Sunday, June 24, 2018
Politics

Tampa strip club king Joe Redner considers running for political office again

Good news on the local election front (unless you happen to be a candidate): Joe Redner is seriously considering another run for office.

Tampa's strip club king — and recent haunter of Congress with his beer-brewing rock star of a son Joey on a beer tax issue — sounds feisty following his battle into remission from Stage 4 lung cancer. At 72, he is fiery Joe again, and checking the newspaper for who's running where.

"I wouldn't mind running against Ronda Storms," he says when I mention the fire-and-brimstone former state senator as a for-instance, since she is also rumored to be considering a run. "I would have no problem with that."

City Council? County Commission? Not mayor — Bob Buckhorn, once Joe's nemesis over that rule to keep dancers and customers 6 feet apart, is to Joe's eye doing "a hell of a job." He also likes Mary Mulhern, a City Council member who wants to be a county commissioner. And what's the point of running against someone who would vote like him? "I want to be able to change something," says Joe.

He's run a bunch of times, one City Council loss often attributed to his offer of free admission to his Mons Venus strip club with an I-Voted sticker. That one got national press. Joe admits the mistake, even if he still sounds a little surprised by its backlash. So bring it on. We can only hope the city's best-known rabble-rouser, nose-thumber and kicker of shins will revive that campaign ad of him wrapped in the American flag with the slogan: My Name Is JOE REDNER, and I am NOT for sale.

Tallahassee? That "big old-boys' club up there," he muses, all that special interest money …

"They need somebody up there with a loud mouth," he says.

Speaking of people we miss, credit the scoop on the latest piquing of Joe's political interest to former longtime local TV news guy Warren Elly, when Joe was his guest on a recent call-in WMNF radio show.

• • •

When a politician reverses course, some call it flip-flopping and others simply evolving. Just this week came a big one when U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson saw the light on gay marriage.

Over at the Hillsborough School Board, where apparently they have not had enough dubious headlines lately, members voted this week to make it harder for the public to find out about teachers and other school employees in trouble.

Before, names of employees facing suspension or termination were posted on the board's online agenda before the meeting. This meant any parent or interested party could know who was in hot water and find out why before it hit the meeting. But the board voted 5-2 to no longer post online. Never mind Pasco and Pinellas make it easier for the public to know what's going on. Never mind making public matters more private tends to breed politics and other nefarious business.

A surprising vote for this came from Chairwoman April Griffin, who is running for County Commission (risking being dubbed the against-transparency candidate). After reflection this week, Griffin said she was acting out of concern for employees, but her vote was a mistake. "I recognize we need to have another conversation about this," she said. And hopefully another vote, this one for the public's right to know.

Comments
Why a small-town restaurant owner asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave - and would do it again

Why a small-town restaurant owner asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave - and would do it again

LEXINGTON, Va. - Stephanie Wilkinson was at home Friday evening - nearly 200 miles from the White House - when the choice presented itself.Her phone rang about 8 p.m. It was the chef at the Red Hen, the tiny farm-to-table restaurant that she co-owned...
Updated: 6 hours ago
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...
Published: 06/22/18
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