For several years now, Tampa City Council has devoted countless working hours to the subject of policing nightclubs, with very little to show for it. Yesterday the Council once again took up the issue, before doing the ultimate punt: pushing the issue off the agenda until the 2015 baseball season begins (i.e, next April).
These discussions began in earnest in the wake of a serious incident in Ybor City involving a particular nightclub that the city could not legally shut down. But they've sprawled way out of control since then. Ybor owners in particular are peeved with the Council, having spent considerable time drafting a policy that was essentially ignored by City Hall, leading one businessman in the district, Joe Capitano Sr., to tell CL earlier this week that the meeting that took place yesterday was the "same old bullshit."
Some Council members yesterday said it was time to call it a day and move on, in the absence of any tangible results. But those who live or work in the South Tampa area — Harry Cohen, Mary Mulhern and Yolie Capin — see the real problems as being in the SoHo district, where the city has allowed more bars and restaurants to proliferate, creating serious issues with noise, traffic, parking and the overall quality of life for some residents.
Councilman Cohen said yesterday what he's told CL in the past — that government can't cure all the ills that happen when human beings simply don't behave well. But he also realizes that previous councils have allowed SoHo to become what it is now. That's what the Council needs to focus on, not the nightclub scene in Ybor, Channelside, Westshore, New Tampa or any other part of town.
Meanwhile, last night in St. Pete, the four candidates to become the city's next police chief met the public. CL's Amy Daire was there and filed this report.
Is the CD15 race in Polk and Eastern Hillsborough County really going to be competitive this year? D.C. pollsters' own survey shows new Democratic candidate (and former investigative TV reporter) Alan Cohn
trailing conservative Dennis Ross, but those same pollsters say the race tightens dramatically when voters are given more information about the candidates.
And our feature this week in the paper focuses on privatized, for-profit health care
in Florida's Dept. of Corrections, and how that's working out a year in.