The Bay and the 'Burg Archives - Page 6 of 588 - SaintPetersBlog

Dana Young raises $150K in March for Senate re-election

Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young was among the handful of Florida senators to only win a 2-year term during the 2016 election cycle.

She hasn’t wasted any time gearing up for her 2018 re-election.

Young, who bested Democrat Bob Buesing in the SD 18 race last November, brought in more than $150,000 last month between her campaign and political committee accounts.

The bulk of the money was raised through her political committee, “Friends of Dana Young,” including $10,000 checks from Altria Clients Services and Innovate Florida, the political committee run by future Senate President and Bradenton Republican Sen. Bill Galvano.

A slew of other donors, including Disney, Wal-Mart and the Florida Retail Federation, chipped in at the $5,000 level, leaving the committee with $120,500 raised in the week leading up to the 2017 Legislative Session.

Lawmakers are barred from raising money during Session, which this year began on March 7.

Young also brought in $30,392 for her campaign account, including 26 checks for the maximum campaign donation of $1,000.

Maxed-out donors in March include three Disney subsidiaries, Airbnb, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Anheuser-Busch. Innovate Florida also came in with a $1,000 check for Young’s campaign account.

After $2,200 in expenditures, Young had just under $78,000 on hand in her campaign account and another $357,000 in her campaign account.

Young is currently the only candidate filed for the SD 18 seat in 2018.

Justin Bean joins crowded field running in St. Pete’s District 6

Local businessman and civic activist Justin Bean is the latest candidate to jump into the crowded field vying for District 6 on St. Petersburg’s City Council.

The 30-year-old Uptown district resident is the business development and sales manager at Reusable Transport Packaging, a web-based sales and marketing company in downtown St. Petersburg.

Bean is also the chair of the Williams Park Partnership and founder of SmartBurg, an organization focused on economic growth and development in the city.

Bean ramped up his interest in city affairs during the debate over building a new Pier three years ago. This ultimately led to his appointment by Mayor Rick Kriseman to the Pier Upland Selection Committee.

Last week, the St. Pete City Council voted to ask Pinellas County to reallocate $14 million in TIF funding to the Pier project, the tab for which is now at $66 million and counting. Several Council members expressed doubts about requesting that all $14 million go to the Pier, a sentiment that Bean endorses.

“I have reservations about spending that much money on the Pier,” he said Tuesday. “I think there are some things that are important that are on that list of enhancements, but I also feel that they should have been in the budget, so it’s frustrating.”

Bean said if it were up to him, he’d spend that additional money on somewhere else in the city. He says his number one priority is infrastructure projects. “That’s a top priority, and Council and the mayor should be treating it as such,” he says. “That’s what I’ll focus on that we’re moving that forward.”

Another role that brought Bean to downtown issues was his role as the chairman of the St. Petersburg Young Professionals.

“I have helped to grow my family’s business. I have worked to turn Williams Park into a world-class outdoor venue. I helped give the St. Pete Young Professionals a voice in city matters. Now, I want to bring that experience and perspective to City Hall,” continued Bean. “We are a city growing younger and more diverse every day, and it is time that we embrace that trend while still respecting our history.”

Bean also served as an adviser on the redevelopment plans for the Tropicana Field property, which Kriseman has proposed as the ideal site for the Tampa Bay Rays to play at after they exhaust their search for a stadium in Hillsborough County.

“This site from all the research that’s being done is really the only public piece of land that is immediately developable, right?” he said on Tuesday, acknowledging that some people support a stadium at the Derby Lane site.

Two things that he says the city needs more of is affordable housing and office space for the burgeoning business community.

“We have a housing gap that if you’re trying to buy a house that your family can grow in, it’s going to cost you more than $300,000- $400,000, and a lot of people are going to have a hard time affording that, especially people who live here now, ” he says. “We need to bring in those jobs; we need to bring in office space for them.”

He also believes in recruiting more businesses to St. Petersburg. “Being a champion for St. Pete is something I’m looking forward to,” he says.

Bean’s website is

He now joins a crowded field of candidates in District 6. Corey Givens Jr., Maria Scruggs, Sharon Russ, Jim Jackson, John Johnson and Akile Cainion round out the roll call. Civil justice attorney Augie Ribeiro says he might join the field as well.

Pasco Commissioner Mike Moore files for re-election

Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore filed campaign paperwork Tuesday in his re-election bid.

Moore, the founder of a medical supplies business which he later sold, was first elected in 2014 to represent District 2 and was selected in 2016 to be vice-chair of the Board of County Commissioners. He will also become chair in 2017.

