Monday, December 08, 2008

Seminole Heights new all inclusive chruch

Breath of Life Fellowship Community Church is happy to announce our new location at 7901 N. Nebraska Av. - Tampa, FL 33604. We are on the south side of the Hillsborough River.

Pastor J. Ricc Rollins, II is an award-winning talk show host, motivational speaker, lecturer, life coach, actor and proud father of two. A native of Tampa, FL. Ricc graduated from C. Leon King High School and matriculated at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he majored in business with a minor in marketing and merchandising. He is the only child of Allie McEady Rollins and the late Jessie Rollins, Sr.

Pastor Rollins has been preaching since the age of twelve and has been sharing the Word of God every since. Currently, he is the Senior Pastor and founder of Breath of Life Fellowship Community Church; a biblically based, Christ-centered, intentionally inclusive, radically receptive and non-denominational ministry. His vision is to facilitate fellowship and nurturing for the un-churched and those seeking a place of refuge and restoration in a time such as this. As a part of his vision, Breath of Life Fellowship desires to be a place of Christian fellowship that fosters spiritual and personal growth. Pastor Rollins has recently embarked upon his "No Mo Shame" tour; a multi-leveled workshop/teaching/preaching module combating the auspices of shame to those who are still hurting and marginally existing. He also sits on the Board of Directors for Francis House, Central Florida Black Pride, and the Ujima Men’s Collective.

Previously, he hosted a late night infotainment talk show UpFRONT with Ricc Rollins on WTVT FOX-13. Prior to his tenure at FOX 13, Ricc was the host of his own self-titled, award-winning talk show, The Ric Rollins Show, which he hosted for five years along with other specials and programs. He has also appeared on the nationally syndicated talk shows, Geraldo, Donahue and The Jane Whitney Show, discussing issues of male sexual abuse and survivorship.Pastor Rollins is also an award-winning photographer and best-selling author, to his credit are three published novels, Like Breathing, Breathe again and the recently released, Bated Breath, all a part of a series he has aptly titled, "the breathing chronicles." He is currently working the forth installment, Breathless schedule release in 2009 along with his first non-fiction work.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

New Heights | mid-Nov '08/mid-Jan '09

SPECIAL EDITION: 2009 Guide to the Urban Corridor
Mid-Nov '08/Mid-Jan '09 • Vol. 1, Edt. 6
See this newsletter online at:

In this SPECIAL EDITION, New Heights uncovers your neighborhood's secrets - its many, one-of-a-kind retail shops, restaurants and art venues that you've been missing out on. (Complete with news and rumors of what's to come in '09!)

We then answer the question, "What is the Urban Corridor?", and take a look back at NH's first year accomplishments.

They're fresh, they're convenient and they're close. Join NH as we check out the UC's truly "Super" Markets.

Afterwards, enjoy a new dining experience while feeding your local economy; when you try one of the many independent restaurants listed in our Buyer's Guide.

Internationally known gallerist, Erika Schneider of Tampa Heights' Bleu Acier, examines Tampa’s Art Scene.

Then NH shows you how to explore the local art community and find out what's happening in your neighborhood.

Prepare to get your (local) shop on with this issue of NH - just in time for the holidays and the New Year. You'll discover over a hundred reasons why not to make the trip to the giant malls and "-marts" of the suburbs.

Is it Real or Rumor? From the Newsline to the Grapevine, New Heights goes myth-busting to bring you the latest scoop!

In this Issue: NH lists more than 60 rumors and news clips about what's happening near you.

Newsletter sponsored by:* Rover Done Over Mobile Pet Grooming * Grafx Design * SunBiz Solar * Greener Pixels Print Media Design

Urban Corridor = Seminole Heights, Downtown Tampa, Hyde Park, Channel District, West Tampa, Riverside Heights, Ybor City, Ybor Heights, Davis Islands, Tampa Heights, The Heights, VM Ybor & surrounding areas.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Death of Cranky Conservatism

Is this election the death knell of compassionate conservatism (or as I call it cranky conservatism since I never saw any compassion - just look at Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter)? Is the progressive conservative or moderate Republican on their way back from the Gulag? I think so.

According to David Broder in a great article "Ceding the Center the progressive conservative "is for using limited but energetic government to enhance social mobility." This is who Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosvelt where and who John McCain was until he allowed himself to be hijacked by the cranky conservatists as exemplified the Sarah Palin. (One of the reasons I, a moderate Republican, voted for Obama was Sarah Palin)

This trend of moderate Republicans has already been in the works in Florida as noted in the election of Charlie Crist as Governor of Florida and Rose Ferlita elected as Hillsborough county Commisioner.

We moderates Republicans need to keep this trend going. We need to come up with credible candidates to defeat cranky conservatives, these Bushtonians, these Rhonda Stormians. We need to support moderates.

We need people are less idealogues and more pragmatists. Sometimes strict idealogy is less effective in reaching goals. (This was part of the problem with communism)

For example: Abortion. If we took all of the money, millions and millions and millions of dollars, of dollars that has been spent on abortion fights and all of the time people spent on this issue (parading in front of abortion clinics, putting little crosses on church yards, organizing amendents, etc) and spent it on really dealing with the abortion issue, we would have less abortions in this country. So it is your faith that abortion is not the way to go. Leave it as a faith issue and something you personally would not want done but remove it as a policy issue. Change it to redcing the number. Lets agree on how late an abortion could be done ( a thorny issue) and then focus on prevention. First by having real sex education that includes not only abstinence but also birth control. Spend a lot of money on teen pregancy issues. Stop the resistence to morning after pill. Also make it easier for a woman give up a child for adoption, including providing her more support (which maybe should be perhaps financial) and also make it easier for someone to adopt that child. Improve the role models these children have (both boys and girls.) End result less abortions and less unwanted children and less children in poverty and less child abuse and less money spend on public assistance.

The failed Cuban Embargo for another example. The purpose if this embargo was to get rid of the Castro brothers. Well at some point you have to declare something a failure and I think 40 plus years is long enough. I believe in the subversive power of the American dollar. Drop all restrictions and let the money flow in and the American tourists and investors flow in. Do this and I predict the Castro regime would be gone pretty quickly.

There are plenty of other issues where a pragmatic approach would be more effective.

Moderates arise and cast off your shackles!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sanity returns to the County

Hillsborough County is finally looking up. Reason is returning. Brian Blair is defeated by Kevin Beckner. Buddy Johnson is defeated by Phyllis Busansky. Jim Norman will be term limited in 2010. Ralph Hughes is not around to own candidates.

