Sunday, May 20, 2018
News Roundup

Port Richey considers demolishing dilapidated mobile homes

PORT RICHEY — Jackie Eldridge knows what it's like to be homeless, and now he's facing that prospect again.

Eldridge lives in the Gulfland Mobile Home Park at U.S. 19 and Limit Drive, where the city has labeled dozens of units unsafe.

Inspectors fixed bright orange stickers on 39 units May 31 and ordered park owners Imogene and Sam Tindell to raze nine RVs that have been permanently — and illegally — anchored in the park. The ordinance gives the Tindells until June 30 to bring the 39 homes up to code before the city can file a demolition notice.

Eldridge, 59, a maintenance man at the park, said "he used to live in the woods" and doesn't know what he will do if he loses his home and job.

"At my age starting over will be hard to do," Eldridge said. "Where is everyone going to go? Is the city just going to put us all out on the street? There has to be a more effective way."

It's a sentiment that runs throughout the park where city officials say they have found open sewer lines, exposed electrical wiring, human and animal waste scattered around common areas, dead raccoons and cats, and some units without bathrooms. Even the laundry room in the complex has been tagged unsafe because of exposed electrical wiring, city officials said.

Records show police and fire officials have responded to 197 calls for service at the park from June 1, 2012, to June 1 of this year. Police consider it an area known for drug activity, though it's the living conditions, not the criminal element, that has the building department making demands for improvements, said City Manager Tom O'Neill.

"It's deplorable the conditions we found. Not only is it illegal, but it is morally wrong," O'Neill said.

Sam Tindell's attorney, Kenneth Foote, said the city failed to notify his client before tagging the units, which set off a panic in the park and brought rent collections to a standstill. Foote said the city instead should have started with a code enforcement citation to allow his client to remedy issues at the park.

"Residents were not given any notice. They put the stickers up and that was that," Foote said. "It doesn't sound like the United States to me, where we have due process."

Foote argued the city also has a legal problem on its hands because it's not enforcing the ordinance on other properties that are in worse shape than Gulfland.

"They are targeting my client for some reason,'' he said. "It's selective enforcement, and it's not legal."

O'Neill said city code enforcement did contact Tindell about the poor conditions in the park, but he did not address them. O'Neill said the city is not seeking to demolish and just wants to make the units habitable. The city is willing to work out a plan with the owners for making improvements, he said.

Foote said he will seek more time for his client to make repairs before considering legal action to halt demolition proceedings.

"I'm not saying everything is perfect in the park,'' Foote said. "But there should be some kind of notice and time to fix the problems before you just come in and bulldoze someone's private property."

Comments
Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Playing .500 ball is obviously no goal, and the Rays certainly know that.But given where they came from, that terrible 1-8 start that oozed into 3-12 and 4-13, climbing back to the respectability of .500 would be an accomplish...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The first part of the Rays' new and unusual pitching plan worked so well Saturday, as game "opener" RHP Sergio Romo struck out the first three Angels hitters, that the Rays will do it again on Sunday.That's right. Romo will st...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

TAMPA — A two-goal lead was suddenly only one, and the Washington Capitals, having pulled their goalie, had a furious 96-second siege.Andrei Vasilevskiy made the last three of his 28 saves to preserve the Lightning's 3-2 victory Saturday in Gam...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

TAMPA — Dan Girardi knew where the puck was heading. It was heading to Alex Ovechkin for a one-timer on net, so Girardi did the only thing he could do. He blocked it.With his rump."It hit me right in the cheek," said Girardi, the Lightning defe...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Faster than Justify down the stretch at the Preakness, quicker than Harry and Meghan walked down the aisle at Windsor Castle, the Lightning jumped on Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final. No runaway gallop. No funny hats. Just ho...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

TAMPA — They're called grinders. Pluggers. Checkers.They're lunch-pail guys. Like 9-to-5ers. They get up every day and go to work. They punch in and punch out for no glory or credit. But the business would fall apart without them.They're the fo...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Justify wins foggy Preakness, keeps Triple Crown bid alive

Justify wins foggy Preakness, keeps Triple Crown bid alive

BALTIMORE — Justify rounded the final turn and hit the top of the stretch winded but with the lead. The roar from the crowd was delayed, hushed by the thick fog that enveloped the track. When Justify emerged from the haze in view of the grandstand, t...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

TAMPA — Cedric Paquette needed only 19 seconds to put the Lightning on the scoreboard Saturday night, coming up with the second-fastest playoff goal in franchise history.The only goal faster? Tampa Bay's Adam Hall needed only 13 seconds to scor...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Rowdies tie in debut of new coach Neill Collins

St. PETERSBURG — Neill Collins, the former Rowdies defender who this week abruptly replaced Stuart Campbell as coach of the team, was a bit ambivalent about his debut, but he sure liked the way his club played in the second half of Saturda...
Updated: 7 hours ago
USF softball team’s season ends in Gainesville

USF softball team’s season ends in Gainesville

The USF softball team's season ended late Saturday in the Gainesville Regional with a 3-2 loss to Ohio State, its second NCAA Tournament loss to the Buckeyes in as many days.OSU (36-15) must defeat No. 2 overall national seed Florida (52-8) twice Sun...
Updated: 7 hours ago