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Published Jul. 2, 2010

Updated: Dems replace Dingfelder with Dingfelder, squabble over headquarters

With no debate, Hillsborough County Dems chose former Tampa City Council member John Dingfelder to replace himself on the ballot in the District 1 County Commission race. Dingfelder withdrew from the race on Tuesday, hoping to avoid a lawsuit by the local GOP challenging his ability to run in the race because he missed a deadline to file resign-to-run papers with the Supervisor of Elections.

While the selection of Dingfelder was a show of party unity, tensions flared at the meeting when party chair Pat Kemp reminded folks of the grand opening of the headquarters at 6420 N. Central Ave. scheduled for July 8 at 6 p.m. That prompted party member Mark Beiro to ask how much the party was paying for the space. Kemp refused to answer, saying discussion of the rent wasn't on the agenda (even though she allowed a lengthy off-agenda discussion of the county mayor initiative, saying that was time sensitive) and Beiro missed the meeting when it was discussed. It's well known within the party that Kemp and Beiro's wife, Jackie, who is black, don't get along. Kemp refused to sign Jackie Beiro's petition in her run for Supervisor of Elections. Beiro eventually withdrew from the race, and sitting supervisor Earl Lennard, a Republican, walked into the post without opposition. As Mark Beiro pressed Kemp to answer the rent question, she cut him off while members of the party's black caucus urged her to answer. After the meeting adjourned, Kemp told Beiro the rent would be $1,000 a month, and he said that price sounded fine to him. But he used the opportunity to lash out at Kemp. "This committee has done a lot to ostracize many of its members by its attitude," Beiro said. Dianne Hart, also a member of the black caucus, agreed that Kemp should have just answered the question. "That was rude and uncalled for. The man asked a simple question," she said. "We've got to respect each other."

Update: John Dingfelder today officially qualified for the District 1 Hillsborough County Commission race. He's still likely to face a legal challenge from the GOP, though. They still want him off the ballot.

Janet Zink, Times Staff Writer

Posted by tampabaycom at 11:01:24 AM

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SPC president Bill Law says he was wrong about Seminole campus

SEMINOLE -- Bill Law, the new president of St. Petersburg College, went to last week's City Council meeting to formally introduce himself and pledge continued cooperation with the city.

Mayor Jimmy Johnson said that Jim Olliver, the provost of SPC's Seminole campus, provided a five-page bio of Law to read as an introduction before the speech. But, Johnson said, "I cut it down to one paragraph."

Law, who lived in the Seminole area when he worked at SPC in the 1980s, said he was glad to come home and reminisced about trick or treating and jogging in the neighborhood. He also spoke of the time before there was a Seminole SPC campus.

Law said he told people, "That Seminole property, that's a white elephant."

Trying to develop it, he said, would create fights and arm wrestling. Instead, the city government and the college formed a partnership and created a complex that includes a shared library, among other things.

"That may be the thing I was most wrong about in my career," Law said of his original assessment.

-- Anne Lindberg, Times Staff Writer

Posted by Times Editor at 12:45:04 PM

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Meet the candidates tonight

ST. PETERSBURG -- Those wanting to meet the candidates running for local and state office are in luck.

The S. Pinellas 912 Patriots, a member of the American Tea Party movement, is hosting a candidate meet and greet at Tucson's Southwest Grille, at 13563 Icot Boulevard in Clearwater tonight. The event is at 6 p.m. Registration is at 5:30 p.m. Candidates will be given time to address the audience. A moderator will ask candidates questions written by audience members.

Here's a list of the candidates and which ones organizers thing will be attending:

U.S. House of Representatives

Eddie Adams yes

Tony Buntyn yes

Tom Castellano yes

Kathy Castor (Incumbent) ?

Tim Curtis yes

Mike Prendergast yes

County Commissioner District 2 at large

Cal Harris yes

Dale Wade Johnston yes

Greg Pound ?

Norm Roche yes

County Commissioner District 4

Beverly Billaris yes

Carl Folkman yes

Bob Hackworth possible

Susan Latvala ?


Rick Scott yes

School Board District 2 at large

Fonda Huff yes

Terry Krassner yes

School Board District 3 at large

Greg Hunsinger yes

Peggy O'Shea yes

School Board District 6

Brian Hawley ?

Linda Lerner yes

School Board District 7

Keisha Bell ?

Jim Jackson yes

Lew Williams yes

Posted by Times Editor at 03:47:45 PM