Wanted: a moderate Republican to run for Jim Norman's seat in 2010. A moderate Democrat who is not in the perceived to be in pockets of developers to run for Kevin White's seat in 2010.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Greater Seminole Heights Vision Plan--Oct 29th

This is the product from the "form based zoning" discussions to revitalize the commercial corridors in Seminole Heights (all of Seminole Heights: southeast, south, and old). It is important for neighbors to turnout. It is important for the leaders of ALL three neighborhood groups to be there. If our leaders aren't there and neighbors also don't show up we have no voice in the city's decision making.

Please join us for a Stakeholder Review and Open House which is scheduled for Wednesday, October 29, 2008, 6:30 - 8:30pm (presentation at 7:30pm) at City Hall, 315 East Kennedy Boulevard, to review the draft Vision Plan and provide input on the Vision Planning exercises for this project. City staff will be presenting findings and documenting public comments.

For additional information regarding the Greater Seminole Heights Form-Based Code project, you can visit our web site at: or contact us at (813) 274-8405.

Samantha Fenger

Urban Planner II
Land Development Coordination
City of Tampa

Friday, October 24, 2008

King of the Hill...a Commentary

You know it is amazing the things that have been said about yours truely. Now I have people commenting and signing for me. I have been called all manner of names by a small bunch of very petty and small minded people. An this is just over a neighborhood association election.

I read the accusations that keep attacking me as the source of the negativity; I think that most people are more than capable of seeing through this all this BS. I have not screamed at board members or members of the association like Jeff Harmon. I have not trash talked about a neighborhood business like Shawn Hicks did. I have not acted in any way to tarnish the integrity of this election process. But I sure have questioned some actions. (Yeah, there “I” go with those “I” statements but at least own what I say)

I have served on 5 different boards (including OSHNA’s) over the past 20 years. I have never seen the maliciousness or the hatefulness that has been exhibited by all these anonymous cowards. What have I actually done? I have expected the board to act with integrity regarding the by-laws. They have not both in regard to a sitting board member and in holding an absentee ballot vote on the by-law revisions. It is not personal against that person, it is about the rules, and I would take the same position if it were a close friend. We have rules for a reason. I am deeply trouble by people who want to be in leadership positions on our association board who have so little respect for the rules, past precedence, the reputation, or the integrity of that neighborhood association.

There are many in this neighborhood who will tell you I have supported and included people who did not agree with me on one issue or another over my years in this community. They will also tell you that even when we have disagreed, we have remained friends because we did not make those issues personal. I have personally invested hundreds of hours and hundreds of dollars in this community. It was never about building myself a little clique or taking an ego trip.

OSHNA has had at least two prior contentious elections. Never has it reached the point where the integrity of the very election process was called into question. Though people were running against each other because they disagreed about issues or priorities, the candidates had enough respect for the process, each other, and the association that they wanted to lead that they were not willing to climb over the bodies and characters of their opponents to be declared king of the hill. The conduct of people in this election has been appalling and disgusting. The truth be told, if I am ashamed of anything I have done, it is that I have at times allowed myself to wallow in the same muck. It has certainly strained some long time friendships which I regret.

In the end, if it is about being “king of the hill” we all need to go back an examine what it means to be a neighborhood association.

Rick Fifer

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

OSHNA Great Tree Giveaway

Posted at the request of Greg Barnhill

Neighbors, Nature and Natural HistoryGrowing Together

Dear Members,

In honor of your support and membership, OSHNA is giving away free trees! And did we mention, planting them too!

Click Here to visit OSHNA's website
Laurel Oaks*
Live Oaks*
Winged Elms
(All trees are 20 to 30 gallon in size.)
* Choice of tree is based on planting location ... due to city recommendations, oaks cannot be planted under existing power lines.
Watch for the postcard announcement in
your mailbox and join us at the next
General Membership Meeting,
Tuesday, October 28th, 7pm.

Bring your postcard for the drawing, and
if you have a neighbor unable to attend the meeting, bring their postcard along with you.

Disclaimer: You do not need to be present to win, but postcards do need to be presented for the drawing, only one tree per household, trees will only be planted within the boundaries of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association and all winners will be announced during the meeting, via Bungalow Alert and by personal communication.


Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood AssociationPO Box 360022Tampa, Florida 33673-0022

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Myspace Page - Please check this out

This woman is becoming a friend of mine and I would like you to check out the myspace page. It is a site we're working on but we need help from everyone to get her story out and the myspace page known. Please pass it around. Please watch the video if you haven't seen it.

TAMPA (Bay News 9) -- Since Kathy Maloney lost her sales job in May, things haven't been easy.
She doesn't have money or a car, but she has the drive to get it all back.
"You can be at home depressed," she said. "I've been through that depression, what's it going to do me any good. You know, it's not going to do any good. You have to get out and see people in person."
Maloney spent the morning on busy Dale Mabry Highway handing out her life's work on a piece of paper.
"I appreciate any help," she told one driver. "Because this is desperate and this is very close to being an eviction."
More Information
Hitting the streets with resumes in hand is also a way to show off her marketing skills.
"They see you and they are going to remember you and that's marketing," she said.
Some drivers understand the desperate times.
"It's different, interesting, but hey, if it works, it works," said driver Danielle Rodriguez. "The economy nowadays sucks."
It only takes Maloney an hour and hundreds of handouts to get some hopeful calls.
"That's more response in one hour than I've had in three months, compared to the Internet, compared to job fairs, everything," she said.
Maloney landed job interviews with a law firm and a marketing company. Her persistence also got her free resume copies from a nearby daycare. "La Petite" gave her more copies each time she ran out.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Challenging the TECO Rate Increase

This is an issue that is critical to our neighborhood and community and is a modified post of a letter sent asking the neighborhood association to send a representative. This is done with her knowledge and approval.

As you have read in the news and heard at the recent THAN meetings, TECO is petitioning the Florida Public Service Commission for substantial rate increases.

A number of concerned businesses and citizen groups will speak at the PSC meeting next Tuesday October 21 at 6:00 p.m. (location listed below.) It would be beneficial if neighbors from SESHCA, SSHCA, and OSHNA attend and comment on the impact on our community and our neighbors, and request the denial of their request. The proposed increases reach 21% for residents.

City Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena proposed, and the Council officially passed a resolution asking the PSC to deny the increase until a financial and operational analysis could be conducted. AARP, The Federation of Retailers, County Operations and THAN are among the groups that will comment. BGOSH and other groups have asked to comment. The AARP and retail lawyers are working on ‘discovery’ of TECO financial documents.