“To build a small business or achieve other success in any area of life, you must set goals and then work tirelessly to deliver results,” Moore said in a statement. “Over the past two years, our community has set goals and we’ve worked together to accomplish them.”

Moore added that he has worked tirelessly to improve the local economy and “bring good paying jobs to Pasco County.” He worked to accelerate improvements to county roads, parks and infrastructure.

He said the helped fund public safety “so residents are safe and secure.”

“We’ve targeted blighted areas and we are improving those areas, benefiting our entire community. We’ve accomplished all of this while working to keep taxes low, reduce wasteful spending, right-size our local government and improve responsiveness and customer service,” Moore added.

“While there is much to be proud of, there is still a great deal we still must do. With your support, I’ll continue to fight for our shared principles while helping lead Pasco County to an even better and brighter future.”

Among the various boards and committees Moore sits: Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority, Circuit Conflict-Sixth Judicial Circuit, Dependency Drug Treatment Court Planning Steering Committee, Government Operations Committee, Insurance Selection Committee, Public Safety Coordination Council, Habitat for Humanity, CARES, the Boys and Girls Club and chair of the Homeless Advisory Board.

Also, Gov. Rick Scott appointed Moore to the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council in 2014 and appointed by then-House Speaker Will Weatherford to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs Advisory Council in 2014.

“He is not scared to jump into the stickier issues,” Weatherford said of Moore to “A lot of politicians won’t do that, but Mike will roll up his sleeves and go to work. When I think of him, it’s like the old political saying – do you want to be something, or do you want to do something? He wants to do something.”

Moore lives in Wesley Chapel with his wife and three children.

Carlos Frontela chastened by 2016 mistakes, is fired up for House District 62 bid

In declaring his candidacy early for the Tampa-based House District 62 seat, Carlos Frontela already demonstrates he’s learned from rookie mistakes made last year in his bid for the Hillsborough County School Board.

“I jumped in really late, two months before the primary,” he says, reminiscing about his ill-fated run for the District 7 seat ultimately captured by Lynn Gray last November.

“No time to really organize, no time to really gain any campaign contributions,” he says which is why he’s working on qualifying by petition to get on the ballot next year in the seat that will be vacated by a term-limited Janet Cruz.

The 42-year-old Frontela was born in Cuba and grew up in New Jersey before moving to Tampa in 2004. He owns his own small business, a document preparation service based in an office located near Raymond James Stadium in West Tampa.

“I think the Legislature could use somebody like me with business experience,” he said Tuesday. “I’m not necessarily a career politician. I can bring some sense of normalcy where I can reach across the aisle and do things a bipartisan process.”

Frontela looks forward to campaigning next year in earnest, acknowledging that with a full-time business and five children, it won’t be easy.

Frontela often speaks about working to find common ground with Republicans in Tallahassee to pass bills helping his constituents.

“That’s very important,” he says. “If you’re going to just go up there and play partisan politics, it’s not going to work.”

The subject prompts a riff on what Frontela calls a mistake by Senate Democrats in Washington opposing Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump‘s first nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. Gorsuch was sworn onto the court Monday.

“Neil Gorsuch was confirmed unanimously via voice vote to the 10th Judicial Circuit (of Appeals),” he recounts about that 2006 vote in which Chuck Schumer, Diane Feinstein and other Senate Democrats — those who opposed him last week — supported him 11 years beforehand.

“People can see clearly that was a show. It was partisan politics,” he says, criticizing his own party. The Democratic wall of opposition in the Senate led Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to break out the “nuclear option,” allowing just a bare minimum approval of 51 senators to confirm Gorsuch, versus the filibuster-proof 60 votes previously required to confirm Supreme Court no.

“Next time when a real, right-leaning conservative judge gets appointed, you’d have faith with the general public,” he says. “Now you don’t. You got the nuclear option. God knows a way right-wing justice will get through (next time) with just 51 votes.”

Regarding the battle between Republican Richard Corcoran and Rick Scott over Enterprise Florida, Frontela takes Scott’s side in believing tax incentives help businesses and communities.

He not only supports medical marijuana (though not the way the GOP-led Legislature is debating how to implement the matter) but the legalization of recreational marijuana as well. “We have two other drugs on the market that are completely legal and completely taxes, and they kill countless individuals every year,” says Frontela. “And those are alcohol and tobacco.”

“We have two other drugs on the market that are completely legal and completely taxes, and they kill countless individuals every year,” says Frontela. “And those are alcohol and tobacco.”

He considers raising the state’s minimum wage to at least $10 an hour his top issue, as well as restoring the civil and voting rights of ex-felons.

About last year’s presidential contest, Frontela is of the opinion that the Democratic National Committee “rigged” the primary fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in Clinton’s favor.

