07/19/17 Human Interest
TAMPA — For 106 years, Memoria in Aeterna, a monument to Confederate soldiers, has stood in downtown Tampa as a reminder of the city's Southern roots and, for many, a history of slavery and oppression.
But on Wednesday, after 31/2 hours of impassioned pleas from the public and contentious debate from the dais, Hillsborough County commissioners voted 4-2 to remove the statue from its home outside the old county courthouse....
07/18/17 Human Interest
TAMPA — As they prepare to vote again today on the fate of Tampa's Confederate monument, a majority of Hillsborough County commissioners now say they support removing it from its downtown location.
Still to be decided is where to put it. But one potential hurdle, the cost of relocating the statue, has been taken care of: A prominent Tampa lawyer has volunteered to cover those expenses, likely to top $100,000....
TAMPA — A private cemetery somewhere in Hillsborough County is willing to take Tampa’s Confederate monument if commissioners vote Wednesday to remove it.
The cemetery doesn’t want to be named at this time, Commissioner Victor Crist said, but its board unanimously voted to take it and display it on their grounds.
Crist, who approached the cemetery with the idea, said it’s a 12-acre site that opened in 1911, the same year that officials unveiled Memoria en Aeterna in downtown Tampa. According to Crist, some Civil War veterans are buried there in family plots....
TAMPA — Nine months ago, the Museum of Science and Industry hired Julian Mackenzie to turn around that institution's finances. Now it wants him to turn around the entire museum.
The museum, known as MOSI, named Mackenzie its new chief executive on Monday. The decision comes a month before MOSI shutters most of its 300,000-square foot building in north Tampa near the University of South Florida and prepares to reopen as a smaller museum in one wing of its campus....
07/15/17 Human Interest
TAMPA — There's a growing sense among Hillsborough County officials that it won't be long before Tampa's Confederate monument is moved from its downtown location, as long as there's somewhere to move it.
But County Commissioner Les Miller will believe it when he sees it.
"I've been down this road before where I heard something was going to happen and it didn't," Miller said. "I'll be encouraged when I see four votes in favor of moving."...
TAMPA — A deputy fire chief with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue is retiring in the midst of an investigation into suspected pay fraud in his department.
Newell "Chip" Branam will retire effective July 28, he informed the county on Friday. He and three shift commanders he oversees have been on paid administrative leave since June 14.
The county is investigating whether the shift commanders — Michael Guincho, Grant Preseau and Nelson Diez — falsified pay stubs when Branam was on vacation....
Once in favor of keeping Tampa's Confederate monument where it is, Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist now believes it will likely be moved.
Where the monument ends up remains in the air. But during an appearance Thursday on WMNF-FM 88.5, Crist said he expects the commission will soon find it a new home....
TAMPA — Once in favor of keeping Tampa's Confederate monument where it is, Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist now believes it will likely be moved.
Where the monument ends up remains in the air. But during an appearance Thursday on WMNF-FM 88.5, Crist said he expects the commission will soon find it a new home.
"It's realistic to say we're going to move this," Crist told WMNF show host Mitch Perry. "There are too many people out there that see pain and suffering when they look at this, and the board is receptive and sensitive to that."...
TAMPA — Once in favor of keeping Tampa's Confederate monument where it is, Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist now says its likely that it will be moved from its downtown location.
Where it will end up remains up in the air. But during an appearance Thursday on WMNF-FM 88.5, Crist said he expects the commission will soon find a new home for it....
TAMPA — Make that two local professional sports teams that want to see Tampa’s Confederate monument moved.
Responding to a question from the Tampa Bay Times, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers said in statement: “We support the removal of the Confederate memorial.”
“We do not believe it is a true and accurate depiction of the values that make Tampa such a great, progressive city,” the statement said....
The Tampa Bay Rays are in favor of removing a 106-year-old Confederate monument from its current location in downtown Tampa, the baseball team told the Tampa Bay Times on Friday.
It's a stance that Hillsborough County officials will be forced to consider, as it's no secret many of them want to see the Rays move to Tampa.
Responding to a Times inquiry, the Rays organization said in a statement that the team has "long supported and are committed to diversity and inclusion."...
07/06/17 Human Interest
TAMPA — One of the Hillsborough County commissioners who voted last month against removing a Confederate monument from downtown Tampa is now open to relocating it.
Commissioner Victor Crist said Wednesday he wants to move the statue to Oaklawn Cemetery, Tampa's oldest public burial ground and the final resting place of the city's pioneers, 13 mayors, Confederate soldiers and slaves....
TAMPA — The debate on Tampa’s Confederate monument isn’t over yet.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller will once again ask his colleagues to remove the statue from outside the old county courthouse at the board’s next meeting on July 19, he told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday.
Commissioners decided 4-3 last month to keep the monument in downtown Tampa, where it has stood since 1932. In the weeks since, Miller said he has seen a “major groundswell of people who want it removed” and he hopes at least one commissioner’s opinion has been swayed....
06/29/17 Public Safety
06/28/17 Local Government
Tampa Bay political leaders often tout taking a regional approach to solve the area's most pressing issues. But the challenge has been getting Hillsborough County and Pinellas County leaders together on the same page.
Or in this case, in the same room.
Pinellas County Commission Chairwoman Janet Long has been jockeying behind the scenes to schedule a joint meeting of both county commissions to discuss transportation and infrastructure problems — issues that cross county lines....