Saturday, June 23, 2018
Politics

Carlton: Pedestrian death rate does not surprise Tampa crusader

The news, if you are Tampa City Council member Frank Reddick, is not news. Daily reality, and part of the job of representing the city's poorer neighborhoods, yes. But not news.

Already we knew about the Tampa Bay area's grim distinction as one of the deadliest places in America to try to cross the street. But the latest headline put some eyebrow-raising numbers to it: Pedestrian deaths are nearly three times as likely to happen in Hillsborough County's most impoverished communities (and nearly twice as likely in Pinellas), according to a study by Governing magazine.

Even if you already figured that the neediest neighborhoods tend to get the short end of the stick, they are numbers you notice.

Reddick notices. He's at an impromptu roadside press conference on busy Hillsborough Avenue where two sisters were hit, one of them killed, trying to get to their high school. He's pushing for amenities other neighborhoods can take for granted, like city pools, where kids have fewer options.

Those deadly pedestrian numbers? "It's not new," he said, "primarily because the poor neighborhoods have been neglected by government for so long."

Hometown headlines back up the numbers: A mother pushing a stroller is hit and killed while walking along darkened 43rd Street. An 8-year-old dies after trying to get to a convenience store on the other side of busy Busch Boulevard. Hillsborough Avenue is the scene of a spate of pedestrian and bicycle wrecks.

While other neighborhoods clamor for bike lanes, speed tables and parking for nearby restaurants — and this week, worry that public art will block their water views — Reddick ticks off a wish list: Crosswalks. Sidewalks. Better lighting. All for places where people walk.

The good news in this?

Anyone who has watched Tampa grow up has seen a trend. The crumbling, crime-ridden housing projects where no child should grow up disappear. Sulphur Springs, where blight has long been part of the landscape, has the mayor's full attention. Crosswalks are planned for deadly stretches of road — too late for the past, but necessary for the future. The "Bright Lights, Safe Nights" program adds thousands of streetlights.

"Over the last decade or so, East Tampa has gotten significantly more," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "Granted, the needs are greater. There have been some historical imbalances over time I am trying to mitigate."

Neighborhood amenities like safe, well-kept parks and city pools matter, too. Pools, as it turns out, have been a line in the sand for Reddick.

First it was a badly needed one in Williams Park, then the historic, shut-down Cuscaden Park pool in Ybor City. Both times, Reddick indicated he might not vote for the city budget unless money for those pools was included.

Today, Williams Park is open. And just as another historic pool was about to reopen on monied Davis Islands — and what a photo that would have made alongside the shuttered one in less affluent Ybor City — Cuscaden was in the budget.

"A strong advocate for his district," Buckhorn said of Reddick. A necessary thorn in the side, too.

Lately, it's a lack of sidewalks near a school off Chelsea Avenue on Reddick's mind — a place no one wants to hear about in the kind of headlines we've gotten too used to around here.

Comments
Six candidates waltz into their seats as qualifying ends. The rest still have a fight

Six candidates waltz into their seats as qualifying ends. The rest still have a fight

Six local candidates across Tampa Bay — all county commissioners and city council members — effectively won their elections Friday by default: No one qualified to run against them.The rest still have a fight.Some will square off in an Aug. 28 primary...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Former Tampa police corporal qualifies as Democrat to run for Hillsborough sheriff

Former Tampa police corporal qualifies as Democrat to run for Hillsborough sheriff

TAMPA — A Democrat has officially joined the race for Hillsborough County sheriff.Gary Pruitt, a 50-year-old former Tampa police corporal who now works as director of security at a local mall, qualified Friday to challenge Republican Sheriff Chad Chr...
Published: 06/22/18
Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

So Hillsborough County commissioners — most of them, anyway — want voters to consider dropping political parties from certain elections, making those races nonpartisan instead.This would mean when you go to vote in those elections, you won’t know if ...
Published: 06/22/18
Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

NEW PORT RICHEY — A seasoned historic hotel renovator and operator is going to take a crack at getting New Port Richey’s city-owned Hacienda Hotel back into action. New Port Richey City Council members, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, u...
Published: 06/20/18
Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis stepped into a growing controversy over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, criticizing the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexican border and saying that "populism" and "creating psychosis" are not t...
Published: 06/20/18
Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Well, that didn’t last long.U.S. Army veteran Michael Sean McCoy filed to run as the Republican candidate in the State House, District 57 race just hours after incumbent State Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, announced he was stepping down.McCoy, who live...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bay’s most influential export. A smart, accomplished and powerful attorney making life-altering decisions on an international stage.But what of tomorrow? And the day after?When the story of President Donald Trump’s border...
Published: 06/19/18
‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

SEATTLE — The call came at mealtime — an anonymous threat demanding $5,000 or her son’s life. So Blanca Orantes-Lopez, her 8-year-old boy and his father packed up and left the Pacific surfing town of Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador and headed for t...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

WASHINGTON - As he prepared to visit Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to insist that Congress produce comprehensive immigration legislation, while anxious Republicans explored a narrower fix to the administration policy of se...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss legislation.Trump’s meeting late Tuesday afternoon with...
Published: 06/19/18