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What You Missed This Week in La Gaceta

From As We Heard It, by Patrick Manteiga

► Tony Morejon filed as a Republican to run for the County Commission District 1 seat. Morejon is the former Hispanic Affairs Liaison for Hillsborough County and is a former Hispanic Man of the Year. … He will face the winner of the Democratic primary between Harry Cohen and Jen McDonald … (to read more, buy a paper)

► Ybor City’s soon-to-be-open Hotel Haya is taking reservations online for July 1, 2020 and on. Prices for rooms ranged from $152 to $189.(to read more, buy a paper)

► We went to a Walgreens this week and saw a long, empty shelf behind the cash register that days before was filled with e-cigarettes and vape products. The shelves next to the empty one were filled with packs of cigarettes.
Who would have guessed a few years ago that e-cigarettes would be off the shelf because of health concerns while cigarettes remain for sale? Many vaping enthusiasts and, of course, vaping companies, originally sold the product as a safer, healthier and cleaner alternative to cigarettes.
Some pushed the product as a way to kick the cigarette habit. Well, it seems the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.
While we know cigarette smoking will kill you, we also know that for most, it normally takes a few years of smoking to get cancer and that cancer can be a slow killer.
The news is filled with stories of young people dying after just a couple of years of vaping. Science still doesn’t understand all the health issues regarding vaping, but young, dead consumers are strong enough evidence to crack down on these products.
The Florida Legislature is considering more regulation of that industry – State Representative Jackie Toledo has a bill that would have the State regulate vaping products and the retailers selling them. Other legislation would raise the minimum age to 21 to purchase these products.
These products should have never hit the market until they were tested. We are now left trying to put the genie back in the bottle.(to read more, buy a paper)

► Tampa State Senators Janet Cruz and Darryl Rouson and Senate Minority Leader Audrey Gibson, who is from Jacksonville, successfully added $100,000 to the Senate budget for erecting memorials. One memorial would be at the Zion Cemetery and the other at the Ridgewood Cemetery in Tampa. Both were lost and forgotten and now have been rediscovered and mapped.
The memorials would address the once-forgotten graves and cemeteries and recognize the contributions of African-Americans.(to read more, buy a paper)

► There is a PAC that developers in Hillsborough County have with $200,000 aimed at ending the political future of Democratic County Commissioner Pat Kemp.
We wonder if anyone would be foolish enough to take the money, as it would cost $200,000 to undo the damage to a countywide candidate labeled pro-development.
Voters in north and east Hillsborough County don’t want another mega-subdivision shoved down their throats. They don’t want the Commission of the past that green-lighted thousands of homes while they red-lighted transportation funding.
Ten or 20 years ago, that $200,000 PAC would be a scary thing to most politicians, but with the county now firmly Democratic, developer money is bad juju.
(to read more, buy a paper)

From Chairman of the Bored, by Gene Siudut

► … Article 48 of [Germany’s] constitution paved the way for Hitler to eliminate any opposition. He banned all political parties other than the Nazis and restructured the government, all the way down to municipal governments, to be under Nazi command.
Hitler could make his own laws, control every aspect of government, was completely above the law, and it was all legal, with massive public support and by 1934, Hitler was no longer chancellor, but Fuhrer.
This story did not end well.
Why does this matter now? If you don’t know, I suggest starting at www.flholocaustmuseum.org or www.wwiimemorial.com. The Germans, and the rest of the world, didn’t think it could happen there, either. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From O’Pinions To Go, by Joe O’Neill

