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Robert Trigaux

From rethinking light rail to saluting a Tampa Bay philanthropist: 5 things to know




He's one of Tampa Bay's biggest education philanthropists. Who is he? Read on. (Photo: Chris Zuppa, Tampa Bay Times)

Wake up and good morning. Five things you need to know to start this Monday and a new week:

5. Two senior Tampa Bay tourism official talked about some of the early signs of economic impact from the recent hosting of the Republican National Convention. Read my recent column here. What did not get much discussion was the reminder that Tampa Bay lacks a mass transit system that -- in coming years -- increasingly distinguish this metro area as a questionable place to host major events that require lots of people to get around easily. Charlotte's light rail system won much praise during the Democratic National Convention held there. And it's not as if rail systems are lacking in Florida (just Tampa Bay). Consider the new rail connection at Miami's international airport (read more here) or or the Palm Beach Post's story about how rising use of the Tri-Rail system is being helped with a fleet of new and free shuttles.

4. Interesting take on Gray Swoope in the Mississippi Business Journal here that suggests Swoope, head of Florida's economic development machine (who once held the similar position in Mississippi) is on risky political ground. The Journal says Swoope is busy deflecting criticism over the collapse of Digital Domain's Port St. Lucie operation (loss: 350 jobs or so) and a its $20 million in taxpayer money that may have just gone up in smoke. Swoope's busy saying this was not Florida Gov. Rick Scott's fault but that of former Gov. Charlie Crist. All well and good -- unless Crist runs against Scott in the next race for governor, wins and becomes Swoope's new boss.

3. Add megabanks JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America to the growing list of financial institutions that are under investigation for lax oversight of cash transaction in and out of their branches that may have allowed drug dealers and terrorists to launder tainted money. So says the New York Times in this story. Go back over the past few years. This is a big problem with the majority of big U.S. banks. And most of those banks are major players right here in Florida.

2. Florida Today talked to Florida economist Hank Fishkind who talks about how the state's boom in tourism is not sustainable. Read more here.

1. I had the pleasure of spending some time with St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay philanthropist Gus Stavros in his inner sanctum -- his office suite in the Bayfront Tower that is essentially a museum of Stavros' life. At 87, with the help of his kids Paul and Ellen, Gus is starting to step back from the public life to spend more time with wife Frances. Here's my Sunday Tampa Bay Times column about my visit with a remarkable contributor to this community.

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times

[Last modified: Monday, September 17, 2012 7:33am]


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