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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Keep away the homeless and Dems



It seems Florida Republican Don Phillips has a deep fear of homeless people and Democrats. Phillips, a developer, Republican donor and John McCain supporter, sent a letter to Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and Police Chief Steve Hogue asking for protection from both. Phillips owns office space near downtown Tampa and says homeless people sometimes congregate in a nearby park. "We have seen these same individuals urinate on the sidewalk outside our window," he wrote, and asked to discuss "enforcement possibilities" with Hogue. "In addition to this, we have another growing concern," he wrote. It seems the Republican Party of Florida has opened a satellite office in Phillips' building. "As the 2008 Presidential Election draws near," the letter continues, "we expect there to be numerous political protests at the very least directly outside our office building. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how heated those protests may become. We want assurance from the Police Department that they will respond quickly and take immediate action to diffuse any potentially harmful situation." Hogue says he's not sure why Phillips is so concerned about potential protests. "Maybe he has some information he didn't relay in the letter," the police chief said. "We wouldn't do anything to stop the protest," Hogue said, noting it's a legal right. But he promised to monitor any activity "to make sure no one gets out of hand."

Janet Zink, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:12pm]


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