Friday, March 30, 2007

I need dental work

OK, I'm totally confused now. I’m looking into getting some dental insurance and I’m leaning toward Delta Dental Ins. They are of a PPO type (from what I’m reading) and Childers Dental on W. ML King Jr. is in their network.

Does anyone have any knowledge about The Childers Group and/or Delta Dental Ins? Or, can you recommend a dentist in our area and insurance?

Hot Cooks

I noticed that Steve Otto's Chili Cook off is being held this weekend at Channelside. It made me wonder if any of Seminole Heights' famous chili chefs were entering in this competition. Surely, some of those mouth watering, steam producing recipes must be worthy of consideration. Better yet, why not enter as a Seminole Heights Team. Pour all that talent and creativity into one pot!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Seminole Heights backs Redner

According to the today's Tribune" "Redner did well in Seminole Heights, a neighborhood that often votes liberal".

However, "Any chance Joe Redner had of winning Tuesday's runoff election depended on strong support from south Tampa."

It never came.

South Tampa precincts tended to favor Redner over incumbent Gwen Miller in the first election this month, when four other candidates were in the race. On Tuesday, according to a precinct analysis, a sizable number of voters who supported those other candidates backed Miller rather than Redner.

Miller clung to her east Tampa base, an area she represented for eight years. . . . . North Tampa mostly backed Miller. "

So what this mean for future elections with different candidates? Will Seminole Heights be targeted by some candidates as a block to woo?

Government Rain Collection

The Trib has a front page story titled: Rivers Thirst For Elusive Rainfall

"Tampa, which relies on the river for its fresh water, is reaching beyond the river to supplement its supply with 30 million gallons purchased daily from Tampa Bay Water, the region's water utility.

The duration of the current dry spell is reviving memories of the Florida drought that lasted from 1998 until summer 2001. It drained water supplies, ignited wildfires and parched lawns across suburbia."

For years we have been under water conservation rules, in regards to lawn and plant irrigation. The Hillsborough County Extension Service pushes rain barrels to help deal with the issue.

"Florida receives an average 52 inches of rainfall a year. Most of that water flows off our roofs onto lawns and driveways, picking up fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants that eventually find their way to our lakes, rivers and streams, contributing to non-point source pollution. Rain barrels are a convenient and efficient way to collect some of that water. You'll not only help to reduce the storm water runoff from your yard, but you'll have a free source of chemical-free water to use for irrigating your landscape!"

Other people use rain water to aid in flushing of toilets. Learning Gate Community Schoool, in Lutz is constructing a new building, that will be green in nature. Designed to reduce energy costs, it will uses collected rain water to flush toilets.

So what about our government buildings? How much water collection space (roof space) do we have on those buildings and on parking garages. Why does not city/county and Florida state government buildings being using rainwater for irrigation or toilet flushing. At a recent meeting of the Lutz Civic Association, a representative for the School Board was disucssing new builkdings being built on the severla area school. not a single one had any method for rain water collection. At the same meetign a presentation was made by the Learning Gate School, where they touted their rain water collection.

The old Hillsborough County Courthouse has a cistern. Of course whether it is being used now is another matter.

A study should be doen to see if it would be cost effective to install such system in new construction and retrofit in existing government buildings.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Way up in Lutzland, we have a SuperTarget. Well, actually it's over in Odessa on Hwy 54. As our friends live over that way, we occasionally go to that big box store. I am not used to going Super stores. Usually I buy groceries in a grocery store and department store stuff in a department store. Occasionally we buy a box of cookies of something like that at Target or Walmart.

Tonight we went to Target to get a shower curtain. Instead we bought a tree limb lopper. While we were there we decided to pick up some groceries including produce. However it felt very strange throwing my oven roasted turkey into the same cart as my tree limb lopper. Very odd. These things do not go together. So the lopper had to go to the rack on the bottom of the cart. We got the same odd feeling when we put the lopper on the cashiers conveyor belt. These things just don't mix.

With this trend of Superstores, will we be seeing Home Depot Superstores, where you could pick up ham and a hammer, mulch and meatloaf, and fertilizer and fish?

BGoSH Version of a Porch Party - Y'all Come!


– The Business Guild of Seminole Heights (BGoSH) presents its monthly mixer on Thursday, March 29 at 6:00 p.m. hosted by Tampa Financial Group located at 301 E. Sligh Avenue. The event is free and open to the public. For additional information, contact Brian Wade of Tampa Financial Group at (813) 231.8200.

Want to know more about your business neighbors and what services are in your own backyard? Meet and socialize with an eclectic and diverse group of Seminole Heights professionals, business owners and residents in a friendly, fun, business-casual environment complete with refreshments.

The Business Guild of Seminole Heights is an association of business owners within the boundaries of the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa who are interested in improving the commercial environment in the neighborhood. Ranging from antique dealers to Real Estate Brokers, BGoSH consist of approximately 100 members serving the Seminole Heights community.

Park on the property 8 spaces, across Branch Ave there is an empty building, street parking on Dixon and Branch and across Sligh at the ball field.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Redner Loses

It looks like Redner lost. Interesting because I thought he was going to win.

Gwendolyn ''Gwen'' Miller
Joe Redner


I think he may have shot himself in the foot a couple of times. He probably pushed more people away from him with his bring in the I voting sticker and get in free. It put his adult business part of his life to the forefront. 2nd saying he essentially was blacker than Gwen Miller, apparently pissed of Gwen Miller, causing her to make a big push.

It will be interesting to look at what precincts Redner won, and which ones Gwen won and where Seminole Heights fits in all of this.

Part of Redner's attraction is his, "I say what I say" attitude. However, I think to get elected he may need to learn to tone things done or not say things.

So where is he going from here? Will he feel defeated after losing his 7th election and quit running? Or will he will elated coming so close, making it into a runoff with an incumbent?

Tonight Susan and I talked about that if he ran, what he would run for next. I think he will continue to stick to City Council or County Commission, because he is most concerned about local issues. No state legislative race for him.

Lets see what happens next.

Certainly it gave us something to talk about.

Worst service

Some we have had a round of discussions about some issues with poor service at restaurants in Seminole Heights.

I began wondering, what experiences have people had outside of Seminole Heights? What was your worst restaurant experience in Tampa Bay area?

Dis and Dat building - on hold?

So, anyone one know where things are at with the Dis and Dat building? Per the Express Permits website they are facing an inpection hold.

25-Feb-2007 83 / COMPLAINT 26-Feb-2007 3178 20 / DISAPPROVED FINAL NOTICE
25-Jan-2007 83 / COMPLAINT 26-Jan-2007 3178 88 / VIOL-RED TAG BM PLANS STRUCT REPAIRS


NOC - Notice of Commencement?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Make the Transfer Station a Park?

Renee Stewart also followed up on the 22nd and Sligh transfer station issue by asking Parks to upgrade the area to a neighborhood park. She posted this on the Mal Carne Follow Up posting, but so it does not get lost in all those comments I am reposting it here. Is this something OSHNA would want to push? Get one part of City playing against another part?

9:00 AM
Message Submitted

Renee Stewart
First Name: Renee
Last Name: Stewart
Business Name: Skye
Daytime Phone:
ZIP / Postal Code:
City: Tampa
State / Province: FL
Country: United States

Service Type: Parks and Recreation

Subject: 22nd St. Park (North of Sligh)

Message: This would be a wonderful park for so many things. If it were cleaned up and named what a great place to take the kids and dogs for a picnic. We need more neighborhood parks in the city to help bring neighbors together as friends. The more neighbors know about each other the better the neighborhood watch. Please consider this as a park and not a "Neighborhood Drop Off Site". Thank you for your time.

1/26/2007 9:23 AM
Message Read

Office Support Specialist IV, Parks and Recreation

1/26/2007 3:35 PM
Message Read via TampaGov

3/7/2007 2:27 PM

Office Support Specialist II, Parks and Recreation
Email was directed to:
Lanscape Architect III, Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation Superintendent, Parks and Recreation

Message: Ms. Stewart,

I am forwarding your inquiry to the Parks and Recreation Planning and Design Division for their response on whether this area can be utilized as a park.

Thank you for using the Customer Service Center.

