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This morning in the Tampa Bay Times



Marissa Lang on the storm beat:

"The good thing is we've been poised and ready to go for this event for such a long time, and we've always had this as a scenario during the event," said Hillsborough County Emergency Management director Preston Cook. "Just because we're hosting the RNC doesn't mean everything changes. Nothing changes. Be ready."

Computer models Wednesday remained at odds.

Some showed Isaac skirting Florida to the east, others had it heading up Florida's west coast, and one showed it veering into the Gulf of Mexico and tracking toward Louisiana or Texas. The 11 p.m. Wednesday update from the National Hurricane Center had Isaac just southwest of Tampa Bay by Monday night.

"The RNC is a small part of what's going on in the Tampa Bay area on any given day in the next two weeks," Koon said. "This could impact their event, but we're also trying to keep the safety of the other 1 million-plus residents at the forefront."

"The fact is that the folks who are attending the RNC will be able to take care of themselves to some degree," Koon said. "Once they leave the area, they're done dealing with a hurricane. It's our residents who have their homes, their livelihood, everything here to stay."

Protests? "Plan A is to protest," said Medea Benjamin, 59, a Washington, D.C.-based organizer with women's protest group Code Pink. "Plan B is to protest soaking wet." Said Corey Uhl of the local chapter of Students for a Democratic Society: "There will be nothing that will stop us from marching in the streets to demand good jobs, health care, affordable education, equality and peace and to oppose the party of legitimate rape." Except maybe Page 9 of the city of Tampa's official convention rules: "Any parade may be terminated immediately due to severe weather." Jail's ready. Fences are getting there: The panels lock together, have a steel mesh designed to disperse liquids thrown on them and a wide, heavy base that would make them difficult to lift or tip over.

Waveney Ann Moore in St. Pete:

With the Republican National Convention nearing, Michael Raposa has just a few words to describe the potential effect of protesters on the local St. Vincent de Paul.

"We are petrified," he said.

But the St. Pete cops? They're ready.

Mike Van Sickler: GOP won't tolerate primary move again.

Jack Levine from Palm Harbor in today's letter to the editors: Voters have big choices this coming election. People on Medicare and Social Security, and I am one of them, should not say to themselves, "I got mine; the rest of you do not count."

Cocktail? Marchand's and the Vinoy's lobby bar will serve special Republican-tied cocktails, including the Maverick, the Running Mate and the Red State Roundup. In Weekend: Sean Daly says embrace the RNC madness! Kelly Smith and Laura Reiley have five area gems under the radar of the visiting bigwigs.

[Last modified: Thursday, August 23, 2012 9:09am]


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