City of Tampa’s “Opportunity Coordiors”

I received this press release from the City of Tampa today. It sounds like an interesting project, and I’m glad the city is taking the initiative to spruce up some of it’s areas. Hopefully, this will spur the private sector to act as well.

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Buckhorn Announces Opportunity Corridors Project

Tampa, Fla. (February 1, 2012) – Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced today that Opportunity Corridors will be built throughout the City of Tampa, beginning with Ashley Drive in downtown Tampa.

“These corridors are highly traveled gateways leading into our community. For travelers from outside the city or for first-time visitors, they are the front doors to our city,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “We have to leverage these corridors, making them more inviting for residents, visitors, and potential businesses.”

Mayor Buckhorn believes that major transportation arteries, such as Ashley Drive, Nebraska Avenue, and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, are economic development opportunities. The City of Tampa will improve the aesthetics along those routes and make landscaping enhancements. It is our goal to encourage these corridors to grow neighborhood supporting retail and to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment.

The Ashley Drive gateway will be the first Opportunity Corridor to be built. The City of Tampa will work with Hillsborough County and the Florida Department of Transportation to complete the downtown gateways such as Kennedy Boulevard and Channelside Drive before branching out to streets like Nebraska Avenue.

Improvements along Ashley Drive will include professional landscaping, irrigation, and lighting design services. Installation is expected to begin in May 2012.

The design contract for the Ashley Drive gateway will go before Tampa City Council this Thursday, February 2, 2012.

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Live Blogging the NBC-Tampa Bay Times Debate

This post will be updated from time to time… or you can follow me on Twitter at (@StateOfsunshine).

8:35
Pre-debate expectations: Gingrich is by far the best debater. Romney typically maintains an even keel. Santorum will get lost in his own arguments. Paul will continue his consistent positions on issues.

All I know is that as a Republican Voter in Florida, I still don’t know who I’m voting for. Hopefully tonight helps me make my decision.

8:48

Holy crap is the Ed Show on MSNBC a steaming pile of crap. Thought I’d try watching it since the debate is on NBC tonight. Makes me want to poke out my eyes.

8:55

NBC show right before the debate: Who’s Still Standing? Quite appropriate.

9:00

Debate begins… “The fight’s now come here to Florida…”

9:02

First question to Newt on electability. He had a good answer – sending someone to Washington for change, and be controversial when necessary.

9:04

Romney on electability: it’s about leadership. Dings Newt about resignation, twice. Comes out swinging against Newt. Newt tries to deflect it (“four things are false”)…

9:08

Brian Williams calls Romney on being negative… Romney says he can’t sit back and not defend himself.

9:11

Finally get to a third candidate… to Santorum “What is your path to the top?” Boils down to “I can win Pennsylvania.” Uh… but you’re “former Senator”, Williams notes.

9:13

Ron Paul praises Gingrich’s handling of Congress… then doesn’t rule out a third party race, but might support Newt.

9:17

Romney is asked about releasing his taxes… Says there are no surprises, and turns the answer into a chance to talk about his tax proposals.

Romney’s income is entirely from capital gains, that is why he pays 15% tax.

9:23

Mitt Romney “American’s pursuing their dreams make us all better off.”

9:27

Romney needs to get off the Freddie Mac issue… not. playing. well. Newt is right on this issue.

9:32

The debate takes a break to run some commercials…

9:37

Debate returns to talk about foreclosure. Santorum and Paul talk about what they did years ago… *yawn*

Romney says creating jobs will lift the housing issue. Gingrich says Dodd-Frank is keeping the recovery from happening — it’s a bad idea. Romney says banking was not properly regulated, and says Gingrich is right about Dodd Frank.

9:43

First question that affects Florida – what do you do when Castro dies and 500,000 Cubans flee to the US. Romney stands on Cuban line. Gingrich wants to keep pressure on Cuba, using same efforts for fighting Soviet Union. Paul says it’s time to quit isolating Cuba and open up trade.

