Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

Sue Carlton: a DUI arrest, and our mayors on history, money, squirrels

When prosecutors look at a DUI arrest to decide what's next, it's pretty routine: Review the police reports, determine whether to go forward.

But the recent arrest of Tampa attorney C. Philip Campbell in the midst of a bitter radio DJ trial was anything but routine. His includes allegations of a pretty paralegal from the opposing firm of Adams & Diaco sent in to Malio's to buy drinks and get him to drive, plus allegations that a lawyer in that firm used a personal connection to have DUI cops lay in wait.

Campbell's case has landed in the hands of the Pinellas-Pasco state attorney because Hillsborough's top prosecutor was a witness in the DJ trial. (Almost forgot there was a trial.) Chief Assistant Bruce Bartlett says they plan to talk to "other people who were involved in the circumstances" that led to the DUI charge, presumably police, the paralegal and plenty of others, before deciding the case, a process expected to take weeks.

And won't those interviews make one interesting read.

•••

In more festive news, today Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn gets the city back from those scallywag Gasparilla pirates.

And, really? After all the festivities and frolic and imbibing of beer, they actually give it back?

This lesser-known ceremony of one last encounter before the pirates sail away, recently revived after nearly half a century, is interesting given the symbolism that is Gasparilla. It has to be one of the most intriguing festivals in America, this pack of powerful white guys dressed like pirates demanding the key to the city for the big "invasion" and parade.

I figured today's Channelside festivities were a tradition restored by Buckhorn — a man making his mark on his city with events like dyeing the Hillsborough River green for St. Patrick's Day while he presides in shamrocked trousers. (Yes, I have mentioned his occasional penchant for loud pants before, but seriously, you have to see them.)

But no, this getting-our-city-back event last seen in the 1960s was restored a couple of years ago under then-mayor Pam Iorio, who said shooing the pirates away was less about symbolism, more about one more party. Buckhorn is game for prolonging things in the name of fun.

"It's my Braveheart moment, without a kilt," he says. "Too cold."

•••

Here's Buckhorn on the absurdity of renegotiating Tampa Airport CEO Joe Lopano's contract because Lopano may be in play for jobs elsewhere: "This is akin to every time a woman comes up and wants her picture taken with me, I go home to my wife and try to renegotiate my marriage vows. That's how pathetic this was."

•••

On quotable mayors: After a squirrel chewed an electric supply line and kicked off what turned into a 37-hour Tampa boil-water alert, no, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster says when I ask, he was not claiming his city has a better class of squirrel. His comments on how this was unlikely in his town were intended to be positive, he says, about "how good our water system is."

"Sometimes I feel like the squirrel," Foster says. "Kind of like: Wow, what was I thinking?"

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