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5 things I think about today’s St. Petersburg Times (6/13)

in Peter/The Bay and the 'Burg by

Wouldn’t the St. Petersburg Times just save a lot of time and money if it could figure out a way to sick PolitiFact onto the Scientologists?  And the Navy Veterans Association, for that matter.  Can you imagine if you live in Clearwater and you are, in fact, a Scientologist and a donor to the Navy Veterans Association…you must be ready to paint-ball the entire Times building

Anyway, the absolute must-read in today’s St. Petersburg Times — and a great example of why one has to love the newspaper — is a story about women in Scientology’s religious order who say they were pressured to have abortions “for the greater good.” Insert joke here about how that sounds more horrifying than the plot to Battlefield Earth.

I give the writers at the Times a lot of grief throughout the rest of the week, so let me point a few people who deserve some recognition: I snipe at Sandra Gadsden at almost every chance I get but I’ve seen her around town several times this week, such as  a very informative community forum  at the Carter Woodson, and I have to give her credit for writing about stories tht aren’t flashy, but are about issues local readers care about, such as her updates on the latest developments at BayWalk, i.e. news that the struggling entertainment complex may soon be home to a chic, New York-styled, table tennis-themed establishment.

You know who else does a good job? Photographers Cherie Diaz and Melissa Lyttle.

It;s through their lenses we see a reflection of our community.  Unfortunately, having scanned today’s headlines and photographs, I am beginning to wonder what the hell are we looking at.

I mean, whiskey-tango-foxtrot, do we really have a Mayor, equipped with his police radio and hovering at crimes scenes, trying to play Junior G-man?  That’s my takeaway from a story by Jamal Thalji and Michael Van Sickler detailing how Bill Foster shadows St. Petersburg police and firefighters.

Van Sickler also has another story in today’s Times about how the solicitation ban is playing out.  There are some heartbreaking anecdotes about the homeless people who will no longer have newspapers to sell to pay for their “Hurricane High Gravity, a beer with an alcohol content of 8.1 percent.”

I am still waiting to read in the Times the first article that reports anything positive about the solicitation ban.  Actually Van Sickler’s article, by reporting about alcoholic  homeless, only reinforces why the solicitation ban is in place.  As long as this issue is about drunk hobos instead of trampling on the First Amendment, the Times will continue to lose this fight.

But the newspaper won’t go down without a fight, hence, today’s editorial (as I predicted) in the Neighborhood Times criticizing the City Council for violating the spirit of the open government Sunshine Laws.

Buckle up, Council Members, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride this Summer.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.

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