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What You Missed This Week in La Gaceta

From As We Heard It, by Patrick Manteiga

► Tampa Sports Authority (TSA) has changed attorneys. Anderson, who served for several years as the general counsel for TSA, which runs Raymond James Stadium and the City of Tampa’s golf courses, is no longer representing it in legal matters. The new interim general counsel is Julia Mandell, who is with the prestigious law firm GrayRobinson. She is the former Tampa city attorney. …(to read more, buy a paper)

► The City of Tampa’s plan to pump millions of gallons of treated wastewater into the aquifer is proceeding slowly. We are glad the process is slow because it needs a lot of scrutiny. The advocates are touting that by not pumping this water into the bay, they will greatly reduce thousands of pounds of nitrogen and phosphorous going into the estuary. Instead, we will be putting these nutrients into our aquifer.
Well, that doesn’t sound better.
They say it will naturally filtrate in the aquifer. We find “naturally” an interesting word choice. In nature, rain falls and pools in our swamps where trees and grasses use up nutrients. There, it slowly filters down into the soil and sand and then to the limestone that makes up Florida’s unique aquifer. This process, driven only by gravity, delivers five, six, seven, eight or maybe 12 inches of water into the aquifer each year. The City wants to forcibly pump 50 million gallons per day into the ground. Nothing natural about that. …(to read more, buy a paper)

► Republicans have enjoyed free corn dogs and rides on the Ferris wheel long enough. It’s now the Democrats time to reign the midway.
Newly elected Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried is a Democrat and she gets to appoint 20 people to the 22-member Florida State Fair Authority, which runs the fairgrounds on I-4. These appointments happen as members’ terms expire, so a wholesale change won’t happen all at once but after a couple of years, the fair will likely have an all-new board.
To the victor go the spoils.(to read more, buy a paper)

► There is legislation backed by Democrats that would move the function of issuing concealed weapons permits from the commissioner of agriculture to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). The inspiration for this change is the ineptness of the Department of Agriculture in properly conducting background checks under its former leader, Republican Adam Putnam.
The new commissioner of agriculture is Democrat Nikki Fried, who we are sure will take her responsibility of conducting background checks for gun permits seriously. So we are not concerned about the procedure being carried out according to law.
If the process is moved to FDLE in the next few years, that’s also OK, as it seems to make better sense for FDLE to have the responsibility.
The National Rifle Association seems to have a different agenda and wants the background checks under Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. It seems the NRA wants to shop the bureaucratic function around to the most sympathetic politician. Their meddling is why the function was originally placed under the agriculture commissioner.
Performing a proper background check isn’t a partisan process. It’s one that requires competency. The NRA should keep its nose out if this issue and let the government decide the best agency to do the right job.(to read more, buy a paper)

From Chairman of the Bored, by Gene Siudut

► … You want to change education in Florida, start voting for Democrats. The Republicans have dominated this state for a generation but still point fingers at the Dems as if they have any power. We don’t. We’re about as powerful in the State Legislature as my cat, Cheeto.
Actually, Cheeto probably has more power because he goes to the bathroom wherever he wants in our home. I don’t know if the Dems in the State Legislature have that kind of freedom there.
I doubt this person will read this column, but in the event he or she does, please don’t take this as a personal attack as much as it is advice that our words, spoken and printed, have weight. When we spin, omit, or change facts, we become what we hate. Fake news.(to read more, buy a paper)

From O’Pinions To Go, by Joe O’Neill

► Some things just shouldn’t be part of the partisan-politics-as-usual mix. It’s bad enough that constitutional issues, the media, the economy, the military and foreign policy are subject to it, but what’s even worse – as in existentially worse – is the inclusion of climate change and its ongoing and impending impact.
We’re talking the ultimate bottom line: life and quality of life – not anti-bureaucracy, deregulation politics.
It’s frighteningly unacceptable – and hellish timing – that we would now have a president who’s a climate-change skeptic. Indeed, one who has appointed a former coal lobbyist to run the blindsided and bludgeoned EPA.
Because Donald Trump doesn’t read anything not fit for a bumper sticker or a political-rally teleprompter, he hasn’t read his own government’s Fourth National Climate Assessment that looks at how climate change is already disrupting life in this country. The report – with input from 300 U.S. scientists representing more than a dozen federal agencies and departments – is overseen by the U.S. Global Change Research Program and warns that action must be taken now. As in NOW. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From In Context, by Doris Weatherford

► You might remember that last week, I wrote about things that incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could do that would cost very little money and yet be a tremendous boon for our nation. Thus I was very pleased to see that she and other Democrats are working on House Bill # 1, which will be the first proposed law filed next January. Because of the complicated legalese required, HB #1 still is a work in progress – but its chief aims are clear:
• End the dark money that has dominated elections since the Supreme Court overruled Congress’s last attempt to limit campaign spending with its Citizens United decision, which made a false equivalency of money with free speech. In accordance with that, Super PACs will have to release the names of those who fund them, and we ordinary folks will know much more about who is trying to buy our government. This will bring Washington more in line with the standards of Government-in-the-Sunshine rules that Florida has had for a generation. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Silhouettes, an interview with Greg Horwedel, by Tiffany Razzano

► It says a lot about Greg Horwedel that his earliest memory is the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. He was just two-and-a-half at the time and recalls how upset his parents were when the president was shot. Throughout the day, friends and neighbors visited his home to watch the news coverage with his family.
As he grew older, he became fascinated with Kennedy’s career and politics. “It resonated in me enough that I knew at some point I wanted to do something to engage and help the community,” he said. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Líneas de la memoria, por Gabriel Cartaya

► … Hablar de Puerto Rico con Charlie Rodríguez Colón
El pasado viernes, en la mesa histórica que identifica a La Gaceta en el Restaurante Tropicana, de Ybor City, tuve una larga y grata conversación con el Honorable Señor Charles Anthony Rodríguez Colón –Charlie, como todos le llaman–.
Rodríguez Colón es miembro de la Cámara de Representantes y Presidente del Partido Demócrata de Puerto Rico. Está afiliado al Partido Nuevo Progresista y fue el undécimo Presidente del Senado en su país. Sus dos períodos en la Cámara de Representantes lo señalan como un legislador firme, enfocado en la búsqueda de vías de desarrollo económico y social para su Isla del Encanto.
Tan extensa y clara fue la respuesta de Rodríguez Colón a mi primera pregunta –relacionada con las opciones políticas que hoy ve para Puerto Rico–, que opto por la síntesis de su argumentación.
–Dos opciones políticas hay para Puerto Rico –me dijo–: la independencia o la estatidad.
El político antillano repasa los cambios que se han producido en la Isla siendo un Estado Libre Asociado, mediante el que ha quedado en una especie de limbo, envuelta en un estatus de dependencia de Estados Unidos, pero sin los beneficios que alcanzan los 50 estados que componen esta nación. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Briznas culturales, por Leonardo Venta

► … La maestría de Arturo Sandoval con la trompeta, su innegable destreza al piano y en la percusión, así como el desenfado de su personalidad en escena, son factores que le han coronado de gran popularidad.
En noviembre de 2000, el canal HBO presentó “Por amor o patria: la historia de Arturo Sandoval”, filme que cuenta con una excelente banda sonora, grabada por el propio músico.
La cinta, cuyo protagonista es Andy García, aborda la conmovedora historia de Sandoval, sus vicisitudes en Cuba, su historia de amor, su decisivo encuentro con Dizzy Gillespie y su consiguiente exilio en Estados Unidos. …(to read more, buy a paper)

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