5 things I think about today's St. Pete Times

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Obviously, the first article to catch my eye this morning was David DeCamp’s “Early start to election season.” Not only does DeCamp’s article include a quote from my padrone, David Jolly, but it actually goes beyond the surface to explore just how tumultuous next year’s elections will be. DeCamp doesn’t say this, but what Republicans in Tampa Bay are slowly realizing is that they are not going to be running against Democrats in 2012, but each other. The Jim Frishe vs. Leslie Waters intramural scrum will be one of the most competitive state Senate primaries in Florida, as will be the John Legg vs. Wilt Simpson match-up for Mike Fasano’s term-limited seat. As for the Democrats, they’re up a creek. The composition of Rick Kriseman’s seat is going to be very different than it is now, making it very likely he will be facing off against Darryl Rouson for the county’s only solidly Democratic seat in the state House.

That is, if Kriseman doesn’t follow through on his threat to run for Mayor of St. Petersburg — a development I’ll be writing more about in the coming weeks.

By the way, DeCamp’s article can be found in a TEN PAGE Tampa Bay section. I always like to see an expanded Tampa Bay section, unless, of course, the expanded size is simply due to too many obituaries.

Another interesting story in the Tampa Bay section is Lucy Morgan’s article about Rep. Franklin Sands’ call to impeach 1st District Court Judges Paul Hawkes and Brad Thomas. Sands argues that:

Hawkes and Thomas and others at the court managed to get a $35.5 million bond issue buried in a transportation bill on the last day of the 2007 session and used their influence to intimidate officials at the Department of Management Services who were in charge of planning and construction.

Sands said he has reviewed an audit of the project and believes the finding of impropriety can be tied directly to Hawkes and Thomas. In addition to the role they played in getting taxpayer funds for the lavish building that opened in December, the judges accepted a free trip to Michigan from Peter R. Brown Co., the construction manager hired by the Management Services Department.

Still, no matter what Hawkes and Thomas allegedly did, I wonder if this article would have made it into the newspaper had it not been for the Times driving this issue.

Another issue I wondered about this morning was, what exactly is the point of the Times’ “Special Report” of Tampa Bay’s Top 70 Workplaces? Other than to solicit advertising revenue from those who make it onto the list, that is.

That “Special Report” pales in comparison to the Woodward-esque work of Sandra Gadsden, who fetishly reports that:

Six weeks ago, brothers J.R. and Rick Neefe bought and renovated the former Club Sinn, at 340 First Ave. N, in downtown St. Petersburg and changed the name to Club Lust.

J.R, 30, and Rick, 28, have backgrounds in finance and aeronautical engineering. According to an e-mail from J.R. Neefe, Club Lust, which opened Thursday, is a ladies and gentlemen’s club that “reinvents the wheel of traditional adult clubs in a clean and safe environment.”

Sigh.

I’m not exactly sure why Gadsden is obsessed with what goes on at 340 First Avenue North, but she sure does dedicate a lot of ink to a rundown strip club.

Perhaps she should pay attention more to the positive news coming out of downtown, such as the forthcoming opening of SPIN. Katherine Snow Smith reports about this (along with the good news that Jon LeBudde is opening a restaurant at The Pier), although my friends at I Love the ‘burg had the story first.

Then again, what does it say about a city when it gets all aflutter at the opening of a ping pong club?

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.