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In nine Pinellas cities, some are re-elected, others face the voters next year

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Officials in 15 Pinellas cities are scheduled for a date with the ballot box in next March’s municipal elections. But, with qualifying closed in nine of those, some elected can relax because they have no opposition and are considered re-elected. Others weren’t so lucky. They’ll be facing the voters March 14. Here’s where the score card stands as of Friday. GULFPORT Two seats on the five-member council are up for grabs. In Ward 2, incumbent Christine Anne Brown is facing…

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St. Pete Beach sues its own lawyers for bad counsel on Sunshine Laws

in Local Courts by

[UPDATE 11.09 with comment from Bryant Miller Olive representitive.] After it was sued by a resident in 2011, the City of St. Pete Beach is suing its lawyers for providing negligent legal counsel. When the city hired the Bryant Miller Olive law firm, it was under the impression they were specialists on Florida Sunshine Law. Under the supervision of Susan Churuti, Michael Davis and Suzanne Van Wyk, city commissioners held several so-called “shade meetings,” which were assumed to be exempt from Sunshine…

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Darden Rice: Express bus route to beaches worth a compromise

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Everyone knows Pinellas County is home to incredible beaches, world-class entertainment, and unmatched quality of life. Because of this, Pinellas has emerged one of the nation’s top vacation destinations. This tourism boom is driving new business to local shops, restaurants and museums, and providing crucial revenue to city and regional government. But as more people discover everything Pinellas has to offer, traffic congestion — and the pollution that comes with it — will only continue to grow. That’s especially true…

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St. Pete Beach appoints interim mayor

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Deborah Schechner was chosen as interim Mayor of St. Pete Beach on Tuesday. Schechner will replace Maria Lowe, who resigned earlier this year so she could go to Paris, France, with her husband, Gerald, who accepted a job as the Deputy Director of the American Battle Monuments Commission. Schechner was chosen by a 3-1 vote after applicants were interviewed during a televised commission meeting Tuesday. Ward Friszolowski was the lone dissenting vote. Schechner unsuccessfully opposed Friszolowski in the March commission election. She was…

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Lawsuit claims Madeira Beach commission violated Sunshine Law when appointing new member

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Two Madeira Beach residents have filed a lawsuit claiming officials violated the state’s public meeting law when they chose a new commissioner by “secret ballot.” The suit, filed late Friday, asks the court to rule that three of the four commissioners broke the Sunshine Law. It also asks the court to invalidate the appointment of Housh Ghovaee and to order the city pay the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees. Madeira Beach Mayor Travis Palladeno called the lawsuit “frivolous.” City attorney Tom Trask,…

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St. Petersburg to discharge partially treated wastewater into Tampa Bay

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Petersburg has released partially treated wastewater into Tampa Bay from the Albert Whitted wastewater facility, which is currently being used for storage capacity. The city is allowed to do this under its wastewater treatment permit because of the stress placed on the system by Tropical Storm Colin and the flooding of the system from processing wastewater for St. Pete Beach, Gulfport and Treasure Island. This permit allows bypassing around wastewater plants when unusual emergency circumstances are experienced. This bypass…

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Challenger Mike Mikurak leads incumbent Charlie Justice in fundraising for Pinellas Commission

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Political newcomer Mike Mikurak is outstripping incumbent Charlie Justice by almost two to one when it comes to fundraising for the District 3 seat on the Pinellas County Commission. As of April 30, when the books closed on the most recent fundraising reports, Republican Mikurak had raised $87,505 in cash contributions and another $7,103.98 from in-kind donations. In contrast, Justice, the Democrat, had raised $48,067 in cash and $$2,078.40 from in-kind donations, according to records from the Pinellas County Supervisor…

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