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Yolie Capin endorses Gene Siudut in Tampa City Council District 7 race

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Gene Siudut’s bid to win the Tampa City Council District 7 special election received a boost with the endorsement of Councilwoman Yolie Capin. “I’ve known Gene for a long time and I believe he is as passionate about the continued success of the city and its citizens as I am,” Capin said Friday afternoon. “His years of public service and compassionate advocacy for the people of our city make him a perfect fit for our city council. I am delighted at…

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Hillsborough schools cancel classes to be evacuation shelters for Matthew victims

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Although Hurricane Matthew is not projected to strike Hillsborough County, public school classes are canceled for Friday so multiple buildings can be used to shelter evacuees from other areas. Designated evacuation centers include Brandon, Strawberry Crest, and Riverview high schools; along with Summerfield Crossing Elementary in Riverview; Pizzo Elementary near the University of South Florida, Burnett Middle School in Seffner; and Tomlin Middle School in Plant City. Their schools’ inland location combined with interstate proximity was a factor in that…

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Joe Henderson: Supporters of MaryEllen Elia now get chance for revenge at ballot box

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Things really got nasty around the Hillsborough County School Board in early 2015. That’s when four of the seven members voted to fire Superintendent MaryEllen Elia. They didn’t like her brusque and dismissive style. They felt Elia believed the board worked for her, not vice versa. The move was, to understate matters, highly controversial. Oh, who am I kidding? I can think of few things the board has ever done that created the stir that did. Those who voted in…

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Susan Valdes proudly is standing by her vote to can MaryEllen Elia

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The Hillsborough County School Board’s stunning vote to oust Superintendent Mary EllenElia from her position in January of 2015 angered much of the Tampa Bay area’s business and political establishment. Linking his tweet to a Washington Post piece calling the firing ““Blunder of the Year?”, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn wrote, “‘Nuff said. School Board elections in 2 years. Just saying.” He was hardly the only local official who strongly disagreed with the decision. But with just six weeks to go before two of the four members…

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Cindy Stuart and Alan Clendenin get key endorsements in bid for reelection to Hillsborough School Board

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Hillsborough County District 3 School Board member Cindy Stuart and district 7 candidate Alan Clendenin have been endorsed by the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association in her race for reelection to the seat. In a letter sent to Stuart on May 16, members of the HCTA say that the union’s political committee voted to recommend her for an endorsement, and that recommendation will now be forwarded to the West Central Florida Federation of Labor for consideration and endorsement next month. Stuart is running against…

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Mitch Perry’s Top 10 stories in Hillsborough politics of 2015

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As first said by Greek philosopher Heraclitus, in the universe change is the only constant. Nowhere was that more applicable than in Tampa Bay during the past 12 months. From the much-ballyhooed dismissal of MaryEllen Elia as Hillsborough County School Board District superintendent to redistricting and the rising (and falling) fortunes for hizzoner Bob Buckhorn, many of the leading political issues of the year centered on shaking up the status quo. With that, here are Hillsborough County’s top ten stories in 2015: 1) MaryEllen Elia…

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Activists want Hillsborough School District to join program ensuring free breakfast & lunch for students

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On the first day of school, in Hillsborough County and throughout the state, activists in stood in front of Miles Elementary School in North Tampa. They were there to call on the Hillsborough County School District to get with the program — the community eligibility program, to be specific — which allows qualifying high-poverty schools to offer breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students without having to collect and process individual meal applications. “We have a bureaucratic problem right now,” said…

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