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Jim Bennett

Pinellas County Commission moves toward moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries

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Pinellas County Commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday to hold a public hearing Jan. 10 to decide a possible moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries and treatment centers. The moratorium would remain in effect for 180 days to give the commission time to pass an ordinance regulating such issues as the location of dispensaries and treatment centers. A proposed ordinance is expected to come before the board in April. If the moratorium is adopted, Pinellas County will join other governmental bodies across the…

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Dwight Dudley heats up attack, insists opponent resume lacks experience

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The race for the Pinellas County Judge Group 9 seat is coming down to a heated battle over experience. Challenger Dwight Dudley says incumbent Myriam Irizarry lacks courtroom trial experience in Florida. Irizarry says Dudley has misrepresented her experience. Now Dudley says he’s sticking by his claim that she lacks trial experience and says Irizarry is at fault for any confusion because of apparently conflicting records. Dudley was referring to apparent contradictions in statements Irizarry made in her last application to the Judicial Nominating…

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Pinellas County appeals $16.5 million judgment

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Pinellas County has filed an appeal to try overturning a $16.5 million judgment for a developer denied a zoning and land use change. The notice of appeal, filed Monday, comes days after Judge Walter L. Schafer Jr. turned down the county’s motion for a new trial. Clerk of Court Ken Burke transmitted the appeal to the Second District Court of Appeals on Tuesday. But the Pinellas County Commission never formally voted to appeal the judgment. “There was no formal agenda…

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Charlie Justice spearheads human trafficking awareness sign ordinance for Pinellas

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Human trafficking is a alive and thriving in America. According to humantrafficking.org, an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 people — primarily women and children — are being trafficked in the U.S. each year. Florida’s human trafficking statistics aren’t very encouraging either. “Florida ranks as the third [worst] state in the country for sex trafficking,” said Commissioner Charlie Justice at Thursday’s County Commission meeting. Justice, citing Pinellas’ recent issues with sex trafficking and human trafficking, made a motion to direct the county…

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County Attorney Jim Bennett earns another good review, although not better than last year’s

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Upon quick review, Pinellas County Attorney Jim Bennett‘s annual performance review was pretty good. In a numerical rating system where a total of 400 points were available, Bennett earned 352.3, or 88 percent of all possible points. Those numbers equate to a review that’s between “good” and “excellent,” according to the review’s rating criteria. There is, however, one noticeably hairy little fly in the ointment. Last year, Bennett scored a 93 percent. In the review, each of Pinellas’ seven county commissioners rated Bennett…

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