Lou Grant, Office Support Specialist

3/7/2007 5:07 PM
Message Read

Lanscape Architect III, Parks and Recreation

3/26/2007 11:45 AM

Office Support Specialist II, Parks and Recreation
Email was directed to:
Renee Stewart (Requestor)
Other Actions:
- Message status changed to Closed
- MyTampaGov transaction record created

Message: Dear Renee,
The Parks and Recreation Department agrees that this site would make a great neighborhood park. We will be working with the community in the next year to develop a master plan for the site. This will help us determine the community needs and funding needed for improvements. We would then look at requesting funding the following year.

Karla Price
Landscape Architect
City of Tampa Parks & Recreation Dept.

3/26/2007 4:05 PM
Message Read via TampaGov

Details of Cappy's at City Council

For those who were not able to come to the City Council meeting for Cappy's, here is the transcript:

18:12:39 >>JILL FINNEY: Land Development Coordination.
18:12:40 I have been sworn.
18:12:41 We are here on petition Z-07-17 located at 4910 North
18:12:46 Florida Avenue going from CI commercial intensive to
18:12:49 PD planned development with a restaurant use.
18:12:54 The petitioner is proposing to rezone the property to
18:12:57 bring the existing site into compliance with land
18:13:00 development regulation.
18:13:01 The 7,113 square foot site is located in a CI zoning
18:13:06 district and surrounded by a mix of commercial uses to
18:13:09 the north, east, south, with a residential
18:13:11 single-family to the west.
18:13:13 The PD setbacks are as follows: To the north, zero.

18:13:17 South, zero.
18:13:17 East, 18 feet, and to the west, 1-foot setbacks.
18:13:24 20 parking spaces are required, and 12 spaces are
18:13:27 being provided for.
18:13:28 However, these 12 spaces are being provided for in the
18:13:32 existing right-of-way on Florida and on South Avenue.
18:13:42 The petitioner has requested a waiver for the deficit
18:13:45 in these parking space requirements.
18:13:48 The site is currently operating as Cathy's pizzeria
18:13:52 with indoor of 60 feet and 20 feet on the outdoor
18:13:57 patio eating area.
18:14:20 This is CI up and down North Florida Avenue.
18:14:26 Here is an aerial photo.
18:14:30 You can see from the aerial that the existing
18:14:33 structure on the site is consistent with the setbacks
18:14:38 that I have called out.
18:14:45 Here is a photo of the site.
18:14:48 Here is the outdoor seating area.
18:15:05 Directly abutting to the south on Florida.
18:15:10 This is directly across the street on Florida.
18:15:17 This is directly across from Cathy's to the north on
18:15:23 Florida.

18:15:24 And this is right next to that open lot.
18:15:29 Here is the rear of the building.
18:15:35 Some of the waivers being requested, why they are
18:15:38 being requested, because of the existing conditions.
18:15:42 Looking down Florida.
18:15:44 The site is right over here.
18:15:46 And this is looking up Florida.
18:15:54 Land Development Coordination, the landscape, has a
18:15:58 technical objection to the proposed green space
18:16:00 waiver.
18:16:01 They require approximately 1200 square feet of green
18:16:05 space.
18:16:06 And they are requesting a reduction of 685 feet.
18:16:11 They have provided for some green space in their
18:16:17 outdoor seating area, which is actually an enhancement
18:16:20 to what was existing on the site.
18:16:25 And transportation is also objecting to the
18:16:27 maneuvering in the right-of-way on South.
18:16:32 Parking and maneuvering.
18:16:33 That concludes my presentation.
18:16:34 I'm available for questions.
18:16:39 >>GWEN MILLER: Opposition or what?

18:16:41 >>> I do not have any objection from land development.
18:16:46 >>TONY GARCIA: I have been sworn in.
18:17:07 As Ms. Finney already stated request is for a change
18:17:10 from a CI use to a PD, basically for a CG type of use
18:17:15 in this.
18:17:19 Located in the greater Seminole Heights area along
18:17:21 North Florida Avenue, there's the site in question.
18:17:23 As we all know the predominant land use on the
18:17:26 corridor is Florida Avenue and Nebraska Avenue are
18:17:28 heavy commercial 24.
18:17:34 And of course there are a variety of uses both low
18:17:38 density office, all the way to intensive commercial
18:17:40 uses on these particular segments.
18:17:47 Seminole Heights, Ybor City, and West Tampa are all
18:17:50 identified in the comprehensive plan as urban
18:17:52 villages.
18:17:54 The concept of the urban villages are to according to
18:17:57 the future land use Element policy, under urban
18:18:00 villages, the purpose of the -- village concept is to
18:18:05 support uses at a scale with existing development.
18:18:12 Economic redevelopment within these three areas has
18:18:14 been difficult, and potentially development of

18:18:16 existing under utilized parcels.
18:18:21 The three neighborhoods that I talked about are
18:18:23 identified as urban villages, and are redevelopment
18:18:26 areas.
18:18:26 And I stress the word redevelopment.
18:18:28 And encouraged to provide complementary uses to the
18:18:31 central business district which includes commercial
18:18:33 uses.
18:18:34 However, the urban village concept cannot
18:18:36 realistically be brought to fruition in these areas,
18:18:40 when underutilized and blighted commercial parcels,
18:18:44 due to commercial development regulations currently in
18:18:47 place that do not adequately address existing
18:18:49 conditions.
18:18:50 The Florida Avenue corridor is mostly developed with a
18:18:53 mixture of commercial uses.
18:18:55 Many of the existing parcels on this thoroughfare are
18:18:58 utilized, languished for years because of regulatory
18:19:02 constraints.
18:19:03 This case is a class, of the site plan, so the project
18:19:10 cannot technically meet many of the existing code
18:19:12 requirements, giving city staff no current option but

18:19:16 to object to the proposed request.
18:19:19 Hopefully the smart growth low concepts that we are
18:19:21 looking at with the Planning Commission with the City
18:19:26 of Tampa's departments including land development
18:19:29 coordination, smart growth concept such as base zoning
18:19:34 will be able to address issues such as this, the
18:19:37 zoning reform to address the impediments that
18:19:40 currently hamper all of our commercial corridors.
18:19:42 Hillsborough Avenue, and Martin Luther King and Sligh
18:19:48 Avenue as well as these commercial corridors.
18:19:50 Based on the findings of how this particular project
18:19:52 relates to the open village concept, Planning
18:19:54 Commission staff finds it consistent with the
18:19:57 comprehensive plan.
18:20:00 >>GWEN MILLER: Petitioner?
18:20:07 >>STEVE MICHELINI: I'm here on behalf of the Todd
18:20:12 Gabel and Natalie Mandeville.
18:20:15 They are the owners of the property who basically sunk
18:20:17 their life savings in a dream of redeveloping a
18:20:19 restaurant in a redevelopment district.
18:20:22 I think you saw the photograph of what they have done
18:20:25 there already.

18:20:28 One of the problems that you face constantly is a
18:20:33 conflict between technical standard, the redevelopment
18:20:35 standards of the city, and redevelopment districts
18:20:37 where you have no alternatives.
18:20:40 Seminole Heights in particular is extremely
18:20:43 constrained.
18:20:44 This is a side view will go south of the facility.
18:20:49 You see it on the right side.
18:20:51 And the fact that there simply is no room to do
18:20:54 anything other than maneuver in the right-of-way for
18:20:56 the parking spaces.
18:20:58 If you go in for change of use, which is what they
18:21:00 were required to do, or change of occupancy, you are
18:21:04 forced to meet the code.
18:21:05 When you can't meet the code you are forced to come
18:21:07 here in a rezoning to correct it, going through a PD
18:21:10 process, which is time consuming, and expensive.
18:21:14 It characteristically costs tens of thousands of
18:21:17 dollars to go through this process.
18:21:19 And through no fault of theirs.
18:21:20 They are stuck in this process now.
18:21:22 Tried to run a restaurant which is extremely popular

18:21:26 and supported by the neighborhood.
18:21:27 Encouraged by the neighborhood.
18:21:29 Desired by the neighborhood to create those kind of
18:21:31 pedestrian and neighborhood commercial-serving
18:21:34 activities that you can't get to.
18:21:36 And once you have expired all of your funds to do
18:21:40 that, then you are met with reverting back to
18:21:43 something like this at 4602 north Florida which means
18:21:47 your redevelopment will never happen.
18:21:50 Because the incentive for these projects to be
18:21:52 converted back to something that's neighborhood
18:21:55 serving is not there.
18:21:57 The disincentive is there.
18:21:59 You have other areas like this one, 5120 north
18:22:02 Florida, where obviously you don't need clearances for
18:22:07 parking, downtown meet the parking backing standards.
18:22:11 You meet the sidewalk standards because the sidewalk
18:22:12 is on private property.
18:22:13 But, again, these are -- dipping ding are you aware of
18:22:24 any opposition?
18:22:25 >>> I'm not but there are several people that want to
18:22:28 speak.

