Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Politics

St. Pete officials to tweak language of ordinance that would restrict sign-waving

ST. PETERSBURG — Professional sign wavers may not be kicked to the curb after all.

The St. Petersburg City Council unanimously agreed Thursday night to tweak the language of a proposed ordinance that would regulate the display of commercial signs — including outlawing people from twirling signs outside of businesses.

They will revisit the issue in two weeks before taking a final vote.

The proposed ordinance, as currently worded, would restrict human sign wavers from spinning or twirling their signs in addition to restricting how close sign wavers can stand to the street. The ordinance does not apply to political sign wavers.

City staff proposed the ordinance because of safety concerns, and noted that the sign twirlers are "aesthetically out of keeping with the purpose and intent of sign regulations."

Several citizens appeared before the council to express concerns about restrictions the ordinance would place on businesses, particularly those that use people to hold signs along the sides of city streets.

Steven Doletzky, an area developer for Liberty Tax Service, told council members his business is known nationwide for their employment of people who wave signs while donning Statue of Liberty costumes to promote their tax preparation services.

"In some ways, I kind of feel like we're being targeted here," Doletzky told the council. "We're business people and we want to stay in business."

Doletzky explained that the business has never had an issue with sign wavers posing a safety hazard. He was joined at the meeting by three Liberty Tax employees, two of whom donned the company's trademark silver Statue of Liberty costumes.

"As a sign waver, I don't want to get hurt," said employee Tara Segall. "So I think there is a little bit of common sense there."

Most council members appeared to support amending the ordinance to allow sign holders to spin or twirl their signs.

Council member Karl Nurse expressed concerns about how far away from the curb sign wavers would be able to stand, suggesting that 5 feet away might be a safe distance. Council chairwoman Leslie Curran said she had no problem with sign wavers as long as the signs don't leave their hands or obstruct traffic.

At the conclusion of the discussion, the council unanimously approved a motion by council member Jeff Danner to revisit the issue at another public meeting Nov. 1.

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: 3 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: 10 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...
Updated: 11 hours ago
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