Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Politics

On bus ads, weird questions and gifts from the Glazers

So Hillsborough's transit agency initially refused to allow ads from the Florida Council on American-Islamic Relations on its buses because of worries this could promote a particular religion.

Some wondered if it was more about not liking a message that was Muslim-related. Maybe even anti-American, to some minds!

The ads, intended to challenge Muslim stereotypes and offer free legal advice regarding civil rights to people of any religion, say "Embracing Diversity at Work, Defending Civil Rights in the Community." Not a whole lot of religion in there, if you ask me, and not much to object to, either.

Even the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit staff recommended accepting the ads. But the board of directors voted 8-2 against it anyway.

So it was interesting to see an about-face this week when the board voted unanimously to accept those same ads, with talk of a confusing policy about what is a civil rights versus a religious organization under their ad policy.

But might it have had a little to do with a time-honored American tradition?

The last line in a letter to the transit agency from CAIR ended: "We hope we are able to reach an amicable solution to this matter without engaging in protracted litigation." How American is that?

Weird reporter question of the week: Penn State alum and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn was interviewed recently on a student-run blog called Onward State. Topics ranged from following Penn State lacrosse ("I was a walk-on and wasn't really a great lacrosse player," the mayor allowed) to Joe Paterno ("My family has known the Paternos for 85 years") to where he'd like his daughters to go to school ("Penn State").

Then the curveball:

If the mayor were a dinosaur, which one would he be? And no, I did not make that up.

A T. rex, he replied, "because it's in control of everything."

Buckhorn later allowed this was the only dinosaur he could immediately think of.

So a question from me: If he were a candidate for office after mayor, which one would it be?

Answer: He loves being mayor.

"I don't spend any time thinking about what's going to happen in six years — that will take care of itself. And if I don't have a body of work to make the case on, then it really doesn't matter," he said. "But as you know, I'm perfectly happy being the mayor."

Did you read that appalling story about how disabled people at Disney World will no longer go to the front of the line for rides?

According to an Associated Press report, that system was being abused, including a phenomenon of disabled "tour guides" who get paid to help the not-disabled skirt lines.

Who does that?

Instead, people will get FastPass-like tickets with a return time.

And by the way, Busch Gardens has been issuing similar "Virtual Queue Cards" with return times for disabled guests for seven years now.

And what a world, to have to think about such things.

All of the Bucs' remaining home games will be televised locally, headlines said this week.

Which, given the team's abysmal 0-3 start, could inspire the reply: Whaddaya, threatening us?

But that would be unkind, and so, go Bucs!

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