18:22:29 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: Maybe you want to reserve.
18:22:32 See what happens.
18:22:33 >>> There are certain things we would be asking City
18:22:35 Council to initiate some motions on, to Sarasota the
18:22:38 staff to start looking at specific solutions.
18:22:41 Moreda to do that I think I need to protect the record
18:22:44 to get those items stated clearly as an example of
18:22:48 what difficulties we are facing in the redevelopment
18:22:50 district.
18:22:51 >>GWEN MILLER: Go ahead and state them.
18:22:56 >>STEVE MICHELINI: This is a view from the south at
18:22:58 4910.
18:23:01 And you see on both sides of the street parking backs
18:23:04 directly to the right-of-way. This is looking north.
18:23:07 Basically, you have no alternatives.
18:23:11 You simply cannot meet the code.
18:23:12 When you go to the permit center and faced with trying
18:23:15 to get a commercial site plan approved, you can't do
18:23:17 it.
18:23:19 And folks like Todd and his wife Natalie are simply
18:23:27 stuck.
18:23:28 So that's why they are here.

18:23:29 There's a petition signed which I would like received
18:23:33 and placed in the record by 217 people who are
18:23:36 frequenters of the restaurant.
18:23:38 And I have to assume that half of them are here this
18:23:40 evening in support of that.
18:23:42 [ Laughter ]
18:23:45 [ Applause ]
18:23:45 >>GWEN MILLER: Mr. Michelini, you don't want all 100
18:23:58 to speak, do you?
18:24:00 >>STEVE MICHELINI: No.
18:24:04 Trying to get to that point.
18:24:05 >>GWEN MILLER: Can we have one representative?
18:24:07 >>> There are three specific individuals that would
18:24:09 like to speak on behalf of their individual
18:24:11 neighborhood associations.
18:24:13 Randy Baron is here from Old Seminole Heights, Gary
18:24:14 Elsworth is here from South Seminole Heights, and
18:24:14 Sherry Simons is here from Southeast Seminole Heights.
18:24:22 I would like to call on them to speak about
18:24:24 specifically the difficulties they are having in
18:24:26 attracting viable businesses and making them viable
18:24:30 simply because of the difficulties that they are

18:24:31 having with the permitting and the processing because
18:24:35 of all these waivers.
18:24:36 We simply have no alternative of going to a planned
18:24:39 development, which seeks the number of waivers as you
18:24:41 see before you.
18:24:44 We are here to list basically the supporters.
18:24:46 And I would like to have that received and filed and
18:24:48 call three people forward to speak on behalf of the
18:24:50 project.
18:24:51 >>GWEN MILLER: All right.
18:24:52 I would like those three to come up and speak.
18:24:54 Before you speak, Ms. Saul-Sena.
18:24:56 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: Thank you.
18:24:57 We had a meeting three months ago about changing the
18:24:59 rules so that there would be easier for people in
18:25:02 historic commercial areas to redevelop.
18:25:05 Almost all of the key people were at that meeting.
18:25:08 We all agreed, the staff agreed, the staff said they
18:25:10 would get on it with zoning.
18:25:13 We are having a workshop on April 1st -- no,
18:25:17 2nd, 3rd and 4th to discuss zoning and I
18:25:22 hope all the council members come and I can't wait to

18:25:25 get this done.
18:25:26 It's making any kind of redevelopment a misery, and we
18:25:28 all agree on it and we just need to move ahead.
18:25:31 I'm happy to see you all again and I am deeply
18:25:34 apologetic that we have to go through this.
18:25:38 >>> Gary Elsworth, president of South Seminole Heights
18:25:41 civic association, and I have been sworn.
18:25:44 Ms. Saul-Sena, thank you for the workshop did you on
18:25:46 the parking workshop.
18:25:47 I don't know if that's the one you are talking about.
18:25:50 But we in Seminole Heights have an uncanny ability to
18:25:53 parley into conversation into a Seminole Heights
18:25:55 issue, and parking and transportation is certainly at
18:25:57 the top of that list.
18:26:01 The neighborhood association greatly supports this
18:26:03 project for all the reasons that you already know.
18:26:05 And, you know, the ironic thing is, if for some reason
18:26:09 this does not pass and the building reverts back to
18:26:12 its previous use, then Mr. Michelini and I should have
18:26:16 gotten together because when came under pretty much
18:26:18 the same work but this is a view of Canuga street.

18:26:28 So you have seen what it looks like on Florida Avenue.

18:26:30 This is what it looks like on the cross streets.
18:26:33 And also this is really the starting point for
18:26:36 redevelopment in Seminole Heights.
18:26:38 And this needs to move forward or it's going to send a
18:26:41 signal to everybody else to stay away from our
18:26:43 neighborhood.
18:26:43 And we thank you for your consideration.
18:26:46 >>GWEN MILLER: Thank you.
18:26:50 >>> Randy baron, 217 west Comanche Avenue, Old
18:26:55 Seminole Heights association, president.
18:26:57 I have been sworn.
18:26:57 Mr. Michelini and Mr. Elsworth pretty much said it
18:27:01 all.
18:27:01 We all know it's torture for some of these business
18:27:04 tows redevelop.
18:27:05 In addition to this business another one tried to
18:27:06 redevelop all at the same time.
18:27:08 It took almost nine months for that 600 square foot
18:27:12 change of use at a garage, turn it into a deli, which
18:27:16 is now open and very popular.
18:27:17 But again it almost bankrupt the proprietor.
18:27:21 We compete with other areas of the city for business.

18:27:25 If this is denied, if any change of use is going to
18:27:29 trigger this kind of process where we have to get
18:27:31 people up and out here -- all in favor clapping.
18:27:39 [ Applause ]
18:27:40 Pretty much no objection I think.
18:27:41 But if we have to do this every time it sends a loud
18:27:43 and strong signal to developers that Seminole Heights
18:27:45 is not redevelopment friendly.
18:27:47 After the challenges, how is the city going to help?
18:27:50 The city needs to help with the road.
18:27:52 The city needs to help with designing.
18:27:54 And we need to figure out a way to get more Cathy's in
18:27:59 Seminole Heights, not less.
18:28:00 And I hope you vote for the petition.
18:28:02 And I thank you for your time.
18:28:08 >>> I'm Sherry Simons, president of Seminole Heights
18:28:14 civic association, 911.
18:28:17 I don't have a whole lot to say because it's all been
18:28:19 said, and you have a long night ahead of you.
18:28:22 The most important thing to me is that it already is
18:28:25 working, that whether or not it's exactly the way that
18:28:30 it should be, it's there.

18:28:33 I never have trouble parking.
18:28:35 I have never been in danger.
18:28:36 Lots of people walk there.
18:28:38 So to me it's an example of how it can work.
18:28:42 And as everybody else has said, if we close them up
18:28:46 and send them away, it's a death sentence for our
18:28:50 area.
18:28:51 It will attract no one.
18:28:53 That's all I have to say.
18:28:55 >>JOHN DINGFELDER: I think the lesson to be learned is
18:28:57 in Seminole Heights don't mess with the coffee or the
18:28:59 pizza.
18:29:01 [Laughter and applause]
18:29:14 >> Don't you love the neighborhood behind you?
18:29:16 >>GWEN MILLER: Mr. Michelini.
18:29:18 >>STEVE MICHELINI: I'm not going to try to top that.
18:29:24 >> This is not a problem just in Seminole Heights.
18:29:26 Mr. Garcia mentioned the bistro earlier they went
18:29:30 through a similar problem trying to develop in West
18:29:32 Tampa, other parts of the city where this is a
18:29:35 problem.
18:29:35 And my time here is limited.

