, named Amaretto, was found this week by a morning turtle nesting patrol in the skimmer of a condo's swimming pool in Indian Shores, and likely lost its way after becoming disoriented by artificial lighting along the beach, said Tess Adams of the aquarium.