Speakers will not be disputing the increase in fuel costs. The comments will focus on the Base Rate increase and the percent of profit TECO is seeking (reportedly 11 or 12% after tax, and if I understood the lawyers). I’ve included a link to their PDF, below, for you to compare the charges for your businesses. Our goal is to reduce the Base Rate and obtain a multi-year implementation.
Numbers in attendance will increase the impact, your presence carries weight with the PSC. The impact will be cumulative on our community – from schools to businesses to our homes. We know you are busy and the meeting is next Tuesday, but hope that one of you can speak.

We are organizing a prep meeting at 5:00 p.m. prior to the PSC. To confirm your participation, please let me know so we can coordinate with you. If you have any questions about the issue or comments, please feel free to contact any one of us.


CJ Reynolds (to e-mail CJ: )
Seminole Heights, Tampa

Linda Saul-Sena, Tampa City Council
Wofford Johnson, President THAN

TECO Petition Service Hearing
Tuesday, October 21 at 6:00 p.m.
Dr. Blaise F. Alfano Conference and Banquet Center,
11606 North McKinley Drive

(4oth St. becomes McKinley, corner of McKinley and Fowler)

On August, 11, 2008, Tampa Electric formally filed its request for a base rate increase.Proposed changes to your rates: proposed new rates

To learn more, visit TECO's proposed changes to your electric base rate page, or read their news release.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Heights | mid-Sept/mid-Nov 2008

This has been out since late September, so I apologize for the late posting.

Can't see this newsletter? Visit:

New Heights Magazine: Mid-Sept/Mid-Nov 2008
Highlighting Tampa Historic Urban Corridor:
Seminole Heights, Downtown, Ybor, West Tampa, Tampa Heights, Riverside Heights, Davis Islands, Hyde Park & Surrounding Areas

---------------- FEATURED STORIES ------------------

Connecting the Corridor: We find out the fastest way to get around the UC ... without a car!Four mean machines - a bus, streetcar, cab and electric shuttle -race against time and each other to claim the UC's title as 2008's Top Transit ...

-------------- ----------------

Food & Drink: Five contenders sat in different corners of the UC, picked asunknowing finalists in New Heights' mission to discover whose Chinese Take-Out reigns supreme. And the winner is ???

Then our humorous sommelier, Mark Lasky, offers advice on great, affordable wines from lesser known regions ...

-------------- ----------------

Health & Beauty: Nothing says "I've had a great summer!" like snarling split ends and bleached out locks. Just in time for Fall, find out which conditioner is the cure for your frazzled hair ...

Then learn "Where the Mind Goes," according to Eastern medicine;and how a vast majority of our health problems (including depression) may originate from our mental selves ...

-------------- ----------------

Home & Family: Where are the bodies buried? Meet the soldiers, socialites, saints and sinners that lay at rest (or maybe not!) in the UC's eerie, historic graveyards ...

Then, NH's Licensed School Psychologist, Dr. Abby, explores why consistency is the key for parents who want their children to feel safe and happy at home ...

-------------- ----------------

Arts & Events: Hillsborough High & Seminole Heights Documentaries (Oct. 4); Tampa Bay International Auto Show; TBPAC's 2008-2009 Bestof Broadway Season; Cigars & Stars IV; and more!

Also: Event Listings, "Transit Race," tombstones, UC Fly Over & scenes of NH's past ...

-------------- ----------------

News & Rumors: Is it Real or Rumor? From the Newsline to the Grapevine, New Heights goes myth-busting to bring you the latest scoop!

This issue: New Heights Lands a Whaleys (almost); Starbuck's Closing; Five Guys Burgers and Thai; and more!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Urban Puzzle

(Illustration/Christophe Vorlet Graphic)
The above graphic accompanied an interesting article in the Boston Globe regarding neighborhoods and gentrification. Click on the image to link to the article. I think it is relevant to so many of the issues that face our urban core neighborhoods. In reading it you can hear some of the same challenges we face in Seminole Heights. Commercial redevelopment. Blight and renovation. Economic stratification and who was here first. Preserving what first attracted us to the area yet trying to move forward without changing that character. Bridging the diversity that too often seems to be a bridge to no where. The generational divides between those who have lived here for decades and are not so sure what to make of change. Throw into the mix that the bursting of the real estate bubble seems to have taken us backward rather than forward. Those that thought we had moved past the urban pioneer stage may find this set back more than they bargained.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The "Vote" Postcard

I was requested to post this. At this time OSHNA has also sent out an official "bungalow alert" as a disclaimer stating as much.

OSHNA Board,

The “Vote” postcard delivered today raises some very serious concerns about the integrity of OSHNA. The main issue is not that it went out nor that it appears that the recipients are members of the association, the later is of course of concern. However, my main concern is that the postcard appears to be coming from the Old Seminole Neighborhood Association itself. As I am sure that this is not the case I am requesting that the Board communicate with the membership the following:

“If you received a ‘Vote” postcard in the mail the Association wants to assure you that the Association did not pay for nor does the Association in any way promote the information provided in the postcard. The Association has a long history of not endorsing any candidate for the Executive Board of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association and as such the contents of the postcard are not being provided in this Alert.

Further, the Association recently denied a request to use the membership list for the purposes of disseminating information relating to the election. And in fact, has a history of not providing the membership list to anyone.

The Association apologizes for any confusion that this may have caused you and look forward to continuing to work with you to address the needs of the neighborhood “

(You can add words to further explain the board’s position, but this must be communicated to the membership as quickly as possible. )

Christie Hess

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Candidate Forum (OSHNA Candidates)

Dinner with a side of Politics

The candidate forum offered by Elizabeth Graham has been set for October 13th. For More Information on the forum or to learn about some of the issues. All the candidates have received an invitation. I know that Eric Krause has gracefully excused himself as he will be out of town for business.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Number Please

Will someone please provide me Greg Smith's phone number or email? He's going to be in our next feature story ... if I can contact him.

(He's the person in charge of the Greg's Pub & Grub currently being built on Nebraska Ave.) or 813-389-8116


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Join Us for a Celebration as New Heights turns 1!

A Celebration & Networking Event
See your offical inviation here: New Heights Birthday Celebration

When: Oct. 2, 2008, 6-8pm (Thursday)
Where: Gaspar's Grotto - Map
1805 E. 7th Ave., Ybor City

Please join New Heights for this free, fun, family-friendly event - being held at Ybor City's Gaspar's Grotto, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008, 6-8pm - to help us celebrate our one-year birthday.

