The Way I See It
By cj pollick
More Tourists For Clearwater - If you follow local tourism reports, then you know that tourism numbers are down in Pinellas County. Of course, that type of report was expected from local Clearwater merchants who have felt the pain of fewer hotel rooms and fewer motels on Clearwater Beach the past few weeks.
However, with the opening of a new high-rise hotel on north Clearwater Beach, the Sandpearl, some of the lost hotel rooms on Clearwater Beach have been regained. The same will occur in the next two years when another quality high-rise hotel will open on Clearwater Beach. Those two major Clearwater hotels will clearly help to spur tourism in Clearwater. Perhaps more importantly, those two modern hotels will result in more Clearwater Beach conventions due to more meeting space availability, etc. Add a new public Beach Walk, which is expected to be fully open in a few months, and tourism growth should continue to increase along Clearwater Beach.
Beach parking, however, remains an important issue for Clearwater city planners to address. More public parking space is need on Clearwater Beach and perhaps the only question for city planners to resolve is the best location. Of course, most well-paid consultants who have reviewed this parking matter in past years have stated that it would be best to use current city-owned land. That means only a few beach locations would qualify. North Clearwater beach public parking lot? Central beach at the current city marina parking lot? Current mid-beach Clearwater public parking lot?
This is the 11th year that Clearwater city officials have discussed more beach parking. The discussions began when Karen Seel was city commissioner and asked if more beach parking could be added before the Memorial Causeway Bridge was opened,
For the sake of local merchants and the Clearwater tourism industry, one can only hope that the large sums of taxpayer money previously spent on professional re-development consultants will pay dividends in 2009 and 2010.
Largo's Mayor To Run? - Local political types are saying that Largo Mayor Pat Gerard is thinking of running against State Rep. Jim Frishe, who just completed his first term in office.
It's hard to believe that Gerard would take-on Frishe when her popularity in Largo is perhaps at an all-time low. On the other hand, maybe it's a chance for Gerard to lose while trying for a more important elected office than to lose as an incumbent.
Yep, this is the same Pat Gerard that supported Steve Stanton becoming Sue Stanton and remaining as the CEO in Largo. Imagine how she might express her social opinions in Tallahassee where they write law for Florida citizens!
Elected Officials With Double Pay? - There are many retired military personnel that live in the Tamp Bay area and find second jobs working for local governments. Of course, many of the military people actually retire after 20 years or so in the military service and, therefore, are not that old. A second career in business or government is not all that unusual for those folks. There are many local examples of retired military people working in local government as second careers.
However, when an article was published about local elected officials who have financially "retired" on government benefits (for years served) and still remain in elected office with full annual salary, the article caused more than a stir among area citizens who wonder how that income system worked.
The idea of "retiring" and remaining in elected office under full elected office salary, plus collecting retirement income benefits, is not new - the concept of collecting government-paid retirement funds while working in elected (or appointed) office had been occurring for years.
What is a bit ironic about this issue is how retired people might collect social security benefits that they paid into over the years and are penalized if they take other work. Of course, the second incomes of most retired people is not that high of a number compared to the incomes of retired, yet working for a government salary, elected officials.
Big deal? (It probably does not help at election time if this financial issue is raised and, of course, both political parties have people that fit the example.)
Increased Fines For Employing Illegals - The federal government recently increased fines by twenty-five percent to employers that knowingly employ illegal immigrants. Current government fines range from $275 to $11,000 depending upon the offense.
According to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, this is the first increase in government fines of this type in a decade.
With increased government vigilance in confronting employers that hire illegal workers, the amount of government fines collected are increasing each year and are expected to increase more in 2008/2009.
Employers that hire illegal immigrants are taking a chance that could cost them dearly if caught. New fines are twenty-five percent higher in 2008 plus other government penalties that could be added.
Ralph Nader To Run - Consumer advocate Ralph Nader announced he would run as an independent for president. The announcement by Ralph Nader was met with nothing more than a shrug of the shoulders from Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Ralph Nader had been previously criticized by Democrats for costing Al Gore the residency in 2004 due to narrow margins of winning votes in places such as Florida. Nader ran for the presidency as a Green Party candidate in 2000 and as an Independent in 2004 and will run as an Independent in 2008.
How will Ralph Nader impact the election?
Nader will clearly attract voters who are not happy with either Democrats or Republicans. Ralph Nader could end-up becoming a spoiler in a tight 2008 election, which, by the way, is expected by many Washington political pundits.
Thus, the 2008 presidential election could be Nader, the Independent vs. McCain, the Republican vs. Obama, the Democrat. Makes me wonder if Nader, the Independent, would be invited to all the televised presidential candidate debates.
Political Bias Is Obvious In New York - The New York Times published a piece of journalism about GOP candidate Sen. John McCain that was fraught with allegations of sexual impropriety that were not substantiated in the article. Later the allegations were denied by McCain and all others named in the article. In other words, it was a personal attack by one of the most liberal newspapers in America to discredit a republican candidate in favor of a Democrat favorite.
Did the Times apologize for the printing of the unsubstantiated article?
No, they stood by the article. However, there were no facts of sexual impropriety stated in the article that would support the thesis. Why would the Times attack Sen. McCain without facts?
This type of journalism, on the other hand, only helps to make the case against liberal newspapers that use the power of the "paper" to help sway public sentiment for liberal causes and candidates. Perhaps that is why most Americans do not believe what they read in the newspapers.
Imagine if Fox News aired a similar unfounded personal attack against Sen. Hillary Clinton? Right, media sources, such as the Times, would have criticized Fox News in their editorials and probably would have blamed conservatives such as Bill O' Reilly just for effect. (The Times and O'Reilly occasionally have their differences of opinions.)
Imagine, there was a time when the media supported Sen. John McCain because he tended to be more of an Independent than a Republican.
"There is no man so bad, that he doesn't secretly respect the good." - Ben Franklin from Poor Richard's Almanac.
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