Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Politics

Carlton: A mayoral lovefest? Just don't say "Tampa Bay"

So the New York Times just gave serious props to these parts in its list of "52 Places To Go In 2014." And with it, maybe there's a sign of a sea change in our cities.

Besides taking in the beauty of the Albanian Coast, remembering Nelson Mandela in Cape Town and having a hip nosh in downtown L.A., you simply must see St. Petersburg, the Times says.

Yes, St. Petersburg, Florida. Where did you think?

St. Pete wowed 'em with its waterfront, "stunning" Dali Museum, sophisticated restaurants and rocking craft beer scene. Okay, so the accompanying photo online shows a dead deer head over a bunch of beer taps. It still beats that tired old green bench image.

However, you will read nary a mention of Tampa or even Tampa Bay — that sweeping regional catch-all that actually refers to a body of water. "Tampa Bay" tends to leave St. Petersburgians in the dust when it comes to national exposure.

So how does Bob Buckhorn, mayor of the bigger, badder city across the bridge, the one with the chops to attract Super Bowls, a Republican National Convention and this year's Bollywood Oscars, feel about that big air-kiss to St. Pete?

For the record, Buckhorn has on occasion while Over There found himself muttering expletives about things he wishes his city had, like that green ribbon of waterfront or a downtown thoroughly established as a place to live and play. So some sister city jealousy, perhaps?

Perhaps not.

"I think it's great," he says of St. Pete's big mention. "It adds to the panache." Doesn't hurt that visitors will likely come through Tampa International Airport (in Tampa), he says.

As it turns out, brand new St. Pete mayor Rick Kriseman and Buckhorn have been friends for 20 years. Kriseman's already sought Buckhorn's advice on things like balancing family and the job.

"I think he and I are committed to the same thing," Buckhorn says. "He's a good guy."

Clearly basking in the NYT buzz, Kriseman says his city is well past the old identity crisis. And when St. Pete's doing well, he says, it's good for Tampa and vice versa.

"When it comes to getting things done, you have to start thinking more regionally," says the new mayor, who is already dealing with getting a new police chief, transit, the future of the Pier and of course, the Tampa Bay Rays. Speaking of which.

Kriseman wants to be clear: He would like the Rays to stay put in St. Pete and would like to see what can be done to get them to do that. He has also said he plans to protect taxpayers.

Failing that staying-put part, he also says the Rays are "a regional asset."

Buckhorn used those very words on sports radio Friday in talk of keeping the team "in the bay area." In downtown Tampa, if he had his druthers.

There's also talk of cooperation beyond baseball.

"I think there's opportunities for partnership between our two cities maybe we didn't look at before," says Kriseman — promoting the region as a health sciences mecca, maybe working together to improve transportation. A water taxi, even.

Kriseman likes Tampa ("a very pretty city, too," he says diplomatically), shops International Plaza, dines at Bern's and Donatello. He gets bigger points, though, for going as often as possible to a corner joint in West Tampa called La Ideal for the stellar Cuban sandwiches.

So in the tale of two cities, are we in it together?

"The days of us fighting over stupid lines on a map and bridges are over," Buckhorn says. Presumably even that one over "Tampa Bay."

Comments
Focused on Cuba’s future, Rep. Castor skips meeting with Raul Castro

Focused on Cuba’s future, Rep. Castor skips meeting with Raul Castro

TAMPA — One highlight of a congressional delegation’s visit to Cuba this week was an impromptu meeting with President Raul Castro.But not for U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor.The Tampa Democrat joined five other Democrats on the trip, in part to investigate th...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Melania Trump’s parents are legal permanent residents, raising questions on ‘chain migration’

Melania Trump’s parents are legal permanent residents, raising questions on ‘chain migration’

The parents of first lady Melania Trump have become legal permanent residents of the United States and are close to obtaining their citizenship, according to people familiar with their status, but their attorney declined to say how or when the couple...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Alex Trebek will moderate a Republican debate in the Pennsylvania governor’s race

Alex Trebek will moderate a Republican debate in the Pennsylvania governor’s race

We’ll take "surprising side gigs" for $1,000! "Jeopardy" host Alex Trebek will moderate a debate among Republican hopefuls vying for the Pennsylvania gubernatorial nomination.The longtime game show star will be questioning candidates at an Oct. 1 for...
Published: 02/21/18
Spring Hill candidate for Congress: ‘I care about this community — I will scream that from the rafters’

Spring Hill candidate for Congress: ‘I care about this community — I will scream that from the rafters’

SPRING HILL — A Hernando County woman new to the political arena has filed as the fifth Democrat to run against longtime Florida lawmaker U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster for his spot in the U.S. House of Representatives.Dana Cottrell, 49, has lived in Sprin...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/21/18
St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

St. Petersburg regatta to Havana again buffeted by politics

The 2017 St. Petersburg-Habana Yacht Race was celebrated as more than a competitive regatta to Cuba’s capital city of Havana.The relaunch of the maritime competition canceled since 1959 was hailed as a reflection of the detente started under former P...
Published: 02/20/18
Special counsel files new charge in Russia probe

Special counsel files new charge in Russia probe

WASHINGTON — The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election charged an attorney Tuesday with lying to federal investigators about his interactions with a former Trump campaign official. A charging document filed in federa...
Published: 02/20/18
Man featured on ‘Trump Dating’ site has child sex conviction

Man featured on ‘Trump Dating’ site has child sex conviction

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina man with a felony conviction for indecent liberties with a child was one-half of the poster couple for a new "Trump Dating" website.News outlets reported Monday that visitors to the dating site geared toward suppor...
Published: 02/20/18
Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Ex-workers at Russian ‘troll factory’ trust U.S. indictment

Associated PressST. PETERSBURG, Russia — While Russian officials scoff at a U.S. indictment charging 13 Russians with meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, several people who worked at the same St. Petersburg, Russia, "troll factory" say t...
Published: 02/19/18
Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Trump offers support for limited effort on background checks

Associated PressWEST PALM BEACH — From the confines of his Mar-a-Lago golf club, President Donald Trump offered support Monday for a limited strengthening of federal background checks on gun purchases while staying largely mum in the past few days ab...
Published: 02/19/18
For the weary White House, Florida shooting offered a ‘reprieve’ from scandals

For the weary White House, Florida shooting offered a ‘reprieve’ from scandals

The White House was under siege.Domestic abuse allegations against a senior aide were ignored, pointing to a potential high-level coverup. Two Cabinet secretaries were caught chargin taxpayers for luxury travel. A Playboy centerfold alleged an extram...
Published: 02/19/18