Amongst our staff and your fellow readers, you'll sample complimentary fare from Gaspar's new Set Sail menu (created by Jeannie Pierola, the famous former Bern's/Side Bern's chef). You'll also be entertained by the Crystal Monkey Band, featuring the cover boy from New Heights' inaugural issue, Sebastian Castellano.

Most importantly, you'll meet New Heights' staff members face-to-face and be able to share with us your thoughts on how we can do an even better job at Highlighting Tampa's Historic Urban Corridor.

Please mark Thursday, October 2, 6-8pm on your calendar and join us to celebrate our one-year birthday and New Heights' goal to draw positive attention to the UC neighborhoods that are the true heart of Tampa. We'll see you there!

No RSVP required, but we'd love to know you're coming so we can be sure to look out for you. Feel free to email us at

Friday, September 26, 2008

No On Amendment 2

Floridians are going to face a ballot question that is called the "Marriage Protection Amendment." "Inasmuch as a marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized." --The actual language of amendment 2.
This is another attempt to put another distraction from real issues before voters in Florida. Why do I believe this? The the effort to get this divisive question on the ballot was paid for overwhelmingly and directly by the Republican party of Florida. The Republican brand is not popular with the voting public but if you can cynically put an issue that will drive right-wing Christians to the polls on the ballot, then they have the hope that those voters will also give their support to the rest of the Republican ticket.

If you don't believe in Divorce then don't get one.
If you don't believe in adultery then don't cheat on your spouse.
The point is if you don't believe in Gay marriage then don't marry someone of the same sex.
No one has the ability the legislate anyone into their understanding of Heaven.
No one has the ability to legislate someone into their understanding of salvation.

This is motivated by those who think it is their right to impose their personal or religious definition of morality on those that don't believe or live as they do. Marriage is not threatened by the specter of Gay marriage. The state of Massachusetts, a state that some say is the most liberal in the nation, has the lowest divorce rates in the entire nation. Lower than the Bible belt states. Lower than the Mormon dominated state of Utah. Gay marriage hasn't changed Massachusetts' ranking.

Those who have promoted this effort are being less than honest. In states where similar amendments have been passed have very quickly shown their true agenda. They have used it to challenge the limited legal tools available to protect both homosexual and heterosexual unmarried partners, they have used it to challenge domestic partner registries, , and they have challenged both public and private domestic partner benefits.

The proponents of this amendment will say it was ruled as meeting Florida's single issue requirement for amendments. They are correct. The big LIE is that how it will be applied. They will challenge every single one of these things as being the equivalent of marriage and therefore, should be struck down. They will say that is untrue. They are LIARS. Want to understand the present and the future? Then look at past history. History says they are liars.

So when you go to the polls, I hope you will be respectful of those who's home life may not resemble yours, who's values and faith beliefs differ from yours and that you will vote

Publix robbed

Police are searching for two armed men who robbed a Publix supermarket late Thursday night.
According to the Tampa Tribune the suspects entered the store through a rear loading door at 10:20 p.m. The men ordered employees to get on the ground and forced the store's assistant manager and cashier to hand over money from the safe according to Lt. William Ferguson of the Tampa Police Department.

In an update e-mail about the robbery to Christie Hess, OSHNA Crime Awareness committee:

Major Bennett asked that I send you an email, for you to disperse among your Seminole Heights email tree as far as it can go.

Major Bennett wanted to assure the residents of Seminole Heights that every available lead is being followed, and the TPD Robbery Squad is working diligently to locate the suspects. I'm including their descriptions in this email. Major Bennett personally went to the scene and met with management this morning - as he considers our "Publix" one of the sacred spots in the Seminole heights Community.

The Robbery occurred at 9-25 11:30 pm, at the Publix at 6001 N. Nebraska. No one was injured, thank goodness. TPD was on-scene in one minute, or less, and there are some strong leads to work with.

Two black males, both about 5' 9", one thin build about 170 pounds, the other, 250 pounds. They were wearing masks, so no facial descriptions are available. A dark SUV was described as being involved, but no other information on the vehicle nor suspects are available at this time. Alerts are being updated and Major Bennett will be keeping our Publix Manager, Chuck, updated as much as possible.

*Citizens are reminded to call Police at 9-1-1, or the Police Non Emergency Number 231-6130 if they see anything suspicious.

Thank You

Lisa TimmerNeighborhood Affairs LiaisonTampa Police DepartmentUniform District Two9330 N. 30th StTampa, Fl. 33612

Phone 813-931-6541Fax 813-931-6576

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bungalow Bistro Offers OSHNA Forum

The owners of Bungalow Bistro have very graciously offered to host a candidate forum for the upcoming Old Seminole Heights (OSHNA) board elections. The following letter was sent only to the current board since the Graham's did not have e-mail contact for all of the candidates and has since been circulated to all of the candidates. The date and time have not been determined.

My understanding is that there would be an effort to have a moderator not connected to OSHNA to maintain neutrality.

Personally, I think it is great that a business owner is taking such positive interest in the residential community. It looks like a win-win both for their business and our neighborhood. The Graham's had moved from the neighborhood but still own and operate two businesses in Seminole Heights. Both are attractive additions to our commercial district.

Thank you Elizabeth and Michael for your continued interest in residential areas of our community.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TPD to meet with Seminole Heights Residents

IMPORTANT MEETING with Tampa Police Department and the residents of greater Seminole Heights!


TIME: 6:30 PMPLACE: TPD DISTRICT III @ 3808 North 22nd Street ~ Tampa, FL



If you have had issues and have been vocal in your concerns, then it is important for you to attend this meeting.

a repost from Hampton post by Greg Barnhill

Curtis Drugs

"I went to Curtis Drugs Friday morning to pick up a prescription refill. For those of you that don't know, they accept the same insurance as CVS and Walgreens and supply you with the medication you already take. What a surprising visit. They are now stocking household products for $1.00. $1.00!!. I bought a 33 ounce bottle of Fabric Freshener (like Fabreze) for $1.00. A 27 oz. bottle of Fabreze sells at the grocery store for $5.29. They also have paper towels, bath tissue, hand soap, etc. The only other thing I thought about was garbage bags. When I mentioned this to Duane he immediately wrote it down for order. We have lost Tampa Hardware to fire, Rose's Drugs closed, Waley's Market closed years ago and now the Tampa Antiquarian Book store is moving out in December. We can't afford to lose any other business' in our neighborhood. I don't know about anyone else, but with the gas prices being what they are and the price increase for other necessaries, I'll be shopping at Curtis Drugs more often. Take a minute to stop in and see what they carry. If they don't have it I'm sure Duane will order it.Curtis Drugs is located on the southeast corner of Curtis and Nebraska Av. 4625 N. Nebraska Av. , in Southeast Seminole Heights. Give them a call and find out how simple it is to transfer your prescription to Curtis Drugs, you won't be sorry".