18:29:37 But this is a problem that I have seen come up again
18:29:40 and again and again.
18:29:42 And I hope everyone will stay active and engaged to
18:29:46 make sure the next Cathy's that comes in doesn't have
18:29:50 to go what sounds like a bureaucratic nightmare trying
18:29:53 to figure out how to get all the pieces to fit
18:29:56 together.
18:29:56 We need to figure a way to have a consistent code so
18:30:00 it's user friendly and it's not the kind of experience
18:30:02 that we have had here.
18:30:04 So I'm hoping we will get through that process
18:30:07 quickly.
18:30:09 >>STEVE MICHELINI: I'm not trying to cut anyone off
18:30:11 but certainly if someone else wants to speak they are
18:30:13 welcome to.
18:30:13 But I think that you heard the sentiment of the folks
18:30:16 around there, and the owners.
18:30:19 One of the things that I have committed to this
18:30:21 neighborhood, and some of the other ones as well, that
18:30:24 in these corridor districts, to request staff, at the
18:30:27 close of this hearing, to examine four concepts.
18:30:30 One is relief from impact fees and transportation, in

18:30:33 a redevelopment district. The second one is to look
18:30:36 at the parking standards as they relate to incentively
18:30:41 develop zero lot line construction like on Howard and
18:30:44 Armenia, and obviously on Florida Avenue.
18:30:47 There are a number of areas to look at.
18:30:50 To look at the parks and the landscaping requirements
18:30:53 as they relate to the urban developed areas, and what
18:30:59 kind of alternatives you can utilize that provide some
18:31:02 buffers, but they are not necessarily up on the street
18:31:04 level.
18:31:06 And the fourth thing is to look at change of use and
18:31:09 change of occupancy, which is in the building code,
18:31:12 and construction codes, which started this whole
18:31:14 process and kicked them into the rezoning to begin
18:31:16 with.
18:31:17 Without those kinds of relief, you are going to be
18:31:20 dealing with a number of different applicants come in
18:31:23 here begging for your assistance, and you are going to
18:31:26 have neighborhood associations coming down saying, why
18:31:28 are we making it difficult to redevelop the areas that
18:31:32 truly need redevelopment?
18:31:34 And my commitment to each of them was to work with

18:31:36 them and work with the city staff to try to accomplish
18:31:38 those goals.
18:31:39 So we respectfully request that you make those motions
18:31:41 and approve this project.
18:31:43 >>GWEN MILLER: We need to close the public hearing.
18:31:47 >> So moved.
18:31:47 >>MARTIN SHELBY: If you would just ask if there is
18:31:49 anyone who would like to speak, particularly in case
18:31:51 there was somebody who didn't want the opportunity and
18:31:54 didn't take it.
18:31:54 >>GWEN MILLER: Is there anyone else that would like to
18:31:56 speak on item number 4?
18:31:59 You may speak.
18:32:01 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: Mr. Michelini, do you have those
18:32:03 things written down, the four concepts?
18:32:05 I would like a copy so we can use to the make a
18:32:08 motion.
18:32:09 >>> Jason ball.
18:32:10 I have been sworn in.
18:32:10 Here on behalf of American serving incorporated, 4847
18:32:15 north Florida.
18:32:16 It's about 250 feet south of this location on the

18:32:18 other side of the street.
18:32:21 We are a land surveying company, and have been in the
18:32:23 neighborhood for a few years now.
18:32:26 We just offer our support as a company.
18:32:32 We are very happy.
18:32:33 Our one recommendation is, if it's possible for the
18:32:36 city to communicate with D.O.T. and DPW, perhaps there
18:32:40 would be some way to have signage on Florida alerting
18:32:44 drivers -- excuse me, I have bronchitis -- of the
18:32:50 situation with vehicles entering the street in close
18:32:53 proximity.
18:32:54 That's all.
18:32:55 Thank you.
18:32:55 >>GWEN MILLER: Would anyone else like to speak?
18:32:59 Need to close.
18:33:00 >> Move to close.
18:33:01 >> Second.
18:33:01 (Motion carried).
18:33:02 >>GWEN MILLER: Do you have an ordinance?
18:33:06 Mr. Reddick, would you read that, please?
18:33:09 >>FRANK REDDICK: Move an ordinance rezoning property
18:33:21 in the general vicinity of 4910 North Florida Avenue

18:33:25 in the city of Tampa, Florida and more particularly
18:33:27 described in section 1 from zoning district
18:33:29 classification CI commercial intensive to PD, planned
18:33:33 development, restaurant, providing an effective date.
18:33:36 >>GWEN MILLER: I have a motion and second.
18:33:37 All in favor of the motion say Aye.
18:33:39 Opposed, Nay.
18:33:39 (Motion carried).
18:33:41 >>LINDA SAUL-SENA: Everybody has done such a fabulous
18:33:45 job of redeveloping your own individual residences,
18:33:47 and the commercial corridors are lagging behind.
18:33:50 And what Mr. Michelini has identified is exactly what
18:33:54 the staff needs to do.
18:33:55 So I would like to make a motion that within 30 days,
18:33:58 under staff reports, that staff respond in writing
18:34:01 with a time line for how quickly we can address the
18:34:05 four issues that Mr. Michelini outlined.
18:34:08 >>GWEN MILLER: All in favor of the motion say Aye.
18:34:09 >>MARTIN SHELBY: Council, I'm sorry.
18:34:11 Just so it is clear.
18:34:12 Mr. Michelini is to reiterate, provide relief from
18:34:18 transportation impact fees.

18:34:20 The second is to provide relief for parking
18:34:24 requirements.
18:34:26 The third is relief for landscaping.
18:34:30 And the fourth is to provide -- what is that?
18:34:36 Change of use and change of occupancy, with regard to
18:34:39 the building code as well.
18:34:41 >> This is specifically in regard to historic
18:34:44 commercial corridors, where the road has been widened
18:34:48 and adjacent to historic neighborhoods.
18:34:50 >>MARTIN SHELBY: And with the issue of that, I believe
18:34:52 you also raised the issue of buildings with zero lot
18:34:55 line.
18:34:56 >>GWEN MILLER: I have a motion and second.
18:34:57 (Motion carried).
18:35:00 >>MARY ALVAREZ: Move to open number 6.
18:35:03 Number 5.
18:35:05 >>STEVE MICHELINI: Thank you very much.
18:35:07 (Cheers and applause).
18:35:14 >>GWEN MILLER: With all of that enthusiasm we need
18:35:22 seats on Thursday night.

4/1/07 - OSHNA 9th Annual Neighborhood Home Tour

I just saw this in a local newsletter:

The pre-sale ticket price is $8.00. $10 day of event.

This year we are excited to be working with the YMCA on the tour. The local YMCA has mapped out a safe biking route, complete with safe crossing locations and thirst stations provided by the YMCA. Look for the 'Bike Tour Maps' on the day of the tour, available at the Garden Center.

Don't forget the Historic Trolleys, this year we have contracted with Jolley Trolley's of Clearwater. You will find these trolleys a wonderful way to see the homes.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

RIP Ybor Pizza!?

