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Mitch Perry Report for 8.28.15 – GOP convention memories

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While the nation’s media will focus quite correctly this weekend on the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans, anyone remember Hurricane Isaac? (Let’s not even talk about Erika).

That was the storm that forced the cancellation of the first day of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa three years ago, making today the third anniversary of the beginning of that political quadrennial event.

Oh, the memories.

The Tampa RNC (like the Democrats in Charlotte a week later) was only a three-day affair, which led some analysts to predict that all future political conventions would only be three-days long, or perhaps only two.

Not. Going. To. Happen. At least not yet, as both the Republican and Democratic political parties plan to have four-day events next year in Cleveland and Philadelphia, respectively.

What were your favorite memories of the Tampa RNC? How about Chris Christie, and his speech that was all about him, and barely about the nominee, Mitt Romney? Or that short bio of Romney that was aired on the Thursday night of the convention. The film that people said showed “the real Mitt” that wasn’t aired on national TV.

Anyone remember the floor fight among Ron Paul delegates? That was perhaps the only actual live drama on the floor of the then Tampa Bay Times Forum.

There were the protests that the media predicted for a year that barely materialized. And how ’bout the local merchants who complained that because of the heavy security (ridiculously so, by the way), nobody came to their restaurants, bars and shops.

That wasn’t going to happen, though, ever. See, the No. 1 thing that most reporters who covered the Tampa convention left with was: How the f**k does anyone survive in this weather? When folks got out of their buses, or taxis, or rental cars they just wanted to get inside the air-conditioned arena as soon as possible. And who could blame them?

And yes, there was Clint Eastwood, and the damned chair. Great move, Romney campaign!

And reporters. Oh so many reporters. Let’s be honest – the political conventions, sort of like this political campaign, has way too many reporters tracking far too few stories (or the ones that should be highlighted, anyway).

In other news …

Are you ready for legalized weed in Florida? In addition to the possibility of voting on medical marijuana next year, advocates for legal pot will be announcing in Fort Lauderdale a plan for a constitutional amendment in 2016.

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I know all the folks in JebWorld are showing no lack of confidence in their man’s ability to become the next Republican nominee for president. If that happens, they’ll look back on late August as one of their lowest moments though, as Bush now trails Donald Trump by 21 percentage points in a Quinnipiac survey.

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Democratic Senate candidate and House firebrand Alan Grayson doesn’t think much of Trump. On Al Jazeera America  Thursday, the Orlando congressman called the NYC businessman “boring,” and said his immigration plan, “subliminal racism.”

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Meanwhile David Jolly, who could possibly oppose Grayson in the Senate battle next year, is hobbling around these days after breaking his leg this month.

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Four months after the Tampa Bay Times revealed the huge number of bike citations that the Tampa Police Department had given out in recent years, the TPD says that its officers have been writing radically fewer tickets this summer. Coincidence? You make the call.

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And Florida Power & Light received approval from the PSC yesterday to purchase and ultimately close a coal fired power plant in Jacksonville.

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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