Meet the Candidate Party

Click image to enlarge

Jim Kwid...candidate for OSHNA Trustee

Hello, my name is Jim Kwid and I am running for a Trustee position on the Executive Board of the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association. While this is my first attempt to be elected to the OSHNA Board, I have been a homeowner in Old Seminole Heights for over 14 years. I love this neighborhood a great deal and if elected, I will do all in my power to make sure it remains the friendly, helpful and neighborly community it was when I moved here.

Over the past 14 years, I have been very active on various OSHNA activities and committees. I had the honor of being allowed to participate in the 2004 Home Tour. I was very proud to show my 1927 Bungalow to so many wonderful people and let them see one of the charming homes and the wonderful way of life here in Seminole Heights. I have also been involved in the Historic renovation of two commercial buildings in West Tampa over the last 20 years.

I recently volunteered and was appointed to work as Chairperson for Code Enforcement here in Old Seminole Heights. While it is a monumental task and very time consuming, it has allowed me to see some of the nagging problems we face as residents in this wonderful community. I have enjoyed working along side the City of Tampa’s Code Enforcement Director and the Code Inspectors for our area. They have told me they appreciate my help and are very impressed with how OSHNA handles the very intense problems of code violations. We have a lot of work we need to continue to do, but good, reasonable code enforcement is making our neighborhood a better place to live!

Also, I am very proud to be involved with the fine group of people in this community who put in countless hours on the annual Library Book Sale. The book sale is a wonderful OSHNA activity and provides all of us the opportunity to raise money for such worthy causes year after year. Another long hour, heavy lifting and “frantic” sales day event, the opportunity to make our Seminole Heights Library the fantastic Library that it is, and it shows what volunteering time in this community can do! I am happy to be associated with this fine OSHNA event!

I am running for the OSHNA Board because recently, there seems to be a non connection, a misunderstanding, as to who is responsible for what happens in “Our Neighborhood”. I need to show every one of our great neighbors that it isn’t what I as a neighbor wants…It isn’t what the OSHNA Board as a whole wants… and it isn’t what a group, small or large, of neighbors want……it is what the majority of OSHNA homeowners want that should be considered! I promise to uphold that standard and I would appreciate your vote for Trustee of The OSHNA Executive Board.

Thank you for your vote!

Jim Kwid

The above was posted on behalf of the candidate running for the OSHNA board elections. The comment section has been disabled. The content except for a few grammatical changes is as provided by Mr. Kwid.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Gail E. Davis...candidate for OSHNA Secretary

Greetings Old Seminole Heights neighbors, allow me to introduce myself to you. I am Gail Davis and I am running for the position of Secretary of board of our association. This is the first time in my life I have ever attempted to run for any kind of office although I have been a long time resident of Seminole Heights. My husband and I moved to Seminole Heights 23 years ago and love living here in our 1923 bungalow where we also started a business here. Being a resident here during these many years, I have witnessed first hand many changes in the area seeing how Seminole Heights has grown to be the friendly, diverse, important community it has become. I became one of the first members of OSHNA 20 years ago when the association was just forming with a small group of concerned residents who wanted to join together to try and make a difference so our area of Tampa would be a more positive, safer, place to live. I am very proud to see how far our small band of original neighbors has grown and what our organization has become.
I have worked for the same family owned business in Tampa as a Purchasing Agent for the past 34 years. I deal extensively with vendors throughout the U.S. on a daily basis possessing people and office skills that will surely be a benefit as your Secretary. I am a very dedicated employee who started as a youngster out of high school and worked my way to being a highly regarded professional within my company helping to make it the success that it has become over the past 87 years it has been in existence.
As a general member of OSHNA, I attended the general membership meetings and kept abreast of the progress and changes however I recently decided to be more active than I ever have in aspiring to be on our association's executive board. It is my belief that our neighborhood could benefit further with a change. A change where a voice will be at the board table who will represent EVERY homeowner in Seminole Heights regardless if that homeowner is a standing member or not, we all live here and deserve to be heard. The direction of OUR association must consider our ENTIRE neighborhood and their concerns with the decisions and direction it takes which has been lacking of late. I want our association to come back to where it once was 20 years ago connecting with everyone in our neighborhood as well as being transparent and open with all the board’s business which effects everyone’s lives and how they live in this great neighborhood of ours.
I believe I can make that difference and I have the experience and compassion to help make our association even better than it already is by considering all parties and all people who live here.

As your Secretary, I will listen to everyone and work with everyone because the board should always represent the homeowners as a whole and never forget that. If elected, I promise that my voice will represent what the majority of homeowners want to see in their neighborhood association and what their association can do for you.

If you agree, I would appreciate your vote to become the next new board member as your Secretary.
Gail Davis

The above was posted on behalf of the candidate running for the OSHNA board elections. The comment section has been disabled. The content except for a few grammatical changes is as provided by Ms. Davis.

Friday, September 19, 2008

New Hillsborough County Logo

Based on the decision by the Board of County Commissioners to rename the Moral Courage award, to the Ralph Hughes award, it is time to unveil the new Hillsborough County logo.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Giddens Park in the Big Picture

Long long time ago...kind of reminds me of a certain Don McClean song. The City of Tampa launched the Greenprinting Initiative. A partnership of the city, the Mayor's Beautification Program and the F.E. Lykes Foundation to target 10 city parks for upgrades at the rate of 1 per year. The project was to be seeded with funds from the foundation which offered $75,000 for each park.

The first up was supposed to be Southeast Seminole Heights' Giddens Park. As the program draws to the end. The first hasn't been finished. The second in Tampa Heights was to center on Lake Robles and Robles Park but it is still in the design stage. Third is Curtis Hixon Park, a downtown Riverfront park. Now the city of Tampa has likely spent over the last 20 years more money on that piece of land than all the other urban core parks combined. And the plans of Mayor Iorio will make it so if it isn't already.

