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News on the Aug. 27-30 convention

St. Petersburg and Tampa come to terms on RNC security spending

St. Petersburg and Tampa have reached an agreement on police expenses for Republican National Convention activities later this month.

Tampa is getting a $50 million federal grant to pay for extra police personnel and convention-related security purchases such as police gear, vehicles and communications equipment.

While Tampa has agreed to reimburse St. Petersburg for police expenses related to the Aug. 26 kickoff party at Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg officials Thursday wouldn't release details or the amount of money involved, citing national security reasons.

Over the past seven months, however, Tampa City Hall has detailed how it is spending more than $40 million of the grant on everything from police salaries to radio and camera systems to myriad equipment expenditures. Both cities planned to sign the agreement by the end of this week, and it is expected to go the Tampa City Council on Thursday.

The deal allowed the St. Petersburg City Council to finally ratify an Event Zone ordinance so police can control areas around the stadium and other parts of downtown from Aug. 26 to Sept. 1. Council members Steve Kornell and Wengay Newton voted no.

The vote came several weeks after the council expressed concerns about passing the ordinance before Tampa agreed to reimburse the expenses for the Tropicana Field event.

With 20,000 delegates, dignitaries and journalists expected to attend the welcome party, hundreds of officers will be needed to secure an Event Zone encompassing about 7.4 miles of downtown St. Petersburg.

GOP women get their own space near RNC

Mary Anne Carter, former senior adviser to Gov. Rick Scott and now public policy director of the YG Network, is putting together a cool "Woman Up Pavilion" for the RNC in the Channel District area near the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The YG Network, founded and run by former Eric Cantor advisers, has 14,000 square feet in a former Chamber of Commerce space (right near Hooters). During the convention, the pavilion will be open 9 a.m. to midnight daily, featuring lectures and panel discussions, a coffee shop, vendors and a women's suffrage museum.

That's prime real estate located right where convention buses drop people, so it should see lots of traffic. Carter expects 1,500 or more people a day. On Aug. 29, the pavilion also will host a salute to women elected officials.

— Adam C. Smith, Times political editor

Make that Professor Newt Gingrich

He hasn't been selected to speak at the RNC, but former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich plans to be busy at the convention. Gingrich will teach a series of workshops that Mitt Romney's campaign calls "Newt University," according to the New York Times. No word on the curriculum, exams or school mascot.

St. Petersburg and Tampa come to terms on RNC security spending 08/09/12 [Last modified: Thursday, August 9, 2012 10:55pm]
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