08/28/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — A string of city workers, union officials and community members went before the City Council on Thursday to demand that the city do something about racial tension within its workforce.
"We have real issues here," said Robin Wynn, a stormwater worker who recently filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against the city for what she calls discriminatory treatment. "This city promotes institutional racism."...
08/28/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — City Council members said they are getting more comfortable with Mayor Rick Kriseman's proposed 2015 budget after a meeting Thursday to hash out details.
The council insisted on the special meeting a few weeks ago with hopes of not repeating last year's down-to-the-wire and sometimes-contentious budget hearings.
The first public hearing on the $216 million general fund budget is Thursday. ...
08/27/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Thomas Cavallaro was looking for certain things when he decided to move south from New York.
His new home needed to be walkable, have lots of amenities and be coastal. Downtown Tampa was a contender, but the pull of St. Petersburg's waterfront was stronger.
"I'm an urbanite," said Cavallaro, 66, who lives in a condo across the street from the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront. "I like this town a lot. I'm not embarrassed as a Manhattanite to bring my friends here."...
08/27/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — A consultant began conducting sensitivity training classes for employees in the city's stormwater and water departments this week, following recent reports of racial tension.
From now to October, the city plans to hold 16 such sessions to ensure all employees, from directors down, complete a four-hour course called "Unique Like You!"
Hundreds of staffers across the two departments will get the training, which costs the city $500 per class, said Chris Guella, director of human resources....
St. Pete employees get reminder about city's new vision after revelations about racial tension in some city departments08/22/14 Blog
ST. PETERSBURG | Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin issued a memo to all employees this week in the wake of stories in the Tampa Bay Times about racial tension among employees, most noticably in the Stormwater Department, where a white supervisor spray-painted the back of a black worker's back and made reference to the Klu Klux Klan.
Tomalin began her letter, which went out Thursday, by reminding people of the city's new vision, unveiled when Mayor Rick Kriseman's administration took office this year. One of the chief values, Tomalin said, is diversity and inclusiveness....
ST. PETERSBURG | State Sen. Arthenia Joyner and state Rep. Janet Cruz are expected to endorse University of South Florida St. Petersburg professor Judithanne McLauchlan for the Senate District 22 seat currently held by Republican Jeff Brandes.
The Democratic lawmakers are making it official Saturday at the "Diversi-Tea" event at the Manhattan Casino, hosted by Business and Professional Women/St. Petersburg-Pinellas. The event is aimed at celebrating the 9th Amendment....
08/22/14 Local Government
Former St. Petersburg police Chief Goliath Davis III opposes a proposed change to the city charter that would protect council members from being removed from office for voicing their opinion on mayoral appointments.
Davis, writing in the Weekly Challenger, urged residents to vote against the change on Nov. 4.
Supporters of the charter change are unhappy with Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to select Clearwater police Chief Tony Holloway as the city's new chief, Davis wrote....
Let's do an experiment. Everyone, put your hand in your pockets.
They're empty, right?
Yea, so are ours. That's why we're happy to hear about this bit of news, passed onto us by Deal Diva friend Katherine Snow Smith, who tracks all the new businesses coming to town.
On Sept. 4, the Tampa Bay area is getting another resale/trade shop. Think along the lines of Plato's closet, Revolve, etc. Discount used clothes with the option to bring your old ones to the counter for some cash....
08/20/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — City officials say they are taking multiple steps to address issues in the Stormwater Department in the aftermath of a black city worker's claim that his white boss spray-painted "KKK" on his back, and a subsequent investigation that unearthed serious racial friction among employees.
Employees will undergo sensitivity training, and the city will seek an outside group to conduct a formal climate survey, said city spokesman Ben Kirby....
08/16/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The long-sleeved shirt is orange, and stained with dirt and sweat and accusations.
It's been wrapped in a clear plastic bag, sitting in a city storage room for months.
Stretched across the shoulders on the back, "STORMWATER" is printed in big, black block letters.
The white letters are sprayed over that. If you look closely, you'll see the outline of what appears to be a "K," with a vertical line next to it, and then a third white smear. Similar white splotches are more pronounced on an accompanying safety vest....
Ladies, let's talk.
A couple weekends back, I flew away for a long weekend. It was lovely and a great escape. I got some much-needed rest, some quality hang-out time, and witnessed the nuptials of some dear friends. And while on a shopping trip with my sister, I decided to be a little adventurous.
We ducked into a Bath & Body Works because she needed something. I didn't have plans to get anything. I'm picky about what does go on my sensitive skin, and it's been years since I actually bought something for myself from there....
ST. PETERSBURG | Mayor Rick Kriseman made his first endorsement of this year's legislative election season, saying he supports University of South Florida St. Petersburg professor Judithanne McLauchlan for the Senate District 22 seat currently held by Republican Jeff Brandes.
The mayor and McLauchlan held a press conference Friday morning at Demens Landing park downtown....
08/05/14 Local Government
CLEARWATER — The rule for police chiefs, county administrators and other top government leaders tends to be a firm one: If you're going to work here, you need to live here.
But with rules come exceptions, and officials in Pinellas County are making some for what they say are the right hires.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is not making his new police chief Tony Holloway move to the city from Belleair, and Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne is not requiring Daniel Slaughter, who will be sworn in as chief of police on Thursday, to move to Clearwater from Trinity in Pasco County....
Let's go ahead and get this out of the way: This is not my typical outfit post.
You'll see no dress here, no fancy heels, no makeup. Just me, some jeans, a T-shirt. Deal with it, because this IS what I'm wearing today. I'm not on the clock today, and just got off a plane (just got back from -- wait for it -- a wedding!)
So cut me some slack, please. It can't be that bad, right?
Actually, the main part of my outfit -- pants and top -- are both new items to my closet. I got the grey jeans last month in San Francisco. They're those ubiquitous ones from Forever 21 -- you know the ones, They're like $5 or something. I needed them when my legs got a little chilly. They have just enough stretch to be comfy on long flights, trust me....
08/01/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — A little more than halfway through his first year in office, Mayor Rick Kriseman packs his days with as many staff briefings, community meetings and small business tours as possible.
He's still getting to know the pace of city bureaucracy, he said last week, but he's generally pleased with where things stand.
"It's been a whirlwind, but it's been energizing," he said....