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News at noon: Bondi's career path could lead to White House; medical marijuana moving slowly; downtown waterfront parks the hot new thing; and new restaurants opening in Tampa Bay

Pam Bondi was with Donald Trump for most of the campaign, save for a couple months when she stayed off the trail amid questions of a political donation Trump gave her in 2013 around the same time Trump University was being investigated. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]

Pam Bondi was with Donald Trump for most of the campaign, save for a couple months when she stayed off the trail amid questions of a political donation Trump gave her in 2013 around the same time Trump University was being investigated. [CHRIS URSO | Times]

Pam Bondi would bring personal loyalty to Donald Trump's future administration — and political baggage, too. Her meeting today with the president-elect at Trump Tower, ostensibly to discuss a high-level federal post, is the latest milepost in her stunning rise from local Tampa prosecutor to state attorney general to possible White House insider.

IMPLEMENTATION OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN FLORIDA MOVES SLOWLY AFTER OVERWHELMING APPROVAL

More Floridians voted for medical marijuana than for President-elect Donald Trump. Now, the drug's future in the state rests in the hands of legislative leaders who were not among its most vocal supporters. With sharp divisions already emerging between House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron, both Republicans, marijuana is an early point where the two men appear to be in agreement — at least on the surface.

DOWNTOWN WATERFRONT PARKS: WHY ALL THREE OF TAMPA BAY'S TOP CITIES WANT THEM NOW

SCOTT KEELER | Times

A view of the downtown St. Petersburg skyline and waterfront from just north of the North Shore Aquatic Complex. The view is looking south toward Albert Whitted Airport. At the center, left, is where the St. Petersburg Pier used to be.

Urban waterfront parks are suddenly gotta-have items for Tampa Bay's top cities, business columnist Robert Trigaux writes. Economic development experts claim such urban parks are key for downtowns already surging with new residents as well as city cores still hoping to attract people to live and work there. Done right, these experts say waterfront parks can be a source of revenues for budget-pressed cities.

DECEMBER RESTAURANT OPENINGS IN THE TAMPA BAY AREA

As we enter December still full of Thanksgiving leftovers, it's hard to think about foods that don't fall under the umbrella of seasonal fare. Let the restaurants opening this month be your buffer for all things festive, as we find a lot of seafood, barbecue and craft beer-heavy eateries making their debuts across the region.

MEET THE WOMAN WHO WROTE THE BOOK ON FLORIDA REAL ESTATE

If you've ever studied to become a real estate agent in Florida, chances are you used the textbook written by Linda L. Crawford. A New Orleans native who went to college in Florida, Crawford sold real estate for several years before realizing her true interest was in education and testing. She was working as education coordinator for the Florida Division of Real Estate when the publisher approached her about helping out with the textbook, whose then-authors were getting older. Read what she had to say in this Q&A with Susan Taylor Martin.

UNEMPLOYMENT AT 9-YEAR LOW OF 4.6 PERCENT AS U.S. EMPLOYERS ADD 178,000 JOBS

U.S. employers added a solid 178,000 jobs in November, reflecting the steady economy President-elect Donald Trump will inherit. And the unemployment rate hit a nine-year low of 4.6 percent, though mainly because many people stopped looking for jobs and were no longer counted as unemployed.

'IT WAS AN ACCIDENT, BABY'

Linda Davidson | Washington Post

Jaxon and Tina run errands. In a given week, two children die from accidental shootings, according to U.S. gun violence research.

A great-grandfather left out a gun. A grandmother didn't see it. And a boy reached for it, pulled the trigger, and accidentally killed his 9-year-old sister. Now a family is trying to figure out how to recover.

TAMPA BAY RENTS CONTINUE TO RISE WITH CLEARWATER LEADING THE WAY

Rents continue to climb in the Tampa Bay area, with Clearwater showing the biggest jump of any city in Florida. In November, the rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Clearwater was $1,300, a 5.2 percent increase over the same time a year ago. That amount put it ahead of Tampa and equal with St. Petersburg, whose downtown area has seen an explosion in the construction of new apartments in the past few years.

EIGHT FUN HOLIDAY EVENTS ACROSS TAMPA BAY THIS WEEKEND

From parades in Tampa and St. Petersburg, a block party in Clearwater, concerts and boat parades, it'll definitely begin to look a lot like Christmas across Tampa Bay this weekend. Here are a few suggestions.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF: A SATURDAY ROADMAP TO THE BEST FINAL FOUR

This is it. Saturday is the final day that matters in the college football regular season. Before the weekend is over, we will have our final four playoff teams, Tom Jones writes. Who those four teams are will be determined by what happens today. So, what should we want to happen today? What gives us the best chance for a truly dramatic playoff and an awesome national championship game right here in Tampa?

HOW TO BEAT 'BAMA? LIST IS SHORT, BUT NOT SWEET

The reasons Alabama is such a prohibitive favorite over Florida in Saturday's SEC championship game are obvious. The Crimson Tide might be Nick Saban's best team, even better than the national championship squad that beat UF 29-15 last year (in a game that wasn't as close as it sounds). A Gators offense that totaled three offensive touchdowns last month will face a 'Bama defense that didn't allow a single play past its 10 in November. Saban is 9-0 against his former assistants, including two wins over Jim McElwain. So how could the three-touchdown underdog Gators upset an undefeated powerhouse gunning for the Jan. 9 national title game in Tampa?

TAMPA BUCCANEERS-SAN DIEGO CHARGERS PREDICTIONS FROM THE TAMPA BAY TIMES' BUCS COVERAGE TEAM

Who will win Sunday's game between the Bucs and Chargers? Our Bucs reporters make the call.

RAYS LIKELY TO TENDER ALL 11 ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE PLAYERS

The Rays are expected to tender contracts by tonight's 8 p.m. deadline to their MLB-most 11 players eligible for arbitration. That group includes three who qualified under the Super 2 provision based on service-time, which teams sometimes try to manipulate by limiting call-ups early in player's career — RHP Danny Farquhar, INF Tim Beckham and OF Kevin Kiermaier.

News at noon: Bondi's career path could lead to White House; medical marijuana moving slowly; downtown waterfront parks the hot new thing; and new restaurants opening in Tampa Bay 12/02/16 [Last modified: Friday, December 2, 2016 4:12pm]
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    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

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    Human Interest

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[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
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