Final voting today in the Tampa City Elections. Voters go to the polls to select a mayor and four City Council seats. Turnout expected to be 20% or so which means anything goes in these races.
Things looking better in both Japan and in Libya. Japan has two of the six nuclear plants under control and working towards the others. Libya shot down a US fighter plane last night but the US and allies appear to have control of the skies. Likely eyes now turning to next Arab state to fall in Yemen.
St. Petersburg Times: In Tampa, voters' turn to speak
"Today's Tampa city election is not just the final test for the candidates for mayor and City Council. It also tests the commitment of voters to participate in democracy at the grassroots level and help determine the direction of the city. A low voter turnout can produce election-night winners who have committed but narrow support and do not reflect the sensibilities of the broader community. Just 22 percent of voters cast ballots in the Tampa primary, down from the primary turnout eight years ago when Mayor Pam Iorio was on her way to winning her first term. And history suggests the runoff election tends to draw even fewer voters than a primary crowded with more candidates. Today is an opportunity for Tampa voters to reverse that trend, and the choices they make — including whether they go to the polls or not — will have a significant impact on how the city evolves in challenging economic times."
Times Endorsements: City Races
Trib Endorsements: City Races
New York Times: U.S.-Led Assault Nears Goal in Libya
"WASHINGTON — An American-led military campaign to destroy Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s air defenses and establish a no-fly zone over Libya has nearly accomplished its initial objectives, and the United States is moving swiftly to hand command to allies in Europe, American officials said Monday. But the firepower of more than 130 Tomahawk cruise missiles and attacks by allied warplanes have not yet succeeded in accomplishing the more ambitious demands by the United States — repeated by President Obama in a letter to Congress on Monday — that Colonel Qaddafi withdraw his forces from embattled cities and cease all attacks against civilians. Libyan government forces continued to engage in scattered fighting on Monday, defying the United Nations resolutions authorizing the allied strikes. The resolution demands an immediate cease-fire by Colonel Qaddafi’s forces and an end to attacks on civilians."
Christian Science Monitor: Polar bear Knut died suddenly over the weekend
"Knut, the four-year-old polar bear, died Saturday afternoon in front of visitors, turning around several times and then dropping to the ground, and falling into the water in his enclosure.Veterinary experts performed a necropsy Monday on Berlin zoo's celebrity polar bear Knut to try to determine why he died suddenly over the weekend.he four-year-old polar bear died Saturday afternoon in front of visitors, turning around several times and then dropping to the ground, and falling into the water in his enclosure. Polar bears usually live 15 to 20 years in the wild, and even longer in captivity, and the zoo is hoping the investigation may help clarify what happened.Results were expected later Monday or on Tuesday, the zoo said. In the meantime, people continued to flock to the zoo to sign their name in a condolence book in tribute to Knut. "Every visit to the Zoo brought happiness, because he was such a warmhearted animal and he brought us all so much fun," visitor Eveline Plat told AP Television News."
Washington Post: Supreme Court says no to campaign finance review, yes to death row inmate appeal
"The Supreme Court on Monday turned down the Republican National Committee’s latest attempt to knock out long-standing campaign finance restrictions.Without comment, the justices rejected a challenge from the RNC and former Louisiana congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao that sought to end federal restrictions on how much a political party can spend in direct coordination with a candidate. Cao lost a reelection bid in 2010. The RNC said the restrictions violate the party’s First Amendment rights, a claim that was turned aside by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. It was one of two challenges the GOP filed after the 2008 elections. The court did not accept either of them. In June, the justices let stand a lower court’s decision that upheld the constitutionality of the “soft-money ban” in the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act. That law bars national political parties from accepting or spending unregulated campaign cash."
