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Citing ‘assault on home rule,’ Kathleen Peters to run for Pinellas County Commission

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Citing Tallahassee’s battle against home rule, Treasure Island Republican Kathleen Peters has decided against a fourth term in the Florida House, opting instead to seek the District 6 seat on the Pinellas County Commission. In March, District 6 Commissioner John Morroni announced he will retire after his term expires in 2018. “After the legislature launched an all-out assault on local government and home rule this year,” Peters said in a statement. “I found myself reflecting on my community priorities and where…

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‘Property assessed’ financing for solar panels reveal serious consequences for Pinellas Realtors, lenders

in Peter/Top Headlines by

As solar energy expands as Florida’s next big growth industry, with it comes a host of unforeseen consequences. While promises of reduced energy costs for consumers and the lure of “no credit needed,” county-approved loans are indeed attractive, easy financing and lower energy costs could be masking other, potentially devastating, economic problems. A letter last year from the Pinellas Realtors Organization, standing for over 7,000 real estate professionals countywide, to County Commissioner Charlie Justice cautions against one such situation where…

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David Jolly presents flag at Ray Neri’s memorial service

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Former U.S. Rep. David Jolly on Wednesday presented an American flag to Laura Neri, the widow of community activist Ray Neri, who died Jan. 3. The flag was one that U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis had had flown over the Capitol especially for Mrs. Neri. “Ray Neri was a special person,” Jolly said. “Ray touched peoples’ lives.” Jolly was only one of many of Pinellas’ political leaders who came to Neri’s memorial service. Others included Pinellas County commissioners  Pat Gerard, Karen…

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‘Mr. Lealman’ Ray Neri dies

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Ray Neri, the man who put the unincorporated Lealman area on the map, died Tuesday at Northside Hospital. Neri was taken to Northside on Monday. He had fallen earlier in the day. Neri was a well-known community activist whose persistent lobbying brought attention to the problems in his community. With the light he shone on Lealman came help. His activism resulted in, among other things, a renovated park, a new park, and Pinellas County’s first community redevelopment area designed to…

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Pinellas Legislative Delegation to consider changes to construction licensing board

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Responding to a request from Charlie Justice, the Pinellas Legislative Delegation will consider changing the way members of the Construction Licensing Board are chosen. State Sen. Jack Latvala, the delegation chair, called on state Rep. Larry Ahern to come up with a plan by the delegation’s Jan. 31 meeting. State Sen. Jeff Brandes said he wanted Ahern to consider dissolving the board so it would come under control of the Pinellas County Commission. The licensing board, created in 1973, regulates…

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Janet Long elected chair of Pinellas County Commission

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners elected a new chair and vice chair for 2017 on Tuesday. Janet Long was elected chair. Ken Welch will serve as vice chair. Both choices received a unanimous vote from the seven-member commission. The two will serve for a year. Their terms begin in January. Long is succeeding Commissioner Charlie Justice who served as chair for 2016. Welch will succeed Long, who is the current vice chair. “I’m truly honored and humbled to…

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Down-ballot races throughout Florida provided some interesting results as well

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

With so many high-profile races going on in Florida, other contests were on the ballot, but under the radar. Florida Politics pointed out 10 of those down-ballot races to watch with backgrounds on each. While not as momentous as Donald Trump winning Florida, these races were interesting in their own right. Miami-Dade County Mayor Republican Mayor Carlos Gimenez went from a confident incumbent to someone battling to keep his job. He and many others thought he could win another term on Aug. 30. In the end,…

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