Rebuilding For A New Hurricane Season - Many of us in the Clearwater area have not been through a category two or three hurricane. We have, however, felt the sting of a passing hurricane, say within 50 miles. It is difficult to imagine the destruction if we had a category three hurricane actually hit the Clearwater area. Skirting hurricanes had caused enough financial damage to warrant insurer reluctance in underwriting risk in Pinellas County.
In Cuba, weathermen are now predicting an active hurricane season. Message to Cubans, "Prepare for a busy hurricane season . . . more than last year." The bad news for many Cubans is that people are just beginning to rebuild from last year's damage. (Much like the folks in New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama.)
Cuba and Florida conveniently sit along hurricane alley. Tracking weather patterns from Africa have become common-place for local weathermen in Cuba and the U.S. As tropical storms develop in the warm tropics, we observe developing storm movements typically headed to the west, towards Cuba and Florida. Many storms, fortunately, turn north along the Gulf Stream and ultimately end-up causing trouble for coastal U.S. communities, all the way up to Maine and Nova Scotia, where the storms begin to break-up and dissipate. However, one or two hurricanes will hit land. If a hurricane passes over southern Florida, it tends to turn north and head towards Louisiana and the Big Bend (north Florida.)
Active hurricane season?
The experts say, yes. The only question is where one or two might hit . . . and we are all in that natural lottery. Insurance? Big insurers do not want any part of Florida's homeowner business.
Public/Private Garage Deal? - It probably did not surprise many beach residents that future plans to develop the taxpayer-owned city marina could include private developers for a parking garage, according to latest reports from the city.
Parking garage only?
Hmmm, I doubt development at the city marina area would only include a parking garage in the plan. The way I see it, the parking garage idea (private/public partnership) is perhaps the best way to sell any private developer to a public who has never accepted giving city land to a private developer. In other words, sell this idea slowly over the next two years.
Yes, the city marina needs redevelopment. But, it has always been understood that the city would develop this prime piece of taxpayer-owned land. Partner with a private developer? That idea is going to be a tough sell to Clearwater taxpayers. I'd hate to be the elected official that gave-away city marina ownership right. Heck, I can remember when previous harbormaster Bill Held had about a million dollars in the "marina enterprise fund" generated just from the marina property. Of course, those funds had been "re-allocated" a few years ago. To the marina? No, elsewhere. Can the city pay for redevelopment of the city marina property? Clearly, yes.
Money? How about the same place where downtown money for Streetscape would come from? Or perhaps Penny for Pinellas funds! No, it is just the way some folks want, emphasize want, to do expansion redevelopment projects at the city marina.
I support the downtown boat slip project, but I have heard some citizen groups in Clearwater say they will vote against this project. Why? Lack of trust.
Allocate Clearwater's share of Penny for Pinellas funds before the county tax renewal is endorsed by voters? That's a bit presumptuous, wouldn't you agree?
Abandoned Boat - One of the many tasks of the Clearwater Harbormaster's office is dealing with abandoned run-down boats.
One might think this is simply an issue of gaining control of the boat, towing it to a boat-yard and allowing the boat-yard owner to obtain a lien and ultimately ownership. Not that simple, especially when the abandoned boat is a "documented" vessel.
There is an old boat at Clearwater city marina that has been abandoned. The owner has left the area and no-one is responding to letters from the City of Clearwater. The legal process to remove the boat has begun and might take many weeks to resolve.
Clay Court Tennis Master - For the readers who play tennis, the news about Rafael Nadal passing the clay court consecutive win record of Guillermo Vilas was amazing news. Nadal now has over 53 straight clay court tennis victories, truly an amazing feat by the young Spaniard.
With Vilas watching the latest victory of Nadal at the French Open, I was reminded of previous clay court matches of Vilas and Borg. Vilas was a great champion (of course, so was Borg) who was in great physical condition; same is true of Nadal. Nadal and Vilas are/were tennis players who were in such great physical shape that other tennis players hated to play them on slow clay tennis courts where every ball was dutifully returned with topspin.
Young tennis players should watch Nadal play on clay courts; he might be the best-ever on clay. (An incredible thought when you consider Bjorn Borg, Vilas, Lendl and other great players of recent tennis memories who did not match young Nadal's win record on clay.)
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid Takes Tickets - Democrat leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sees nothing wrong with his taking front row fight tickets for three Las Vegas fights. "I'm, no goody two-shoes," said Reid upon media questioning of the taking "free" fight tickets worth about $1,400 each.
Reid also had meetings with Indian tribal chiefs who were represented by the Abramoff lobbyist firm. Abramoff was the high-powered lobbyist who plead guilty to improprieties with certain Washington politicians, Republicans and Democrats.
Was the Democrat leader wrong to accept free front row fight tickets?
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) paid $1,400 for his fight ticket. It seems that McCain thought differently about taking "free" fight tickets to the same fights.
Ethics problem for Harry Reid? Probably.
The message? Both political parties have had dealings with Abramoff's lobbyist firm and both political parties have had ranking members take "free" gifts. Big news? Not really, many by our local elected officials do the same - it's true in too many cases, much like Sen. Harry Reid.
"Cold, Hard Cash" - Congressman William Jefferson, Democrat from Louisiana, sure lends new meaning to the term. Some $90,000 cash was found in the freezer of his home. Seems he was allegedly taking bribes from for rewarding of contracts. Is he in trouble? Even Nancy Pelosi (Minority Leader of the House) is calling for him to resign.
Power - The less power a man has, the more he likes to use it. - John Petit-Senn.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition