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What You Missed This Week in La Gaceta

Looks like we accidentally republished last week’s As We Heard It column in print. For your reading convenience, please enjoy this week’s As We Heard It in its entirety below.

From As We Heard It, by Patrick Manteiga

Governor of Puerto Rico Pedro Pierluisi will visit Tampa next week to be the keynote speaker at the Hillsborough County Democratic Party’s Kennedy-King Dinner, Saturday, Sept. 23.
On Friday, Sept. 22, there will be a reception to welcome Governor Pierluisi at the Cuban Club from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the lobby. The event is free and open to the public.
The welcome reception is sponsored by the Hillsborough County Democratic Hispanic Caucus and State Representative Susan Valdes.
If you’d like to attend the reception, please RSVP to Victor DiMaio at 813-361-1922.
Tampa City Council has to craft a budget for the City after its vote to hold the millage rate at the 2022-2023 level. We hear the City staff, under the mayor’s direction, is being unhelpful to some individual councilmembers since the mayor is still upset that Council wouldn’t approve her budget and it’s 1 mill increase in property taxes.
For the good of the city, one would hope staff would avail themselves to the Council as well as the mayor.
Mayor Jane Castor told the press recently that it took months and months to craft her budget and that was using all the City’s resources. Leaving Council to perform the same task in just a few days without full cooperation of City staff is trying to set Council up for failure.
One of the areas where some members wanted to focus to reduce spending was on the 400-plus new City staff brought on by Mayor Castor over the last four years. Those new positions don’t police our streets, put out fires or pick up trash.
While staff isn’t helping Council, it is busy trying to tie the Council’s hands.
The City Attorney sent this unsolicited memo to Tampa City Council: “In preparation for your upcoming budget workshop, we thought it would be helpful to remind the members of City Council of certain charter provisions that govern its actions regarding City of Tampa officers and employees.
“For example, Section 4.03 of City of Tampa charter expressly states that ‘the mayor’s powers and duties shall include:
“‘(4) except as herein otherwise expressly provided, the appointment and removal and the fixing of the compensation of all officers and employees of the City, the employment and compensation of whom are not otherwise provided for herein …’
“‘Therefore, the City Council may not, in the amendment of the budget, hire or remove officers and employees, or reduce their compensation. This is similar to the question addressed by an appellate court in West Palm Beach Golf Commission v. Callaway, 604 So.2d 880(Fla. 4th DCA 1992), where the court held that because the City charter gave the City manager the exclusive authority to hire and fire employees, a commission could not fire an employee – even though in that case a City ordinance stated otherwise. Similarly, in Burbier v. Crane, 299 So.2d 98(Fla.4th DCA 1974), the court held that a City commission could not effectively abolish a City department established in accordance with the charter by failing to fund that department during the budget approval process.’”
It appears the mayor wants to keep all of her bloated bureaucracy in lieu of beefing up the City’s road maintenance and affordable housing budget.
Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer will hold a campaign kickoff on Tuesday, Sept. 26, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., at the residence of Harry Cohen and Jen McDonald at 3104 W. Fair Oaks Ave., in South Tampa. Latimer was elected in 2012 and is running for his fourth term. He is currently unopposed.
If you’d like to attend, please RSVP to craig@craiglatimer.com.
His host committee includes Congresswoman Kathy Castor, Sheriff Chad Chronister, Public Defender Julie Holt, County Commissioners Harry Cohen, Pat Kemp and Gwen Myers, Tampa City Council members Bill Carlson, Guido Maniscalco, Luis Viera, Alan Clendenin and Charlie Miranda, School Board members Jessica Vaughn, Nadia Combs and Karen Perez, former Mayors Sandy Freedman and Bob Buckhorn, Betty Castor, Les Miller, Nicholas Buchanan, Simon Canasi, Robert Clark, Dallas Cofield, H. Lee Culbreth, Nikki DeBartolo, Michael Eachon, Jeff Gibson, Marvin Knight, Jen McDonald, Ron Pierce and Jim Porter.
Just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month, Dr. Adriana Kugler was sworn in as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on Wednesday, Sept. 13.
She is the first Hispanic to serve on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in its 109-year history. She was appointed by President Joe Biden to fill an unexpired term, which ends on Jan. 31, 2026.
She was the U.S. executive director of the World Bank Group and is Colombian American.
And another boost for Latinas, Anna Gomez was confirmed by the U.S. Senate last week as a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission. The last time a Latina served on FCC was over 20 years ago.
She served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Communications and Information and Deputy Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
She is a lawyer and serves as a senior advisor in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy.
She was born in Orlando. Her family is from Colombia, where she spent her childhood.
Professor Sarah McNamara will have three appearances in the Tampa Bay area for Hispanic Heritage Month to discuss her book “Ybor City: Crucible of the Latina South.”
Today, Friday, Sept. 15, at 8:00 a.m., McNamara will be the guest speaker at Café con Tampa at the Portico Café, 1001 N. Florida Ave., in Downtown Tampa. Cost is $12 and includes breakfast.