An email from Chuck Gutz:

In other pizza news... After a lingering illness brought on by neglect and
poor management Ybor Pizza & Subs was finally allowed to die on Friday,
March 23. Despite valiant efforts to save her, she was killed by greed.
After being recently sold to a new owner (who locked her in the basement and
fed her crumbs) The staff and management were notified of the change with
less than 12 hours notice. Thanks to Terry and Augustine for their class and
tact in conducting business. To some Pizza & Subs' passing will be no big
loss. To those of us who loved this place and worked dilligently in the face
of many obstacles, this is a huge blow. I first walked into Pizza & Subs in 1990
(originally on 8th Avenue in what is now Centro Ybor-ed) for a slice and
after a conversation with the owner was offered a job.
I worked there on and off for 11 years until I moved away from the bay area.
When I moved back home YP&S was my first stop. I was thrilled to see
familiar faces, but I was horrified to see the state the place was in after
years of apathy on the part of kitchen manager Scott 'Jungle Yard' Barrick.
I came back and tried to remedy the situation, but the inertia of neglect
was like swimming in honey. Over the following months we cut the dead wood,
improved the quality of service and product, and built a tight crew that
functioned as a team. What would 6 more months have shown? We will never
know. I know this will garner negative posts and flames, but remember that
to some of us this was a family; a family destroyed by the greed and apathy
of a few. Our love extends to all of our family members but especially-
Kerry Thomson, Rex, Kurt, Kirk, Mary, Marta, Belinda, Ed, Fletcher, Otto,
Kevin Lousy, Stoney Tony, Charlie Doan, Potts, Hubcap, Stephany, Birgitte,
Big Sam, Uaratiex, Crackhead Steve, Brenda and her demon Brood, Chaka,
Archie, Joli, Mudshark, Lewis Clark, Floyd, Martha the fathead, Mike
No-Land, Shoy-boy, J.D., Miss Beverly, David the jew, Ashley, Swinger Steve,
Vanessa and Taj, Gail, Mark, Danny, Possum, Marmaset, Dallas, Morgan with
the Wrench, Tiphany (all of em), Kalani, Rolling John, Count(0), Spanky,
Smack Rick, Ernie, Big Tittie Katie, Andre, Billy Budget, Kelly Kombat, Rick
and Amy, Girl Chris, Brittish Chris, Big Chris (R.I.P.), Chris & Eddie
(R.I.P. brothers), Marley (R.I.P.), Big Gay Pat, T Rick Dangerous, Shane,
Irish Al (kill a brit!), Irish John, Hobert (R.I.P.?), Paulie, Rough Riders
(the bar not the rich boy club), Madame Amnesia, Anjelica and John, Blue
Devil Tattoo,the Colson clan, Bad Penny (stay up), Jules, Junky Jim, Shut up
Jackie, Dave, Jeff, Donny, Otter, Paul the Plumber, Paula, Magadog, G.G.
Allin, Green Day, Fugazi (you still aint gettin pizza), Tibetan Dread,
Claude Kennedy, Sabastian Bach, Sonic Youth, Fishbone, Nazi Hunter Jew Boys,
Josting Elders, FFF, The Independents..................

.............. And
every other wierd, pierced, tattooed, tracked, combat booted, chemically
challenged, disenfranchised, gothic, mohawked, squatter, punk rock, biker,
gangster, BEAUTIFUL LOSER who ever walked through our front door and felt a

Mal Carne Follows Up. And Follows Up. And Follows Up. On the transfer station.

Mal Carne uses the City of Tampa message system to ask Solid Waste questions about the proposed dump -- I mean transfer station - in Seminole Heights.

He gets a bit of a run around trying to get an answer. He sent his first message on January 26. After a bunch of back and forth, the final response was March 22. The Customer Service Respresentative, Solid Waste - was not on the ball. You need to read his whole blog article to see the silliness he had to put up with.

Here are his questions (in bold) and answers from David McClary.

"Hello Mr. Baker, Per your request to answer your concerns.

1)What means were used to arrive at at the decision that this plan being the most effective solution to the illegal dumping problem in East Tampa?
The number of illegal dumpsites in East Tampa is a major consideration. Also, City property search with 4 acres or more is required for this type of site.

2)What environmental impact studies have been performed on this plot of land so close to the river? We are following EPA guidelines. This location is not directly on the river and will have no impact.

3)Who (being public or private entities) has been hired to perform surveys, draw up site plans, or design any multimedia presentations and were these put out for public bid? Our record of engineer for our McKay Bay Facility.

4)What is the proposed total expenditure for this project and will the contracting be put out for public bid? Undetermined at this time. Location is an important factor.

5)Seminole Heights is a neighborhood screaming for traffic calming. What infrastructure improvements are being planned for the additional traffic that this plan will generate? Unable to answer at this time.

6)Should this plan be unsuccessful, what contingencies are in place to take the next step (eg; improve McKay Bay, increase large item residential collection, etc)? Unable to answer at this time."

Friday, March 23, 2007

John's Import Auto Repair

One of the better businesses in Seminole Heights is John's Import Auto Repair at 5507 N. Nebraska 238-8894. We have used John to repair our cars for most of the time when we lived in Seminole Heights. Someone in the neighborhood told us about him and it was a very good recommendation. They do good work, are reliable and honest. We recommend him to everyone and I will to continue to use him even though I am in Lutz now.

As far as garages go, his property reflects those values. The place (again as far as garages can go) is neat and tidy. He does not have the place packed full of junked cars being used for parts.

Contrast that to his neighbor to the north. The place is packed full of cars. That other place always parks cars on the sidewalk and city right of way, creating an eyesore and making it unsafe for pedestrians. Driving down Nebraska on Saturday I had to call police on them again for illegally parking on the sidewalk. Kingdom Auto repair was another bad place. They also had a place to full of junk cars, and customers had to park on the sidewalk and right of way. Early on he would park junk cars on an empty lot across the street, that did not belong to them. However we kept calling code on them and kept calling police and things have improved.

Here is an idea. As you drive to and from work and sees the auto places that park cars on sidewalk or right of way, call the police. Parking on the City right of way is a ticketable offense and does not require code enforcement actions. If alot of us call, perhaps things wil change.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Cappy's Did It!!

It was an awe inspiring evening in the Tampa City Council Chambers tonight! Cappy's got the zoning change request and the waivers needed to stay open!!

Seminole Heights should be very proud....our three neighborhood association Presidents did a great job speaking before council. And the friends of Cappy's (our great S.H. residents!) turned out in and filled up the room!! There were at least 50 people (more?, did anyone count?) and we were all ready to talk if we needed to fight, but it wasn't necessary...our leader's did a good job, and so did the Land Use representative for Scooter and Natalie.

Linda Saul-Sena was great and well spoken about the need to plan to implement changes so future business owners won't have to go through the red-tape wringer that Cappy's owners did. It was a good thing, and thanks to Scooter and Natalie for being our 'pioneers' in the truest sense. Now hopefully it will be easier for others to change use on their business properties and start bringing the kinds of businesses we all want to see come here!

I, for one, am very grateful that they hung-in and went through all this...they have done the neighborhood a favor in pursuing this! This process cost them alot of money however. So we need to continue to support Cappy's, Scooter & Natalie, so they can recover from the financial hit from all this.

So, it's a tough job, but we're up to it.....c'mon Seminole Heights......Eat more pizza at Cappy's!!

Publix Listens

An Email:

"from a March 13 post to Hampton Terrace blog:

Hello all. Two Publix notes I hope you will find of interest.....

#1 We will be receiving a shipment of shopping carts tomorrow, so hopefully we will always have a cart available when you come shopping. Keep letting me know when you see them out in the neighborhood, as I will still get them. (update - 38 additional carts were requested and received)

#2 I have been doing a soft opening time of 7:30 a.m. each day to see how business would be. No sign on the door, just opening them up. If you are running to work/school and need something, walk on it. We are open. I am still running numbers to see if this makes sense to do. The more you come in and buy, the closer it will be to a reality. Remember, the time on the door will still say 8, but doors are open at 7:30.


Chuck Kaelin
your neighborhood Publix Manager"

Jobs and City Council

People rag on Joe Redner because of his source of employment. That an adult entertaintment person should not be a City Council member.

What other jobs, professions, or business ownerships are out there do you think should preclude someone from being a City Council person or would give you pause?

What about owning a retail fireworks company? What about being an developer? Or a corporate lobbyiest. What about anyone who owns a bar? An adult book store owner? What about a someone who was an exotic dancer? How about drug convictions? How far back can someone had drug convictions and it would be okay? Was an ex-prostitute? What if they turned their life around? What other convictions would disturb you? What about white collar crimes?

Peeks at Redner and Miller by the Tribune

The Trib wrote two in depth articles on Redner and Miller, getting us

'Quiet' Miller Elicits Praise, Opposition


Redner Seeks Fulfillment Of Life Search

Here are some exceprts:


But when pressed to show results from her 12 years on the council, Miller can't think of a single ordinance she has proposed. She says she has secured money for recreation centers and parks, as have other council members.

Other accomplishments she lists are, by most accounts, matters in which she played only a supporting role."


"In an interview, Miller was asked to list the ordinances she has proposed during her 12-year tenure.

"I don't remember now," she said, looking to her husband for help. "I know I did one."

Miller has cleaned up lots in east Tampa and meets with Southeast Seminole Heights residents to discuss crime problems."