9:49

Question about Iran. Romney says it would be an act of war, and response would be the same. Gingrich – Americans have no interest of going to war anywhere – we like peace and stability, but we have a commitment to the freedom of the sea. Dictatorships respond to strength.

9:53

Next break, and now it’s time for the other moderators to have a turn – Adam Smith and Beth Reinhard.

Beth’s first question about off-shore drilling – spill would threaten tourism. Santorum says oil price spikes threaten worse. Drill baby drill… eh? No one else answered.

Good question – why court voters in Spanish, but not let government serve them in Spanish? Gingrich campaigning you go where the voters are, but in a country with 300-400 languages, we need a central language that we expect people to learn. Romney people need to learn English to be successful.

10:05

Gingrich would allow illegal immigrants to join the US military, but not going to college. Romney agrees with Newt.

10:06

Adam Smith continues on immigration. Romney says the best plan is self-deportation… what?

10:09

Smith asks Gingrich about sugar subsidies… one of the two or three hardest things to do because of the special interest groups. Romney views that we should get rid of subsidies.

10:17

Adam Smith dregs up Terri Schiavo… ugh.

10:20

Beth asks if space exploration should be a priority. Romney believes we need a vision for NASA. Gingrich supports the use of government funds encouraging private sector.

Beth shifts to tax cuts, but Gingrich deflects to anti-regulations with a good answer. Cutting regulation will grow the tax base, and allow for more tax cuts.

10:29

Back to Brian Williams. What has Romney done to further the cause of conservatism? Romney worked in the private sector, created thousands of jobs. Touts some of his record – doesn’t mention the Massachusetts health care plan. Hmmm.

Gingrich talks about his life-long efforts. From organizing for Goldwater. Electing Reagan. GOPAC and Republican takeover.

10:36

Williams asks about Romneycare and Mitt’s relative conservatism. Mitt’s position is to allow the states to craft their own programs.

10:37

Williams asks Newt “what scares you about being president?” We have institutional biases against doing the right thing, and interest groups that would rather preside over their turf than help.

Great. Freaking. Answer.


Conslusion

Brian Williams gives a Go Bulls! WOO HOO!

So I think Romney won the debate. Gingrich won a round or two, but Romney was more consistent. I think Romney’s opening took Gingrich off the game while Newt was just trying to hold serve.

Posted in 2012, Elections, National, Republican Party | Comments Off

USF to host Republican Debate

With the Florida Republican Presidential Preference Primary on January 31st, the candidates are coming to Florida to campaign. The week starts with a debate at my alma mater.

Debate Banner

USF student government is hosting a watch party, and State of Sunshine will swing by to catch some of the action. The tent is already up on MLK Plaza, and the areas around the Marshall Center and the Theater Buildings are fenced off as a security perimeter. I snapped a few pictures while visiting campus today (see below). I will have more tomorrow.

SG Watch Party TentSG Watch Party TentParking SignPerimiter FenceSatellite Trucks

Posted in 2012, Elections, Republican Party, USF | Comments Off

State of Sunshine redesign coming

My loyal readers… you may notice some quirky things happening with State of Sunshine… I’m testing some new WordPress plug-ins as well as exploring some new themes – in my spare time. So, if it looks a bit strange at the moment, I apologize. I hope to have all of this technical work completed in the next 3-4 weeks.

Until then, I thank you for your patience.

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SOPA follow up – Politico

Politico has a great article that outlines SOPA/PIPA.

Will the government be able to censor the web if the bills pass?
That’s the crux of the debate. Google and First Amendment scholars like Harvard’s Lawrence Tribe argue that SOPA would squelch free speech by giving private parties power to effectively cripple sites that allegedly — but not conclusively — steal copyrighted content. The simple filing of a complaint, they say, would exert huge pressure on the Internet ecosystem to blacklist an accused site. They also say it would give the feds dangerous new powers to go after sites for political reasons.

Nonsense, supporters say. The bills, they say, are narrowly crafted to target overseas sites that are “dedicated to theft of U.S. property.” Web companies are resorting to hyperbole and hysteria to maintain the status quo, backers argue.

