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Mitch Perry Report for 12.8.15 — Remembering John Lennon

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Props to St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, whose rebuke to Donald Trump via Twitter is a featured story on this morning’s Drudge Report.

I’m going to let the fallout from Trump’s comment that the U.S. government should ban all Muslims from entering the country marinate for at least another 24 hours, to think about something else.

It was 35 years tonight that John Lennon was assassinated in New York City.

For those of us around at the time, it’s a moment where we remember exactly where we were. In my case, like so many Americans, I was home on the West Coast watching Monday Night Football, when Howard Cosell told the nation that horrible news.

It’s mentioned in the recent Alex Gibney directed documentary on Steve Jobs that Jobs death four years ago affected people worldwide in a way that hadn’t been felt since Lennon’s shocking death at the age of 40, and that’s probably true.

In what sounds like a spectacular act, an all-start set of performers, including Steven Tyler, Willie Nelson, Tom Morello, John Fogerty, Sheryl Crow, Spoon, Brandon Flowers and others (including Yoko Ono) performed at a 75th Birthday Party for Lennon on Saturday night at the theater at Madison Square Garden (It will air on AMC on Dec. 19).

Something tells me that they’ll an even bigger celebration 25 years from now, when the world will commemorate his centennial — I mean, look at all the stops being pulled out for Frank Sinatra. Then again, Sinatra left us only 17 years ago, in 1998, when he was 82. In comparison, Lennon has been gone from this earth for twice as long, when he was less than half ‘ol’ Blue Eye age. The stunning way that Lennon died will always be part of his legacy moving forward.

Incidentally, his killer, Mark David Chapman, remains in jail.

In other news …

Do you know who Justin Grabelle is? Currently, he’s the only Republican running in the CD 11 race up in Hernando County. But that may change soon.

Former Pinellas County Democratic Party chairman Mark Hanisee has designs on taking over the Hillsborough County Democratic Party next month, but officials say that because he’s not an official member of the party, he can’t run for office. Meanwhile, Mike Newett became the first challenger to Hanisee in the race.

And on Saturday, hundreds came out to hear an organizer with the Bernie Sanders campaign tell them how they can “Feel the Bern” in a way that can help the campaign out — in South Carolina.

That $305 billion transportation bill that Congress was able to come together on and pass last week will be bringing nearly a billion more than previous formulas to Florida, and our local transit agencies are excited about what they’ll able to do with those funds.

Patrick Murphy was one of a minority of House Democrats who supported legislation regarding Syrian refugees last month. However, as the deadline for a new budget is ticking to this week, Murphy signed on to a letter directed to House Speaker Paul Ryan demanding that he not add the Syrian refugee issue to the omnibus spending bill.

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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