“That turned off a lot of people,” he says of fellow Democrats, “and a lot of people didn’t turn out.”

Frontera had a lifelong interest in politics, going back to when he was 13 and volunteered for the campaign of New Jersey Democratic Albio Sires, who in 1986 was running for Congress for the first time.

As a Cuban-American, Frontela supports the diplomatic breakthrough with the communist island led by Barack Obama in 2014.

Learn more about Frontela’s platform by going to his website:

Kathy Castor agrees with Hillary Clinton; misogyny played a role in her loss

In her first interview since she lost the race for president in November, Hillary Clinton said last week that “Certainly, misogyny played a role.”

“I mean, that just has to be admitted,” she told New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff last Thursday night. “And why and what the underlying reasons were is what I’m trying to parse out myself.”

Congresswoman Kathy Castor agrees.

“What struck me is some interviews on TV during the campaign folks out in Pennsylvania where young people would say, ‘I don’t believe in having a female president.’ I was taken aback,” the Tampa Democrat said Monday “I don’t hear a lot of young women saying that ever.”

Castor believes “there is something that permeates this opposition to female as executives. You see it especially in corporate boardrooms.”

Castor has served in Congress for 10 years. Before that, she served on the Hillsborough County of Commission for one four-year term. When asked if she herself has had to deal with sexism in Washington or Tampa, she says, “a little bit.”

Castor serves on the Energy and Power Subcommittee in Congress, the only female on the thirty-three member large board. When she was recently called upon to ask a question, she says was addressed as “Mr. Castor.”

Meanwhile, as with most congressional Democrats, Castor came out last Friday in support of the President’s cruise missile attacks on Syria, two days after President Bashar al-Assad unleashed chemical weapons on his own people. In a statement, Castor added that she wants the president to confer with Congress on any other possible military action.

When asked what she would like to happen on dealing with Assad, Castor said a plan of action with our allies would be a good start.

“The Obama administration did a pretty good job of building that coalition to squeeze ISIS and now the pressure has to be brought to bear against Russia and Iran, who are supporting this brutal dictator in Assad,” she said. “It’s not our place to promote regime change on our own, but working with our allies in the Middle East and all across the world, really bringing pressure to bear on Assad and Iran and Russia.”

Augie Ribeiro to decide ‘in near future’ on St. Pete City Council run

Augie Ribeiro, the wealthy trial attorney who made a late run for state Senate District 19 in 2016, is now considering a run for the District 6 seat on St. Petersburg’s City Council.

“I am considering running for this seat,” Ribeiro wrote in an email to Monday afternoon.

“I will be deciding in the near future if it is the right time and position to serve the public,” he says, adding that “District 6 encompasses many of  the same constituents as in the state Senate district I campaigned for last year.”

The District 6 race already has seven candidates in the mix.

The 52-year-old Ribeiro has only lived in St. Petersburg for four years, and though he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in his bid to win the SD 19 seat last summer, finished fourth in that race behind the three much better-known candidates, Darryl Rouson, Ed Narain and Betty Reed. An uphill battle from the start, Ribeiro didn’t help his cause by entering the race just days before the filing deadline last June in a race that took place in late August.

News of Ribeiro’s interest in the race was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times Friday.

If he does enter the race, Ribeiro could possibly set records for spending in a Council race. He spent more than $672,000 in just two months in his unsuccessful bid for the SD 19 seat last year.

St. Pete man dies after being hit with beer bottle during bar fight

Police say a man is dead after another man hit him over the head with a beer bottle while playing pool at a Florida bar.

St. Petersburg police tell local news outlets that 62-year-old Vincent Hollingsworth began arguing with 32-year-old Marion Stephens on Sunday night and hit him multiple times with a pool cue.

Stephens then came up behind Hollingsworth and hit him with the bottle. Police say bouncers tried to separate the men, but Stephens got around them and hit Hollingsworth several more times. Hollingsworth fell, hitting his head on the pool table.

Medics took Hollingsworth to a hospital, where he died early Monday.

Stephens left the bar in a cab, but officers arrested him Monday. He faces a manslaughter charge. Jail records don’t list an attorney for Stephens.

Marco Rubio to headline Pinellas GOP Lincoln Day Dinner on May 19

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will be the featured speaker next month at the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee’s 2017 Lincoln Day Dinner, one of the region’s premier political events.

The Miami Republican will keynote the event on Friday, May 19, at the Hilton Carillon Hotel in St. Petersburg’s Gateway community.

The annual event not only celebrates recent local GOP victories but has grown to become one of the key fundraising events to support future races.

