Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Politics

After nine years sending prayers to Jerusalem, Charlie Crist's paperwork is missing this hurricane season

ST. PETERSBURG — For centuries, visitors to Jerusalem's Western Wall have stuck prayer-filled notes into the crevices of one of Judaism's holiest sites. In 2007, Gov. Charlie Crist did the same:

"Dear God," the note read, "please protect our Florida from storms and other difficulties. Charlie."

No hurricanes made landfall in Florida that year.

Over the next nine years, Crist had a prayer note delivered to the Western Wall before each hurricane season. And for those nine years, hurricanes stayed away from Florida.

But this year Florida might have a problem:

Crist hasn't filed the paperwork for the 2016 hurricane season.

The congressional candidate said he has been unable to send his annual request for divine intervention to the Old City.

This week, Florida was drenched by Tropical Storm Colin.

Coincidence? Ominous warning? Just another June in Florida?

Crist doesn't see any link between the tropical storm and this year's missing request. Of course, he's never claimed credit for keeping hurricanes at bay.

"I give that to God," he told the newspaper in 2009. "But it's nice."

He also pointed out that Colin was a tropical storm, not a hurricane.

"Although it needs to be taken seriously," Crist said of the storm, which spent Monday and Tuesday drenching Tampa Bay, causing street flooding and power outages.

Crist was a longtime Republican when he was elected governor in 2007. After a failed bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010, he ran for governor again in 2014 as a Democrat against the Republican incumbent, Gov. Rick Scott.

But Crist lost. Now he's trying another reboot. In October he announced that he would run as a Democrat for Florida's 13th Congressional District in Pinellas County.

His opponent in the Democratic primary, Donald Hackett Jr., said he's trying to use the power of prayer himself — to raise $10,000 for his campaign. That hasn't happened yet. Still, he supports Crist's prayers.

"More power to him if he can help keep the hurricanes away," Hackett said.

This hurricane season doesn't end until Nov. 30, so there's still time for someone to slip a quick prayer from the former governor into the Western Wall.

The hard part, Crist said, has been finding someone heading to Jerusalem who can deliver the handwritten prayer for him.

But if it's not too late to file the right form this hurricane season, Crist said, he'll do it.

"I think it would be a wonderful thing to do," he said. "Why not?"

Contact Ariana Figueroa at [email protected] or (813) 226-3350. Follow @ArianaLFigueroa.

   
Comments
Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bay’s most influential export. A smart, accomplished and powerful attorney making life-altering decisions on an international stage.But what of tomorrow? And the day after?When the story of President Donald Trump’s border...
Updated: 9 hours ago
‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

SEATTLE — The call came at mealtime — an anonymous threat demanding $5,000 or her son’s life. So Blanca Orantes-Lopez, her 8-year-old boy and his father packed up and left the Pacific surfing town of Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador and headed for t...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

WASHINGTON - As he prepared to visit Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to insist that Congress produce comprehensive immigration legislation, while anxious Republicans explored a narrower fix to the administration policy of se...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss legislation.Trump’s meeting late Tuesday afternoon with...
Published: 06/19/18
Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another detention center for immigrant children planned for Houston

Another facility intended for detaining undocumented children is reportedly in the works for Houston as the number of children separated from their parents at the border continues to swell.Southwest Key Programs, the same contractor that operates the...
Published: 06/19/18
Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

Muralist working with huge St. Pete ‘canvas’ to create neighborhood eye-grabber

ST. PETERSBURG — They appear to rise out of nowhere — two enormous, reclaimed-water tanks with an artist’s white clouds scudding across a blue background.A closer view reveals silhouettes of a lone coyote howling at the sky, mangrove islands, oak, cy...
Published: 06/19/18
FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says he’s willing to testify before Congress

FBI agent removed from Russia probe for anti-Trump texts says he’s willing to testify before Congress

The FBI agent who was removed from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for sending anti-Trump texts intends to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and any other congressional committee that asks, his attorney sai...
Published: 06/17/18
Erosion of immigrant protections began with Trump inaugural

Erosion of immigrant protections began with Trump inaugural

The Trump administration’s move to separate immigrant parents from their children on the U.S.-Mexico border has grabbed attention around the world, drawn scorn from human-rights organizations and overtaken the immigration debate in Congress.It’s also...
Published: 06/17/18

Pasco Political Notebook

Perenich to ‘Walk the District’Stephen Perenich, Democratic candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, Florida District 12, will be "Walking the District" June 25-29. Perenich will be walking 55 miles in five days, starting in Dade City and heading...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18
GOP lawmakers decry family separations as WH defends policy

GOP lawmakers decry family separations as WH defends policy

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans distanced themselves Thursday from the Trump administration’s aggressive policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border even as the White House cited the Bible in defending its "zero tol...
Published: 06/14/18