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