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La Gaceta Endorses
US Senate
Bill Nelson
District 12

Chris Hunter
District 15
Kristen Carlson
District 16
David Shapiro
Governor/Lt. Governor
Andrew Gillum/Chris King
Attorney General
Sean Shaw
Chief Financial Officer
Jeremy Ring
Commissioner of Agriculture
Nicole “Nikki” Fried
State Senator
District 18
Janet Cruz
District 20
Tom Lee
State Representative
District 57
Debbie Katt
District 58
Phil Hornback
District 59
Adam Hattersley
District 60
Debra Bellanti
District 61
Dianne “Ms. Dee” Hart
District 62
Susan Valdes
District 63
Fentrice Driskell
District 64
Jessica Harrington
Justice of the Supreme Court
Alan Lawson – YES
District Court of Appeal
Anthony K. Black – YES
Darryl C. Casanueva – YES
Edward C. LaRose – YES
Susan Rothstein-Youakim – YES
Circuit Judge Group 25
Robin Fuson
County Judge Group 2
Greg Green
County Judge Group 8
E. Michael Isaak
School Board District 1
William Henry Person
School Board District 6
Karen Perez
Constitutional Amendments
No 1. – NO
No 2. – YES
No 3. – YES
No 4. – YES
No 5. – NO
Constitutional Revisions
No 6. – NO
No 10. – NO
No 12. – NO
No 13. – NO
No. 2 Transportation Tax