Lincoln Day dinners are annual GOP celebrations held nationwide by various Republican Party organizations. After Ronald Reagan’s death in 2004, Lincoln Day festivities evolved into a celebration of the former president’s life and achievements, as well as an occasion to honor the party’s conservative successes over the past year.

Certain for inclusion in the celebration is the recent confirmation of Neil Gorsuch as Donald Trump’s first choice for the U.S. Supreme Court.

As Pinellas GOP Chair Nick DeCleglie said in a April 7 Facebook post: “With the help of a Republican-controlled Senate, whose members stood up to the Democrats’ partisan filibuster, Donald Trump will successfully follow through on what I consider to be his most important campaign promise – to appoint conservative jurists to the Supreme Court. Judge Neil Gorsuch is a jurist who will hold true to the Constitution, much like his predecessor, the late Justice Antonin Scalia. I am proud of our Republican Senators who used the precedent set by Harry Reid and the Democrats in 2013 to end debate and confirm this qualified member of the legal community.

“It is a great day for the rule of law in the greatest country the world has ever known,” DiCeglie added. “God Bless Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump, and the United States of America.”

The event also traditionally announces the winner of the C.W. “Bill” Young Public Service Award.

Democratic activist Jim Jackson becomes latest entrant into District 6 race

Add longtime educator and Democratic Party activist Jim Jackson‘s name to the growing list of candidates vying for the St. Petersburg District 6 seat being vacated by the term-limited Karl Nurse.

“I feel that I can bring the different parts of the city together,” Jackson explained Monday.

“Downtown is thriving. It may be thriving too much for some people in terms of the rapid growth,” he says, bemoaning the fact that a lot of people would love to live in the downtown area but aren’t doing so because they “can’t afford $4,000 a month rent.”

Jackson is the seventh candidate to enter the race, with more expected in the geographically and demographically wide-ranging district, which begins in Old Northeast, spreads west to 22nd Street, and then south into Midtown and ultimately stretches to Pinellas Point.

The 72-year-old has spent most of his professional life in education, and has run twice for the Pinellas County School Board, losing bids in 2010 and 2012. Although he acknowledges that education is not in the bailiwick of the Council, he believes it’s critical that the most troubled schools in St. Pete need to be turned around.

“There are all kinds of reasons why the schools in South St Pete are not doing as well as they should,” says, adding that nobody has come truly up with a sufficient answer to address the five failing schools in South St. Petersburg that were featured in a Tampa Bay Times investigation a year ago.

Jackson works as an adjunct progress at St. Pete College and USFSP. He previously taught at Miami-Dade College and Florida International University, but may be best known to some locals for his work as a Democratic Party activist, where he’s worked on numerous campaigns (including for some members of the current council). He was an early supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008.

While stating that he hopes the Tampa Bay Rays stay in St. Petersburg, he admits he’s not sold on Mayor Rick Kriseman‘s plan to lure the team to stay right where they are at a redeveloped Tropicana Field is the answer to the team’s wanderlust. And he’s adamant that if Rays owner Stu Sternberg decides to stay in St. Pete, that no taxpayer dollars expended in building him a stadium.

On the Pier, he questions the escalating price tag for the project and openly wishes that those funds could be transferred to more needed parts of the city’s budget. Last week the City Council approved borrowing tens of millions of additional dollars to build the new Pier.

The other candidates running for the District 6 seat include Corey Givens, Jr., Maria Scruggs, Sharon Russ, John Johnson, Akile Cainion and Justin Bean.

Three area high school students to visit St. Pete’s sister city in Japan

Three St. Petersburg high school juniors will head to Japan this summer as part of cultural exchange program put on by the city of St. Petersburg’s International Relations Committee.

Zachary Blair-Andrews of Lakewood High School, and Chloe Johnson and Deaja Jenae Henry, both attending St. Pete Collegiate High School, were chosen by the committee last week as the 2017 Student Ambassadors.

The three students will head to Takamatsu, Japan, for one week on July 5, and share St. Petersburg experiences with their host families and city officials while learning about Japanese culture.

Later in the month, three students from Takamatsu will come to St. Petersburg to share their culture and learn about St. Petersburg’s during several community programs planned during their stay.

Takamatsu is located on Shikoku island in southern Japan and has a population of about 400,000. The Kagawa Prefecture city has been St. Petersburg’s sister city for more than 50 years.

The St. Petersburg International Relations Committee selects high school juniors to participate in the Student Ambassador Program. Applicants must submit their high school transcripts, two letters of reference and write an essay to be considered for the program.

Upon return, each of the students will be expected to share his or her experiences with students, civic groups, other interested citizens and provide a presentation of their trip to the mayor and city council.

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