Thursday, April 26, 2018
Politics

St. Petersburg city staffers plan hurricane preparedness drill

Batten down the hatches

With hurricane season approaching, St. Petersburg city staffers plan to hold a drill this week to make sure the city is prepared in case a storm strikes.

During a Public Safety & Infrastructure Committee meeting, council member Jim Kennedy talked about a New Jersey town devastated last year by Hurricane Sandy. He said 80 percent of the town still isn't cleaned up.

Council member Bill Dudley blurted out the reason why the town is still a shambles: "It's 'cause they're union."

The response drew no reaction.

Ready to rumble

TV pitchman Anthony Sullivan, who leads the pro-Lens effort WowStPete, says he is ready to battle Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg, the group working to stop the project.

Sullivan says opponents called a maker of a product he pitches on TV to ask that he be fired. Sullivan says the call crossed the line.

"They picked a fight with the wrong guy," Sullivan said. "Bring it on. I'm ready."

Money wars

St. Petersburg mayoral hopeful Rick Kriseman raised more money in the first quarter than Mayor Bill Foster.

The former City Council member and state legislator, right, collected $51,381; Foster said he raised about $25,000. Foster mailed his financial reports by Wednesday's deadline, but they were not yet available Friday morning with the city clerk. Nominal candidate Paul Congemi reported a $20 loan to his campaign.

Darden Rice, seeking the District 4 council seat, topped all council candidates with $25,375. Her opponent, Dr. David McKalip, raised $7,793.

District 2 council member Jim Kennedy collected $1,500. In District 8, Alex Duensing outraised William Hurley $1,967 to $590.

Injunction denied

A judge refused a request for an injunction on Wednesday that would have stopped four Pinellas County commissioners from voting on any future issues that come before the board.

Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge John Schaefer rejected arguments from a group of seven plaintiffs, who filed a lawsuit claiming that the commissioners had violated term limits, and therefore were serving illegally and should be barred from voting.

This should sound familiar. Another term limits case, brought by the same attorney, is also making its way through the courts. The suits target the same four commissioners: Karen Seel, Ken Welch, Susan Latvala and John Morroni.

Brought by a group of light-rail opponents, the lawsuit was filed days before the County Commission tentatively approved putting a sales tax increase to pay for rail and expanded bus service on the 2014 ballot.

The group also asked for an injunction to prevent the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority from spending public money on an educational campaign for the referendum. Rail opponents say the campaign, called Greenlight Pinellas, is biased in favor of light rail.

Schaefer said he would rule on the injunction request, and the county's petition to dismiss the suit, by the end of the month.

Quote of the week

County Commissioner John Morroni: "It's great to be here on the Norm Roche show!"

The commission held a budget forum on Wednesday night and, needless to say, some commissioners felt one of their colleagues did most of the talking.

Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow @markpuente on Twitter. Anna M. Phillips can be reached at [email protected] Follow @annmphillips on Twitter.

Comments
Trump says Cohen represented him in

Trump says Cohen represented him in "Stormy Daniels deal"

President Donald Trump acknowledged Thursday for the first time that his longtime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen represented him in efforts to silence Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who has alleged a sexual encounter with Trump more than a de...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
HUD Secretary proposes raising rent for low-income Americans receiving federal housing subsidies

HUD Secretary proposes raising rent for low-income Americans receiving federal housing subsidies

WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson proposed far-reaching changes to federal housing subsidies Wednesday, tripling rent for the poorest households and making it easier for housing authorities to impose work requirements.Ca...
Updated: 1 hour ago
VA nominee considers withdrawing as new allegations emerge of drinking, wrecking government vehicle

VA nominee considers withdrawing as new allegations emerge of drinking, wrecking government vehicle

WASHINGTON — White House physician Ronny Jackson has grown frustrated with the nomination process to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs and has told colleagues he may remove his name from consideration, two White House officials with knowledge o...
Published: 04/25/18
Sessions defends Trump pardons of Joe Arpaio, Scooter Libby

Sessions defends Trump pardons of Joe Arpaio, Scooter Libby

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday defended President Donald Trump’s right to pardon former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former Bush administration official I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Both pardons were issued by Trump and bypassed the ...
Published: 04/25/18
Seniors support ‘grandchildren’ with gun-control rally in Sun City Center

Seniors support ‘grandchildren’ with gun-control rally in Sun City Center

SUN CITY CENTER — Millions of women marched on Washington. Thousands of teenagers rallied in Tallahassee and Tampa Bay.And in Sun City Center, nearly 150 seniors held a demonstration for gun control on April 21, offering a simple but poignant message...
Published: 04/25/18

Sean Hannity, a Trump defender, under scrutiny for real estate deals

Atlanta Journal-Constitution (TNS)ATLANTA — On his Fox News program last summer, Sean Hannity effused praise for his guest, U.S. Housing Secretary Ben Carson. "I know you have done a good job," Hannity said. "You are a good man."Carson’s presence gav...
Published: 04/23/18
Having Cuba in the name of your company can be a financial risk and there is no solution

Having Cuba in the name of your company can be a financial risk and there is no solution

With the third largest Cuban American population, Cuba’s culture is celebrated throughout the Tampa Bay area and in a diversity of ways.Flags hang in homes, fashion is worn, music performed, food served.But be wary of honoring that heritage by puttin...
Published: 04/23/18
Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

WEST PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump said Saturday that he doesn’t expect Michael Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer and fixer, to "flip" as the government investigates Cohen’s business dealings. Trump, in a series of tweets fired from Florida o...
Published: 04/21/18

Vive la France: Trump hosts glitzy White House state dinner

WASHINGTON — Now it’s President Donald Trump’s turn to pull off the ultimate charm offensive. Wined and dined on multiple state visits during his tour of Asia last year, Trump is paying it forward and celebrating nearly 250 years of U.S.-French relat...
Published: 04/21/18
Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

The writer of the letter sounds hysterical. Perhaps a little desperate. And maybe that’s just who Marion Hammer is these days.Most of the world knows her as the take-no-prisoners maven of the National Rifle Association who directs Florida politicians...
Published: 04/21/18