No. 3 Public School Tax

What You Missed This Week in La Gaceta

From As We Heard It, by Patrick Manteiga

► We continue our endorsements for the general election.
More endorsements for the Nov. 6 General Election:
State House
District 57
Both candidates, Republican Mike Beltran and Democrat Debbie Katt, are newcomers to politics.
Beltran is a Harvard-educated lawyer who offers solid support to the Republican agenda, right down to anti-immigrant rhetoric, although he does offer a glimpse of environmentalism by opposing offshore oil drilling in the waters closest to Florida. While his issues aren’t our cup of tea, his district, which stretches from Sun City Center to FishHawk Creek, probably embraces his positions.
Katt is an analytical software engineer who has a master’s in applied math and a minor in statistics. She is a proponent of solar energy, funding for arts and culture, common sense gun restrictions, more education funding and investing in infrastructure.
We like those things, too.
La Gaceta endorses Debbie Katt for District 57.
District 58
Republican Lawrence McClure won his seat in a special election 10 months ago, so he’s had little time to make his mark in Tallahassee. The first item under “issues” on his website reads, “There’s no equivocation in my beliefs about where I send on our conservative principles. I’m 100% Pro-Life and ‘A’ rated by the National Rifle Association for being pro-2nd Amendment and pro-crime reduction.” Also on the site is “No Amnesty, No Sanctuary Cities” and “proven charter schools can come into a community and turnaround failing schools.”
Enough said. We like the Democrat Phil Hornback. His website starts with “Union Strong.” He’s been a union bricklayer, owned his own masonry business, taught middle school, coached football and been a real estate broker. He’s personable, smart and eager to serve. He’ll be an advocate for our public schools, environment and the need to invest in our failing infrastructure.
La Gaceta confidently endorses Phil Hornback for District 58.
District 59
This is Joe Wicker’s second time running for this seat. By most measures, he’s running his campaign in lockstep with the issues Republican leadership has been pushing for more than a decade. The only deviation is a mention in the Times that he supports giving judges more discretion in sentencing non-violent offenders.
The Democrat, Adam Hattersley, has been working hard in the district. He has a master’s degree in aerospace engineering and was a member of the 1999 NCAA champion men’s gymnastics team.
He served as a nuclear submarine officer and was on the ground in Operation Iraqi Freedom, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star. He now owns a small business in the district. Hattersley offers support for alternative and mass transit, and to changes to our healthcare system to make it more accessible to everyone. He wants more funding for education. He also offers respect to the diverse groups that live in his district.
La Gaceta endorses Adam Hattersley for District 59.
District 60
Republican Jackie Toledo is defending her seat against Democrat Debra Bellanti. Toledo is a tireless campaigner and is very visible in her district. That’s a plus, but she is for public funding of private education, won’t protect a woman’s right for reproductive freedom and voted for a bill that could reduce public access to our beaches. She also supports keeping Florida a cheap state in which to do business. That means being cheap with our schools, roads, parks and healthcare. Florida’s been a cheap state for decades; it’s time to change that formula.
Bellanti is a small business owner and volunteered as a Guardian ad Litem. She is also involved in raising money for many Tampa charities and hospitals.
Bellanti supports a living wage, a woman’s reproductive rights, public schools and sensible growth and regulations that protect our water, beaches and environmental lands.
La Gaceta endorses Debra Bellanti for District 60.
District 61
Dianne Hart has a write-in opponent. That means only her name will appear on the ballot. We strongly supported Hart in the past and continue to do so. We expect her to be a strong advocate for her district.
La Gaceta confidently endorses Dianne Hart for District 61.
District 62
Susan Valdes also has a write-in opponent. We have sung our praises for Valdes and continue to do so.
La Gaceta strongly endorses Susan Valdes for District 62.
District 63
Shawn Harrison is one of the more moderate Republicans in Tallahassee. We also find him accessible and willing to listen to opposing views. He is also known to go out of his way to help a constituent.
But we still find him on the wrong side of reproductive rights, gun control and support of unions.
His Democratic opponent, Fentrice Driskell is very impressive. She is a graduate of Harvard and Georgetown Law School and a partner at Carlton Fields law firm. She’ll focus on affordable housing, education and transportation funding.
She is strong on the environment and cares about people, having volunteered with organizations that help students, families and veterans.
La Gaceta endorses Fentrice Driskell for District 63.
District 64
We have never been a fan of incumbent Republican James Grant. We find him to be arrogant. He pushes the rules for personal gain. He won’t engage with people who don’t agree with him. As far as issues, he’s on the wrong side of almost all of them.
Jessica Harrington is a school teacher who had to struggle to get where she is. She understands the heavy weight student loans places on people. She is a self-described progressive Democrat who will focus on improving our schools.
Also in this race is no-party-affiliated candidate Andy Warrener, who is a freelance journalist and carpenter.
La Gaceta endorses Jessica Harrington for District 64.
Justice of the Supreme Court
Justice Alan Lawson was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court by Governor Rick Scott on Dec. 16, 2016. He previously served on the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal from 2006 to 2016.
We endorse a YES vote to retain him.
District Court of Appeal
There are four judges up for retention. Voters can choose YES to retain or NO if they want the judge to be removed from the court.
We find all the judges on the ballot free of accusations of corruption and to be able and attentive jurists.
We endorse a YES vote on all four, Judge Anthony K. Black, Judge Darryl C. Casanueva, Judge Edward C. LaRose and Judge Susan H. Rothstein-Youakim.
No. 2 Hillsborough County
Funding for Countywide Transportation and Road Improvements by County Charter Amendment
This would add a penny to the seven cents we currently pay in sales tax on each dollar. The tax would last for 30 years and be divided between Hillsborough County, HART, MPO, City of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City. The amendment also directs portions of the money to be spent on certain types of transportation improvements, such as roads, sidewalks, bike lanes, buses and alternate transportation options. The money cannot be spent on a new stadium or ballpark.
We all know the needs and we all know we are falling behind each year. This plan is detailed, well thought out and fair. It comes with accountability and transparency.
La Gaceta strongly endorses a YES vote on Referendum 2.
No. 3 Hillsborough County Referendum
Referendum on One-Half Cent Sales Surtax for Public School Air Conditioning and Capital Improvements
This will add a half-penny to our current seven cents of sales tax per dollar spent for the next 10 years.
This tax will only be used for repairs, upgrades and construction to public schools. This district unveiled plans to use a portion of the new revenue to do at least one project at every school in the county. Many of the dollars will be used for failing air conditioners that have received much press. Some will be used for new schools to keep up with growth.
Our schools desperately need the money, having been starved of capital improvements money by the State Legislature and our governor for years
La Gaceta strongly endorses a “For the one-half cent tax” vote on Referendum 3.

