Thursday, November 23, 2017
Politics

St. Petersburg city staffers plan hurricane preparedness drill

RECOMMENDED READING


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
As rules change, many Florida immigrants face a choice: Do they stay or go?

As rules change, many Florida immigrants face a choice: Do they stay or go?

Lys Isma was born in Haiti, but she’s used to driving in Miami with a license, going to college and living without fear of being deported.The Florida International University biology student has lived in Florida since she was 9 months old. Undocument...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Top Trump staffers failed to file financial reports on their way out the door

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top aides — including chief of staff Reince Priebus and foreign policy adviser Sebastian Gorka — failed to file legally required financial reports after they were dismissed this summer, according to government re...
Updated: 9 hours ago
William March: Lee says lieutenant governor should work for a living and get a vote

William March: Lee says lieutenant governor should work for a living and get a vote

It’s an old joke that Florida’s lieutenant governor, with no duties specified in the state Constitution except to fill in if the governor is disabled or dies, has little to do except monitor the governor’s health. State Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, ...
Published: 11/22/17
Trump calls father of freed UCLA player an ‘ungrateful fool’

Trump calls father of freed UCLA player an ‘ungrateful fool’

Associated PressPALM BEACH — President Donald Trump started off his first day of Thanksgiving vacation by resuming his taunts of the father of a UCLA basketball player detained for shoplifting in China, saying Wednesday that he was an "ungrateful foo...
Published: 11/22/17
Trump speaks up for Moore, warns against his ‘liberal’ rival

Trump speaks up for Moore, warns against his ‘liberal’ rival

WASHINGTON — Silent for more than a week, President Donald Trump all but endorsed embattled Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore, discounting the sexual assault allegations against him and insisting repeatedly that voters must not support Moor...
Published: 11/22/17
Trump offers support for Moore in Alabama Senate race despite misconduct allegations

Trump offers support for Moore in Alabama Senate race despite misconduct allegations

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to offer support to Republican candidate Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race, saying the former state judge "totally denies" allegations that he sexually molested underage girls years ago."He d...
Published: 11/21/17
Before budget ax fell, Visit Florida executives ran up hefty travel bills

Before budget ax fell, Visit Florida executives ran up hefty travel bills

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott’s tourism chiefs at Visit Florida spend a lot of public money taking trips to exotic places to promote Florida as a top worldwide destination.Four former top-level staff members at the state’s tourism promotion and its c...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
2nd woman accuses Sen. Al Franken of inappropriate touching

2nd woman accuses Sen. Al Franken of inappropriate touching

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A second woman has accused Minnesota Sen. Al Franken of inappropriate touching.Lindsay Menz tells CNN that Franken placed his hand on her bottom as they posed for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010, two years into Fran...
Published: 11/20/17
Senator Nelson on tax reform bill: Small business will ‘get it in the neck.’

Senator Nelson on tax reform bill: Small business will ‘get it in the neck.’

TAMPA — A week ahead of the expected vote on a controversial tax reform bill, U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., visited Tampa to deliver a message to small businesses: This bill will hurt you."Small businesses are the economic engine of F...
Published: 11/19/17
Updated: 11/20/17
As clock ticks on tax bill, White House signals a compromise

As clock ticks on tax bill, White House signals a compromise

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said Sunday that the White House is willing to remove a contentious provision taking aim at the Affordable Care Act from the GOP tax overhaul plan if politically necessary, a move ...
Published: 11/19/17