Is that so? I don't remember that occurring in the 7 years I lived in Southeast Seminole Heights. Perhaps I did not attend that meeting. In fact I felt we were ignored by Gwen Miller when she represented District 5, the City Council District SE Seminole Heights is in. Except for election time.

Here is an interesting comment by one of the big players in East Tampa NEw Watch

"Queen Miller, no relation, is an east Tampa resident who has known Miller for years. She said Miller was involved in neighborhood crime watches.

Beyond that, Queen Miller said: "I don't know what she does. I know she's not outspoken about certain things when I'd be running my mouth.""

and also

Another constituent, Gladys Jackson, said Miller helped close a prostitution house and helped secure more police officers in Rainbow Heights.

"Those are the biggest things," said Jackson, president of the Rainbow Heights crime watch group. "She did enough, but there's always room for improvement and getting involved in the community."

Someone is saying this about a 12 year City Council veteran. I don't hear anyone saying that about any of the other City Council members.


"I want to be accepted," Redner said. "I want to be loved. I want to be right. And I want to do things for the world."


"He cleaned up and put his life on track. He quit smoking, drinking and drugs. He stopped eating meat. Then he stopped eating cooked vegetables. Then he eliminated eggs, fish and dairy products from his diet.
He opened a gym on South Howard Avenue, where he rides the stationary bike then lifts weights for at least an hour a day. He makes a fruit shake for breakfast and eats lunch at Sweet Tomatoes every day"


"I said I was gay to get standing," Redner said. "I am gay. I'm going to be black; I'm going to be Jewish; I'm going to be a woman; I'm going to be gay if I can do something about it by becoming one."

Redner believes in the judicial system, convinced that justice ultimately prevails. His favorite TV show is "Law & Order." "


"He lives in the home with his brother, who has Parkinson's disease. Redner is the caretaker."

I like Redner. I like people who shake things up. I am not sure I am comfortable with his adult entertaintment businesses. Reading this story I see someone who has seen a lot and grown.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mark Sharpe gets sharper

In today's Tribune, there is an editorial titled "County Kills Plan To Phase Growth Without Hearing From Public" Read the editorial for full details.

"Hillsborough County commissioners, in a surprise vote at a workshop last week, killed a proposal to encourage higher density growth in selected parts of the unincorporated county."


"Never was there a better time for leaders in this county to engage the community on a vision for growth that would preserve our quality of life and meet the needs of the 400,000 people expected to move here over the next 20 years."


"The commission's own policy approved two years ago requires a system for focusing growth. Commissioners asked the city-county planning commission staff to develop a system that would help minimize suburban sprawl, encourage transit and cut down on the public costs of growth.

The planners held a series of public meetings throughout the county and compiled some 3,000 comments. They found a consensus view that compact growth was needed in select areas to put people closer to jobs, bus lines, major highways and other infrastructure.

Using money provided by the county commission, the planners hired a consultant to draw the map, with its three tiers of growth. The appointed city-county planning commission approved the map in January and sent it to elected officials for debate, fine-tuning and possible submission to the state Department of Community Affairs for approval.

The map would have changed no zonings or land-use designations. It would have only guided where the county should offer incentives for more units per acre than currently allowed. However, several commissioners misinterpreted the map as a requirement that growth go near neighborhoods that don't want it."


"Commissioner Ken Hagan made a motion to scrap the proposal, along with a package of "livable cities" amenities. Commissioners Jim Norman, Kevin White, Brian Blair and Al Higginbotham agreed.

Commissioners Mark Sharpe and Rose Ferlita voted no, although both had questions about the map. Ferlita complained after the meeting that "people did not have the opportunity to weigh in. We chopped them off."

This is something I have been seeing time and time again. Rose and Mark stand opposed to Jim, Kevin, Brian and Al.

I had my doubts about Mark Sharpe when he was part of the Intolerant Six and voted with homophobic Ronda Storms regarding gay issues. However since then I have seen him vote on the right side of issues many times. It has been him and Rose for the people, with the the boys on the sides of developers. Mark Sharpe has gotten sharper. Democrat Kevin White, however, seems to be consistently side with the developers who funded his campaign.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Redner and the Priests

From and email.............

I am writing this in my professional capacity. A colleague is looking for anyone who went to church Sunday and heard a sermon or homily in which the preacher made an overt or veiled reference to the Redner-Miller race.

We have reports that a priest at one of the Tampa Catholic churches made a veiled reference, saying there was a moral choice to be made in the election and that people who vote should think about how outsiders will view the city. Anyone who heard anything in church and would be willing to talk about it, please contact Anthony McCartney at 259-7616 or cell, 731-4813.


Mike Salinero
Environment Writer
The Tampa Tribune
(813) 259-8303
cell: (813) 731-0956

Bike at the Risk of Death

This is a great article/commentary in the Tribune by Seminole Heights Alan Snel (Bike Stories blog). I am publishing in full so this topic gets full expsosure. I agree with Alan.

No Place For Safe Ride


Published: Mar 18, 2007

I was bicycling home from a meeting recently in Tampa when I heard the rumble of a HARTline bus behind me. Most bus drivers know to give a cyclist at least three feet of law-required buffer space when they pass.

But this bus nearly sideswiped me into oblivion. I felt the whoosh of the bus on my left shoulder and arm. The Route 12 Hartline bus came within a credit card's width of striking me. I was angry, and I could only shake my head at the irony of coaxing the city of Tampa just last year into installing "Share the Road" signs on this particular two-lane road - Rowlett Park Drive. This road had neither a shoulder nor a bike lane.

I asked myself as a bicyclist, what do I have to do to stay alive on the roads around here?

On this particular ride home, there were danger spots all over the place - debris at several intersections where I had to negotiate everything from glass to nails to pieces of metal; bike lanes (I was lucky to find one) that mysteriously end in mid-road; and the drivers who not-so-politely advised me to get off the road.

The bus nearly hit me while I was pedaling home from an afternoon meeting of the Tampa Alcohol Coalition, a group of community leaders and local police who fight drunk driving and underage drinking. The coalition includes a few Department of Transportation folks who also work on a local community traffic safety committee. One of the DOT folks is a pleasant woman who was stunned that I actually biked to this meeting, which was held at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino at Orient Road and Hillsborough Avenue.

You'd think that a local DOT person would say, "Hey, that's great that you're biking to meetings. One less car on the road."

Instead, I got, "That's crazy."

The fact this polite DOT woman told me it was "crazy" to bike to the meeting speaks volumes of how the folks who design and build around here feel about bicyclists.

What this nice DOT lady was actually saying was that it's dangerous to bike on the roads around here - a sad and indicting commentary when you consider she works for the state road agency that designs and builds those same roads.

No Safe Refuge
If you're in your 30s or older, do you remember how you got around when you were a kid? That's right. You hopped on your bike and pedaled to your friend's house or the store or the ball field.

But let me ask you this: Would you let your kids ride a bike on the roads around here? I thought so - you'd say the roads are too dangerous.

That's what people tell me when I meet them on the road while I bike. I bike more than 10,000 miles a year on the roads around the Tampa Bay area - everywhere from downtown Tampa to the rural roads of east Hillsborough County to the busy commercial roads of Pinellas County. You may strap on your car's seat belt and turn on your ignition. But I strap on my helmet and start turning my pedals. That's how I get around a lot of the time.

People who I meet when I'm biking tell me they want to bike, too. And many do bike - they just seek refuge on sidewalks - a place that's actually more dangerous because drivers usually don't expect a bicyclist crossing an intersection on the sidewalk.

But why are our roads here in the Tampa bay area - especially in Tampa and Hillsborough County - so inhospitable to bicyclists? I have lived here in Tampa for three years, and it is my assessment that little has been done on local roads to make me feel safer as a cyclist.

From my vantage point, the vast majority of elected political leaders, the transportation engineers and the officials who call the shots on designing, building and maintaining our roads seem to have an institutional bias against bicycles because their priority is building speedways for cars instead of roads that all forms of transportation can use. What other conclusion can I reach when I see so few bike lanes and Share the Road signs in Hillsborough County and Tampa, for example.

In the city of Tampa, there are obvious roads that would be ideal bike-commuter roads that have no bike lanes. These are wide, one-way roads with at least three car lanes such as Platt Street, Florida Avenue and Armenia Avenue. There's space for a bike lane on the side. Why not paint a bike lane so that the city can encourage bike-commuting into downtown Tampa?

