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Tim Nickens is being such a pussy!

in The Bay and the 'Burg by
It must be very difficult to be the Editor of Editorials at the St. Petersburg Times. I mean, you are in charge of the section of the newspaper viewed by the least amount of readers, yet pandered to by almost every politician. And you have to deal with Robyn Blumner on a daily basis. At least Bill Maxwell isn’t around anymore to bother you about the plight of migrant workers.

So why is Tim Nickens being such a pussy about who the Times is going to endorse, err, recommend, to be St. Petersburg’s next Mayor? (The Times is above such pedestrian acts such as endorsing candidates, preferring to “recommend” them to its readers.) Just read this mealy-mouth hand-wringing:

“Here is a confession. I have no clue who is going to be St. Petersburg’s next mayor. I can’t even predict with any confidence who will be the top two finishers in the Sept. 1 primary and advance to the November general election. And while the Times‘ editorial board is busy interviewing candidates, we will not be making our recommendation until later this month. So don’t look for any hidden clues this morning — just don’t mail in that absentee ballot yet.

Despite months of campaigning and a growing number of yard signs, I don’t get the sense many St. Petersburg voters have focused on the mayor’s race yet and reached any firm conclusions. That may be because there are 10 candidates. There is a top tier of maybe five, but there is no clear front-runner.”

Cry me a river, Nickens.

Maybe if the Editorial Board had deigned to offer more opinions on more issues there would be a front-runner. Instead, the voice of the St. Petersburg Times has been largely silent, choosing to write about lukewarm topics like allowing the police to engage in high speed pursuits of fleeing suspects.

I’ve been to at least two dozen candidate forums this year and not once did I hear a voter clamor for an answer on this oh-so-pressing issue.

Maybe if the Times offered better, rather than just more, coverage of this race there would be a front-runner. Instead, you have at least one reporter and one editor who admittedly do not care about this community, and therefore, do not care about who is elected. One of the reporters covering this race went so far as to describe all of the candidates, save Kathleen Ford, as “pusses.” The Times just got done bellyaching because the candidates wouldn’t turn over electronic versions of their campaign finance reports, as if any candidate in their right mind should make it any easier for the Times to do its job.

A job it has so far failed to do.

What really irks me is Nickens’ bitching about his vagina, I mean his pleading for voters to hold onto their absentee ballots, presumably until the Times makes up its mind about who it going to endorse, there I go again, recommend. Nickens echoes his colleague Diane Steinle’s misplaced criticism of early voting. How can voters expect to wait on the Times after what the newspaper did in 2001, failing to report about the criminal actions of then-candidate Rick Baker’s family.

After that story broke, Columbia Journalism Review contributing editor Russ Baker wrote “In May, the Times came under criticism from the local alternative paper, The Weekly Planet, which criticized the Times for tilting in this spring’s mayoral race toward Rick Baker, the eventual winner, whose law firm has business connections to Poynter. The Planet, which landed a CJR Laurel (July/August) for covering the apparent conflict, noted that the Times failed to remind readers of a 1990 federal case against Baker’s aircraft-parts business, in which two of his brothers went to jail for, among other things, defrauding the military.”

It’s because of conspiracies like that that leads you to wonder what story is the Times sitting on now?

Honestly though, I think Timmy wants to throw the endorsement to my boy Bill Foster, but he can’t overcome opposition from the liberal members of the board, such as Blumner, who must be threatening to resign if the Times backs a religious conservative like Foster. There is no way the Times can endorse Deveron Gibbons because of his position at Amscot, his ties to the Republican Party and because the newspaper knows the dirty truth about Gibbons’ corruption, even if it doesn’t have the facts to report about it.

The natural choice for the Times is Scott Wagman. He is the liberal Democrat of the slate and so he matches up well with the Times‘ philosophy. But he has been so wrong on so many of the local issues important to the Times — Go Davis, baseball, Chuck Harmon, The Pier – that they may be hard pressed to recommend him.

So it all comes back to Tim Nickens, the Hamlet of the editorial board, who may be so afraid of Kathleen Ford and so disgusted by Deveron Gibbons (both of whom would beat Wagman) that he may have to throw the endorsement, oh hell that’s what it is, to Bill Foster.

Damn it Tim, stop being such a pussy!

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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