Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Mitch Perry Report for 5.22.15 — On Donald Trump, James Harden & what local taxpayers should pay for

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to you all, which by the way is the earliest we can ever have such a holiday, with this Monday only being the 25th of May. Incidentally, Labor Day will take place as late as it can be this year (September 7), which will actually be a factor in delaying the NFL season by a week, meaning the regular season won’t end until next January.

If one of the prerequisites for being a politician is engaging in a lot of braggadocio, then Donald Trump may be your man. The reality television star spoke last night in Sarasota, and yours truly was there to document much of it.

After I finished writing my report last night, I was able to sit back and watch the 4th quarter of the Houston Rockets-Golden State Warriors NBA playoff game last night, an absolute thriller captured by the Warriors, 109-108. Even though I love Steph Curry and I’m a Warriors man all the way, James Harden is the absolute best basketball player in the world right now. The guy seems never to miss a shot, and is the most unstoppable force since the Michael Jordan heyday of the 1990s. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Rockets tie the series back up this weekend in H-town.

Tonight in Channelside, the Lightning host the New York Rangers in Game Four of the Eastern finals in the NHL playoffs, and the big story in hockey circles is what the hell has happened to Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has given up 12 goals in the past two games. Then again, the Lightning’s great Ben Bishop gave up five goals on Wednesday. 6-5 NHL playoff games are something I can get into, by the way. Keep them coming.

And speaking of sports, Tampa is reportedly in the mix for hosting the Super Bowl in 2019 and 2020. This city is as great as any in the country to host such an affair, having pulled it off successfully four times earlier. The last one in January of 2009, was nothing short of spectacular. But of course, these days it’s all about extortion, with the NFL now moving the game out of the traditional spots of Florida, California and New Orleans to places like Indianapolis and Dallas as a reward for building new stadiums. Tampa doesn’t need to do that, but spend apparently a couple of hundred millions of dollars in upgrades. If the Bucs are willing to do it, go build your bigger DiamondVision boards. Oh, but it won’t work like that, will it? Get ready to give out a little more to the Glaziers, Hillsborough County residents.

One thing that Tampa taxpayers should accept is digging into their pockets a little deeper to pay for some of the stormwater projects that the City Council will soon be proposing. Let’s face it — though we may never be able to fix all of the infrastructure problems in this city, it’s a disgrace that you can’t drive anywhere in Tampa after it rains hard for 45 minutes, which by the way, will be happening on an almost daily basis in the coming weeks.

The Hillsborough County Commission’s Republican members are getting slammed in the conservative Tampa Tribune editorial page this morning for their objection to the wage theft proposal offered by Democrat Kevin Beckner on Wednesday.

And you gotta love our governor more than ever this morning. After the Obama administration relented yesterday and agreed to provide at least some of  the LIP funding, which they told Florida officials several years ago would be expiring a year ago, Rick Scott said yesterday, “This is a federal program, so when they decide to start a program, they should not be walking away from a program. So my expectation is they continue to fund the program.” Oh man, I don’t even know what to say about that.

So I won’t.

In other news..

Eric Ward gets sworn in as the new Tampa police chief today. Yesterday the City Council unanimously confirmed his nomination by Mayor Bob Buckhorn to succeed Jane Castor. Ward says he looks forward to working with the Justice Department when they review the TPD’s questionable targeting of black bicyclists, but he won’t change the policy.

Janet Dougherty is your new executive director for the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission. Pretty good considering she didn’t make the initial short-list as of a couple of weeks ago.

And one of the many bills that Rick Scott has signed in the past couple of weeks was a bill that bans drone surveillance of private citizens without their consent. But a leading media attorney says he thinks it’s unconstitutional.

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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