Check out Bayshore Boulevard, the city's so-called signature thoroughfare. On one side of the road, there's not a bike lane. On the other side, there is a bike lane. But like so many bike lanes around here, it just ends in mid-road. In fact, while I was biking home from that recent meeting, I was following a bike lane on Bullard Parkway that mysteriously disappeared in the Temple Terrace area. Bike lanes: Now you see 'em (if you can find one). Now you don't.

Then, there's the Bruce B. Downs corridor in the New Tampa area. The first time I biked this road more than three years ago I asked myself, "What the hell is this?" Some sections of the road have space on the side; other sections of the road have zero space for a bicycle. When Hillsborough County unveiled its original plan to widen this road, the proposal did not even have a bike lane - see what I mean about a local transportation culture that does not protect bicyclists?

Only after protests from cyclists did the county reduce the width of car lanes to come up with three feet for bicyclists on the side. If you get the chance, check out how they want bicyclists to get around the new proposed I-75 interchange area on Bruce B. Downs. Instead of building bike lanes for road cyclists to follow through the interchange area, the road engineers proposed that bicyclists cross I-75 entry and exit ramps where cars are zooming at high speeds.

Last November, I, along with two local Tampa bike stores, put the county and DOT on notice that the proposed I-75 interchange area is dangerous and that a Bruce B. Downs Boulevard that is widened without official bike lanes puts the county at liability because road projects are supposed to have bike lanes where possible in Florida. We asked to meet the county and the DOT. We got blown off.

Indifference to Fatalities
Bicyclists in Florida die at a higher rate than bicyclists in any other state in the country. In fact, Florida earns this dubious distinction on an annual basis. You'd think that transportation engineers would make it a priority to build and maintain safe roads.

But the sad thing is that even when bicyclists die around here it doesn't seem to shake people up. A bicyclist died around the New Year near Bruce B. Downs at the Hillsborough-Pasco county line. No outrage. Just another casualty that helps Florida realize its dreadful distinction of having the highest bicyclist fatality rate in the country.

We have road congestion. We have overweight people. We have warm weather. We have flat terrain. People should be biking around here.

More would if we committed the public resources to make it happen. But we have to be committed to a new attitude - that bicycles make our communities a better place to live.

Not all is gloomy. We have a good example of a local government that has a good attitude about bicycling. Tampa should look at the city of St. Petersburg, which was recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a bicycle-friendly city last year. Check out St. Pete. There are bike lanes. Even the letter carriers bike around downtown. It's a place where bicyclists are out there because that city decided to make it a more inviting place for cyclists. This spring there are several organized bicycle rides and a bike-to-work campaign in May that are sure to generate interest.

But it's unfair for transportation officials and engineers to tell us there are not enough bicycles on the roads to warrant more space and resources for us bicyclists. They're not out there on the roads because transportation engineers are not building roads that are perceived as safe by people who want to ride two-wheelers.

Fix roads and build better roads for bicyclists. And we shall come.

Alan Snel, a former Tribune reporter, has twice biked solo across the country. He writes a bicycle blog at and promotes cycling for six Tampa Bay area bicycle stores.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

St. Pete Times Recommends Joe

"...the council needs people who can grasp the big picture. The citywide representative also should have the ability to balance neighborhood needs with the regional role Tampa should play. Miller has failed to demonstrate those qualities in 12 years in office, and there is no reason to believe she will ever do more than occupy space. In citywide District 1, the Times recommends Joe Redner."

Friday, March 16, 2007

Cappy's to go To City Council

The basic underlying question in all of this: Is City Government retarding Business Growth in Seminole Heights? First Viva and then Cappy's.

An email:

"Cappy's on N. Florida is going before City Council on Thursday, March 22nd in the evening. If they do not get their rezoning they will have to close. Any and everyone who can attend the meeting on March 22nd is encouraged to do so. They need all the support they can get.
This restaurant is one of very few in Seminole Heights and we do not want to lose it. If you have not been there yet, you need to stop in. They serve Pizzas, Calzones and salads and serve Beer and wine along with non-alcoholic beverages."

Here is an article in the St. Pete Times

"Its latest battle comes Thursday at 6 p.m. The Gabels, their staff and a faithful clan of regulars will attend a hearing at the Tampa City Council meeting. They're hoping the council will waive code requirements the pizzeria has not met."

"The problems have become overwhelming. It's been one thing after another, the Gabels say. "If we'd known, we would not be here. There's no way," Scooter Gabel said this week.


""Codes for development have changed to reflect suburban standards instead of urban standards," said Steve Michelini, a land-use consultant representing the Gabels.

Michelini said the urban design of older neighborhoods like Seminole Heights makes it "difficult if not impossible" to meet these codes, generally because there just isn't enough land.

"So all of these great, wonderful businesses are considered to be nonconforming and there's no way you can meet the current codes without going through the rezoning process," Michelini said."

The biggest issue has been parking."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Gwen Flip Flops and Redner Lets You See Some Skin

The political news getting more fun to read every day.

Gwen Miller flipflops and stumbles all over her position on tax cuts.

"Councilwoman District 1 candidate Gwen Miller said Wednesday she would consider cutting the city's property tax rate as long as city services don't suffer.

That sentiment contradicts her stance in a debate Tuesday, when she said she would oppose a property tax cut. And it contradicts previous opinions she has had on the issue.

Her latest comment came during a forum held by the League of Women Voters. She faced candidate Joe Redner in the debate, which will be broadcast on the city's cable television station. Redner and Miller are the runoff candidates for the citywide District 1 council seat. Election day is March 27.

During the weeks leading up to the March 6 election, Miller provided at least three opinions on the property tax issue to the Tribune, the St. Petersburg Times and the public at candidate forums. She first said she would support a tax cut, then said she would not, then said she would wait for the state Legislature to develop a plan.

On Wednesday, however, she said she would "look forward" to looking into a property tax cut this year "but there will not be cuts in city services.""

Joe Redner makes a deal. Vote and you can see the inside of world famous Mons Venus for free.

"Joe Redner has a deal for Tampa's registered voters: Cast a ballot in the upcoming runoff election and gain free admission to his Mons Venus strip club.

That's a free afternoon or evening of nude dancers. Hand over your "I voted" sticker at the door, and the $20 cover charge will be waived.

Yes, he's serious. And yes, it's legal."

Daniel Ruth dances with glee around the newsroom pole over this whole contest which gives him much fodder for his columns. Here is his recent comment about Joe Redner

"This is a community that elected to council and the Hillsborough County Commission all manner of nutballs, brigands, demagogues, thieves, lotion boys, yes men, hucksters, liars and dolts.

Gracious, compared with the likes of Ronda Storms, Brian Blair, Ronnie Mason, Joe Kotvas, Fred Anderson, Jerry Bowmer, et al, Redner comes off as a walking Age of Enlightenment."

and Gwen Miller

"There is no question that Gwen Miller is a lovely, decent person.

However, in the debates, it has been Redner who is emerging as the candidate with a keener understanding of issues such as transportation, housing, water and economic development.

It's been painful to watch at times. You almost want to put a shawl around Miller's shoulders and give her a warm glass of milk."

Gwen Flip Flops and Redner Lets You See Some Skin

The political news getting more fun to read every day.

Gwen Miller flipflops and stumbles all over her position on tax cuts.

"Councilwoman District 1 candidate Gwen Miller said Wednesday she would consider cutting the city's property tax rate as long as city services don't suffer.

That sentiment contradicts her stance in a debate Tuesday, when she said she would oppose a property tax cut. And it contradicts previous opinions she has had on the issue.

Her latest comment came during a forum held by the League of Women Voters. She faced candidate Joe Redner in the debate, which will be broadcast on the city's cable television station. Redner and Miller are the runoff candidates for the citywide District 1 council seat. Election day is March 27.

During the weeks leading up to the March 6 election, Miller provided at least three opinions on the property tax issue to the Tribune, the St. Petersburg Times and the public at candidate forums. She first said she would support a tax cut, then said she would not, then said she would wait for the state Legislature to develop a plan.

On Wednesday, however, she said she would "look forward" to looking into a property tax cut this year "but there will not be cuts in city services.""

