Wednesday, June 20, 2018
News Roundup

Davis favors outsider as chief

Chatter about who will become the next police chief has gotten intense lately, with residents and community leaders weighing in on the issue. Former St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Goliath Davis, right, recently offered his thoughts in a column for the Weekly Challenger.

Davis, a former police chief himself, said many were surprised when Assistant Chief Luke Williams, whom he called "the most qualified individual in the department," wasn't named as one of four finalists.

But Davis doesn't think that means Mayor Rick Kriseman should embrace the only hometown candidate left, assistant chief Melanie Bevan.

In fact, Davis wrote, Kriseman needs to hire from the outside to ensure the department can heal and move forward from current internal power struggles.

"The police chief in St. Petersburg occupies a very large stage and given the current state of affairs within the department, there is not a candidate in house capable of providing the stability and direction needed to 'right the ship' and move the department and ultimately the city forward. An internal candidate ensures instability and discord," he wrote.

Davis went on to say that he knows both Williams and Bevan (they both worked for him) and that it's up to the Kriseman administration now to show leadership.

The Mayor's Office has gotten a steady stream of input about the topic, and behind the scenes, many in the community are lobbying for Bevan. Someone has even created a Facebook support page, although Bevan said she didn't have anything to do with it. Bevan and the three outside chief candidates were slated to meet this week with residents, police officers and council members.

Kriseman is likely to make his choice in July.

Council member has parking idea

While the city prepares to undertake a study this summer to address current and potential downtown parking needs, council member Charlie Gerdes, right, floated a novel idea during a committee meeting last week. Why not open the Municipal Service Center parking garage, at Central Avenue and Third Street N, to the public after business hours?

That would provide more parking for patrons of Central Avenue and other nearby businesses, he said.

His idea seemed to please fellow council members Jim Kennedy and Darden Rice, who called the idea intriguing.

"Business owners have said if that MSC building could be open after 6, I think that would be a very good use of money," he said. "Several business owners have told me it would be huge if that would happen. I just want to plant a seed."

Roche just fine with war chest

Pinellas County Commissioner Norm Roche has raised a fraction of what his two challengers have amassed, but he says he isn't worried.

"I've got exactly what I've needed so far," Roche told Bay Buzz. A Republican seeking a second term, Roche, right, raised $12,255 in cash through the end of May. Compare that to the war chests of Republican Ed Hooper ($115,765) and Democrat Pat Gerard ($98,396). Hooper, of Clearwater, is a state House representative; Gerard is the mayor of Largo.

Roche said he just ordered a batch of campaign signs and will pay the qualifying fee this week. He is also about to ramp up a social media campaign and has a fundraiser tentatively set for next month at the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor, a Pinellas institution he first visited as a boy.

He said he doesn't have a fundraising goal in mind. He plans to do some radio spots and to send some mailers, but voters shouldn't expect a barrage to hit their mailboxes.

"There's a lot going on in the county, and I've got to keep my eye on the ball," he said. "I'm not about raising a bunch of money to get into a junk mail competition."

Hooper has a meet-and-greet event slated for June 23 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Angry Pepper Taphouse, 9366 Oakhurst Road, Seminole.

Gerard will be walking in the St. Pete Pride parade on June 28. Her supporters are meeting at the Metro Wellness Center, 3251 Third Ave. N, at 6:30 p.m.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at [email protected], (727) 893-8643 or on Twitter @cornandpotatoes. Tony Marrero can be reached at (727) 893-8779 or via Twitter @TMarreroTimes.

Comments
How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

How the Rays really won Tuesday’s game over Astros

There was some interesting inside baseball elements that factored into the late innings of Tuesday's 2-1 Rays win.* First, on Matt Duffy's double off reliever Hector Rondon to lead off the eighth.Duffy said he doesn't like "to guess" what a pitcher i...
Updated: 13 minutes ago

Updated: 1 hour ago
Here’s the skinny on the ketogenic diet: What it is, how to follow it properly

Here’s the skinny on the ketogenic diet: What it is, how to follow it properly

It started with jugs of olive oil and cans of tuna, lots of it, which my husband hauled in one day and plunked on the counter. "That’s my lunch!"That was about three months ago, and every day since there has been a new entity in our house to consider...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: Hot and humid on summer’s eve across Tampa Bay, with rain chances increasing

Forecast: Hot and humid on summer’s eve across Tampa Bay, with rain chances increasing

Wednesday will be the longest day of the year, literally, as the day before the official start of summer yields the most amount of sunshine.Tampa Bay has already seen lots of sunshine, heat and humidity this year, and while that sunshine may be obscu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Youngest migrants held in ‘tender age’ shelters

Youngest migrants held in ‘tender age’ shelters

Trump administration officials have been sending babies and other young children forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border to at least three "tender age" shelters in South Texas, The Associated Press has learned.Lawyers and medi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
SB traffic on I-275 slowed in St. Petersburg after car jumps median

SB traffic on I-275 slowed in St. Petersburg after car jumps median

ST. PETERSBURG — A car that is straddling the center concrete barrier is causing a visual slowdown Wednesday morning on Interstate 275.The incident occurred sometime around 7:30 a.m.The passenger side of the car can be seen hanging along the median o...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

Pope Francis stepped into a growing controversy over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, criticizing the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexican border and saying that "populism" and "creating psychosis" are not the way to resol...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Daystarter: Republican response to immigration firestorm; don’t let Yuengling name scare you; Hedman flattered, but unfulfilled

The Daystarter: Republican response to immigration firestorm; don’t let Yuengling name scare you; Hedman flattered, but unfulfilled

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• There’s no more denying it: summer is here. The forecast calls for highs near 90 degrees for the foreseeable future, coupled with afternoon showers, according to 10Weather WTSP.• As y...
Updated: 2 hours ago
What historically high lumber prices mean for Florida home buyers

What historically high lumber prices mean for Florida home buyers

Blame a lack of rail cars in Canada or not enough semi trucks in the United States. Forest fires didn’t help. Tariffs played a big role, too. Even the buoyant economy takes part of the rap for frothy lumber prices, which hit all-time highs las...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Citizens considers hiking homeowners insurance rates about 8 percent

Citizens considers hiking homeowners insurance rates about 8 percent

For the second year in a row, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is asking state regulators to approve hefty rate hikes because of an abundance of non-weather claims that end up in court. If approved, the average rates for homeowners covered by Citize...
Updated: 3 hours ago