► If I had been the Speaker of the House, I would have done what Nancy Pelosi did in tearing up her SOTU speech copy. Damn right. She had just sat through – prop-like – a braggadocios Celebrity Apprentice presentation after being blatantly snubbed on a pre-speech handshake. So she tore up a speech after Trump had completed another round of reality-shredding rhetoric in what had morphed into a “Four More Years” rally among sycophantic, Party First GOPsters. This “House of Shards” was an all-too-appropriate forum for going on a symbolic tear. In the context of one who rips the Constitution, this was nothing but a well-deserved, cutting gesture.
But I would still be wrong.
However understandable and fist-bumpable as a visceral counter punch, it was not helpful. It reduced Pelosi, however briefly and inadvertently, to a perversely complementary act behind the ringmaster. Unfortunately, it will be used and re-used, sans context, as a Trump-rally meme. Optics matter, especially to the “Lock her up,” “Take her out” crowd. Historical archives will not be enriched by its certain inclusion. One has to believe that Michelle Obama, even during this dystopian administration, would still have advised her to “go high when they go low.” Even if AOC thoroughly approved.
BTW, isn’t it way past the time for some furniture rearranging for the annual SOTU speech? No matter who’s giving it. Whether it’s Barack Obama or Donald Trump, the president shouldn’t be sharing a framed, necessarily distracting, TV shot with the vice president and Speaker of the House. Whether it’s Joe Biden or Mike Pence, Paul Ryan or Nancy Pelosi.
This is the president’s forum, and there will always be additional optics and cut-away response shots, but framing the VP and Speaker in the same shot – as they gesture or notably don’t stand or applaud in unison, is an unnecessary distraction. Even if the president is the distracter-in-chief.
…(to read more, buy a paper)

From In Context, by Doris Weatherford

► You may or may not recall that I’ve been quiet on the subject that dominated the news since the holidays. You may or may not recall that back last autumn, I said that I didn’t want impeachment to come too soon. In fact, the last I wrote about it was in December, when I hoped Nancy Pelosi would hold on longer and add to the list of impeachable offenses.
In retrospect, though, I was wrong and she was right: It was wise to limit to the bill to just one charge, followed up by obstructing justice on that charge. Many people (including vacuous TV reporters!) can’t handle multiple ideas, and more than one article of impeachment would have been too much for too many. As it was, any reasonable person could ascertain that president withheld congressionally appropriated military aid from Ukraine for his own political purposes. That point is unarguable; historians will portray it that way; and Trump forever will be the guy who should have been removed. … (to read more, buy a paper)

From Silhouettes, an interview with Kris Rotonda, by Tiffany Razzano

► Originally from New Jersey, Kris Rotonda hails from a family of animal lovers. Growing up, they always had a family pet in the home. “We always had an animal in the house – dogs, cats, even a bird, at one point,” he said. “I’ve never lived in a house without animals.”
Decades later, the Safety Harbor resident has dedicated his life to animal advocacy. Through attention-grabbing stunts and media-savvy events, he raises funds and awareness for animal shelters and organizations throughout Florida and beyond. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Líneas de la memoria, por Gabriel Cartaya

► … El hombre es el recuerdo de una habitación, dijo el doctor Carlo Fell y en una tarde de ron palabrero me pareció mejor que lo del bípedo implume del griego, porque la ubicación en el ascenso biológico fue remitida a la compleja combinación cerebro-corazón, donde no puede caber gato por liebre si un sofista te muestra un pájaro encuero, con la ocurrencia de que ese es el hombre de Platón. Yo, atrapando el concepto, intenté despejar la abstracción abriendo rumbos
al filosofar y dios sabe cuántas tesis etílicas habríamos armado, si al canto no hubiera estado el profesor Valentín Gutiérrez. Pero estaba allí, decidor, con su alegría contaminante y más que al tratadismo, se inclinó a la confirmación existencial. Dígame, doctor, ¿usted tiene una prueba para tan atrevida sentencia?, ¿no estará sobredimensionando la experiencia de un cuarto?
La interrogante dio en el clavo. ¿Era su secreto lo que quería contar el doctor Carlo Fell?, ¿o la circunstancia lo atrapó al descubierto, creándole por primera vez la atmósfera de destapar un viejo recuerdo? …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Briznas culturales, por Leonardo Venta

► … La internacionalmente aclamada compañía Che Malambo, fundada en 2005 e integrada por bailarines argentinos dirigidos por el coreógrafo y bailarín francés Gilles Brinas, se presenta en la Sala Ferguson del Straz Center el miércoles, 26 de febrero a las 7:30 p.m.
El malambo es un baile dinámico de zapateo que ejecutan sólo los hombres. Los bailarines, individualmente y muchas veces en contrapunto, efectúan diversas mudanzas, sin otros movimientos que los de las piernas y los pies. Esta expresión bailable, que reside en el corazón de la tradición gaucha, ha cobrado nuevos horizontes a través de la compañía creada por el reconocido coreógrafo galo Gilles Brinas, fruto de minuciosas investigaciones de los bailes tradicionales argentinos y su visita a la región pampeana de ese país. …(to read more, buy a paper)

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