Tuesday, November 21, 2017
News Roundup

St. Petersburg City Council approves additional permit for bars

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — After months of debate, the City Council has enacted a law to help stem late-night issues at downtown bars.

The citywide law will require bars or restaurants that want to stay open and serve alcohol past midnight to apply for a $100 permit. A permit can be suspended for myriad reasons, including providing "inadequate" security on more than two occasions in a calendar year or having a violent incident.

The City Council voted 6-2 Thursday to approve the ordinance. Chairwoman Leslie Curran and Wengay Newton voted no.

The city will send mailers to bars and restaurants in the next few weeks and will give them until the end of January to apply without being cited.

The new law, Curran said, unfairly targets businesses that don't cause problems outside the downtown core. "We need to focus on the bad apples that refuse to do anything," she said.

Mayor Bill Foster disagreed.

The law, he said, will give police an extra tool to deal with the bars that refuse to cooperate with police about security.

"We need to make sure we have a safe and prosperous downtown," Foster said.

The Police Department is averaging 300 overtime hours a month just for downtown security at a cost of about $13,000 each month, officials said.

One bar owner opposed the proposal during Thursday's public hearing.

Matt Donahue, owner of Push Ultra Lounge on Third Street S, told the council that his 5-year-old club has raised thousands of dollars for charities and employs 25 people.

"This will put another burden on me to stay open," he said.

Police records show that officers have handled 125 incidents since January 2009 at the club, the second highest in the city.

The issue about maintaining a safe downtown nightlife — and figuring out who should pay for it — has dogged the city ever since leaders extended bar hours to 3 a.m. a few years ago. A series of incidents, including a shooting, prompted more discussion.

In May, bar owners, police and city officials started talking. They planned to revisit the issue in July with hopes of bringing something before the council. It was put on hold because of the Republican National Convention.

Businesses that cause problems will have to deal with the consequences if they break the law, said council member Steve Kornell. At his urging, the group amended the law to block individuals from simply switching corporate names to skirt requirements.

Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Comments
Michael W. Smith talks about Texas shooting, Christmas music and Bono

Michael W. Smith talks about Texas shooting, Christmas music and Bono

On the morning after the mass shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Michael W. Smith had pain in his voice. "It’s awful, it’s just awful," said the Grammy-winning Christian music superstar. "Everybody’s going to have their opinio...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Five ideas for easy Thanksgiving appetizers

Five ideas for easy Thanksgiving appetizers

Thanksgiving can put a heavy burden on the host. We’ve assembled five appetizers that are quick and easy to prep. Some, like our risotto balls and goat-cheese figs, cater to vegetarian diets, so you can be sure to please all your guests. Even i...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Crime Stoppers, Straz Foundation still working out Seminole Heights reward money

Crime Stoppers, Straz Foundation still working out Seminole Heights reward money

TAMPA — You can collect $110,000 in reward money for information leading to an arrest in the Seminole Heights killings, but for now you’ll have to make two stops.The David A. Straz Foundation announced Monday it would contribute $10,000 to a reward f...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jury to decide whether Adam Matos be put to death in Hudson quadruple-murder

Jury to decide whether Adam Matos be put to death in Hudson quadruple-murder

NEW PORT RICHEY — A jury today could decide that the man convicted in the brutal slaying of four — including his former girlfriend — should be put to death.The jury in the Adam Matos trial returns at 9:30 a.m. to hear closing arguments and begin deli...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Forecast: Clouds build, setting stage for a soggy Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Clouds build, setting stage for a soggy Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay

Clouds and temperatures are increasing — and so are rain chances – as Thanksgiving could be a soggy one across the Tampa Bay region.[WTSP]Check the latest Tampa Bay-area live radar: The wet outlook is due to a systems that will produce spotty shower...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida man bites police officer during warrant hearing

Florida man bites police officer during warrant hearing

Miami (AP) — Authorities say a man bit a police officer who was taking him into custody during a hearing in a Miami courtroom.Miami-Dade police spokesman Argemis Colome tells news outlets the officer suffered a "severe injury" when Godel Leveille bit...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Joe Henderson: Low-attendance Athletics fund own stadium, how about Rays?

Joe Henderson: Low-attendance Athletics fund own stadium, how about Rays?

I would like to believe what Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said about a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays.It sounded good when he told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, "I’m more focused on working with the community to figure out...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Debunking the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories

Rick and Tom podcast: Debunking the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones debunk the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories as he will miss a third consecutive game this weekend in Atlanta.The guys explain that Winston’s absence is purely medical and has nothing to do with the...
Updated: 4 hours ago
The Daystarter: Jury to decide Matos’ fate; details into Halladay’s plane crash; barriers help secure North Straub Park through holidays; sexual assault reports down at MacDill

The Daystarter: Jury to decide Matos’ fate; details into Halladay’s plane crash; barriers help secure North Straub Park through holidays; sexual assault reports down at MacDill

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• Expect rain today and through the rest of the week, according to 10Weather WTSP. It will likely be a wet Thanksgiving.10News WTSPThe latest 7-day forecast• As you head out fo...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Crash involving bicyclist closes EB lanes on W Kennedy Boulevard in downtown Tampa

TAMPA — Eastbound lanes on W Kennedy Boulevard were reopened by 6:30 a.m. at S Parker Street in downtown Tampa after a bicyclist was struck early Tuesday morning.The crash occurred in front of the University of Tampa, according to broadcast reports.W...
Updated: 5 hours ago