Tim O’Reilly points out that they are solving the wrong problem:

It is said (though I’ve not found the source) that Einstein once remarked that if given 60 minutes to save the world, he would spend 55 of them defining the problem. And defining the problem means collecting and studying real evidence, not the overblown claims of an industry that has fought the introduction of every new technology that has turned out, in the end, to grow their business rather than threaten it.

P.S. If Congress and the White House really want to fight pirates who are hurting the economy, they should be working to rein in patent trolls. There, the evidence of economic harm is clear, in multi-billion dollar transfers of wealth from companies building real products to those who have learned how to work the patent system while producing no value for consumers.

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State of Sunshine will observe the SOPA Blackout

Okay… so admittedly my going dark tomorrow will not have a grand effect. While I appreciate ALL of my readers, I don’t have enough to render an impact on my own. However, it’s the principle.

Many sites are going dark tomorrow – Reddit, I Can Haz Cheezburger, BoingBoing.net, and the biggest of all: Wikipedia. Google will not be going dark, but is adding it’s own protest link on it’s home page, releasing a statement:

Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and Web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet. So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our U.S. home page.

Here is a video explaining why SOPA/PIPA is a bad thing for us:

Posted in Media, National, State of Sunshine | Comments Off

View the Florida Senate redistricting maps, courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel

The Orlando Sentinel has a great page showing the redistricting maps that will be voted by the Florida Senate this week.

The Sentinel provides a comparison of the maps:An Orlando Sentinel analysis suggests the Republican-drawn maps for Senate seats and congressional districts that the Senate will debate Tuesday would advantage the GOP in future elections. But the authors argue that is unavoidable, given where people live. Even the Democratic-produced maps did not remove much of the advantage the GOP would have.

They also link to maps drawn up by Senate Democrats that were not formally presented because they actually hurt minority democrats. The Sentinel also noted:

The Democratic maps achieve more partisan parity at the expense of black incumbents in at least two seats … [Senator Larcenia] Bullard’s district, which runs north from Key West along western Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, would see its black voters drop from 29 percent to 20 percent in the Democratic map, while Latino voters would remain at 43 percent. The Republican-favored map boosts blacks to 35 percent and lowers Hispanic numbers to 40 percent.

Bullard is term-limited and her son, Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, is expected to run for her seat. Last week, she objected that the Democratic map would diminish black voting strength. Republicans joined in, and by the end of last week, Rich had decided not to bring the maps up for a floor vote Tuesday.

This “coalition” of Senate Republicans and minority Democrats is not new. For those who weren’t part of Florida politics in the early 1990s, an interesting thing happened. In 1992, the Democrats ran both the House and Senate. They controlled the new lines, and should have been able to do what everyone hates Republicans for doing – protecting their turf.

However, a coalition of Republicans and African-American Democrats had enough votes to pass their maps, which created many more “minority access” districts but also created districts much more favorable to Republicans. The result in 1994 was a 20-20 tie in the Senate, and in 1996 Republicans won control of both houses of the Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.

Posted in Florida Legislature, Redistricting, Session | Comments Off

Voting for the Florida Repbulican Primary starts today in Hillsborough County

So, many Republicans hate early voting. It seems that many of them think that fewer voters is a good thing. Hogwash — if Republican ideas are good for America, then we should be able to win elections if everyone over 18 voted.

Therefore, I say, vote early because you certainly can’t vote often.

For the 2012 Presidential Preference Primary, there are some strange changes. You see in 2011, Republicans in the Florida Legislature made changes to make it a little bit harder to vote early. But changes to voting laws in Florida require approval from the Federal government before they go into effect — except, that is not how outgoing Division of Elections Chief Kurt Browning interpreted it. He opined the law applies to the 62 counties that are not part of the U.S. Department of Justice review. So outside of Hillsborough, Hardee, Hendy, Monroe, and Collier counties, the law applies.

All this really means is that voters in those five counties can start voting early today. The rest have to wait.

So, if you live in Hillsborough County, you can vote at any of these locations over the next couple of weeks. I plan to.