Joe Redner makes a deal. Vote and you can see the inside of world famous Mons Venus for free.

"Joe Redner has a deal for Tampa's registered voters: Cast a ballot in the upcoming runoff election and gain free admission to his Mons Venus strip club.

That's a free afternoon or evening of nude dancers. Hand over your "I voted" sticker at the door, and the $20 cover charge will be waived.

Yes, he's serious. And yes, it's legal."

Daniel Ruth dances with glee around the newsroom pole over this whole contest which gives him much fodder for his columns. Here is his recent comment about Joe Redner

"This is a community that elected to council and the Hillsborough County Commission all manner of nutballs, brigands, demagogues, thieves, lotion boys, yes men, hucksters, liars and dolts.

Gracious, compared with the likes of Ronda Storms, Brian Blair, Ronnie Mason, Joe Kotvas, Fred Anderson, Jerry Bowmer, et al, Redner comes off as a walking Age of Enlightenment."

and Gwen Miller

"There is no question that Gwen Miller is a lovely, decent person.

However, in the debates, it has been Redner who is emerging as the candidate with a keener understanding of issues such as transportation, housing, water and economic development.

It's been painful to watch at times. You almost want to put a shawl around Miller's shoulders and give her a warm glass of milk."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dirty Businesses

I was driving down South Tampa yesterday on Bay to Bay and wondered what the difference was between their streets and Nebraska Ave. I realized that the businesses kept their area looking better. There was little to no trash and there were no weeds growing out of the cracks of the sidewalks and curbs. Maybe the BGOSH and the Civic Associations could get a campaign going with the businesses to get them to Give a Hoot and clean up. come up with a slogan and log and get them all on board. A clean Nebraska is good for business. Also what if both SESH and OSHNA included at least one businesses on their home tours to show off the ones that look good. WMNF was a good choice for the SESH tour 2 years ago. First Home Realty would make a good one for OSHNA Home Tour. Their restored office rivals some of the best restored homes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

FDOT Update

Had a couple of people ask me about Nebraska and what is going on. I had posted an update on Hot Topics, but apparently did not sent the link in the SESH the 10 people who read Hot Topics on a regular basis, found it, but the other thousand or so of you who are concerned with Nebraska, but do not visit Hot Topics have no idea what the latest is! So for you,

Hillsborough Ave. Improvements?

According to a St. Pete Times article:

No left turns allowed here
In a bid to cut crashes, officials plan a raised median instead of a left-turn lane on Hillsborough Avenue.

TAMPA - Traffic crashes are becoming more and more common on the bustling stretch of E Hillsborough Avenue east of Interstate 275.

The annual total has risen steadily from 269 in 1999 to 351 in 2005 - a crash nearly every day along 3 miles of the thoroughfare from Nebraska Avenue to 50th Street, the state says.
The problem is the two-way left-turn lane that runs down the center of the seven-lane road, officials say. They say it has led to a left-turn free-for-all that causes too many accidents and leaves pedestrians no safe way to cross.

State officials, who are usually under pressure to add lanes to roads, announced Monday that they'll do away with that left-turn lane this fall.

They'll replace it with a raised concrete median, said Don Skelton, regional director of the state Department of Transportation.

The state will add left-turn arrows to traffic signals and keep the road's turn lanes blocks apart, restricting drivers to turn only at openings in the median.

About a third of accidents on that stretch of road are left-turn crashes, the DOT said.
"Often it's simply carelessness on the part of the turning driver," said Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Larry Coggins. "Typically somebody tries to beat the oncoming traffic."

Wrecks are also increasing because that's a busy east-west corridor, Coggins said.

At a public meeting last year, some neighbors worried that eliminating the left-turn lane would back up traffic.

But DOT engineers decided a median would prevent accidents and wouldn't make traffic worse.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Yet another reason to vote for Joe

Any man who takes such a strong stance against the scourges of junk food and obesity is a friend of mine.

Also, take a look at the teaser for a new documentary entitled "The Joe Redner Story"

Thursday, March 08, 2007

American Bungalow Notices Seminole Heights

Getting noticed and getting positive press as a neighborhood requires work. Work by someone. According to a story in today's Tribune Suzanne Prieur did some work that is getting Seminole Heights noticed:

"Since then, she has lobbied American Bungalow to showcase what Tampa has to offer. This week, award-winning photographer Alexander Vertikoff photographed bungalows in Hyde Park, Ybor City and Seminole Heights, including the Prieurs' home.

The photographs and an article might not be published in American Bungalow for a year. But at least some of the photographs will be shown during an April 19 presentation by magazine publisher John Brinkmann. The event, at Seminole Heights United Methodist Church, is sponsored by the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association and the Southeast and South Seminole Heights civic associations.

Suzanne Prieur did some of the early legwork, scouting prospects and contacting homeowners."

"Eric Holsinger, 49, and Mary DeJesus, 42, moved from New Tampa into what neighbors call "the stone house" on Suwanee Avenue in January. Vertikoff photographed the 1913 bungalow's exterior Monday. . . ."

Vertikoff photographed the kitchen and a bedroom at Nikki and Stephen Couture's 1928 bungalow on Thomas Street. . . ."

"Newlyweds Melissa Dean and Kevin Kelly, both 38, did an "undo" on their 1922 bungalow, which Vertikoff also photographed. . . ."

So lets keeping getting Seminole Heights noticed. What magazines and TV/cable shows can you get to feature Seminole Heights?

Rose Drugs To Close?

From an email:

"I just found out that Rose Drugs on Nebraska is closing it's doors as of 3/16/07. Rose is going to focus more on her County Commission possition. I just started using her now I have go to back to Walgreens unless we have another family run pharmacy in the area."

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Some Quotes

Jim of State of Sunshine has some thoughts about yesterday's election.

6. Randy Baron - the most intelligent and capable candidate in his race - received the endorsements of both the Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times. He finished dead last. (Sidebar: Don’t worry Randy, I finished dead last in my primary, too. It’s not so bad). I hope he runs for office again, regardless of party affiliation. Smart people need to run for office — usually a smart “strategery.”

I agree with Jim. For the betterment of Tampa, Randy needs to run again. However, this time we need to build a powerful machine to help get him elected.

7. The City of Tampa needs to move the election to November. I never understand why cities in Florida have elections at such odd times - heck, look at the slate of dates for the Pinellas County cities! It’s not like the people care that much… so if you moved it to a more traditional date (even if it’s not held at the same time as other elections) you would increase turnout. Heck, I would even propose that the Legislature should dictate all elections should be held on the same dates state-wide… the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of even years.

Why do we have the City election out of sync? This costs the taxpayers money money to have a separate election.

Also read Hot Topics posting of actual quotes by people in SH when asked if they voted.

Tampa's Elected Art Critic

So an Art Critic will be on City Council. What will this mean for the arts in Tampa? Will we get a official City Council condemnation (or expression of support) for the Exploding Chicken?

Seriously, will this have any positive impact on the arts scene?

Mary Takes It...

What is the significance of Mary Mulhern's victory?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


The election returns show we will have a runoff between Redner and Miller. I predict Redner will win the runoff. City Council will get more interesting. (Side Note: Joe Redner is a member of BGOSH)

Rick Barcena
Randy ''Red'' Baron
Denise Chavez
Julie Jenkins
Gwendolyn ''Gwen'' Miller
Joe Redner


Mary Mulhern beat Shawn Harrison. This is good I think for Seminole Heights. This also gets the Creative Loafing folks an in.
Shawn Harrison
Mary Mulhern


Dingfelder holds his seat by a good margin.
Julie Brown
Joseph V. Citro
John Dingfelder


No surprise. Homophobic Scott wins.
Lynette ''Tracee'' Judge
Frank A. Reddick
Thomas Scott


Charlie Miranda wins. He is a good guy and will be good to Seminole Heights.
Charlie Miranda
Lisa Tamargo


The New Tampa folks are in a runoff also. I guess White Chocolate was not tasty enough.

Joseph P. Caetano
Frank J. Margarella
Charles ''Charlie'' Perkins


Oh and by the way. Iorio won. Almost 80%. - No surprise. Marion was not a serious candidate.

Aria Ray Green
Pam Iorio
Marion Serious Lewis