Saturday, June 16, 2018
News Roundup

The Buzz: St. Petersburg council had plenty of reading on flight to Boston

Memory loss

St. Petersburg's City Council has amnesia.

After six members returned last week from a hobnobbing trip to Boston, the group approved a $4.7 million contract to move forward with replacing the Pier.

The entire project is estimated at $50 million. Cue the memory loss.

Only a day before leaving for Boston, six council members each received about 900 pages of documents loaded with technical terms on the project.

The same group lambasted city staffers in October for giving them reams of documents days before voting voted on costly projects.

Nothing was said about the data dump before the vote.

St. Petersburg's number of the week

With the city's primary 260 days away, a pack of mayoral and council candidates are quietly laying the groundwork to battle Mayor Bill Foster and four council members. The primary falls on Aug. 27; the general election, Nov. 5.

Foster is expected to again seek the job he fantasized about while walking the halls of Northeast High School in the early '80s.

With four council seats up for grabs, competition is expected to be fierce. At least two new faces will be added to the eight-member group.

Incumbents Karl Nurse (District 6) and Jim Kennedy (District 2) will seek re-election. Term limits have Leslie Curran (District 4) and Jeff Danner (District 8) contemplating challenging Foster. Both are in the "undecided" stage.

A primary could test Curran and Danner's long friendship.

Expect a wave of candidates to announce their campaigns after New Year's. The qualifying period runs June 11 through 24.

Party politics

After the beating that Republicans took in Pinellas County in November, it should come as no surprise that there's about to be some turnover in local party leadership. But Pinellas GOP chairman Jay Beyrouti says he was planning to move on anyway. It's been four years and "I just believe you don't monopolize leadership," he said.

Beyrouti will not seek re-election Monday, when the executive committee meets to vote on its new board. In line to replace him is Michael Guju, right, a Palm Harbor real estate lawyer who has been the local vice chairman for the past four years.

But simply because others have not announced their intentions doesn't mean he'll go unchallenged. Any executive committee member can be nominated from the floor, introducing the potential for some Monday night drama.

Guju, 53, said he wants to bring updated technology and outreach approaches to the Grand Old Party.

He'd also like to take back those four seats — two on the Pinellas County Commission, two in the state Legislature — that Republicans lost in November.

Two "bright spots," he said: state Rep. Kathleen Peters and state Sen. Jeff Brandes.

"And we have a majority of the County Commission seats." (That's hardly new. Republicans have had a majority on the County Commission for decades.)

Pinellas Democrats re-elected chairman Mark Hanisee on Wednesday night, probably on the condition that he not sing Happy Birthday to anyone ever again after that election-night sing-along in honor of Commissioner Janet Long's birthday.

Take your time …

Former Pinellas Commissioner Neil Brickfield lost his re-election bid a month ago and he has already found a new job. Just don't ask him what it is.

"I'm going to put out a press release," he said last week. "It'll explain the whole thing."

In the meantime, he's steadily progressing through the stages of grief.

"Step one: Accept reality," he said. "Check."

"Step two: Figure out how to go out and support my family."

Check?

Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente. Anna M. Phillips can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8779.

260

Comments
They fled Puerto Rico with their possessions, which they lost last week in an apartment fire

They fled Puerto Rico with their possessions, which they lost last week in an apartment fire

RIVERVIEW — It was the most routine of errands, shopping for a cooler and some shorts.Joel Jaca and Arelys Gomez, both 40, had turned an important corner, miles away from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.They had finally gotten out of their relief hotel...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

The Rays are still talking, as they should, about playing for something this season. The reality is that almost every move they've made, going back to the end of last season, and in some cases further, has been about 2019 and beyond.Clearing out vete...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

NEW YORK — Kevin Cash was not going to go all Lou Piniella on his Rays, raging and ripping and roaring over their latest mess, a 4-1 Saturday loss to the Yankees that didn't feel that close.Which is too bad because Piniella, the volcanic former...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 2 hours ago
Mazzaro’s Italian Market closed after Friday night warehouse fire

Mazzaro’s Italian Market closed after Friday night warehouse fire

ST. PETERSBURG — Mazzaro’s Italian Market will be closed throughout the weekend after a warehouse fire broke out Friday.A St. Petersburg Police officer noticed smoke coming from the market at 22nd Ave. N around midnight Friday, said St. Petersburg F...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Catholic diocese celebrates 50 years in Tampa Bay and forges plan for the future

Catholic diocese celebrates 50 years in Tampa Bay and forges plan for the future

ST. PETERSBURG — At his installation as spiritual leader of Tampa Bay’s Catholics, Bishop Gregory Parkes promised to take time to get to know his people, listen to what they had to say and work to discern a plan for the future.On Sunday, 17 months la...
Updated: 3 hours ago
A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

TAMPA — Loueita Hargens had known for years how her son Bradley Dykes would die. She had seen him cycle through drugs of choice, had lost track of the number of times he’d wound up in the hospital or prison.A recovering alcoholic herself, she cut him...
Updated: 4 hours ago
AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

Since 2002, the AP World History course has covered thousands of years of human activity around the planet, starting 10,000 years back. But now the College Board, which owns the Advanced Placement program, wants to cut out most of that history and st...
Updated: 5 hours ago
A woman went to check her corn - and was swallowed by a python

A woman went to check her corn - and was swallowed by a python

For the second time in barely more than a year, an Indonesian villager has been swallowed whole by a python.Wa Tiba, 54, left her home on Muna island to visit her cornfield on Thursday night, according to the Jakarta Post.The field was about a half m...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Climate change is moving fish around faster than laws can handle, study says

Climate change is moving fish around faster than laws can handle, study says

Fish don’t follow international boundaries or understand economic trade agreements. Different species live in regions all over the globe. If that wasn’t complicated enough, they also migrate as they age."It’s like trying to raise cattle when you’ve t...
Updated: 9 hours ago