5 things I think I think about today’s Tampa Bay Times

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Once again, I was spot-on in forecasting Adam Smith’s choice for the Loser of the Week in Florida politics, predicting Governor Rick Scott deserved the title.

Occasionally, Smith will not select the most obvious answer because he’s clever like that, but Gov. Scott earned the distinction by Wednesday or Thursday of last week with at least four different public relations snafus.

What is at the root of Scott’s failures? Well, the Times/Herald pulls back the curtains on Scott’s Chief of Staff, Scott MacNamara and, in doing so, lays much of the blame at MacNamara’s feet.

The guy is almost asking for it. He literally has a sign outside of his office which reads “No one gets in to see the Wizard. Not no one, no how” – an excerpt from the Wizard of Oz.

Herald political editor Marc Caputo’s accompanying piece is even more direct, so much so that I tweeted at Marc just to be sure the headline matched the intent of his piece.  He tweeted back, “@SaintPetersblog not sure I cd be clearer w/this lede “Rick Scott’s biggest failure: Chief of Staff Steve MacNamara.”

Both articles are fascinating reads, although I would make the argument that Scott could have Alexander Haig as his Chief of Staff and it wouldn’t much matter.  The governor bought the election and the voters have come to hate him for that. Hence he has been mired at 35-36 percent in approval polls.

On the local political front, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster has a guest op-ed in the newspaper in which he begins to make his case for a millage increase to avoid the “deconstruction of our vibrant and beautiful city that was decades in the making.” I wholeheartedly agree, and not just with Mayor Foster because this is not his idea, but with those city officials who have argued for the millage increase for years.

It is interesting to read Foster, a hard-right Republican, debate his ideological allies who will be most opposed to this millage. Foster writes:

“Indeed, there are some who complain about “big government,” “overregulation” and “bureaucracy,” and on many levels of government, I am one of those voices. However, the argument is waning in this age of “kick the can” to local government, with cost shifting from federal and state authorities to the cities, with restrictions on local authority to generate revenue and grant reductions/eliminations.”

Bill Foster is simply another Republican who, once in office, finally understands what the punitive and regressive tax policies of state and local government are doing to their budgets — and no longer wants to govern by the “principles” they once held so dear.

One more note about the Times‘ coverage of local politics.

Posting this story – about Hillsborough County hiring a new animal services director – in the Bay Buzz is exactly why no one reads the Bay Buzz anymore.

What the Times‘ is doing an excellent job of is covering the lead-up to the Republican National Convention. And not just the hard news, but feature pieces such as the one about which state delegations will be hoteled near the best restaurants.

“Sure, comfy hotel beds and proximity to the Republican National Convention floor are important, but so is decent food and a fun place to raise a glass to the political process. Georgia, for example, lucks out with Armani’s.”

Before I finish, a housekeeping note: Tiger Bay is hosting a forum this Wednesday to discuss how traditional and new media cover politics.  On the panel will be the Times‘ Eric Deggans and John Romano, the Tribune’s Jeff Houck, Creative Loafing’s Mitch Perry, 10 News Noah Pransky and moi.  Please make plans to attend by RSVPing here.

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.