Schorsch, Crist and the Tampa Bay Times

As part of Smith’s posting, he included a list of all of the “insiders” who participated in the poll – who may participate by invitation only – from Smith. On the list this week were the usual assortment of regulars, but one name on the list struck me as odd and inappropriate for being a participant. That name: Charlie Crist.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Bay Times seems to be in a funk. Of late, the newspaper has shown poor judgment and a lack of journalistic standards. On two recent occasions the paper has shown why readers may be abandoning it – it lacks credibility. Meanwhile, cross-bay rival the Tampa Tribune’s (which I contribute a column to, but am not employed by) circulation numbers have increased – one of just two Florida dailies to post increased circulation  numbers last year.

In addition to perpetually having a thing for publishing exhaustingly long, one-sided, front-page stories about the Church of Scientology, the paper is starting to show low standards of journalism and good judgment. Unfortunately for readers, they may not even recognize it.

Here are two examples:

Proving the Times‘ bias against Rick Scott

On Friday, the Times’ online “Buzz” section posted a story by the paper’s political editor, Adam Smith about how Florida “political insiders” view a variety of state and local political matters. The insiders survey is something Smith does on occasion, and which I have regularly participated in. Friday’s “Buzz” post was about what insiders think about the governor’s race and likely match-up between Governor Rick Scott, and former Governor Charlie Crist (among other subjects). No harm there, but the devil is in the details. 

As part of Smith’s posting, he includes a list of all of the “insiders” who participated in the poll (participants must be invited to do so by Smith). On the list this week were the usual assortment of regulars, but one name on the list struck me as odd and inappropriate for being a participant. That name: Charlie Crist.

cristcharlie 057
Caption: The Tampa Bay Times certainly loves Charlie.

Yes, the Tampa Bay Times conducted a survey about Florida politics and included one of the candidates being surveyed about for his opinion about his own race! That’s like asking the CEO of McDonalds, “Who makes the best hamburger?” What do you think he is going to say?

To make matters worse, when I inquired with Smith about Continue reading “Schorsch, Crist and the Tampa Bay Times”

Grant’s grant troubles grant him the spotlight

Tampa’s WTSP 10 reporter Mike Deeson has took a thorough look at a state grant Grant received for $2.6 million to create jobs in Hardee County (his local constituents should be asking him “If you wanted to create jobs, why in Hardee County and not in your district’s counties?”). You be the judge as to whether or not what Grant did passes the smell test. My gut is, Grant and his cohorts knew this wasn’t a rabbit, it was a skunk.

Young State Representative Grant embroiled in another “grant” controversy (pardon the shameless puns)

By Chris Ingram

Youthful, and woefully inexperienced should have been enough to cause voters to pause when young Jamie Grant felt he was the best man for the job of state representative from Tampa. But voters are easily fooled — at least once.

However, the fact that before he even was elected he had questionable judgment and what looked like sweat-heart deals should have given them a clue that this skunk stinks. Unfortunately they didn’t, and Grant is now in the state legislature in Tallahassee — that bastion of ethics and good judgment of people who represent us.

For a little background on Grant, read what I wrote about him on October 13, 2010: Continue reading “Grant’s grant troubles grant him the spotlight”

Dumb, dumber and dumbest

You run, and you win, but your pesky primary opponent files a lawsuit and airs a whole bunch of dirty laundry about you. Court cases, criminal investigations involving the IRS and dead people, and media condemnation ensue, but ultimately you’re cleared of any wrongdoing because there isn’t a statute that says a politician can’t be an unethical dirt bag.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published February 20, 2012

Imagine you’re a member of the political class. You’ve spent your life being a back-slapping, status-quo-supporting, go-along-to-get-along career politician who tries not to offend anyone. For a while, things were great. You made almost 200 grand a year between your day “job” as an elected official while moonlighting as government adviser or lobbyist or such for a bell-ringing charity.

Then you get term-limited out of the cushy elected position and have to run for something else. The state Senate looks good despite the fact that it’s about a $60,000 pay cut. But you don’t worry; there are plenty of lobbyists and special interests in Tallahassee who will help ease the financial blow.

You run, and you win, but your pesky primary opponent files a lawsuit and airs a whole bunch of dirty laundry about you. Court cases, criminal investigations involving the IRS and dead people, and media condemnation ensue, but ultimately you’re cleared of any wrongdoing because there isn’t a statute that says a politician can’t be an unethical dirt bag.