From Chairman of the Bored, by Gene Siudut

► October is an exciting time of year for sports fans because all of the major sports, with the exception of college basketball, are occurring simultaneously.
The NHL and NBA are conducting pre-season games. The NFL and college football are a quarter of the way through their seasons and the MLB playoffs are just underway.
Most of the teams for which I root are optimistic about their playoff chances and are on the upswing of success. The Brooklyn Nets, formerly the New Jersey Nets, may never be good again, so I am numb to feelings about them. My New York Mets, however, are not in the playoffs after starting the season 11-1 and the baseball world looking at them as the team to beat.
Well, they were the team to beat. The got beat a lot. 85 times a lot.
Finishing the season 77-85 just adds another flaming trash bag to the dumpster fire of being a Mets fan. We are used to losing, but this year was supposed to be different.
Once again, Mets fans are left to remember what once was and hope for a better future. My thoughts, however, drift to 1999, my first year in Tampa and a playoff run for the Mets.
It was also the first time I lost a job because of the Mets. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From O’Pinions To Go, by Joe O’Neill

► I know I’m not the only one.
As I watched Brett Kavanaugh’s last Senate Judiciary Committee appearance – following that of his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford – I couldn’t overcome the sense that this might be hard for “Saturday Night Live” to spoof. I mean, how do you satirize a parody? Is the “Honorable Brett Kavanaugh” an oxymoron?
It was obvious from the start that Kavanaugh was doubling down on the tactic that mattered most at sexual-misconduct-allegation crunch time. This was more than damage control. In short, this was about showing viscerally that Kavanaugh was a victim of a reputation-destroying Democratic witch hunt. Plus, he wanted the back-in-the-day theme to be beer for the cool guys, not babes for assaultive sorts.
The hearing was a “circus,” a “sham” and a “national disgrace,” he charged. Moreover, the Senate had “replaced ‘advice and consent’ with ‘search and destroy.’” In response, he had replaced judicial temperament with calculated anguish and anger. Wonder what RBG thought. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From In Context, by Doris Weatherford

► Everywhere I’ve gone recently, everyone wants to talk about Brett Kavanaugh. My timetable was a little hasty when I predicted in my last column that he would be toast by the weekend, but I’m sticking with the general point. The potential loss to Republicans if their women desert the party over this issue is not worth it to them. Because there is no principle at stake other than a victory for Trump, party leaders should force Kavanaugh to withdraw. They did that in the 1974 midterms, when they forced Richard Nixon to walk away. Both men were endowed with lifelong arrogance that made them assume they were axiomatically entitled to do what they wanted to do, but with Kavanaugh it is simpler and can be expressed in just two words: judicial temperament. He displayed temper instead, and his smart-mouth treatment of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobucher alone should disqualify him. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Silhouettes, an interview with Adriana “Adri” Colina, by Tiffany Razzano

► As a Hillsborough Community College student in the late 1980s, Adriana “Adri” Colina took a job at a downtown law office. It was easy work, she said, perfect for a college student. She answered phones and had plenty of time to study while on the clock.
One of the older women she worked with (“Myrtle,” she said. “I’ll never forget her.”) suggested she needed more of a challenge and should apply to work for the city of Tampa. Myrtle asked Colina, “What are you doing here? You can do so much more.”
“She literally grabbed my hand and walked me across the street to City Hall”, Colina said.
Colina was just 19 at the time and hadn’t considered working for the city before. She assumed she would need to know someone else who worked there – a family member or friend – in order to even be considered for a position. …(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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