Monday, April 23, 2018
News Roundup

Senior White House officials hear from Hispanic community at Tampa summit

TAMPA — More than a dozen senior White House officials and policy makers met Friday with Hispanic leaders and community members in Tampa to discuss issues affecting the area's Latino population.

Education, the economy and immigration were at the top of the list for those attending the White House Hispanic Community Action Summit at the University of Tampa. It's the 13th summit held by the White House in the past year.

The visit is one of a number of recent appearances by cabinet-level officials across the nation following President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address last month. Highlighting the president's proposals, officials on Friday expanded on portions of the recent speech.

The president's announcement of lower tax rates for companies that manufacture in the United States could benefit the Hispanic community, said Francisco Sánchez, undersecretary for International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

"Ninety-five percent of the world's consumers live outside the U.S.," Sánchez said. "We've got to expand and, in so many ways, the Latino community should be at the forefront of expansion."

He touted the community's multilingual abilities and connections with Latin American countries as advantages in the export industry.

Education is another priority of the Obama administration, said José Rico, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

"Only 13 percent of Hispanic adults hold degrees," Rico said. More than half of Hispanic students drop out of high school, he added.

But there's good news, too.

"For the first time ever, Hispanics are the largest minority of students enrolled in colleges or universities," he said.

Not all Hispanics are able to go to college, though, said Joseph Anastasio, a summit attendee and diversity consultant at the University of South Florida's Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity.

"We have students graduating as valedictorians of their high schools, who, because they are undocumented, can't go to USF because they have to pay international student rates," he said.

Many are also concerned about immigration reform.

"We've seen the harsh laws passed in Alabama and Arizona and other states," said Esther Olavarria, a counselor to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "As president, (Obama) can't stop them, but he can challenge them."

The administration is currently looking at better ways for Homeland Security to prioritize the deportation process so those individuals who are considered security or safety concerns are removed before those who have come to this country for work, Olavarria said.

Housing is another issue affecting the Hispanic community, said Sylvia Alvarez, the executive director of the Housing and Education Alliance of Tampa.

Alvarez attended the summit in the hopes of bringing the foreclosure crisis in Florida, which she said has hit immigrants especially hard, to the attention of officials.

"Immigrants come here to get a piece of the American dream," Alvarez said. "The American dream is turning into a nightmare."

For Maria Pinzon, the executive director of the Hispanic Services Council in Tampa, attending the summit was all about increasing engagement within the Hispanic community.

"I want to know what we are doing that's right, what could we be doing better," she said. "How can we be more engaged?"

Comments
The key to the Lightning’s success

The key to the Lightning’s success

This is quite the run the Lightning is on over the past five years.A playoff appearance in 2014. A trip to the Stanley Cup final in 2015. A return to the Eastern Conference final in 2016. A near-miss of the postseason last season. And now back in the...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Work starting on JW Marriott, but Water Street Tampa expects to have 10 buildings under way within a year

Work starting on JW Marriott, but Water Street Tampa expects to have 10 buildings under way within a year

TAMPA — Water Street Tampa marks the start of construction Tuesday on its first building, the posh JW Marriott hotel, but there’s a lot more to come.And soon.Within a year, developers said Monday, construction should be underway on 10 — 10! — of Wate...
Updated: 11 minutes ago

Updated: 16 minutes ago
Foreclosure defense attorney Mark Stopa draws praise, criticism at penalty hearing

Foreclosure defense attorney Mark Stopa draws praise, criticism at penalty hearing

CLEARWATER — Homeowners from as far away as Texas and North Carolina crowded a Pinellas County courtroom Monday in support of embattled foreclosure defense attorney Mark Stopa. Facing possible disbarment for professional misconduct, Stopa also drew s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa workers accuse General Dynamics unit of underpaying

Tampa workers accuse General Dynamics unit of underpaying

TAMPA — The Tampa call center of a federal contractor is being accused of underpaying its employees. Workers for General Dynamics Information Technology filed wage theft complaints with the Department of Labor Monday, calling for an investigation int...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Romano: Forget the sewers, St. Pete has a crisis of trust

Romano: Forget the sewers, St. Pete has a crisis of trust

Imagine what kind of spin the world might have endured had St. Petersburg sewer officials been asked to explain the final Hindenburg flight.• The landing, city leaders acknowledged, was bumpy.• Some passengers chose to disembark before the airship re...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

ST. PETERSBURG — Absolutely, Alex Cobb was saying over the phone, it's going to be weird pitching Tuesday against the Rays.The organization that he owes so much for rearing him since high school, standing by him through assorted injuries, enabl...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police: Baby taken with stolen car found in St. Petersburg parking lot

Police: Baby taken with stolen car found in St. Petersburg parking lot

ST. PETERSBURG — Someone stole a car with an 8-month-old baby inside Monday afternoon, police said, and then abandoned the baby in an apartment complex parking lot.The boy was found unharmed at 800 71st Ave. N, according to St. Petersburg police. The...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Deputies: Parents may have fled with newborn ordered taken by court

Deputies: Parents may have fled with newborn ordered taken by court

TAMPA — Deputies are searching for a missing and endangered one-month-old baby boy.Sage Cooper was last seen Friday at a home on Oak Pride Court in Tampa with his mother, Kaitlynn Lovel. Investigators believe that Lovel, 25, absconded with the child,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Shaquem Griffin on TODAY show: ‘I’m not limited to nothing’

Shaquem Griffin on TODAY show: ‘I’m not limited to nothing’

Shaquem Griffin's ability to play football without a left hand has made him the talk of the NFL draft. But the former Lakewood High and UCF star is determined to silence such talk with his play."It gets tiring," Griffin said today...
Updated: 1 hour ago