Two years later it’s re-election time, and a fellow Republican has the gall to Continue reading “Dumb, dumber and dumbest”

Shameless losers

Gingrich would like voters to forget he’s a philandering hypocrite, a “histobbyist” and the ultimate Washington insider, with the ethics violations, record fines and enemies to prove it.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published February 8, 2012

Just like his pal former speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich, ex-congressman and former Florida attorney general Bill McCollum wants voters to forget a few things.

Gingrich would like voters to forget he’s a philandering hypocrite, a “histobbyist” and the ultimate Washington insider, with the ethics violations, record fines and enemies to prove it.

For his part, McCollum would like voters to forget about the fiasco that was his service as a Clinton impeachment manager. As one of the managers, McCollum proved his mastery of the law couldn’t get a grand jury of 12 Orthodox Jews to indict a ham sandwich.

McCollum would also like voters to forget that Continue reading “Shameless losers”

A better approach to chairmanship mess

A well-trained monkey could probably do the job, but that didn’t keep some commissioners and their puppeteers from jockeying for the position. It apparently got nasty and personal, with commissioners cutting deals behind closed doors — a clear violation of Florida’s sunshine laws.

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published November 26, 2011

If all seven members of the Hillsborough County Commission were drowning and you could only save one, would you go to lunch or read the paper?

Last week the world’s greatest deliberative body within six blocks of the Hillsborough River demonstrated why good intentions don’t mean better government.

Before it got all well-meaning, the commission went about its business of organizing its “leaders” for the coming year. Mostly this means electing who amongst them will serve as chairman. The chairman signs legal documents, represents the county at official events and manages commission meetings. For his efforts, the commission chair earns an extra 10 grand in pay.

A well-trained monkey could probably do the job, but that didn’t keep some commissioners and their puppeteers from jockeying for the position. It apparently got nasty and Continue reading “A better approach to chairmanship mess”

Renee Lee, Kevin White, Victor Crist: no “there,” there.

Here we are, one of the largest counties in the state with a $2.5+ BILLION dollar budget and we can’t muster up enough support to fire people who have demonstrated a lack of ethics, who appear to have flat-out lied, and have certainly

By Chris Ingram

I’m not passing judgement on the Hillsborough County Commission, but I’ve got to tell you, if the bozos on this commission don’t step up to the plate and demand the resignation of county attorney Renee Lee (or fire her), they need to head to Tampa General and ask for a spine and brain implant. Mark Sharpe excluded of course…

I mean seriously folks, how ugly and costly does it have to get before the commissioners recognize it’s bad, gotten worse, and ain’t getting any better? Over the last year, Renee Lee, Pat Bean and Kevin White have made Hillsborough County the laughing stock of Florida with their antics.

The tail is definetly wagging the dog.

Here we are, one of the largest counties in the state with a $2.5+ BILLION dollar budget and we can’t muster up enough support to fire people who have demonstrated a lack of ethics, who appear to have flat-out lied, and have certainly Continue reading “Renee Lee, Kevin White, Victor Crist: no “there,” there.”

Breaking news: Rivera under investigation — who is next?

The Miami Herald reports today that Congressman-elect David Rivera (R – Miami) is being investigated over $500,000 in questionable payments from a Dade County dog track to his mother.

What might gambling, mommas, and questionable ethics have in common? David Rivera and one senator-elect

By Chris Ingram

The Miami Herald reports today that Congressman-elect David Rivera (R – Miami) is being investigated over $500,000 in questionable payments from a Dade County dog track to his mother.

Rivera, who has questionable ethics, lacks integrity, and is an overall dirtbag who has proven himself a boldfaced liar in the past, of course denies any wrongdoing.

Yeah, sure. I imagine the dog track figured hiring some 70 year old lady who probably speaks ten words of English to be the track’s lobbyist was because she’s the best gal in the state for the job. And the fact that her little junior was a senior member of the Florida legislature and best pals with the Speaker of the House had nothing to do with it. That’s how Rivera’s story-line goes –more or less.

Caption: Rivera (right) with his former roommate and business partner.

According to the Herald report, the track’s attorney says Rivera approached the the track about the job and insisted the contract go through Rivera’s dear old mom’s company — not directly through him. Hmmm. I wonder why…

More than likely there is one certain U.S. Senator-elect who along with Rivera, is sweating this story out today. You know, the guy from Continue reading “Breaking news: Rivera under investigation — who is next?”