St. Petersburg Times: Norman saga brought intense glare to charity
"From its Virginia headquarters all the way down to Tampa, Salvation Army officials were following the story of Jim Norman. The longtime Hillsborough County commissioner was making embarrassing headlines with the news that his wife's vacation home in Arkansas had been bankrolled by a wealthy political activist. The FBI was investigating. A rival was suing to get him off the ballot for higher office. But even as that story unfolded, Norman's other job had people seeing red. The Salvation Army, with its image as a bell-ringing charity for the needy, was paying the commissioner $95,000 a year and providing him with a free car."
Christian Science Monitor: Japan nuclear crisis: Suddenly, light at the end of the tunnel?
"The power to operate cooling pumps, a challenge at the heart of the Japan nuclear crisis, is on the verge of being restored, and a detailed assessment by a US expert is notably upbeat. Ten days after an earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan’s Fukushima I nuclear plant it appears heroic workers may be close to regaining a measure of control over the damaged complex. True, a plume of what appeared to be white smoke rose from two reactor units on Monday, causing workers to evacuate the area and sending a shiver of concern around the world. But the smoke apparently was not accompanied by any rise in temperature or radiation readings, according to US officials. If subsequent measurements confirm this assessment, that is good news."
Tampa Tribune: 1 million-plus gallons of sewage leaks into Hillsborough River
"People are still being warned not to swim, wade or fish in much of the upper Hillsborough River after a pair of sewer line breaks last week vented at least 1 million gallons of sewage into the waterway. The city of Tampa is taking samples from the river to see when pollution levels drop to a safe level; in the meantime, warning signs remain at Trout Creek Park boat ramps alerting people of the potential health risk. The main leak started on Tuesday when crews working to widen Bruce B. Downs Boulevard appear to have nicked an 18-inch sewer line with a boring drill near the intersection of Interstate 75 and Bruce B. Downs. The second, smaller leak happened near Trout Creek the next day when a problem occurred in a 24-inch pipe as workers were trying to divert flow from the first broken line. The lines take sewage from New Tampa to the city's treatment plant at Hookers Point. The leaks were fixed by early Thursday afternoon, said Ralph Metcalf, director of the city's sewer department."
New York Times: Egyptian Voters Approve Constitutional Changes
"CAIRO — Egyptian voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum on constitutional changes on Sunday that will usher in rapid elections, with the results underscoring the strength of established political organizations, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, and the weakness of emerging liberal groups. More than 14.1 million voters, or 77.2 percent, approved the constitutional amendments; 4 million, or 22.8 percent, voted against them. The turnout of 41 percent among the 45 million eligible voters broke all records for recent elections, according to the Egyptian government.“This is the first real referendum in Egypt’s history,” said Mohamed Ahmed Attia, the chairman of the supreme judicial committee that supervised the elections, in announcing the results. “We had an unprecedented turnout because after Jan. 25 people started to feel that their vote would matter.”
St. Petersburg Times: Buckhorn for mayor of Tampa
St. Petersburg Times: Times recommends for Tampa City Council
In addition to electing a new mayor, Tampa voters will elect four City Council members on March 22. Though Tampa's strong-mayor form of government leaves most power to the chief executive, council members play a critical role in bringing the issues of the neighborhoods to the mayor's attention.
- Mike Suarez for District 1, citywide
- Yvonne Yolie Capin for District 3, citywide
- Harry Cohen for District 4, South Tampa
- Lisa Montelione for District 7, North Tampa
Tampa Tribune: Our choices in Tampa elections
"Mayor: Bob Buckhorn - Hard-working and thoughtful former city councilman has an impressive plan of action to boost the economy and improve neighborhoods.
District 1: Mike Suarez - Insurance agent is passionate about efficient government, business growth and community improvement.
District 3: Yvonne Yolie Capin - Since being appointed to council last year, she has proved herself diligent, knowledgeable and responsive to constituents.
District 4: Harry Cohen - Lawyer who has been chief deputy clerk of the circuit court in Hillsborough County is energetic and well prepared to serve.
District 7: Lisa Montelione - Broad experience in private sector and local government will make this small-business owner an effective council member.