Hillsborough Commission races are rarely dull. (Remember former wrestler Brian "Killer Bee" Blair's loss to openly gay candidate Kevin Beckner?) So it's no surprise the District 4 contest is getting interesting.
School Board member Stacy White is in, followed by Rick Cochran, a senior detective for the Tampa Police Department currently serving as senior vice president for the PBA union. White has at times stood up to the establishment at the school district. Notably, he is also a self-described conservative Christian who was part of a Sept. 11 protest against allowing Council on American-Islamic Relations speakers in schools, headed up by activist Terry Kemple.
White says he would have voted against a domestic partner registry to give unmarried couples, gay or straight, certain rights when it comes to their partners — a basic decency move that passed easily pretty much everywhere except Hillsborough.
So is White just a dimpled David Caton, he of the extreme causes? A less stormy Ronda Storms?
"I'm a Stacy White," he says affably, a guy who, when I ask him to name something interesting about himself, says he really likes doing yard work.
Then there's Cochran with the cop background, and yes, at times we could have used one on that board. Cochran describes himself as "a conservative person, but I would come toward the middle on some topics." He was not ready to weigh in yea or nay on the domestic partner issue.
Something interesting people don't know about him? A past penchant for wrestling tights? A need to weed? "I build rail buggies," he says — as in, pipe dune buggies with Volkswagen engines.
For the record, both are Republican. Does this mean Democrats have ceded this eastern Hillsborough district?
Speaking of school boarders with County Commission aspirations, both White and chairwoman April Griffin are now saying they are open to revisiting the board's bad decision (bad being my word) to make it harder for the public to know which school employees face suspension or firing. Because why would anyone need to know that?
On the School Board, both commission candidates have talked a good game about transparency and accountability in government. Let's see how that plays when they get a second shot April 23.
Proof news comes in threes — important, silly and even with a happy ending:
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor makes a historic trip to Cuba. While she is there, Beyoncé similarly shows up in Cuba. And two reportedly kidnapped little boys who had us holding our breath for their welfare are now home safe from Cuba, looking as unscathed (and telegenically cute) as imaginable.
If you are looking for some sign of actual grownups involved in the nasty aftermath of that shock jock defamation trial, with allegations of lawyers sneakily setting up opposing counsel for a DUI arrest midtrial, here it is:
A prosecutor this week asked for and got six more weeks to look into the arrest's circumstances — a time period most unusual for a misdemeanor DUI — saying they still have "a lot of people to talk to." Good. We're more than a little interested ourselves.