"It's functional," Debra Evenson, the beautification program's executive director, said of the fountain. "But it can't be turned on until final inspection.'s not 10 parks in 10 years, but we've done a lot more than we expected to do. Curtis Hixon is the final end of the foundation's commitment." as reported and quoted by Kathy Steele of the Tampa Tribune.

My question: If it was 10 parks in 10 years and the final product is at best 3 parks-maybe, how have you done a lot more than you expected to do? What sort of Orwellian talk is that?

Are Paula and Randy White Unchristian?

Today the Tribune had an article about Paula and Randy White trying to revive their Without Walls International Church. A section in the article caught my attention:

"Those who study evangelicals say it's common for prosperity preachers such as Paula to embrace a gospel of materialism.

"It has been easy for those so inclined to further de-emphasize the spiritual aspects of Christianity in favor of legitimizing full-bore materialism," said Bill Martin, a Rice University professor. "In such a climate, a growing number of preachers see — and experience — no problem with acknowledging that many people regard them as motivational speakers or life coaches first, and preachers second."

This contrast with what the AP reported Pope had to say recently:

"Pope Benedict XVI condemned unbridled "pagan" passion for power, possessions and money as a modern-day plague . . . "Has not our modern world created its own idols?" Benedict said in his homily, and wondered aloud whether people have "imitated, perhaps inadvertently, the pagans of antiquity?"

Benedict has continued with a campaign started by his predecessor, John Paul II, who worried that the affluent West was turning consumerism into a kind of religion and ignoring its Christian roots of spiritual values.

Paraphrasing from the New Testament, Benedict decried "insatiable greed" and said "the love of money is the root of all evil."

"Have not money, the thirst for possessions, for power and even knowledge, diverted man from his true destiny?" the pope asked.

Benedict blasted modern society's thirst for these new "pagan" idols as a "scandal, a real plague."

Are the Whites and other prosperity gospel preachers, Pagan and not Christian Preachers?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Jim Norman's Lack of Moral Courage

Commissioner Jim Norman is proposing renaming the Hillsborough County Moral Courage award after the late Ralph Hughes.

The perception by most people is that when he was alive, Ralph Hughes owned most of the County Commission. Now the perception must be that even while dead he still owns them.

Ralph Hughes, his developer cohorts and his pet commissioners are the reason the Moral Courage award exist. To name this award after him would be the same as renaming the Nobel Peace Prize after Slobodan Milošević.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Join us for the "Friday Night Movies"

When: Friday 7pm 9/5/08

Where: The Metro Center

6421 N. Florida Ave.

Tampa, Florida 33604

Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate?

Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families -- including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson -- we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard's Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Drug Dealing and The Wire

In a prior post on Prostitution dolphin makes a good point about calling TPD about drug activity. Being part of Neighborhood Watch before, I listened to TPD officers tell us how the drug dealers operate, for example how they will keep their stash in a paper cup or paper bag in the weeds or gutter, rather than on their person. I did not get a full understanding of that until I watched the first season of The Wire. This show or The Corner should be required watching for NW members because it gives be very insights at to how the street level drug dealers operate.

Thankfully we have better police department than that on The Wire.

Searching for Prostitutes

Part 2 of What can be done about the prostitutes on Nebraska Avenue?

Getting a big lead on being accurate when providing information to the police, is knowing who is doing the activity. Many of the prostitutes are regulars. The SESH Vehicle patrol created a book we kept in our cars that showed the photos and names and arrests for the regular prostitutes.

There are several ways of getting this information.

1. Join a NW Watch group that already has such information.

2. Look it up yourself.

Start with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Inquiry. Go to Option 3: Inquire by Booking Date. Enter a date in following format 082908 and click Summary Report. This will generate a list of bookings at the jail for that day. There is much information in that listing including the crime. I use the search function to quickly locate the crimes I am interested in. Control – F. I type in “prost” to search for prostitution and “soli” for soliciting another. (Bear in mind there is also “solicitation to pu” short for soliciting to purchase drugs, “soliciting by inti” short soliciting by intimidation or harassment -aggressive panhandling and “solicitation to de” short for solicitation to deliver cocaine.) However not all details of the arrest are in that report so I have open a second window in which I cut and paste into the Option 1: Inquire by Name: field. This provides me all the details of the arrest include where the person was arrested, where they live and for whom they are employed by and their photo.

For example from 8/18/08 to 8/29/08 this is what I came up with for prostitution arrests.





















By going into the Option 1: Inquire by Name: field I can find the person’s prior arrests for last 5 years.

For more details of someone’s criminal history and status of the criminal case go to Hillsborough Clerk of Circuit Court - Search Court Records site. This site not only includes arrests where they went to jail but also those who were issued a summons to appear in court and never sent to jail at the time of arrest.

For example: Antwon Lee Jordan has an extensive history of False Name to LE officer and No Valid drivers license. If you call a report in on Antwon Jordan engaging in prostitution activity and they do a field interview and he gives a false name, he can be arrested and taken off the street for a short time.

Another site that may provide more detail is the Florida Department of Corrections Inmate Search Site. I like to use the Search All Corrections Offender Databases sub site This will tell you if they are on Felony Probation and whether they have had arrests in other counties.

This can be important because there is a statute that makes the 3rd conviction of prostitution a felony, mandating treatment.

What can be done about the prostitutes on Nebraska Avenue?

This is the first of a multipart series on the topic.

My ability to speak on this topic is due to my participation in the Southeast Seminole Heights Neighborhood Watch, The Exercise Club, and SESH NW Vehicle Patrol and for moderating the Prostitution Task Force (for which I and others did extensive research.)

To deal with this problem requires cooperation and commitment on the part of the residents.

There are 5 core strategies in dealing with the prostitutes and their Johns.

  1. Reporting
  2. Disruption
  3. Arrests
  4. Treatment
  5. Economic change of the community

These strategies requires a commitment on the part of the residents, where they need to become part of the system instead of relying on the system. This is the essential in fact of community policing. The community has a role in effective policing.


The most basic element is observing and reporting the behavior. To effectively deal with any criminal problem, the police need information about the problem. As there are only so many police out there, they are limited in what they see. It is crucial that residents provide that information. You are in effect supplying criminal intelligence to the police. As part of this you need to make sure you are reliable in the information you provide. Also the police are often more effective in dealing with patterns rather than individual acts. So everytime you see prostitution activity, report it to the TPD non-emergency line 231-6130. Provide detailed description of what is going and who is doing it, including the name of the persons involved if you have it. Report it as you see it rather than wait till later. Describe what the person looks like, what they are wearing, what side of the street they are on which direction they are headed and specifically what they are doing. Then ask for an event number. That event number ensures it is entered into the TPD system.