At 7:00 p.m. today, she’ll be across the bay at Tambola Books, 2153 1st Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Gary Mormino, a noted historian, will share the stage with her. The event is free.
The Tampa Bay History Center will be the stage for McNamara on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 6:30 p.m. She will share the stage with James López of the University of Tampa. Carmen Alvarez, Latinx book influencer, will host the event.
The History Center is at 801 Water St. The event is free, but registration is required. Go to tampabayhistorycenter.org/events For more information.
Democrat Mariella Smith filed to run for County Commission for the countywide District 6 seat at the end of August. She’s now got her campaign up and running, has a website to accept donations and has sent out an e-mail for fundraising.
In 2018, she won election to the Commission for countrywide District 5 but lost her reelection campaign in 2022 to Republican Donna Cameron Cepeda.
The seat she is running for is held by Democrat Pat Kemp, who is term limited from running again for the district.
Democrat Mark Nash has been running for the seat for some time.
Also seeking the seat are Republicans Jim Davison and Rico Smith.
The Tampa Sports Authority (TSA) has been busy booking concerts at Raymond James stadium. The TSA released information calculating the number of Hillsborough County hotel rooms generated by those concerts for 2022 and 2023. The conservative estimate is that 11 concerts generated 100,837 room nights, which equates to $20,020,783 in hotel room revenue. The hotel bed tax generated by that revenue is $1,201,244.
The TSA calculated the average daily rate of Hillsborough County hotels for each concert and you can see where a concert not only filled hotel rooms but drove average daily rates (ADR) up.
The ADR for the three Taylor Swift concerts was $245.14, $290.85 and $278.97. The Weekend (a singer) had the lowest ADR at $130.64.
The number of rooms rented for Taylor Swift’s three nights was 10,913, 10,560 and 10,961. Luke Combs second night was right there with Swift with 10,432 rooms as was Ed Sheeran with 10,180 rooms booked. The lowest number of rooms rented was for Luke Combs first night, 5,824.
The TSA calculated these numbers by looking at the zip codes of the people buying tickets. It added the people who live 50 miles outside of Tampa to the people who lived outside of Florida and those sold internationally. It took that number and calculated four guests per room with a stay of only one night.
Of course, these concerts have a greater economic impact if you calculate restaurant and bar sales and a host of other items visitors spend their money on.
Lately we have had a lot of friends and acquaintances tell us they have tested positive for COVID. All who got tested were suffering with flu-like symptoms, some far worse than others. The recent outbreak in our circle of friends has us ready to take the latest COVID vaccine booster. As far as we know, we have never had COVID (I’m knocking on wood as I write this) and would like to keep that streak going.
Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, who was appointed by governor Ronald DeSantis, was in Jacksonville last week and told the media that Floridians should not take the vaccine.
He urged Floridians to make their own decision about the vaccine based on their “resonance of truth” rather than on “very educated people telling you what you should think.”
He added that healthy nutrition habits are preferred over relying on vaccines.
Ladapo is so far down the rabbit hole, he can’t even reflect on how dangerous his words are.
He should tell people to talk to their doctors. Instead, he sows seeds of distrust against the “very educated.”
He talked about the lack of clinical trials and added the new vaccine “caused cardiac injury in many people.” With the lack of clinical trials that he notes, what evidence does he have the new vaccine is harmful to your heart?
His quote was, “There’s a new vaccine that’s coming around the corner, a new mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, and there’s essentially no evidence for it. There has been no clinical trial done in human beings showing it benefits people. There’s been no trial showing that it is a safe product for people – and not only that, but then there is a lot of red flags.”
Ladapo has offered no evidence or study to back his concerns but instead appears to be basing his anti-vaccine rant on his particular “resonance of truth.”
Even anti-vaxxers know that is horrible advice for people over 65 to not get vaccinated as that is the group most susceptible to dying from COVID. Of all the COVID deaths, 81 percent occur with people 65 and older. Ladapo walked his comments back a little bit this week and advised only people under the age of 65 to not get the vaccine. The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get the new vaccine.
Our resonance of truth concurs.
Governor Ronald DeSantis went to New York to observe the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. In an effort to politicize a solemn day, his campaign pushed an interview he did with The Examiner where he said, “9/11 was in part an immigration issue.” And just in time for Hispanic heritage month he added, the border crossing has made us more vulnerable to a terrorist attack. “I think that there is a good bet that somebody that’s come across the [southern] border will commit an act of terrorism.”
We read the report, the 9/11 terrorists weren’t Mexicans, Hondurans or Nicaraguans. The 9/11 terrorists didn’t wade across the Rio Grande. They flew here on commercial airlines. They weren’t asylum seekers. They were from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. Of the 19 terrorists, all had tourist visas except for one, who was on a student visa.
DeSantis continues to equate undocumented Hispanics with murderers, drug cartels and now terrorists.
Happy Hispanic heritage month!(to read more, buy a paper)

