Best Of 2018

People, Places & Politics: Movers. Shakers. Scandal-makers and fun spots.

People, Places & Politics

In the not-too-distant future, plastic straws and bags may be largely banned in St. Pete. If that happens, you’ll have groups like the Rise Above Plastics Coalition to thank. While the St. Pete City Council consists of a majority of progressives, it takes local activism to help reach the community at large with a message about how much single-use plastics suck. While there are some barriers at the state level (i.e. the legislature’s efforts to block such local bans, though they’ve for now been overturned by courts), such bans would make St. Pete a leader in the movement to get us off single-use plastics. —KB

Directly in the wake of the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, students there did not hesitate to go to the media with their outrage over state and federal leaders’ inaction regarding guns. And though students in the Tampa Bay region may not have been in the line of fire, they were also incredibly pissed, and loudly expressed their frustration over having to do active shooter drills rather than, you know, actually living in a society in which mass shootings don’t happen — an idea that’s really just a few commonsense pieces of legislation away. So they organized walkouts, marches and rallies that attracted thousands. Will all this affect election outcomes and policy in the coming weeks and months? We won’t know for sure until Nov. 6 (hint, hint). @marchtampa. —KB

Every year, the Tampa Bay area/Florida in general has a multitude of stories we categorize under “this is why we can’t have nice things.” Well, the fiasco at the Florida State Fairgrounds in which one Donald J. Trump showed up to be cheered at by his unquestionably adoring worshipers… er, endorse Ron DeSantis… was one of these. This event served as the first surfacing of the bizarre Q-Anon conspiracy theorists, which was embarrassing enough, but run-of-the-mill Trump supporters then had to act like buffoons in front of the TV cameras (which they did until the cameras turned off, after which they reportedly sought selfies with nationally famous journalists like Acosta), and both sides ended up flinging literal horseshit. Nice look. —KB

Best Beach Town
Creative Commons/Beyond My Ken

  • Runner Up: Clearwater Beach
  • Runner Up: Pass-A-Grille
  • Runner Up: Dog has puppies at TIA
  • Runner Up: Escaped monkeys

Apparently not everyone wants to be her neighbor. This past June, Florida AG Bondi headed to the historic Tampa Theatre to see the new Mister Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor, only to be greeted by protesters demanding answers about her stances on healthcare and immigration. A brief confrontation before the movie apparently resulted in her calling the cops, who escorted her out of the theater past a larger throng. Bondi’s tepid response lamented the differences between the world Mister Rogers tried to inspire and the partisan vitriol of the real one, lumping herself in with the other politicos approached by citizens in public over the summer — politicos who seem not to understand what the “public” part of “public servant” means. —SH

Clowns to the left of him, jokers to the right, the outgoing Speaker of the Florida House was stuck in the middle of Florida Republicanism and thus had to bow out of the GOP gubernatorial primary this past spring. Corcoran, a Pasco Republican, was obviously not going to go anywhere near the quasi-moderate politics of Adam Putnam, and there was no way he was going to out-Trump Trump bro Ron DeSantis. And now he’s terming out with nowhere to go. So all those (successful) efforts to gut everything from public education to economic development to environmental protection were for naught. So long, dude. We’ll always have that racist, anti-immigrant video spot you made that will forever live on YouTube to remind us of your misguided leadership. —KB

As someone who commutes south over the Sunshine Skyway most days, I can 10/10 attest that it’s substantially less chaotic than the northbound Howard Frankland at rush hour. And the views from the summit are downright breathtaking. Most days, I run at least a 5k before breakfast (and commuting south, obvs). Then, when I hit the crest of that bridge, which happens to be around 190 feet high, I wonder how amazing it would have been had I opted to wake up at 3:30 a.m. that March morning to run the Skyway 10k; what it would have been like to take in those views at a pace significantly south of 70 mph. Next year, I’ll go for it. —KB

  • Runner Up: Epic Chef Showdown at Epicurean Hotel
  • Runner Up: Mike Calta's Punchout