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Mitch Perry Report for 5.16.15 — USF downtown medical plans get partial OK from Tally

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Good morning again from the Parkway Inn in Miami Springs, where the sun has yet to rise….

Big late-night news out of Tallahassee, where we apparently have a budget deal. And with that $80 billion budget comes the announcement of a number of  local projects receiving funding. For officials in Tampa, their fears were partially allayed when it came to getting state monies for the USF medical school going to downtown Tampa.

Lawmakers approved $17 million to move the Morsani College of Medicine to a new downtown Tampa location, but the request for $16 million for an adjoining Heart Health Institute did not make the cut.

Meanwhile, the burning question I have today vis-a-vis presidential politics is: Will the Donald pull the trigger today?

OK, so everyone knows Donald Trump isn’t a very serious contender for the Republican nomination for president, and I found it difficult to ask him questions with a straight face about his “candidacy” when he appeared in Sarasota last month. Considering he’s flirted with such a possibility at least three other times tends to make one skeptical, of course.

But with 11 officials candidates in the race, why not a 12th? We’ll know more after 11 a.m. today.

Meanwhile, congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks for winning their third Stanley Cup in six years. That’s a modern dynasty in my book. Not that I’ve been paying that close attention, but last night’s game didn’t seem that close to me after Chicago finally scored in the second period, not if you want to quantify who was the more aggressive team. Congrats as well to the Lightning for a fantastic post-season.

In pubic policy stories, bad news for marijuana legalization advocates, via The New York Times. The paper reports that the Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that an employee can be fired for smoking pot, even though it’s now “legal” in the state.

It’s another illustration of how federal and state law is divided over the use of pot, something that has been the case ever since California became the first state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana back in 1996. Pot advocates lament the fact that it’s been under Democratic presidential administrations that some of the most zealous prosecutions have taken place. I wonder if, like same-sex marriage, this issue might only be resolved with some type of national law. Let’s face it — that probably isn’t going to happen anytime in the next decade. States rights advocates may or may not want to pick up on this issue, but there is a big, yawning gap between what the people of Colorado voted on,  and what their judicial system is claiming is “the law.”

(It should be noted that the worker who was fired failed a drug test — apparently it wasn’t a situation where he was actually high on the job).

And in other news…

We have been in South Florida for the big Bush announcement — our take on how it went down yesterday at Miami Dade College in Kendall.

Is it all about money for Jeb? It somewhat seems that way — what with their soon-to-be-expected $100 million fundraising effort for his Right to Rise super PAC — and now that the “official” campaign has begun, his fundraising team wants to raise in the last two weeks of this month what other campaigns have been doing for the past two months — that’s what their finance director said last night.

And it wouldn’t be a Miami GOP presidential announcement without Debbie Wasserman Schultz putting out the effort to thoroughly repudiate the Republican’s agenda — be it Bush, Marco Rubio or any of the Republicans in the race.

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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