From Chairman of the Bored, by Gene Siudut

► I sat at the bar at Glory Days in New Tampa and thought to myself, there is no God.
How could there be? NFL teams from dens of perdition such as Philadelphia and Green Bay continue to stack up wins while the kind-hearted, God-fearing Chicago Bears continue to wallow in mediocrity.
What deity would claim such a world. What higher power would allow this?
I’ve been a Bears fan since I was a kid in the ‘80s. Perhaps it was the movie “Brian’s Song” or maybe I just liked watching Walter Payton. The only fact I know for sure is the New York Jets and New York Giants played in New Jersey and if they weren’t going to take my state’s name, I wasn’t rooting for them.
And I damn sure wasn’t rooting for a Philadelphia team, as they were rivals to my New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Nets and New York Mets. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From The Reasonable Standard, by Matt Newton

► Gods did not create our courts, nor write our laws. As such, the legal system will never be perfect. But we try.
Recent history demonstrates that rigorous licensing requirements, oversight, and an ever-growing, triple-checked body of law promotes an environment where every human engaged in the legal process receives fair and even treatment from American tribunals.
But the road to appearing before an impartial tribunal is paved with fees. And not just attorneys’ fees.
These financial obstacles promote a damaging reputation that is difficult to debate: that the law systematically favors the wealthy.
Of all the types of non-attorney fees a lawsuit generates (e.g. filing fees, court reporter fees, mediator fees), one fee needs to be abolished: the electronic legal research fee.
In 2023, we should not have a paywall between people and legal texts.
Paywalls, of course, are everywhere. Begin reading an interesting book? Enter a credit card to finish it. Want to watch a specific show? Sign up for a streaming service. Newspaper article? Money, please. … (to read more, buy a paper)

From In Context, by Doris Weatherford

► Three men associated with USF’s founding have, or soon shall, leave us. The first to mention is Gordon Deats, whose beautiful wife Sara posted on Facebook that she painfully decided to enter her beloved into Hospice. Now in their 90s, the fashionable and good-looking couple were mainstays of Tampa’s cultural scene. Sara taught English at USF for forty years, while Gordon was a sculptor and art critic for the late, lamented Tampa Tribune.
Peter Dunne was a founder of USF’s College of Medicine and a neurologist specializing in multiple sorosis. He taught and practiced at several area hospitals, but Hubby and I knew and loved him through the Harvard Club. Once he came to our New Years Eve’s party robed in a Harvard banner – but he was not the least pretentious. Peter always was smiling and quick with a funny story, but he also had an encyclopedic knowledge of many things, especially classical music. He came from an old New England family, and I was delighted to discover his kinship with some of the women I’ve written about in my books. He gave me tips on a few more I should add, and I did. His aptly named wife, Faith, worked with refugees under the aegis of Lutheran Ministries…(to read more, buy a paper)

