A look at governmental action from around the Gulf Coast
Small business summit
TALLAHASSEE — More than 20 small business owners get to represent two million Florida businesses at a small business summit from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5 at the Capitol in Tallahassee. The summit is planned “in hopes of establishing ideas that can foster and promote free competitive enterprise for Florida's small business owners,” according to a press release from the governor's office.
Gov. Charlie Crist invited the small business owners to discuss their issues just as state unemployment number passed one million in September, bringing the state unemployment rate to 11.0%. A report to a legislative committee earlier this month projected that the state unemployment rate would not reach that level until next spring.
Don't bet on gambling compact
TALLAHASSEE — Immokalee could lose banked-card games such as blackjack at its Seminole Indian casino should a federal agency follow the request of Florida House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala.
The speaker's letter to the National Indian Gaming Commission argues that because the compact signed by Gov. Charlie Crist without the Legislature's approval was ultimately ruled invalid by the Florida Supreme Court, the Seminole Tribe must cease operating the games.
Tribe representatives argue that because the agreement was filed in the federal register that it is legal as a matter of law.
Crist wants a special session in December to address SunRail, the central Florida commuter rail line, and the new gaming compact, but legislators' opposition to the latest proposed gambling agreement makes holding a special session uncertain. Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, is seeking the Speaker's support for a special session to address SunRail.
Klement starts PSC post early
TALLAHASSEE —David Klement of Bradenton has been appointed to the Public Service Commission by Gov. Charlie Crist to succeed Katrina McMurrian, who resigned earlier this month. Klement will complete the remainder of McMurrian's term ending Jan. 1, 2010. Earlier this month, Gov. Crist appointed him to a four-year term beginning Jan. 2, 2010, and ending Jan. 1, 2014. The appointment was subsequently confirmed by the Florida Senate.
Klement, 69, has directed the Institute for Public Policy and Leadership at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee since October 2007. He previously worked for the Bradenton Herald as editorial page editor, business editor and city editor from 1975 to 2007. The Public Service Commission is responsible for regulating the rates, services and safety of privately owned public utilities.
Mayor, council and charter vote
ST. PETERSBURG — City voters go to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 3, to elect a mayor and five council candidates. Kathleen Ford faces Bill Foster to replace Mayor Rick Baker who was elected in 2001. His term ends Jan. 2, 2010.
There are two candidates in each of the five council seat races. There are also two city charter amendments on the ballot. Amendment 1 establishes a consistent procedure for filling council vacancies. Amendment 2 would allow election and qualifying dates to be changed by ordinance rather than by referendum in certain instances.
Council seats contested
BRADENTON — Three incumbents face challengers in Wards 2, 3 and 4 in the Nov. 3 non-partisan election. Ward 2 Councilwoman Marianne Barnebey faces Lori Melton, Councilman Patrick Roff is up against Richard O'Brien in Ward 3, and Joe Henry takes on Councilman Bemis Smith in the Ward 4 race.
Mayor, three seats election
CAPE CORAL — The general election for city council seats in Districts 1, 4, 6 and the Mayor's seat will be Tuesday, Nov. 3. Mayor Jim Burch faces John Sullivan in the mayor's race. In District 1, Jim Martin faces Marty McClain in a runoff. Chris Chulakes-Leetz takes on incumbent Dolores Bertolini for the District 4 seat, and John Cataldi, Jr. is in a runoff against Kevin McGrail in District 6.
Four up for two council seats
FORT MYERS — Four candidates vie for two seats on the city council in the Nov. 3 election. Incumbent Levon Simms faces Nyesha Wilson for the Ward 3 seat and Forrest Banks takes on Lydia Lowell-Sherman for the open Ward 5 seat.
No public on Fridays
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY — Effective Oct. 23, the Hillsborough County Planning Commission offices will be closed to the public on Fridays due to budget reductions.
The Metropolitan Planning Organization meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3 in the county commission chambers, County Center, 2nd floor, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.
The Planning Commission meets at 2 p.m. Nov. 9. on proposed amendments to the capital improvements element for Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City and Hillsborough County.
The Tourist Development Council d/b/a Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4 in the 5th floor assembly room, Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court St., Clearwater. For more information call (727) 464-6633.
The Beaches and Shores Advisory Committee meets at 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 5 at 18500 Murdock Circle, administration center, building B, room #106B. For more information call Jane Starr at (941) 743-1238.
The county commission will hear departments' strategic plan presentations at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, and Wednesday, Nov. 4, in the commission chambers, 2120 Main St., Fort Myers.
The Port Authority meets at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 9 at 15924 Perimeter Road, Fort Myers.
The county commission meets at 9 am. Tuesday Nov. 3 to review the annual update and inventory report (AUIR) on public facilities Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 9 a.m. in the BCC Chambers, Third Floor, Building F, 3301 E. Tamiami Trail, Naples. For more information, call (239) 252-6819.