Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)


News on the Aug. 27-30 convention

RNC officials, media starting to arrive

TAMPA — Watch for activity downtown to pick up this week with the arrival of some GOP officials and media for pre-Republican National Convention meetings.

The convention's platform committee is scheduled to meet today and Tuesday at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina. The RNC's summer meetings will be Wednesday and Thursday at the Hyatt Regency Tampa, and convention meetings on rules and credentials are scheduled for Friday at the Hyatt.

The meetings are not open to the public.

Bikes will be allowed downtown, to a point

The Tampa Bay area has a terrible reputation as a place to be a pedestrian or to ride a bicycle, and traffic conditions during the RNC — 450 charter buses on the move, road closures, times of unusually high congestion, high-security motorcades, crowds of protesters and squads of police engaging each other on the streets — don't promise to make cycling any easier.

Still, city officials say it's okay to ride your bicycle to or around some areas of downtown Tampa during the RNC.

Off-limits will be roads closed to cars and trucks for the convention. That includes Ashley Drive and Morgan Street south of Jackson Street; Marion, Pierce and Jefferson streets south of Kennedy Boulevard, and virtually everything west of Meridian Avenue and south of Washington and Whiting streets.

"If you're riding a bike, the same rules apply," says police Capt. Lee Bercaw, who has worked on the RNC transportation plan, "Just keep north of Whiting or east of Meridian."

Commuters can get RNC traffic info

To help commuters, the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority has created a "Commuter Solutions" website — — with links to transportation information related to the convention.

The site has maps of available parking, planned road closures, transit detours and current traffic conditions. Want to carpool? Use the authority's free online ride-matching tool at tampabay

While main convention activities will be in downtown Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg, officials say commuters throughout the bay area could be affected by unplanned detours and road closures. Along with the website, the authority will post updates through Facebook and Twitter.

The site is designed to be viewable on any mobile device and also provides links to Florida's statewide 511 system, where users can find regional traffic alerts, and, which provides information on interstate construction projects.

Delegates can enroll in 'Newt University'

Former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich isn't getting a role on the stage at the RNC, but the convention said over the weekend that he will conduct workshops to support and expound on the messages of the convention.

Gingrich, a one-time college professor, will host "Newt University," a series of daily delegate workshops on the policy and U.S. history behind the GOP platform.

"The goal is to prepare the American people with the facts to dispel myths and misinformation," convention CEO William Harris said in announcing the program. "Speaker Gingrich is one of our party's most effective communicators, which is why he was asked to lead this effort."

Richard Danielson can be reached at, (813) 226-3403 or @Danielson_Times on Twitter.

RNC officials, media starting to arrive 08/19/12 [Last modified: Sunday, August 19, 2012 9:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Nick White's 'How to Survive a Summer' takes on homophobia at its worst


    Will Dillard's summer camp experience is a real horror movie.

  2. Senate leaders unveil bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act


    The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans, who have promised a repeal of the Affordable Care Act for seven years, took a major step on Thursday toward that goal, unveiling a bill to cut Medicaid deeply and end the health law's mandate that most Americans have health insurance.

    U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The bill's chief author, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has said "Obamacare is collapsing around us, and the American people are desperately searching for relief." [AP]
  3. Southwest Airlines to offer flights from Tampa to San Diego


    TAMPA — Southwest Airlines will offer new nonstop service from Tampa International Airport to San Diego International Airport beginning Jan. 8, 2018.

    Southwest Airlines is planning to launch service from Tampa to San Diego.
[Times file photo]
  4. The greatest coaches never to win it all


    As foregone conclusions go, some things are approaching the death-and-taxes stratosphere: summer humidity in Florida, a Kardashian seeking attention, and Mike Martin coming up short in Omaha.

    Florida State coach Mike Martin walks to the mound to talk to pitcher Cole Sands during the second inning of the team's NCAA College World Series baseball game against LSU Wednesday in Omaha, Neb. [AP photo]
  5. Tampa Bay homes values continue to rise along with sales prices

    Real Estate

    For the second month in a row, Tampa Bay had one of the highest year -over-year increases in home values in May, Zillow reported today.

    For the second month in a row, Tampa Bay had one of the highest year -over-year increases in home values in May, Zillow reported Thursday.
[Times file photo]