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Tampa Bay Rants And Raves

WEEK OF JULY 8, 2018


Clearwater smart to move ahead with City Hall demo


It’s a move that’s a long time coming. The city of Clearwater is finally going to abandon its antiquated City Hall and temporarily move to an office tower at the corner of Garden and Cleveland downtown. They had a chance to move across the street over 20 years ago but stupidity won out over common sense. We understand Mayor George Cretekos’ concern over isolating city functions from the public, but the building is easily accessible with a parking garage right across the street. We had only hoped the council would have set a date certain to be out of the temporary quarters. That should happen sooner rather than later.


Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:


1. Florida Senator Bill Nelson displaying his usual open-mindedness announced he will vote against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee before the Chief Executive’s choice is even named.

2. Dunedin’s seemingly wise plan to limit pharmacies and thus pot dispensaries in their downtown has foundered. Much of the blame lies with the state which seems hell-bent on making pot just as available as a Big Mac.

3. Idle thought, should Rep. Ron DeSantis list his party affiliation as Fox rather than Republican?

4. Some years ago when your humble blogger ran for office, our request to our teenage son who was (and still is) a bit of a rounder was do not have any involvement with (Police Chief) Sid Klein’s people and, bless his heart, he didn’t. The reason for the request was apparent last week when a relatively minor incident involving Gus Billirakis’ son became breaking news. Ridiculous.

5. Related to our lead article, you’ve lived in Clearwater a long time if you shopped at the downtown Maas Brothers Department store which is scheduled to be leveled along with City Hall to open up the waterfront. Incredibly, it has been 27 years since Maas closed. It was truly “Florida’s department store”.


Sports, media and other stuff:


6. In early June, we pointed out that all but three of the Rays’ games in the month were against teams over .500. Our boys acquitted themselves nicely going 13-14 against the cream of the crop.

7. Tom Jones’ neat piece on four great baseball movies reminded us of a film that probably isn’t even considered a baseball movie – Dream Team. It featured a stellar cast of Michael Keaton, Christopher Lloyd and Peter Boyle. But it was Stephen Furst who stole the show as the mentally challenged Albert who couched everything in baseball terms - worth a watch or a revisit.

8. One of our favorite baseball nicknames is 1950s outfielder Harry “Suitcase” Simpson who was traded five times in an eight year career. Simpson has nothing on right-hander Edwin Jackson who joined his 13th major league team (Oakland A’s) last week.

9. Other than yawns, LeBron’s move to LA was greeted by one question – does he want to end his season earlier? At least in the Eastern Conference, he had a chance to advance to the finals and lose to Golden State. Now, that vacation will come earlier.

10. As we continue to quantify the best players/pitcher of each MLB franchise (see back story in TBRR 3/25/18), we focus on a relatively new franchise – the Washington Nationals’/Montreal Expos. Founded in 1969 and moving to D.C. in 2005. Their best player over the years by a slim margin is Hall of Famer Gary Carter, although few would argue with Andre Dawson. On the pitching side, and this could change if Stephen Strasburg continues his stellar career, but Steve Rogers had nine opening day starts and 158 wins for the Expos who were not all that good a team during his days north of the border.


Time for fireworks to go the way of the buggy whip?


Several local cities’ fireworks fizzled last week due to either weather or vendor’s issues. Meanwhile many cities are moving away from the noise and danger of fireworks for drone displays. If you’ve seen them, they are every bit and more the visual awe of fireworks. And they are noiseless – something very child and pet friendly. Anymore, we use every excuse from the 4th to Arbor Day to set off fireworks. At least on America’s birthday, our municipalities ought to look into the less obtrusive drone spectaculars.

Up Next: GOP endorsements; another Publix slip; old time movies


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