1. Archive


A week of boating and beach-going lies ahead for this commentary scribbler, but there is a bounty of unanswered questions worthy of exploration in the meantime.

Such as:

- How come nobody gave me a vuvuzela for Father's Day?

- Since the Tampa Bay Rays say they need a new place for a Major League Baseball stadium, how long before Commissioner Jack Mariano offers up Arthur F. Engle Memorial Park in Hudson?

- Do the extended machinations over a proposed sportsplex remind anyone of Charlie Daniels Western World?

- Shouldn't a commitment to better recycling entail more than recycling the tired platitudes of supposed support for such an initiative?

- How much is the closed west Pasco jail worth if Ken Littlefield sets the value?

- Should environmental activist Clay Colson campaign as the fiscal conservative in District 2 county commission race? By switching from the Democratic Party to no party affiliation, Colson cut his filing fee by one-third. The cost to qualify as a major party candidate was $4,831.26. Colson paid just $3,220.84 to appear on the November ballot against the winner of the Republican primary.

- Think the Rays are paying attention to this? Near Arthur F. Engle Memorial Park sits the Mike Fasano Hurricane Shelter, which should be the scene of a fall grand opening for the Premier Community Health Care Group Inc. The group will serve the needy via a health clinic contained within the shelter.

- Is it worth it? Here's what's at stake if Pasco County were to consider a ban on right-of-way solicitors: Pasco County Firefighters IAFF Local 4420 raised $43,485 via collections at intersection boot drives in May to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The new soliciting ban in St. Petersburg prohibits such fundraising.

- Getting schooled on the power of incumbency? Twelve people are seeking three open spots on the Pasco School Board, but nobody challenged incumbent Allen Altman for his District 1 seat.

- Hudson Rays?

- Think Teleflora and the Pasco Democratic Party might hook up to add Election Day to the list of flower-sending holidays like Valentine's Day and Mother's Day?

- Can you have shift-work disorder and restless-leg syndrome simultaneously?

- Who knew democracy was so tough to navigate? This happened north in Hernando County, but it's worth repeating here since it involved David Russell, now a Hernando commissioner, but a former state legislator whose district included a northern sliver of Pasco County.

Russell was up for re-election on the commission. On Friday, June 18, the deadline to qualify as a candidate, businessman and government critic Joseph Lemieux went on a live radio show and announced his intention to challenge Russell. Lemieux then went to the Hernando supervisor of elections office shortly before noon with $2,400 in cash to pay the filing fee. One little problem - the office can't accept cash and Lemieux hadn't bothered to open a campaign bank account. Undaunted, he attempted to qualify as a write-in candidate, but didn't have enough time to complete the paperwork by noon. Russell won re-election without opposition.

"The whole system sucks,'' Lemieux told Times staff writer Barbara Behrendt.

- Bayonet Point Rays?

- The District 12 state Senate race - the seat now held by term-limited Victor Crist - features four candidates - two Republicans and two write-ins. The presence of the write-in candidates lets the Republicans - 42,000 of them reside in the Pasco side of the district - determine the next state senator, while prohibiting 70,000 Democrats, minor party members and independents in Pasco County from voting in the race.

Wouldn't it be nice if the Democratic Party could disenfranchise write-in candidates?

- Less rockets red glare on July Fourth? Pasco County approved 33 permits for temporary sales of fireworks in roadside tents, a more than 50 percent decline from five years ago.

- Fivay Rays?

- If I get a vuvuzela for my birthday, can I exchange it for a cowbell?