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Mitch Perry Report for 2.24.16 – Tampa citizens review board finally convenes

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

After months of intense trench warfare last summer over the formation of a police citizens review board, the board’s 11 members convened for the first time as a group last night at Tampa’s City Hall.

The group selected North Tampa businessman Rasheed Ali Aquil as chairman, and Irene Guy as vice chair (Former Judge E.J. Salcines declined when his name was submitted as chair).

Next, they got a primer from City Attorney Rebecca Kert on the ramifications of the Sunshine Law, which appeared to petrify some of the citizens, as in, “what have I gotten myself into?”

There was only one member of the public who spoke at this initial meeting. USF public relations major Lee Andrews acted a bit befuddled that there weren’t more members of the public who showed up, but then again, there weren’t any cases for the group to act on.

Whether or not this citizens review board will be what activists were hoping for when they call began for such a group last spring remains to be seen, but the more stunning fact was that Tampa was one of the last major cities in the country who didn’t even have such a board.

The issue of holding the police accountable has become a national story over the last two years, fresh off citizens (or police) video of law enforcement conducting questionable actions on black citizens.

At last night’s latest CNN Democratic town hall from South Carolina, Hillary Clinton was asked about Beyonce’s recent performance at the Super Bowl, perceived by law enforcement to be anti-police.

“We have problems in our criminal justice system in a lot of places that we can’t ignore,” she told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “Put aside any particular celebrity, or any particular song or performance. The fact is we have too many instances here in South Carolina.”

She went on to emphasize the fact that there are plenty of police officers who do their work honorably and said that the American people should show those members of law enforcement the respect they deserve. But she didn’t run away from the issue of police brutality.

“We have lost too many young people, so what’s the answer?” she asked. “I don’t think the answer is for us to find ourselves in opposing camps where we’re just going to be looking at each other with mistrust. We have to figure out how we’re going to lift up the good practices …’

Might Rick Scott be on Donald Trump’s shortlist of potential VP nominees should he continue to ascend in the GOP race for President?

Guess what? The 4 Republicans running for U.S. Senate this year in Florida don’t like President Obama’s plan to close Guantánamo Bay by the end of this year.

David Jolly is trying to go where Alan Grayson struck out last year — trying to raise the cost-of-living increases for those on Social Security.

Rick Scott was in Ybor on Tuesday, touting how many jobs he’s help create since taking office.

it’s getting hot between Americans for Prosperity Florida and Enterprise Florida, as the Legislature works on possible passage of Governor Scott’s $250 million request.

Sounding like out of Do The Right Thing, Spike Lee has cut a radio ad airing in South Carolina, where he touts the bona fides of Bernie Sanders.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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