Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Mitch Perry Report for 8.3.15 — Forget Thursday. 14 GOP prez candidates debate tonight in NH

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Happy Monday, which, if you live or work in Tampa, means another perilous morning for actually driving your car, as it’s raining hard once again as I write this (6:18 a.m.).

This weekend’s storms and floods indicate that Tampa may never become the major city it aspires to; though there are plans to raise taxes to pay for stormwater projects this year, the conventional wisdom laid down by geologists and past and present mayors of Tampa is that the way that the city was constructed prevents such flooding to occur. Which, in the age of climate change, means we’re only going to have more such incidents like Saturday, when some cars were literally underwater in South Tampa.

“We can make a meaningful improvement if we do more,” Jean Duncan, director of the city’s Transportation and Stormwater Services division, speaking to Creative Loafing’s Kate Bradshaw earlier this summer. “But some areas are still going to always be vulnerable because of the geography or the historical drainage patterns that were there way before people came along and started building houses in these low areas.”

Meanwhile, enough hype about this Thursday night’s debate! Sure, Donald Trump will be participating, but do you realize that the actual first debate of Republican presidential candidates is tonight? And won’t have to be live streamed, for the technically challenged among you, but actually viewed on the same cable systems that will broadcast Thursday’s clambake from Cleveland?

Yes, tonight, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, and George Pataki all will participate in the two-hour debate from Dana Center at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., at 7 p.m. EST on C-SPAN. Basically, everybody but Trump (I guess I don’t see Mike Huckabee or Jim Gilmore mentioned) will be there. So why no hype?

Rubio and Bush will be flying cross country to get to the event, after spending the weekend mingling with high-finance donors at the Koch Brothers’ summer event in Orange County, Calif.

And in other news we’ve covered since we last met with you …

We were in Fort Lauderdale for the National Urban League’s annual meeting on Friday, and if you missed it, we wrote reports on the speeches of Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush and Bernie Sanders.

And on Saturday we observed a community in East Tampa regarding Mayor Bob Buckhorn and his police department.

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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