Former Mayor Brian Aungst Cleared - Folks who were investigating former Clearwater Brian Aungst found him innocent of allegations regarding a condo purchase and quick sale on Clearwater Beach.
According to recent reports, Aungst is not interested in talking more about the incident - neither is the Clearwater city council.
Can you blame them for not talking?
The way I see it, Aungst's actions were not much different than some others who vote on city projects.
Clearwater No Wake Zones - There is an issue that has been debated ad nausium on Clearwater Beach. That issue, of course, is determining where boater no wake zones should be implemented.
If one is fortunate enough to live on the water, then they expect the quality of life that goes with such an investment. In short, they expect to enjoy fishing, boating and a wonderful vista.
However, not everyone who lives on the water supports uncontrolled boat usage. Thus, large vessels that push large wakes can become an issue for some waterfront homeowners; the same could be said for running a speed boat close to boat docks.
There is clearly a balance in considering how a local government should write law that can protect people and property, while offering opportunities for boater enjoyment (such as water-skiing).
How could this work?
Clearwater's city council will soon wrestle with this dilemma. Other nearby communities such as Belleair Beach have already done so.
Without a water patrol unit, Clearwater laws might be difficult to enforce. There was discussion of using the U.S. Coast Guard and Sheriff's Dept. water patrol units for enforcement, but they are already stretched "pretty thin."
Belleair Beach Elections - There are some new candidates running for office in Belleair Beach (a city with a lot of talent sitting on the sidelines).
One new candidate was a corporate attorney with a financial services background. With new construction projects planned for Belleair Beach, wouldn't it be nice to have such a person providing "neighborly" oversight?
Further, I was a bit surprised to notice one candidate, currently in office, lauding her support and leadership in the local National Organization of Women (NOW). Made me wonder about political party persuasion of the candidate (and those in office). Yes, elections are non-partisan. However, does one political bend ever leave the person?
Does political party affiliation matter in local elections? Maybe not; however, if fiscal conservatism is not a part of one's political belief, then perhaps it is an issue.
What about the candidates?
The Gazette will report more on this election and other local elections.
Local Elections - It has been routinely stated that all politics are local. Government on the local level is, therefore, a smaller picture of a much larger political picture. In fact, some folks see local politics as the springboard for many local elected officials into more important county, state or national offices. There are many local examples of this happening - I refer you to county commissioners, state legislators, and national offices of congressman or attorney general. (All have people who began their political careers in local city offices).
You might ask, what is so important about this political method of advancement?
Here it is: on a local election basis, elections are typically non-partisan.
Therefore, one never knows the political persuasion of the local candidate(s). The way I see it, voters have a right to know the political persuasion of all candidates, including judges.
Why is this so important in local elections?
A person's political "bend" rarely changes, even if they deal with local political party events from time to time, observers may begin to think that political party has great influence in that town - and rightfully so.
Would it make a difference if you knew the political persuasion of all local candidates?
Maybe not, but maybe yes.
Same is true for judges. Wouldn't it be good to know the political persuasion of a judicial candidate before you vote? It might tell you more about how the candidate feels about important issues that separate political parties and voters.
A big deal?
You tell me.
Lobbyist And Entrepreneur - The world of Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff is one of power, connections and money. Abramoff is not the only powerful lobbyist in our nation's capitol, there are many dozens of people like Abramoff.
Strangely enough, lobbyists in Washington (and other state capitols) operate under the same or similar guidelines … at least, that is what we will hear from Abramoff's lawyers in the next few months. Influence peddling has been used by so-called lobbyists from the beginning of our nation's political parties.
President George Washington disliked political parties, but once the political process began in the history of America, people like Jack Abramoff have exerted their power and influence (plus money and, in the end, votes). We will soon hear names of politicians in Washington, and other politicians who benefited from campaign money raised by Abramoff. It is likely that lobbyist funds will cross political party affiliations and perhaps embarrass big name officials.
Is there worse?
In the case of Jack Abramoff the answer might be yes.
This gentleman was not only a lobbyist, but he had interest in the gaming industry. Indian tribes, etc., dealt with this gentleman. Peddling influence is a vicious circle? Time will tell, but he did plea bargain and that should make a list of elected officials nervous.
Senator Ted Kennedy At His Worst - It's likely that Ted Kennedy could not win an election anywhere but in the Kennedy stronghold of Massachusetts.
Even fellow Democrats are embarrassed by some of the things Kennedy bloviates on television.
I refer you to Kennedy's recent remarks made during Senate hearings regarding the approval of Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito, Jr..
Italian American attorneys in Chicago, and elsewhere, believe some people are (without factual basis) attacking Alito because of his Italian ethnicity. To which opponents of Judge Alito deny.
Alito has impeccable legal credentials, and that is a fact; furthermore, does anyone care if he is of Italian descent?
Sen. Ted Kennedy's credentials vs. Judge Alito?
James Frey's Book - James Frey's book Million Little Pieces has been attacked by credible sources as a fraud.
Oprah Winfrey continues to support James Frey, regardless of some sources claiming that many facts in his memoir are simply not true.
Of course, not. Who cares!
Is Anyone Surprised? - Bill O'Reilly of FOX News is a graduate of Harvard's communication school.
Recently, Bill O'Reilly challenged Harvard officials to revisit the political "bias" of the communication school's professors.
According to O'Reilly, "Only one professor is a registered Republican … only one out of the entire group of 23," stated O'Reilly to a Harvard Dean.
Presumably, I'm surprised anyone would question the political bias of most American University professors who teach in the schools of journalism.
Leaning left in politics and swaying the thinking of young students?
Yes, but O'Reilly should know that fact.
Do major news sources lean left?
Yes, but just think about how (and where) young writers are being trained.
"We never ask a professor his/her political registration…." explained the Harvard official on FOX News.
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