TALLAHASSEE — More than a dozen top business local executives went to Tallahassee with an appeal in the days following last week's political showdown between three GOP senators from Tampa Bay over a regional transit bill.
Keep talking. Please.
The nonprofit Tampa Bay Partnership had planned the lobbying trip anyway.
But the delegation arrived just a day after Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, watched in frustration as fellow Republican senators Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg and Tom Lee of Thonotosassa amended his bill to overhaul the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) during a tense meeting of the Senate Community Affairs Committee....
04/23/17 Local Government
TAMPA — As a young lobbyist for the Builders Association of Greater Tampa, one of Bob Buckhorn's first tasks in the mid-1980s was to work on the city's evolving tree code — a subject that rarely fails to combine technical detail with passionate advocacy.
Today, three decades later, Buckhorn is still working on it.
An update of the city's tree and landscape code is headed to a City Council workshop Thursday, about a year behind the schedule City Hall set in late 2015....
04/21/17 Real Estate
TAMPA — Darryl Shaw first ventured into Ybor City real estate in 1988, just after he finished a bachelor's degree in international business at Brown University.
It didn't end well.
The 22-year-old moved to Ybor and bought a run-down building on E Seventh Avenue with plans to convert it to office space. Then the balcony collapsed during renovation. The city condemned the building, which had to be demolished. End of that career....
Top Canadian official warns border adjustment tax and Trump 'Buy American' policy could hurt Florida04/21/17Business
TAMPA — As Canada's first astronaut in space, Marc Garneau has a long history with Florida: He's visited the state more than 100 times, blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center aboard three space shuttle missions and each time safely touched down again in Florida.
This week Garneau is back, this time with warnings about what could be a bumpy ride ahead for two close friends, Canada and the United States....
With competing bills in the Legislature on how to implement the voter-approved constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana, Tampa City Hall has decided to wait a little longer before drafting its own zoning or other rules for pot dispensaries....
TAMPA — An algae bloom in the Hillsborough River reservoir has put a bad smell and taste in tap water for city water customers.
"We tested the water. It is safe to drink, and we are treating the reservoir," city spokeswoman Ashley Bauman said Friday.
Since April 1, the city has received 58 customer complaints about foul-smelling tap water and 22 complaints about water with an objectionable taste. The city characterized that number as unusually high. ...
Just days after City Hall said it would let the Bryan Glazer Family Jewish Community Center use Vila Brothers Park for overflow event parking just three more times, tops, residents got an unsettling surprise.
On Monday, Armory Gardens Civic Association president Sandy Sanchez noticed a city work crew at the park installing a line of heavy wooden posts around the playground. When she asked why, she said city employees told her it was to protect the playground from the cars that would be parking in the park, which is just across N Armenia Avenue from the JCC....
04/07/17 Local Government
TAMPA — Three more.
That's how many times City Hall is letting the Bryan Glazer Family Jewish Community Center use Vila Brothers Park for overflow parking.
City chief of staff Dennis Rogero sent a letter dated Thursday to the JCC saying it could use the open field at the West Tampa park "for one event per month between now and June 30."
After that, he said, "the City expects you to make alternative plans for overflow parking."...
04/06/17 Local Government
TAMPA — City taxpayers will pay $80,000 to settle an Ybor City bar patron's lawsuit over injuries he said he suffered when a dart-like prong from a police officer's Taser pierced his eyeball.
The City Council on Thursday approved the settlement with 27-year-old Faraj Faraj of Westlake, Ohio.
Faraj sued the city in 2015, contending that he suffered permanent injury when Officer Christopher LaFramboise arrested him as Club Prana closed about 3 a.m. on Jan. 15, 2011....
TAMPA — Democrat Bob Buckhorn has dropped the idea of running for governor, but that didn't stop him from taking shots Tuesday at the Republican-led Florida Legislature and President Donald Trump in his annual state of the city speech.
Tampa lives under looming uncertainty, the mayor said, because Congress could take away revenues, eviscerate partnerships and decimate programs important to the city. Meanwhile, he said, the Legislature has opened an "unprecedented attack" on the city's ability to govern itself....
The Florida House of Representatives is making an unprecedented effort to seize power and local control from cities that drive the state's growth and economic development, the mayors of Tampa and St. Petersburg said Monday.
“I have never seen the assault on local government on all fronts — our ability to self-govern, our ability to pass laws that are appropriate for our communities — as I have in this legislative session,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn told a crowd of about 300 at an Economic Club of Tampa lunch....
03/29/17 Local Government
TAMPA — What's remarkable about the 12 acres that the city of Tampa owns near the Hillsborough River is not what's there now: heavy trucks, pipes and acres of asphalt splotched with grease.
What's remarkable is what could be there someday: new homes, families and sunny places to eat or shop.
So, on Wednesday, Mayor Bob Buckhorn promised a transformation of the old industrial site on N Rome Avenue. And to get it going, he used a tractor-mounted claw to smash into an old cinderblock building known as "the outhouse."...
03/24/17 Human Interest
The city's oldest cemetery is the final resting place for at least 1,000 early Tampa residents — pioneers, Confederate soldiers, victims of yellow fever, pirates, 13 mayors and slaves — but there might be even more.
So this week, anthropologists and students from the University of South Florida brought ground-penetrating radar and other equipment to Oaklawn Cemetery and the adjacent St. Louis Catholic Cemetery to search for and map unmarked graves....
03/23/17 Local Government
TAMPA — Now that Tampa's longtime 5-minute parking rule is off the books, City Hall is looking at a residential parking permit program to bring order to the vehicular scrum that vexes neighborhoods where homeowners compete with visitors to park on the street.
The rules and the costs won't be set until June 15 or later, but an expansion of residential permits now used in Ybor City and some other neighborhoods appeared likely during a City Council workshop Thursday....
03/23/17 The Heater
PORT CHARLOTTE — Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg revealed some complications in his team's search for a new stadium on Thursday, yet said he's still confident they will find a new home in the Tampa Bay area.
What were the Rays' top five choices for a new stadium — three in Tampa and two in St. Petersburg — are unavailable. That may push the team's time line for finding a new site from August to the end of 2017....