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5 things I think I think about today’s St. Petersburg Times

in Peter/The Bay and the 'Burg by

News of Mary Brown’s decision not to seek re-election to the Pinellas County School Board is reverberating through the African American community, which viewed Brown as a hero and a pioneer, no matter how ineffective she was in elected office.  As boring as a race for the School Board may be, the Times will make a project out of those who hope to replace Brown.  That’s the way the newspaper works.  It has impact in the statewide races because it is Florida’s most important newspaper and it has tremendous influence on down-ballot races in which there is too much geography and not enough money for a candidate’s campaign to gain traction.  The newspaper leaves the races in between — for County Commission and State Legislature — well enough alone.  But not races for the School Board.  And certainly not a race for the so-called “black” seat on the Pinellas County School Board.  Take today’s article as a warning, potential candidates.

One potential candidate to replace Brown is NAACP President Ray Tampa.  I wonder if Tampa regrets shooting his mouth off about Jeff Copeland yesterday?  Ray, you just made an enemy out of one of the two or three best political organizers in the district you want to run in.

You’re right, I am still steaming about that article, and not just for its racial implications.  What a lame story.  Consider this line:

Yet ask any political insider about him, and they are more likely to talk about his father.

What a loaded statement.  First of all, by what standard does someone get defined as a political insider?  By Michael Van Sickler’s standard, people like Ray Tampa are political insiders.  Are you kidding?  No one in or outside of City Hall thinks Ray Tampa or Wengay Newton are political insiders — and Newton is an elected official.  And no one that matters is likely to talk about Copeland’s father to describe Jeff.  It might come up in conversation.  But it’s not what sets the table.  How silly!

What’s really silly about that story was the line about a meeting between Bill Foster and my good friend Jim Holton being about the city song.  Riiiggghhhttt.  And Jeff Copeland is an “air freshener executive.”  Michael Van Sickler, do you know ridiculous, how completely out of touch you appear when you write things like that.  You might as well write a gossipy blog.

Kinda sad, but Paula Dockery’s decision to drop out of the Florida Governor’s race only made it to page 6B.  Yet the Editorial Board, fresh off kicking Kendrick Meek’s ass a little, bemoans the role of money in Florida politics and how horrible it is no one paid attention to Dockery.

Ew, there is an op-ed from Frank Brogan.  I guess this is better than an op-ed from new Times’ executive editor Neil Brown extolling the virtues of newspapers by reminding us that “three-fourths of all coupons used in the United States come out of a newspaper.” By that logic, when coupons no longer come out of a newspaper, will they cease to serve a function?

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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