Saturday, December 16, 2017
Politics

Westboro Baptist Church to protest outside RNC

TAMPA — If you thought the mix of protesters converging on next week's Republican National Convention was as combustible as it could get, think again.

The Westboro Baptist Church, notorious for its venomous protests against gays at military funerals, on Thursday received a permit to speak on a city-provided stage outside the convention. The Topeka, Kan., church is scheduled for half an hour at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The city is allowing groups to sign up for 30-minute turns on the platform, which comes with a microphone, a sound system and a location at a designated city protest area just north of Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Westboro's Shirley Phelps-Roper told the city the group would be "speaking on the policies of disobedience" of convention attendees. On its website, the church says it also plans to picket the media outside the Tampa Convention Center before it takes the stage and will return Wednesday to picket the convention outside the Times Forum. Then it's off to Charlotte, N.C., for a similar appearance at the Democratic National Convention.

Out-of-town officers arrive for RNC

Hundreds of law enforcement officers from across the state convened Friday at the University of South Florida for one more meeting about First Amendment issues, training and philosophy. Sheriff David Gee spoke at the gathering, which was closed to the public for security reasons.

Authorities have not released the exact number of law enforcement working the RNC, other than to confirm it is "approximately 3,000" officers. (Previously, city officials have put the number at more than 3,500.) All of those officers have arrived in Tampa, none deterred by the prospect of Tropical Storm Isaac hitting Florida — a scenario raised earlier this week.

Jessica Vander Velde, Times staff writer

The good news about Tropical Storm Isaac

One upside to the potentially rainy forecast: heat-related illnesses could be less of a problem for convention delegates, protesters and others who must be outside. Health officials preparing for the event have been blanketing everything from Twitter to the sides of buses with warnings to stay hydrated, seek shade and use mosquito repellent.

Doctors at walk-in and urgent care clinics in the area are being asked to monitor and report increased cases of heat illness, so emergency operations managers can place resources where they are needed most. But if Isaac brings only gray skies and moderate rain, it might not be so bad.

"If it's hot and sunny, we could be facing an overwhelming task," said Dr. Catherine Carrubba, mass casualty director for Tampa and Hillsborough County. "If it's overcast and raining, it won't be so bad. Either way, we're prepared."

Twitter users can go to @CityofTampa to get their convention health and heat information.

Irene Maher, Times staff writer

City needs donations of water and ice

Tampa officials appealed on Friday for additional donations of bottled water and bags of ice to keep police cool as they work the RNC.

"They are already going through what they have very quickly and their goal is to have an overabundance," Shannon Edge, city neighborhood and community relations manager, said in an e-mail appeal.

Starting Sunday, the Salvation Army is providing multiple semi-trailer trucks loaded with water for the RNC security forces and protesters.

To donate, e-mail Edge at [email protected]

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

Comments
CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases - including "fetus" and "transgender" - in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.Polic...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

A Democratic candidate hoping to flip a hotly contested congressional seat in Kansas has dropped out of the race after allegations that she sexually harassed a male subordinate resurfaced amid her campaign.Andrea Ramsey, 57, who was running to unseat...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Sometime soon, members of the Florida House will be asked to consider a potential solution for bullying in public schools. It’s a dubious idea based on the premise that students should flee their tormenter, and use voucher funds to attend a private s...
Published: 12/16/17
Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Updated: 4 hours ago
With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers on Friday secured enough votes to pass the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades, putting them on the cusp of their first significant legislative victory this year as party leaders geared up to pass a $1.5 trillion t...
Published: 12/15/17
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Published: 12/15/17
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Published: 12/15/17
Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

A federal judge Friday said a bail package has been put together that would release former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort from home confinement in his condominium in Virginia and allow him to reside at his house in Palm Beach Gardens, but unde...
Published: 12/15/17
The meta-soap opera of Omarosa Manigault’s White House exit

The meta-soap opera of Omarosa Manigault’s White House exit

WASHINGTON — As the spooling drama of Omarosa Manigault Newman’s White House departure spun into its 36th hour, Washington began asking itself: "Does it actually matter whether Omarosa quit or was fired?"Dumbest story ever," tweeted John Harwood, the...
Published: 12/15/17
Know your candidates: Florida State House | District 58

Know your candidates: Florida State House | District 58

A hard-fought Republican primary ended with the nomination of Lawrence McClure in October during a whirlwind special election cycle to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, who is stepping down for health reasons. The GOP winner faces face three less wel...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17