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What You Missed This Week in La Gaceta

From As We Heard It, by Patrick Manteiga

► With the pending verdict in Ferguson, Missouri, and the racial tension the whole affair has caused, we wanted to see how local law enforcement agencies are doing in recruiting diverse departments.
This week, we are looking at the Polk County Sheriff’s Department. Polk County’s population is 15.5 percent Black and 19 percent Hispanic.
The Sheriff’s Office doesn’t reach either number.
The total of rank and file sworn officers, including sergeants and pilots, is 506. Of those, only 27, or 5.3 percent, are Black and only 51, or 10 percent, are Hispanic. The upper ranks are bleached of Hispanics. Not one position over sergeant is filled by a Latin. Blacks do a little better with 7.8 percent in the upper ranks.
When you add certified officers (detention) to those on patrol, the number gets worse for Hispanics and slightly better for Blacks. Out of the combined force, which totals 984, only 8.2 percent are Hispanic and 13.7 percent are Black.
We hope Sheriff Grady Judd will aggressively and creatively recruit Polk’s minority population to join his force. A law enforcement agency that reflects the community it serves is one that is fair.(to read more, buy a paper)

► The Orlando area could have its own Hispanic caucus in the Florida Legislature. There are now six Hispanic House and Senate members from the heart of the I-4 corridor. Five of the six are Puerto Rican, which means they prefer red beans over black and the highest amount of dots on the end of their dominoes is six.
Democratic Senator Darren Soto leads the group in rank and seniority.
Returning to the House are Democrats John Cortes and Vic Torres, along with Republican Mike La Rosa, who is the lone Cuban in the group.
The two new representatives are Bob Cortes and Rene Plasencia, who are both Republicans.(to read more, buy a paper)

► We hear Pat Kemp is being encouraged to run for Tampa City Council…(to read more, buy a paper)

► David L. Smith, of Grey/Robinson, is the new legal counsel for the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority. He was Tampa’s city attorney for four years during the Pam Iorio administration…(to read more, buy a paper)

► …We were in Tallahassee on Monday, when Democratic Senator Arthenia Joyner was elected to be the Senate Minority Leader…The imbalance isn’t reflected in the State’s population. Florida is split down the middle. A change of heart by less than one percent of the voters and Charlie Crist would be governor. The moderate and liberal half of Florida deserve a voice in Tallahassee and while Democrats don’t have the numbers to stop anything in the House or Senate, their voice on healthcare, public education, the economy and the environment should be just as loud as the Republicans…
(to read more, buy a paper)

► The last election was a referendum on the leadership of Allison Tant, and she failed. Losses in the State House, State Senate and the Congressional Delegation, tied to continued disappointment in the governor’s race, illustrate her inability to deliver anything more than the status quo…(to read more, buy a paper)

► Even the public comments at the School Board’s reorganization meeting last Tuesday were vitriolic of Elia. Several speakers expressed disappointment in Elia and encouraged the brand new board to take action…The conversation has already advanced from should we get rid of Elia to strategies of how to fire her or force her resignation. We are told Elia has been notably absent from school headquarters since the election and that absence isn’t wholly contributable to her trip to attend to a health issue in her immediate family.
We also hear that the downtown staff is worried about its future and some are trying to create some distance between themselves and their boss…(to read more, buy a paper)

► People are still wondering about Sally Harris’ victory over Michelle Shimberg in the South Tampa/South County School Board race. Shimberg had the résumé, endorsements, name recognition and big war chest.
What did Sally Harris have?
She had John Sykes. Sykes and his relations and related companies gave $17,500 to Harris’ campaign. That’s a huge part of a campaign that only raised a total of $28,500…(to read more, buy a paper)

► The election for Hillsborough County NAACP president held Tuesday was between Joe Robinson and Bennie Small.
Small won, but in our view, Robinson would have been a very effective leader of the NAACP…(to read more, buy a paper)

From O’Pinions To Go, by Joe O’Neill

► Former President George W. Bush has been sitting for interviews as part of the publicity rollout for his book, 41: A Portrait of My Father. It’s an overdue paean to former President George H.W. Bush. George W., the 43rd president, has been mentioning lessons he has learned from his dad, a war hero from World War II as well as Bill Clinton’s predecessor.
Alas, “W” never learned the most important lesson available: that you don’t want to “own” Iraq by invading it, occupying Baghdad and ousting Saddam Hussein. As we know, the laws of unintended religious and tribal consequences inevitably kicked in. Iraq was more of a European colonial construct than country. But “W” listened to Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, not his father. And America continues to pay the price…(to read more, buy a paper)

From Chairman of the Bored, by Gene Siudut

► …As this affliction dissipates, I am left with a runny nose and coworkers who are anxiously waiting to see if they are the next ones to become tainted. As soon as that happens, someone will visit the office or call and find out one of us is sick and will say something like, “I hear there’s something going around.”
Saying that you hear something is going around is the flu equivalent to the person who tells everyone that tryptophan is the reason people get tired after Thanksgiving dinner. Is it supposed to be comforting to know that other people are ill and it wasn’t my fault that I contracted a communicable virus? It’s not herpes, it’s the flu.(to read more, buy a paper)

From Líneas de la memoria, por Gabriel Cartaya

► …El magnífico receptor fue seleccionado dos veces al Juego de las Estrellas, por su rendimiento a la defensiva y a la ofensiva. Fue premiado al Salón de la Fama de Beisbol en 1977, donde se le conoció, por su ascendencia española, como “El Señor”. Cuando se retiró del deporte, en 1947, era el receptor dueño del récord en juegos ganados, con una cifra de 1918 que no fue superada hasta que 1987 fue rota por Bob Boone…(to read more, buy a paper)

From Briznas culturales, por Leonardo Venta

► …A comienzos de junio de 2011, la Orquesta de la Florida (TFO, por sus siglas en inglés), una de las más prestigiosas agrupaciones sinfónicas de Estados Unidos, anunció públicamente su iniciativa de intercambio plurianual con la Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Cuba (OSNC)…(to read more, buy a paper)

To catch up with what’s happening in La Gaceta, pick up a paper at one of our distribution points or subscribe by calling 248-3921.