All of America wants to claim its little piece of the Jack Abramoff affair. Some think thats because its the most egregious example of the cynicism and selling of Capitol Hill ever. We prefer to think it is because of the sinister black Borsalino Jack wore on his head when he pleaded guilty. Lost in the influence shuffle is Tampa Bays connection to the Prince of Peddling: the SunCruz Casino boat that has sailed out of Pinellas beach locations for years. Abramoff and a business partner were indicted in Fort Lauderdale on wire fraud and conspiracy charges related to their purchase of the gambling fleet. The guy they bought the business from was later killed execution-style. That sucks. Almost as much as being sentenced to more than five years in prison and fines of $21 million.
After being named to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in early July, the Devil Rays ace-in-waiting celebrated by shutting down the Red Sox. The lefty pitched a complete game, allowed just two hits and struck out 10 (and seemed to especially befuddle MVP candidate David Ortiz). Oh, and the Rays won 3-0, back before the team went into the post-All Star Game dumper, when Kaz looked like a Cy Young candidate.
Its not that the notion of opening up Tampas long-neglected waterfront is a bad thing. Its just that Mayor Pam Iorios pet project a $40 million Riverwalk that will run from near the Forum to the pending Tampa Heights redevelopment seems designed to disappoint. The sections of it that are already built are boring as hell. The entire walkway will be underserved by retail and restaurant establishments. And it doesnt really connect any place where there are lots of people to anywhere they might want to go. Oh, and lets not forget the wonderfulness of walking along the river in Tampas summertime swelter?
Sure, California has eBay and Apple, and Washington state can lay claim to uber-tech evil empire Microsoft, but the Bay area has its own cyberspace heavyweight. Would you believe that Internet darling Wikipedia was created by a guy living in St. Pete? An online open-source encyclopedia (that means anyone can edit it), Wikipedia was created by burg resident Jimmy Jimbo Wales in 2001. Since then, Wikipedia has become an Internet phenomenon and Wales has kept it local, setting up the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation (which oversees the operation of Wikipedia and off-shoots like Wikiquote and Wikibooks) in St. Petersburg. Up next for Wales is the for-profit Wikia, Inc., based out of California. Hey, even new-technology brainiacs have got to earn a living somehow. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Wales.
In between firing its attorney to cover its members own ethical lapses and opening the Brandon-downtown Tampa Collapseway, the braintrust over at the Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority came up with a new scheme: building a four-county toll road from northern Manatee County, through eastern Hillsborough, Pasco and finally northern Pinellas. Environmentalists immediately raised the specter of more sprawl. Media reports pointed out that board members and powerful supporters own land near the proposed route, which would enhance its value. The Hillsborough County Commissions reaction when asked to fund preliminary studies for the Sprawlway: Bring it on!!
Were not big fans of the guy kicking us out of the bar after last call. Sure, Derek means it when he tells you to drink up and get out, plus hes got the burly, intimidating exterior that any good bouncer should have but Derek clears the bar with finesse, making it seem like its the right thing to do.
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Anyone who ever read Lee DeCesare Drurys acerbic and convoluted column in the trilingual La Gaceta weekly knows that she had it in for the folks over at the Hillsborough schools. She was a constant critic of doings over the school board central. But when she intimated that some administrators got their jobs through the casting room couch, Superintendent Elia had enough. During a meeting withLa Gaceta publisher Patrick Manteiga, Elia complained about the tone and accuracy of Drurys columns and reminded Manteiga of the school districts long business relationship (it spends tens of thousands on advertising). Shortly thereafter, Drury tendered her resignation. Fortunately, Manteiga was able to replace her with the equally loopy Andrea Brunais.
A quirk in the system of electing school board members in Pinellas pitted these two incumbents against each other in this months primary election. Bostock, whos supported by the Republican Partys right wing, is a fan of Pinellas School Superintendent Clayton Wilcox; Russell a maverick board member who has trouble holding her tongue thinks he stinks on ice. Bostock won the race easily, but the feline ferocity was fun to watch.