Getting accurate descriptions takes some practice, especially if you decide something is suspicious for criminal activity after you pass the person by. I recommend 3 things. 1. Keep a pad and paper handy to where ever you might be when you observe criminal activity. For example by a particular window in your house. This way you can write things down instead of relying on memory as you call TPD. Don’t forget to document the time. 2. Read over material provided by police/neighborhood watch on describing people . 3. Practice describing people. Make a game out of it and observe someone, document what they look like and then see if it matches. This is a game your children can learn, which might help them later in the event they become a witness to a crime. Sometimes if I see something that might be suspicious I will run the description in my head as I decide whether it is truly suspicious and needs to be reported.

The more you report the incidents two things occur: TPD pays greater attention to the problem because they have an increase numbers for that area. Every day TPD looks over data maps to see what reported crimes are occurring where and they change their tactics to deal with those changes in crime. Secondly they have data to work on to fight the problem, they know when and where they can send undercover police to act as prostitutes and arrest the Johns or to pretend to be Johns and arrest prostitutes. They can also step up field interviews. This might pick up people who have warrants and it also disrupts business.

If you do not report it, it will not get dealt with. If you do not report it, you are part of the problem.

The next post will be on getting more information in advance on the actors in these crimes, to provide to police even more accurate information.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A correction

In my July posting on the Hampton Terrace debate, I took issue with the the Creative Loafing article about the HTPRO spokespeople residing in the neighborhood (see the link).

This morning at Starbucks Gail confront me and challenged my assertions and challenged me to make a retraction. I will gladly accept that challenge, if what I post is shown to be inaccurate I have no problem retracting anything. So I again went looking in regard to the property owned by Gail Davis.

For whatever reason the property appraiser's site does not pull it up under her name but when I search Mohawk I did find the homestead under her and her husband's name.

Gail consider this my retraction.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"His heart, home are in Seminole Heights"

There is a great article in the St. Pete Times about Greg Barnhill.

"Seeing Greg Barnhill, professional looking in khakis and a button-down dress shirt, it's hard to imagine him as a country boy on a farm outside West Union, Ohio. That's exactly what Barnhill was, though, and he still has great regard for the small-town way of life. It's evident in his passion for the older homes and sense of community in Seminole Heights, where he helped organize the neighborhood's first home tour and has been integral in restoring its garden center building." (more)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Candidate Forum

From South Seminole Heights email:

Please join us �

. . . as Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa ( MCC Tampa) will host our 2008 �Meet the Candidates� Forum on Monday, August 18, 2008 . This event is being sponsored by:

The Tampa/Hillsborough County Human Rights Council

Equality Florida

South Seminole Heights Civic Association

Our event schedule is as follows �

6:30p � 7:00p ~ Informal Meet & Greet with Hillsborough County Judicial Candidates, Hillsborough County Supervisor of Election Candidates, and Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Candidates

7:00p � 7:10p ~ Introductions of Media Representatives and Program Format

7:10p � 7:30p ~ Hillsborough County School Board, District 1 - Q&A

7:30p � 7:55p ~ Hillsborough County School Board, District 7 - Q&A

7:55p � 8:15p ~ Hillsborough County Commission , District 2 (R) � Q&A

8:15p � 8:35p ~ Hillsborough County Commission , District 6 (R) � Q&A

8:35p � 8:55p ~ Hillsborough County Commission , District 6 (D) � Q&A

8:55p � 9:00p ~ Final Comments/Program concludes

Editor's Comment: You can bet that Brian Blair and Ken Hagan won't have the balls to show up for this event. Actually according to the Tribune, they won't go anywhere someone will ask them a real question.

Ode to Nebraska Avenue

According to her stepdaughter, Maggie Council (aka Dipietra) has a released a new record called Not In The House. Interestingly she says about her album "Nebraska Avenue – Ode to southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa. Every word is true. All the extraneous sounds are actually from on or near Nebraska Avenue, where Robert hung out with a field recorder. " Aside from being a musician, Maggie has a long association with WMNF radio which resides in Southeast Seminole Heights.

Other comments about the album "Not In The House – OK. I was watching a Jeff Berlin bass instructional video and reading a book about using words to frame arguments called “Don’t Think of an Elephant” while wondering what would happen if the single mom with 4 kids I saw at the Laundromat [on Nebraska Avenue] ever became President."

Here is the first track called Nebraska Avenue. Listen for the sounds. Copies of the CD can be ordered from her CD website for $12.97.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Save the Whaleys (for Seminole Heights)

The Official Unoffical Seminole Heights blog has a campaign for Whaleys to come to Seminole Heights, which New Heights Magazine fully supports:

In our search we realized that Whaley's has let go of their web domain ( We have purchased it to save it from competitors' clutches and will give it to them free when they reopen (anywhere), BUT will include a FREE website AND FREE advertising if they move their location to Seminole Heights.

We are still in search of a phone number for Todd Whaley, but have written him suggesting several locations in Seminole Heights, including Sem-Hi Center and the Van Gogh signs location currently up for sale. There is also a great "grocery store-looking" location across from Bali Bay that's for lease (although it's bigger than what they are probably looking for).

Please help spread the word to Whaleys that they'll have a lifelong partner with Seminole Heights residents and New Heights should they move into our neighborhood.

Whaleys can be contact at

I can be contacted at or 813-389-8116 for any questions.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Schwan's Hangs at the Corner

Driving through Seminole Heights, I noticed at the SE corner of Hillsborough and Nebraska in the Auto Parks store parking lot, sat a Schwan's truck, (noted for home delivery) selling its products, out of the back of the truck, with signs like this. *Note they also take EBT. Interesting economic turn of events for that company.

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Southeast Seminole Heights Kiosk

From the SESH email list: " For those of you who have not seen it.........check out the fabulous KIOSK built by Glenn Cable and Buddy Williams (so how could it be anything but fab!) It is not finished as it rains every day but you can see what it looks like........ ....right now it is holding a banner for NNO, but it is meant to hold a glass front message board which will be installed as soon as it's back ordered self comes in! Note on the back of the KIOSK is a place to pick up a newsletter and to drop a flyer you want to have considered for posting on the message board!"

Update: In response to joe positive's commment: Giddens Park at 12th and Giddens

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Vote for Seminole Heights

From Rich on the SESH email list:

Dear Seminole Heights Neighbors,

Just wanted to remind you about the Creative Loafing Best of the Bay Voting. Below is a link:

posting.tampa. creativeloafing. com/gbase/ BestOf/BestOf

You have a limited time to vote by August 13th , so please do not delay.

