The vaguely accurate Tampa Bay and Florida year in review, Part I.
Help wanted: It has been nine months since Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned and her position still has not been filled. Apparently universities are not producing graduates with the requisite skill set to cut ribbons at store openings.
Go figure: Crude insults. Accusations. A drunken driving arrest and a femme fatale. The defamation trial between two radio shock jocks had it all. Who would have guessed the DJs and their potty jokes would come away looking more principled than a prominent law firm and the Tampa Police Department DUI unit?
Eliminate at your risk: Fluoride returned to the Pinellas County water supply with this warning label: Four out of five dentists recommend fluoride for political careers.
Perfect! Hearing that enforcement of red light camera infractions has been shady, the appeals process can be expensive and yellow light times had been altered to produce more tickets, the St. Petersburg City Council declared the program an unqualified success and voted to move forward.
Democracy in action: The governor, Senate, Chamber of Commerce, hospital associations and Florida voters were in favor of Medicaid expansion, but that was no reason to actually ensure quality health care throughout the state. Thank goodness the brainiacs in the House of Representatives are so much smarter than everyone else.
Better late than never: The Hillsborough County Commission repealed a 2005 ban on gay pride events. Residents are asked to move their clocks forward eight years.
A Pier-less city: When it closed in late May, remnants of the Pier were put up for bid. Bar stools went for $30, concrete benches for $70 and the St. Petersburg mayor's office was later auctioned off for 15,652 petition signatures.
Did I say immigrants? I meant impotence: Sen. Marco Rubio made immigration reform his top priority until his tea party masters explained to him that he actually didn't care about immigration at all.
The humane solution: Hillsborough announced a pilot program to trap, neuter and release feral cats. Barring constitutional challenges, Republicans say they will look into a pilot program to trap, neuter and release feral Democrats.
Power play: Duke Energy announced it would permanently shut down its Crystal River nuclear plant. Repair and maintenance costs since 2009 for nonexistent energy? About $1.3 billion, which customers generously helped to fund. Duke CEO's salary and bonus pay? About $8 million annually, which customers also generously fund.
Preferred customer discounts: The Tampa Port Authority killed an investor's bid to purchase the troubled Channelside Bay Plaza complex. Apparently the investors were not moving quickly enough, did not want to post high escrow payments and could not produce a single birth certificate with the name "Vinik'' on it.
Only in Florida: Rick Scott once invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege 75 times in a deposition. He was later elected governor. On the other hand, the communications director for the Republican Party of Florida refused to answer reporters' questions concerning the whereabouts of Scott's dog. Days later, that man was out of a job.
Part II of the year in review continues Friday in Sue Carlton's column.