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Mitch Perry Report for 4.14.16 – So who wants to go to Cleveland this summer?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Why do Hillsborough County State Attorney employees even need “key cards”? That’s the question I have after reading the Anna Phillips/Windy March penned story in the Times this morning (and Elaine Silvestrini’s in the Trib).

Their story revolves around an allegation made about Mark Ober’s work ethic by his Democratic party challenger, Andrew Warren. Records unearthed by his campaign revealed that Ober only used his key card five times in March, but the GOP incumbent says he “often comes to work and leaves without using his key care.”

So why even have them?

Meanwhile, last night my colleagues and I contacted the five Republicans running for U.S. Senate  if their summer plans include a sojourn to Cleveland in July, the site of this year’s Republican National Convention.

There have been reports that GOP candidates who are vying for office this year have been advised to stay as far away as possible from what could be a volatile environment in Ohio.

The convention takes place about six weeks before the August 30 primary in Florida, so it does make sense that those five guys would be better off spending their time in front of the voters, instead of partying it up at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and other tourist sites.

The fact is that a political convention reeks of insiderdom, if you will: yes, there are the delegates who are normal, not necessarily establishment people, but generally they’re intense party people who do the work that gets them recognized as a delegate to a political convention.

But a political convention is all about The Establishment having a four-day party – which Republican voters seemingly are rejecting this year.

To be fair, though, there are many Republicans who have never cared a whit about political conventions who desperately want to be a part of what could be history this summer.

On Saturday at the Pinellas GOP headquarters, there will be a vote to pick delegates for Republicans who live in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

Incidentally, Florida Republicans, who always like to find ways to distinguish themselves, definitely will be doing so again if there is a contested convention in Cleveland.

Florida is the only state that forces its entire convention delegation to vote for a candidate on three separate ballots.

In other news…

PTC executive director Kyle Cockream said his last day on the job will be July 11.

Remember Jeff Greene? The colorful Palm Beach billionaire was unsuccessful in his bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2010, but the memories remain. Greene claimed the Tampa Bay Times libeled him in two stories and an editorial that year, and the case is approaching later this month.

A plan to bring back low-speed-vehicles in downtown Tampa could be a reality soon, thanks to the work of Karen Kress with the Tampa Downtown Partnership.

Frank Reddick explains why he’s pursuing an investigation into that incident at last week’s Tampa City Council meeting.

Hillsborough Clerk of the Courts Pat Frank has won an award for transforming her office.

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

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