From Silhouettes, an interview with Fariba Cavitt, by Tiffany Razzano

► Shortly before the Iranian Revolution, which started in early 1978, Fariba Cavitt and her family moved to the United States.
The eldest child, she was a junior in high school at the time and considering her higher education, but the universities in Iran were in shut down and in upheaval. “The Muslims were trying to have more influence,” she said, this included targeting young women who didn’t wear a proper hijab on campus and elsewhere by throwing acid in their faces and persecuting those who didn’t follow Islamic religious practices and protocols.
“So, my parents thought it would be better to send me to the United States for a solid education,” she said. She also had two siblings only slightly younger than her who would also be heading to university. “So, then my parents thought we might as well all pack up and get established elsewhere.” …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Líneas de la memoria, por Gabriel Cartaya

► Acabo de leer la novela Tantas razones para odiar a Emilia, última obra del escritor José Manuel Fernández Pequeño. En estas breves notas sobre la novela, no pretendo emitir un juicio crítico de alcance literario, sino algunos comentarios desde la impresión como lector, evitando que la amistad que durante muchos años sostengo con el autor influya en la opinión sobre el texto.
Comienzo por el título, el que me llamó la atención desde conocerlo, cuando Ediciones Furtivas lo dio a conocer en el verano de 2021. ¿De dónde habría sacado Pequeño razones para el verbo del título, si lo conocemos como un ser altruista, buena persona? ¿Qué mensajes disimulaba el autor detrás de un nombre de mujer que se está haciendo amar por miles de lectores? Si en los polos extremos los opuestos se juntan, ¿puede el amor, desde ese linde, entrar al territorio del odio?
Pero tal vez el antónimo de amor no sea necesariamente odio, como generalmente creemos, sino miedo. Así me parece al leer la novela, en cuyo protagonista se adivina el temor de amar a una mujer casada y provocativamente bella que, sin embargo, desafía las reglas de un machismo caribeño que desaprueba el sometimiento a la voluntad femenina. Entro en las páginas buscando explicarme la tirria a Emilia, que la sospecho dueña de la mayor parte de la trama que como un artífice de la palabra construye el autor; y no descubro el odio, sino un miedo innombrable, más que a ella, a traspasar los códigos del orgullo, toda vez que aparece como una ‘femme fatale’ que controla y dosifica la entrega. … (to read more, buy a paper)

From Briznas culturales, por Leonardo Venta

► El triunfo, la felicidad y el equilibrio del hombre, tanto emocional como social, aparte de ser sumamente relativos, dependen, entre otros factores, de lo temporal, subjetivo e imprevisto de la existencia. La muerte, generalmente, se explica como el truncamiento de estos propósitos. Sin embargo, también pudiera interpretarse como algo positivo.
El existencialismo como filosofía se ocupa de los problemas fundamentales del espíritu y el destino humano, la dimensión del ser, el tiempo, la libertad, la relación Dios-hombre, la incredulidad, el deseo de inmortalidad, entre otros temas.
Labramos nuestro propio sino y, al mismo tiempo, moldeamos nuestra realidad, o es moldeada por elementos extrínsecos, dentro de un incesante y sorprendente proceso de reajuste. Los eruditos, por su parte, continúan tratando de hallar respuestas a las numerosas preguntas que el hombre se formula. Sin embargo, aún queda mucha incertidumbre por delante, especialmente en el plano de la conciencia.
En fin, que el ser y el existir son procesos nada sencillos, a los que el existencialismo les debe su nombre, así como largas e intensas horas de estudio. …(to read more, buy a paper)

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