Monday, June 25, 2018
News Roundup

Bowen: A legislative wish list for which to be thankful

This column took some time to compose.

The initial scribbling came late on the night of Sept. 10 inside Pasco’s Emergency Operations Center as Hurricane Irma tracked across the county. Away from family. Stuck in a too-small work space with a bunch of other exhausted journalists riding out the storm. The mind focused on the state Legislature.

Yes, I have no life.

At the time, Pasco’s legislative delegation meeting had been scheduled for Sept. 17. Irma, it turned out, postponed that and legislators now are slated to gather Monday, Nov. 27.

The date is cyber Monday, the day on-line sales supposedly peak in advance of the coming holidays. So, Pasco’s legislators will be meeting on a presumed day of unabashed spending.

More on that in a moment.

This delegation meeting could be like no other before it. There will be a bunch of people on a high school theater stage trying to get your vote. Only, it won’t be for student council or class president.

Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, is running for governor. At least for now.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, is considering a run for governor and is raising millions of dollars for either his candidacy or to finance other campaigns near and dear to his heart.

Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, told a reporter for florida
politics.com in August that he planned to run for chief financial officer, and that he expected to announce his candidacy in the fall.

Rep. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, acknowledged to me that he will be very interested in running for District 20 senate seat if Lee jumps to a statewide campaign.

Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, already won his big race. He is slated to become senate president in 2020.

Give freshman Rep. Amber Mariano, R-Hudson, a little time and we probably will learn her future political ambitions, too.

Is this a delegation meeting or candidates’ night?

Since the meeting was announced, however, the entertainment value of Lat-vala and Corcoran sharing the stage has diminished greatly. Latvala surrendered his chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee after six unnamed women accused him of sexual harassment in story by PoliticoFlorida.

Almost immediately, Corcoran called for Latvala to resign from office. This is the same Corcoran who last year threw all of his political muscle behind a Pasco property appraiser candidate who had admitted tawdry behavior toward a female subordinate.

In the case of Latvala, it would seen the speaker used indignation to disguise political expediency.

The delegation meeting — this year it is at the performing arts center at Wesley Chapel School — is a time-honored tradition of people coming with long lists of wants. A year ago, some naively thought the lists would be filled in their entirety considering Latvala headed Senate appropriations and Corcoran oversaw the entire House of Representatives.

Sure, there were initial victories. Burgess even put out a press release touting the "record’’ amount of Pasco-specific appropriation dollars in the Legislature-approved budget. Basically that allowed Gov. Rick Scott to veto a "record’’ amount of Pasco appropriations from the final state budget.

This time around, there are initial hopes things would be different. It is a logical assumption considering the governor is eyeing a run for the U.S. Senate and might not want to disappoint the locals during an election year. Indeed, the governor rolled out a proposed $87.4 billion budget last week that seemed to include something for everyone.

Of course, this came as the Legislature’s top economist predicted a difficult budget year because of Irma-related spending, past legislative decisions to balance the budget with money from specific trust funds, and revenue projections that fail to cover essential state expenses in 2020 and 2021.

Next week, everyone can line up to ask legislators for millions of dollars for a new Interstate 75 interchange, flooding fixes for west Pasco and other public works projects. It will be cyber Monday, after all. Will promises of unabashed spending abound?

Maybe other priorities are in order.

This Thanksgiving week I am pulled back to the September memories of Irma’s aftermath. Just 10 weeks ago, many of us would have been grateful for chilled water, a five-pound bag of ice and a power grid that wouldn’t leave a hot and miserable community sitting in the dark.

That’s not too much to ask for, is it?

Comments
Driver deliberately struck family riding on New Tampa bike path, killing father, police say

Driver deliberately struck family riding on New Tampa bike path, killing father, police say

TAMPA — A man driving on New Tampa Boulevard made a U-turn, crossed a lane of traffic and a grassy easement then deliberately slammed into a father and his two young sons as they rode down a bike path, killing the father and the injuring his two sons...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
The Daystarter: Arrest made in New Tampa hit-and-run; who will pay for their name on proposed Rays park in Ybor?; Rays complete series sweep of Yankees

The Daystarter: Arrest made in New Tampa hit-and-run; who will pay for their name on proposed Rays park in Ybor?; Rays complete series sweep of Yankees

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.   • We’ll have another wet day to start the week, with widespread afternoon and evening thundershowers, according to 10Weather WTSP. High temperatures should top out near ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Hooper: Michelle Obama’s 2016 clarion call needs to be heard today

When they go low, we go high.Those words drew an astounding amount of applause when then First Lady Michelle Obama delivered them at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.Yet some people treat the statement as merely the basis of a good meme, inste...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Woman killed by lightning strike on Siesta Key

Woman killed by lightning strike on Siesta Key

A woman was killed Sunday afternoon in a lightning strike on Siesta Key.According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded after receiving a call around 2:15 p.m. of a person struck by lightning in the 6000 block of Midnight Pass R...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ex-Bucs DE Keith McCants arrested, facing cocaine charge

Ex-Bucs DE Keith McCants arrested, facing cocaine charge

Former Alabama star and Bucs defensive end Keith McCants was arrested in St. Petersburg early Monday morning and is facing a felony charge of possession of crack cocaine, according to arrest records.McCants, 50, was arrested by the Pinellas County Sh...
Updated: 2 hours ago
PolitiFact Florida: Republican PAC misleads in ad about Sen. Bill Nelson’s record on Social Security, Medicare

PolitiFact Florida: Republican PAC misleads in ad about Sen. Bill Nelson’s record on Social Security, Medicare

A new ad portrays Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson as a career politician who doesn’t have the backs of senior citizens.The New Republican PAC, which is backing Gov. Rick Scott in Florida’s closely watched Senate race, released a 30-second ad criticizing ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
What name would a new Rays stadium carry? It’s a multi-million dollar question

What name would a new Rays stadium carry? It’s a multi-million dollar question

TAMPA — Yankee Stadium, Fenway and Wrigley are ballparks whose names are woven into the lore of America’s national pastime.Petco Park and Guaranteed Rate Field? Not so much.The trade-off for that clunky corporate handle is typically an annual payout ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The pros and cons of Tom Jurich as potential USF AD candidate

The pros and cons of Tom Jurich as potential USF AD candidate

Former Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich has emerged as a legitimate candidate to take over USF, as our Joey Knight reported late last week.Despite the chatter around USF and in the industry, I'm skeptical; I wouldn't be surprised if the Bulls'...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Visit St. Pete-Clearwater partners with HSN to turn shoppers into tourists

Visit St. Pete-Clearwater partners with HSN to turn shoppers into tourists

Valerie Stup’s toes are in the sand at Clearwater Beach. Guy Yovan is spotting dolphins near John’s Pass. Sarah Anderson is touring the Dali Museum.Usually HSN’s shoppers only see their favorite network hosts inside the studio selling handbags, cookw...
Published: 06/25/18
Wondering what St. Pete is up to? Check the city’s data yourself

Wondering what St. Pete is up to? Check the city’s data yourself

ST. PETERSBURG — Maybe you want to track your tree-trimming request. Or see what kind of water mains were worked on last month. Or check how many police calls came from downtown on a recent Thursday before 4 p.m. (The answer is 25.)Now city residents...
Published: 06/25/18