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Tampa Bay Rants And Raves



A weekly look at the Tampa Bay area and national politics from a conservative viewpoint – plus a helping of sports and lifestyle items. Warning: not everything printed here should be taken at face value.


Districts make as much sense as a strong mayor


There has been a call in some quarters for Clearwater to start electing its council members by district. We can’t seem to stop wanting our village of barely 100,000 more like our southern (double our size) and eastern (triple our size) neighbors. Anyone who has a good sense of Clearwater’s history knows there has always been a good geographic mix on its council. There’s been a concern about the lack of representation from the Greenwood area. Boiled down to its essence, that lack of representation lies mostly from the lack of candidates – you have to be in to win. Even without a resident on the council, the Greenwood area has not lacked for services from the city – a trend that started with some progressive council members twenty years ago and has continued. Districts create turf wars – just look at Tampa and Hillsborough County, and to a lesser degree, St. Pete. Like a strong mayor, Clearwater just doesn’t need districts.


Great Tampa Bay, politics and stuff:


1. Districts or not, it’s good to see a sizable group of candidates lining up for next March’s election – particularly Bud Elias whose activity in Clearwater causes covers a couple decades.

2. Sign of the times – Walgreens is going to shutter some 200 stores. Again, brick and mortar is losing out – this time to the many on line pharmacies that work in conjunction with major health plans.

3. Number of the week – 1800. The number of newspapers that shut down in the last fifteen years – including The Tampa Tribune which brought balance to news reporting in the bay area.

4. It’s been a month since the “extended move” from Clearwater Beach and we are asked daily – “do you miss the beach?” No, been back once for a trimming from Dan, the harbor barber, at the marina. Didn’t realize how noisy the beach had become until moving into our new, sedate neighborhood.

5. The continued escalation of Florida real estate prices reminds us of an old joke told to us about 25 years ago (we have updated the numbers): Potential buyer who wanted to get a slightly larger home asks a Realtor: “What kind of home can I get in the $300,000 dollar range” – the Realtor’s reply – “the one you’re living in.”


Sports, the media and other stuff:


6. Her name became a synonym at the legendary Morton Plant Treehouse gathering for a member who came for coffee but didn’t work out. Rosie Ruiz who took a cab to briefly claim the Boston Marathon championship in 1980, died last week at age 66.

7. Sorry, we can’t get worked up about football when the average high each day is 90 degrees. Check with us later.

8. Okay, a couple items – Bucs lose pre-season opener in Pittsburgh and are picked to win six games this year – a number we feel might be low (hopefully).

9. More than one person is advocating for replacing the Rawlings on the MLB ball with Titleist. Exactly one half of major league teams are on a pace to break their all-time seasonal record for home runs.

10. The American League Wild Card race has dwindled down to three teams – the Rays, Indians and Oakland. It’s a much different story in the NL with fully seven teams within three games of a spot in the playoffs. It’s going to be a fun month and a half.


Copping out on #21


Let’s cut to the chase on this one – there were two major league icons who wore #21 during their careers. The first, Warren Spahn won more games than any other left-hander in history – 363, including a 23-7 season at age 42. He also hit more home runs than any other pitcher in National League history – 35. These are numbers hard to top – unless you happen to be Roberto Clemente, an NL MVP, four-time batting champion and 12-time Gold Glover. So great was Clemente that a special exception was made for him upon his untimely death on New Year’s Eve 1972 and he was voted into the Hall of Fame without the traditional five-year waiting period. Clemente blazed the trail for Latin major league ballplayers. As for Spahn, one other noteworthy accomplishment – he helped break the 0 for 12 streak for a struggling rookie who took him deep on his 13th major league at bat – guy by the name of Mays. Call it a cop out but we rule the contest for the greatest #21 in MLB history a tie.

Up next: Drugs, the helpful kind; paper and pencil; #22



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