Sunday, November 19, 2017
News Roundup

A surprising vote for diversity

RECOMMENDED READING


A funny thing happened on the way to forming a diversity committee intended to make all sorts of people feel more welcome here in Hillsborough County, Florida:

Something that looks suspiciously like a step toward diversity.

Our story so far: Kevin Beckner, Hillsborough's first openly-gay commissioner, and yes it is relevant to this story, proposed a committee of citizens from varied backgrounds to give them a voice in how things get done around here. We're talking various ethnicities, the disabled, men, women, gay and straight.

Now, if you have been reading about Hillsborough County government since back in the day of Ronda Storms and the famously fractious board on which she sat — stories of speeches about which religious holidays do and do not belong on the school calendar or whether county government should be banned from even acknowledging gay pride events — you know those varying voices have not always been heard.

But hey, it's a new day in Tampa Bay, with commissioners who actually want to work with the mayor of the big city that sits within it instead of the scratchy relationship of the past. This new-day commission voted down that ban on gay pride and even sent over a nice proclamation for the GaYBOR Days event, signed by every one of them.

So a diversity committee for Hillsborough County? Why not?

Enter activist and School Board candidate Terry Kemple, a man who has campaigned against speakers from the Council on American-Islamic Relations in schools and pretty much any advancement in gay rights. Not exactly the poster-guy for inclusiveness, but he wants on that committee nonetheless.

Beckner objected. But when the matter of Kemple came before the commission, he passed 4-3 on the argument that diversity includes even someone who thinks like him.

This might have made a thimbleful of sense had Kemple not outed his own thoughts in an email to his Christian advocacy group. He opined that "diversity" was usually "code for some effort to forward the homosexual agenda" and that wasn't the "important work" the commission should be doing.

A ruckus followed, the whole thing got tabled in a procedural move, and it looked like there might not be a diversity committee after all.

Until Beckner recently said it's a priority, given the state of the world. So when it comes back before the board on Sept. 18, he said, "I'm not going to do anything to block (Kemple's) confirmation if that's the will of the majority of the board. The work is way too important." Even with Kemple in the mix.

No, a citizen diversity committee will not change the world, or even the county, in big and fast ways. But every step is a step away from how we used to think of this County Commission.

Sure, certain commissioners could have epiphanies, could rethink the panel's true purpose and the motives of the people they put on it.

But no matter what, there's this:

In the name of inclusiveness, diversity and the greater good, Beckner is willing to accept someone with whom he most definitely does not agree.

And maybe Kemple could take a lesson.

Comments
Live blog: Bucs at Dolphins

Live blog: Bucs at Dolphins

Follow our live coverage of the Bucs’ game against the Miami Dolphins this afternoon at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. You’ll find news, analysis, photos, video and more from Times reporters, columnists and photographers — all in real time. View...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: Cold front to bring rain, wind gusts to Tampa Bay

Forecast: Cold front to bring rain, wind gusts to Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — A warm Sunday will be threatened by a few afternoon rain showers and wind gusts up to 20 mph, forecasters predict. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels-like temperatu...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sunday morning QB, playoff edition

Sunday morning QB, playoff edition

Player of the Week | Michael Penix Jr., Tampa Bay TechPenix, a Tennessee commit, has been good all season and it seems as if he’s getting even better in the playoffs. On Friday night against Palmetto in the Class 7A region semifinals, he was too ...
Published: 11/19/17

Published: 11/18/17
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The firepower showed up in the third period.Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat scored 13 seconds apart. Gourde scored again.Suddenly it was a one-goal game, and the Lightning appeared on its way to one of those comeback wins that would be remember...
Published: 11/18/17
No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

PHILADELPHIA — There were so many reasons for UCF coach Scott Frost to worry about his team’s focus. With a huge game against USF looming, playing an improving Temple team in a stadium where the empty seats outnumbered the filled ones by about a 3-1 ...
Published: 11/18/17
Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

TAMPA — In the spring of 2010, one of the biggest debates during the week leading up to the NFL draft was which defensive tackle would be selected first: Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.Both figured to be highly productive NFL pla...
Published: 11/18/17
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI — After Miami clinched the first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division crown in program history, upset the then-No. 3 team in the country, claimed one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings and after many of the nat...
Published: 11/18/17
Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

TAMPA — Belief is the biggest attribute a quarterback can bring to his team. Belief in his talent. Belief in his commitment to winning. Belief in his ability to bring everyone together and have his voice lead the path forward.But the belief the Bucs ...
Published: 11/18/17
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Published: 11/18/17