Friday, December 15, 2017
News Roundup

Sue Carlton: On partisanship, Scott's alligator hunt, and the strange world of the PTC

In the news of a Florida killer's execution postponed so Attorney General Pam Bondi could kick off her hometown fundraiser in Tampa, a detail stood out (besides the obvious).

Among assorted Republican muckety-mucks listed as hosting the event was Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. Who is most definitely a Democrat. And since Bondi tends to tilt as far right as Gov. Rick Scott and the tea party types, what gives?

Buckhorn told me his philosophy: "I'm a Tampanian first, I'm a mayor second, and followed by a long way I'm a partisan Democrat. I support people who are good for my city, irrespective of their political registration."

But aren't there stark political differences between the two?

"Clearly, Pam and I differ on a lot of issues, but she's been good to Tampa while she's been (in Tallahassee). She'll continue to be good to Tampa, and I can't turn my back on people who are good for my city."

For the record, "host" Buckhorn did not attend the controversial party, having both a port authority meeting and an uptown council meeting on his schedule.

Seriously, is Carl Hiaasen, author of improbably wacky tales involving Florida characters and the outrageous things they do to make a punch line of this state, secretly writing Gov. Scott's schedule?

This week's not-making-this-up news was the hasty cancellation of a Scott fundraiser in which attendees would have paid $25,000 each for a "private gator hunt." (Scott, who is most definitely Not From Here, presumably would have had to bone up on how to say things like, "git 'er done, boys!" for his day of stalking the saw grass with his well-heeled friends.)

Oh, where to begin. How did the governor plan to pull off enough state-required permits for those donors when a capped number of permits are handed out by random drawing? And is this really the let-them-eat-cornbread message, suggesting a lack of respect for what's interesting and iconic in this state, he wants to send?

So wiser heads prevailed, and gators were safe. But seriously, you can't make this stuff up.

Could yet another controversy fuel the idea of ending Hillsborough's Public Transportation Commission — that unique and controversial board that oversees the county's taxis, limos and tow trucks?

Among the criticisms have been that the PTC serves the interests of certain companies and thwarts competition. But wait, there's more. A former county commissioner sits in federal prison for a bribery scandal when he was PTC chair. The board's six-figure executive director — a guy who wrote his own job evaluations — quit after the disclosure that he moonlighted as a security guard while payroll records indicated he was working at the PTC or on sick time.

Because there's never a dull moment, this week Commissioner Les Miller quit the PTC in apparent frustration over how Commissioner Victor Crist runs meetings. (Another frequent poke: The PTC sometimes seems remarkably rule-free.)

But if you expect Miller to get behind a push to abolish the board, no. He still believes it's why taxis and limos are well-regulated for visitors.

Though, for the record, other towns manage to carry people around without the controversy machine that is the PTC.

Comments
Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. — As much as the Lightning has been rolling, it remembered how it lost twice last season to the Coyotes.That included blowing a one-goal third-period lead at home down the stretch, with Tampa Bay missing the playoffs by a point."You l...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Stephan Jiggetts’ 20 points lead USF basketball over Bethune-Cookman

Stephan Jiggetts’ 20 points lead USF basketball over Bethune-Cookman

TAMPA — USF used a 21-3 run midway through the second half en route to an 83-63 win over Bethune-Cookman on Thursday night before an announced 2,091 at the Sun Dome.The victory halted a four-game losing streak for the Bulls (5-6), who scored the last...
Updated: 3 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Dec. 14

Thursday’s scoreboardGirls soccerLargo 4, Boca Ciega 1
Updated: 3 hours ago
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he’s not leaving Congress soon

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he’s not leaving Congress soon

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he’s not leaving Congress anytime soon, trying to squelch rumors that he will walk away in triumph after the Republicans’ treasured tax bill is approved. Politico and the Huffington Post published re...
Updated: 4 hours ago
No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

No big deal for Rays at winter meetings, but it’s still coming

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Here’s the one thing we definitely know:Rays officials headed home from the winter meetings and back across I-4 Thursday without making deals to trade any of their bigger-name, higher-paid players. Not closer Alex Colome, not third...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

Tampa police seek ‘person of interest’ in Dec. 3 homicide

TAMPA — Police are seeking a "person of interest" who they believe has information about a Dec. 3 drive-by shooting that killed a 22-year-old man.Police are searching for Anan Motilal, 25. He stands about 5-foot-10 and weighs 180 pounds. He may have ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Thurs., Dec. 14, midday:97 796 8399e_SRit63724Thurs., Dec. 14, evening:37 731 1382e_SRit63276LottoWed., ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Pence to delay Mideast trip as tax deal nears vote

Pence to delay Mideast trip as tax deal nears vote

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence is delaying his weekend departure for the Middle East as Congress nears completion of a tax overhaul, his office announced Thursday. White House officials said Pence now plans to leave for Egypt on Tuesday so he...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Pinellas Park officer stuns middle school student with Taser

PINELLAS PARK — A school resource officer stunned a middle school student with a Taser while trying to break up a fight between her and another female student on Thursday, police said.Neither the Pinellas Park officer nor the students involved in the...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Senator: Comey’s remarks on Clinton probe heavily edited

Senator: Comey’s remarks on Clinton probe heavily edited

WASHINGTON — A draft statement former FBI director James Comey prepared in anticipation of concluding the Hillary Clinton email case without criminal charges was heavily edited to change the "tone and substance" of the remarks, a Republican senator s...
Updated: 5 hours ago