05/22/15 Public Safety
TAMPA — A federal review of the Tampa Police Department's enforcement practices as it relates to bicycle laws and other traffic infractions is set to begin next week, officials said Friday. Investigators are expected to be on site at least two days, Tampa police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said, though it could be months before their work is complete. City officials requested the review following a Tampa Bay Times investigation that found that Tampa police issue more bike tickets than any other agency in Florida, and that eight out of 10 go to blacks in predominantly poor neighborhoods. In addition to data analysis, officials also plan to bring in various experts in criminology, police training and statistics to assess Tampa's situation....
ST. PETERSBURG | When officials set out to hear residents' thoughts on the 2016 budget earlier this month, they learned about concerns of gentrification.
At the second forum, held Wednesday night at the Enoch Davis rec center, the people had a different worry: city employees' wages.
In his draft budget now, Mayor Rick Kriseman is proposing 2 percent raises for staffers....
ST. PETERSBURG — The officers showed up at the ranch-style home near Northeast High School on Sunday evening knowing things could go bad.
Police files were full of warnings — about weapons, about past domestic incidents, about how officers should "use caution."
The first officer took one side of the taupe-colored house. Two others approached from a different direction. They were searching for Austin Goodner, an 18-year-old linked to a shooting earlier in the day....
Remember when we were kids and our job was to literally color within the lines? Ah, the days of crayons.
I'm convinced its that tinge of nostalgia, plus just ease of use, that has me in love these days with crayon-shaped beauty tools. Can you blame me?
Consider this. I'm not a makeup maven, but I want to look presentable, professional and not like a 12-year-old girl playing in her mom's bathroom....
05/14/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — In their first public chance to assess Mayor Rick Kriseman's draft budget on Thursday, City Council members mostly nibbled around the edges of the $221 million fiscal pie.
During a marathon seven-hour workshop on the day-to-day operating budget, members questioned a 9 percent spike in health care costs, a $3 million increase in the police budget and the lack of more money for youth programs....
05/14/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Earlier this spring, Mayor Rick Kriseman announced a plan to buy the city's only African American history museum, ending months of controversy over its future.
An offer is now officially on the table.
According to a draft agreement, the city is willing to spend $663,000 to acquire the museum at 2240 Ninth Ave. S.
Before the deal can close, it must be approved by the City Council and the board of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which owns the building that houses the museum. ...
05/11/15 Public Safety
TAMPA — It's unclear when federal officials will begin a likely months-long review of the Police Department's longtime practice of ticketing mostly black people for bicycle violations.
Yet already, questions are swirling about their task.
City Council Chairman Frank Reddick said that in the weeks since the investigation was announced, people have contacted him concerned about whether the inquiry, which will be handled by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), is really a "full scale investigation from the Department of Justice."...
So, I know it's been a while since you guys last saw me. A big apology about that. Can we still be friends? Let's do that, and we'll start by me embarrassing myself for YOU.
Welcome to today's installment of My Outfit Monday. It's hours-late and I'm breaking all sorts of rules.
For starters, yes, it's Monday and yes I work in an office and yes these are jeans on my legs. CAN I LIVE? (Truth is, I forgot it was my turn but there was no way I could escape the stern look Deal Diva Katie gave me. She looks sweet but her peer-pressure game is on pointe.)...
04/30/15 Public Safety
TAMPA — Just after Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced the city's new police chief, representatives of social justice organizations gathered in a park across from police headquarters to once again demand officials suspend bike ticketing practices that have led to stark racial disparities.
The advocates said they are encouraged that the mayor tapped Assistant Chief Eric Ward to lead Tampa police after Chief Jane Castor retires next week....
04/22/15 Public Safety
The U.S. Department of Justice will review the Tampa Police Department's enforcement of bicycle laws after a Tampa Bay Times investigation found 79 percent of the agency's bike tickets go to black residents.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Wednesday that he and police Chief Jane Castor asked federal officials to review the program because their expertise can "bring clarity to us and to the community and may help evolve our current strategies."...
04/20/15 Public Safety
Tampa City Council Chairman Frank Reddick called Monday for an investigation into whether the Tampa Police Department is violating civil rights law with its long-standing practice of targeting poor, black neighborhoods for bicycle tickets.
Reddick said he wants police Chief Jane Castor and Mayor Bob Buckhorn to publicly answer questions about how officers are handing out tickets.
Reddick's call was in response to a Tampa Bay Times report on Sunday that revealed police have been using bicycle law as an excuse to stop, question and search riders in high-crime neighborhoods. ...
04/17/15 Public Safety
If the tickets are any indication, Tampa residents must be the lousiest bicyclists in Florida.
They don't use lights at night. Don't ride close enough to the curb. Can't manage to keep their hands on the handlebars.
In the past three years, Tampa police have written 2,504 bike tickets — more than Jacksonville, Miami, St. Petersburg and Orlando combined....
Ever wonder what it would be like to have a personal stylist? Here's your chance to try it out - for free!03/25/15 Blog
If you're reading this blog, you probably love to shop. And you know we love to shop. Yet as much fun as the process is (the hunt! the deals! The crying in the dressing room!), sometimes it's nice to have someone just do the work for you.
Which is what happened to me Monday night. Sort of.
It started when Tampa Bay Fashion Week guru Nancy Vaughn (White Book Agency) reached out to the Divas a little while ago and told us about a neat service being offered at International Plaza. This month, the mall booked a trio of stylists to give shoppers free styling sessions. They last for one or two hours and you can even get some other perks if you bring a friend....
Remember a month ago when it got cold for 2 seconds and we all freaked out? Ha. These days it seems as if spring skipped us altogether and was just like, "nah, let's just go to summer."
In short, it's been a little steamy lately. Even above average temps, according to the weather forecasters.
So now that it's hot, I'm back to my annual conundrum: to rock shorts or not....
03/10/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The city will try to purchase the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, quelling a controversy that has been brewing for months.
Mayor Rick Kriseman and Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin announced their intentions Tuesday at a news conference outside the small community museum on Ninth Avenue S near 22nd Street, an area in Midtown targeted for rejuvenation.
"The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American museum is not only an important cultural asset in this city but is also an important historical asset to this community," Kriseman told the crowd, which included residents and city officials. "This city has a keen interest in making sure it not only survives, but thrives."...