Here are some of my suggestions:

1. Best Local TV Newsperson: Brendan McLaughlin – Let’s not forget that he has done so much in promoting our neighborhood and getting our voices heard. Besides, he is the best.

2. Best Theatre Troupe: Stageworks – Stageworks is not only a wonderful theatre troupe, they also do community outreach programs for underprivileged teens and children. Season tickets on sale now for $103 for 5 shows…call me for tickets.

3. Best Kept Secret: Stageworks Rainbow Tribe Outreach Program for Kids at Risk

4. Best Local Politician: Rose Ferlita – Let’s not forget how she got us a 4-Way stop at Chelsea and 12th when no one else would and how the current administration (no names mentioned, of course) never even so much as responded to the countless online requests we made to the city council for a 4-Way at 12th and McBerry (Don’t get me started…)

5. Best Restaurant: We have so many great neighborhood restaurants, just make sure it’s one of ours!

6. Best Neighborhood: Hmmm, let me think…maybe “SEMINOLE HEIGHTS!”

7. Best Building: Hillsborough High School – it is beautiful!

Doggie Door Allows Unexpected Visitor

According to the Tribune, a homeless man, 25 year old Jason Dennis, used a doggie door to sneak into the Seminole Heights home of Linda Marsh and when she came home she "he was wearing the woman's husband's clothing and had helped himself to some loose change,". He was arrested.

Children have died because of doggie doors. Families have them so dogs and cats go into the backyard and the child crawls out and drowns in the backyard pool, thus bypassing other pool security measures.

Kevin Denies

In stories in the Tribune and the St. Pete Times, County Commissioner Kevin denies any deal in accepting illegal contributions.

Kevin says "Cox's allegations "the jailhouse ramblings of a reputed con man." and "Let me assure the residents of Hillsborough County as well as the city of Tampa that at no time was there any deal cut by myself and now-convicted felon Matthew Cox, nor any other contributor for that matter," "

He also says "It's another jailhouse snitch trying to get his sentence reduced by making false allegations against an elected public official," said White, now a Hillsborough County Commissioner. "I guess I am the target."

Kevin's aunt and his campaign opponent in the City Council race says ""The most recent allegations about Kevin, if true, suggest a pattern of unethical and illegal actions over the years," White-King said. "Sometimes it takes time for the truth to surface. But it usually does.""

Current City Council member Tom Scott says ""I would not want to be in his shoes," said Tom Scott, who now holds White's former seat on the City Council. "Those are serious allegations.""

The FBI says ""It was a very interesting story," said FBI spokesman David Couvertier. "At this time, we aren't in a position to comment.""

Even if he did accept the contributions in a quid quo pro arrangement it may be all moot, except for campaign fodder as: "The statute of limitations for elections law violations is generally two or three years, depending on the severity of the offense. An exception is made, however, when the offense involves official misconduct, such as bribery. Then the statute of limitations is two years from the time the official leaves that public office. White left the city council in November 2006 to join the Hillsborough County Commission."

What do you say?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Kevin White - getting more tarnished

In a St. Petersburg Times article, a convicted swindler, Matthew Cox, has made allegations that Hillsborough County Commissioner and Seminole Heights resident, Kevin White accepted illegal campaign contributions from him when Kevin White ran for City Council. Reportedly the FBI is investigating.

"Records show that at least $8,000 was channeled into White's campaign from Cox connections, many from people who confirmed that the contributions were solicited, reimbursed and thus illegal"

Kevin White denies the allegations.

Meanwhile the sexual harassment suit against Kevin by a former aide, Alyssa Ogden, has been moved from State Court to Federal Court.

Update: the Times has a more details to the story including letters.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Tampa Transit: 10 years from now, 75 years ago

The chatter over rail in Tampa has finally began to heat up (albeit a couple decades late) as the Trib's front page story earlier this week indicates, and even though it's hard to get excited about something that might take at least a decade to get rolling, if it gets rolling at all, I have to hand it to Iorio for her commitment to lighting a fire under the bureaucracy and generally being fed up with the lame feet dragging and lack of vision. The voter referendum is still a ways off, and there's a lot of "ifs" floating around this town, but it's not too early to speculate about how rail could affect Tampa and Seminole Heights in particular if Pam's "starter line" from USF to downtown to Westshore ever gets built. Will there be a Seminole Heights station? Where would the best location be? Here's some comments the mayor made recently in Creative Loafing about the development of such a rail stop:

In the other cities I have visited, it is very clear that there is transit-oriented development at these stops that is very beneficial to the community: beautiful apartments and condos and mixed-use developments, all positive. And people can live in an apartment complex and then just jump on the rail line and go to work. That is what we're going to need more of.

But it does take a consensus-building. Neighborhoods need to know that their single-family residential neighborhoods will still be protected, and the fact that further down the street there's a transit stop, and there might be a condo or apartment project associated with it, with shops and so forth and office, that does not degrade their neighborhood.

Rewind about 75 years or so: Poking around the Tampa Rail site, I found these original Tampa Streetcar Brochures and Maps from the 53 mile Tampa Electric Company Service ("Carriers of Tampans for 50 years!"). They're pretty captivating. Did you know that Tampa once had Two Hundred and Twenty Three full time Street Car employees? I think we currently have three. And the service ran almost 24 hours a day: the first car at 4:30 in the morn and the last at 2am! Wow, sounds like a real city, don't it? Beats the Hartline by about nine thousand miles, which is incidentally the distance Tampa streetcars used to travel in one day! Here's a map of the Seminole Heights line that ran up Central to the Sulphur Springs Pool on the river. My grandmother used to ride these streetcars all over town for a nickel and has often lamented to me about how stupid, wasteful, and absurd the decision to tear up the tracks was (for that sad story, consult Wikipedia's Great American Streetcar Scandal entry). But now, due to the complete and total domination of our car culture, politicians must now attempt to build consensus amongst a population raised looking through windshields and thinking buses are for poor people, that mass transportation might not be such a bad idea.

Well, at least we Tampans can take solace in the notion that (maybe) in a decade or so we can finally catch up to where we were with mass transit 75 years ago. HooraY for the brave martyrs of the social experiment of car culture addiction. Too bad it's taken an entire lifetime to attempt to reverse the bad decisions and shoddy planning of our fair city! We is Tampa!