Bloomingdale Regional Public Library
1906 Bloomingdale Ave
Valrico, FL 33596
Polls Open: 10am – 6pm

C. Blythe Andrews Jr. Public Library
2607 E Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Tampa, FL 33610
Polls Open: 10am – 6pm

Fred B. Karl County Center
601 E Kennedy Blvd
Tampa, FL 33602
Polls Open: 9am – 5pm

Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library
3910 S Manhattan Ave
Tampa, FL 33611
Polls Open: 10am – 6pm

Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library
2902 West Bearss Avenue
Tampa, FL 33618
Polls Open: 10am – 6pm

New Tampa Regional Library
10001 Cross Creek Blvd
Tampa, FL 33647
Polls Open: 10am – 6pm

North Tampa Branch Library
8916 North Blvd
Tampa, FL 33604
Polls Open: 10am – 6pm

Plant City, City Hall
302 W Reynolds St
Plant City, FL 33563
Polls Open: 9am – 5pm

Riverview Branch Library
10509 Riverview Dr
Riverview, FL 33578
Polls Open: 10am – 6pm

Robert L. Gilder Elections Service Center
2514 N Falkenburg Rd
Tampa, FL 33619
Polls Open: 9am – 5pm

SouthShore Regional Library
15816 Beth Shields Way
Ruskin, FL 33573
Polls Open: 10am – 6pm

Temple Terrace Public Library
202 Bullard Pkw
Temple Terrace, FL 33617
Polls Open: 10am – 6pm

Town ‘N Country Regional Public Library
7606 Paula Drive
Tampa, FL 33615
Polls Open: 10am – 6pm

Upper Tampa Bay Regional Public Library
11211 Countryway Blvd
Tampa, FL 33626
Polls Open: 10am – 6pm

West Tampa Branch Library
2313 W Union St
Tampa, FL 33607
Polls Open: 10am – 6pm

Posted in 2012, Elections, Hillsborough County, Republican Party | Comments Off

President Obama could veto SOPA/PIPA

So, while I tend to focus on Florida politics here… I dabble in some national issues. One of those is our national policy towards freedom of communication.

Last year, the movie, television, music, and other entertainment industries came together and pushed legislation designed to protect their intellectual property — their copywritten material — from being illegally downloaded. This resulted in two bills filed in Congress: The Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect Intellectual Property Act in the Senate.

While these bills are well meaning, they overstep their bounds in significant ways.

How bad are they? Well, just about every Internet giant opposes them:

On November 15, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, eBay, Mozilla, Yahoo, AOL, and LinkedIn wrote a letter to key members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, saying SOPA poses “a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job creation, as well as to our nation’s cybersecurity.” Yahoo has reportedly quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the organization’s enthusiastic support for SOPA. (Source: CNet)

What you are reading now, the words I typed for you, came out of my head. So I own them. If you wanted to reproduce this article, you would have to get my permission. That is how our laws protect people like me the MPAA, the RIAA, and other people who create content.

But the Digital Millenium Copyright Act has provisions to protect me. If I find someone has “stolen” my content, there are steps I can take to get it taken down or sue them to get reimbursed. The same is true for movie studios, television networks, and record companies.

But US law does not extend to sites like Pirate Bay — which is not based in the US and is (currently) housed on a server in Finland. The US court system cannot reach sites like Pirate Bay, so the backers of SOPA and PIPA want to use technology to block you from getting to these sites.

Now, most of you reading this will say: “So? This sounds like a good idea.” But wait… the provisions of SOPA and PIPA are so pervasive, that the site owners are presumed to be guilty until proven innocent. I quoted CNet above, using their content for what is considered “Fair Use” of their copywritten material. But under SOPA and PIPA, CNet could send a letter to Internet service providers and tell them to block access to my site.

The collateral damage would be widespread… and it would end the Internet was we know it.

So today, the White House, issued a release indicating their concerns: While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet..

Let’s all hope the White House is sending this message as a possible veto threat.

Posted in Congress, Media, National | 1 Comment