Monday, August 27, 2012

Tampa Bay: Highest Homeless Rate in US

Facts About Homelessness and our Homeless Neighbors 2011

Homelessness in Hillsborough County

The Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County's 2011 homeless count in Hillsborough County, conducted on January 27, 2011, found:
  • 17,755* men, women and children are homeless in Hillsborough County on any given night
7,336 are living on the streets, shelters and/or other places not meant for human habitation
10,424 are living doubled up with family and friends because of loss of housing and/or economic hardship 
  •  23 percent are children
  •  65 percent are male; 35 percent are female
  •  44 percent are Caucasian
  •  55 percent are African-American
  •  14 percent are Latino
  •  5 percent are veterans**
  •  65 percent have a source of income
  •  Of the 65 percent with income, the top five income sources reported are:
SSI/SSDI (19%)
Employment (17%)
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (11%)
Unemployment Compensation (8%)
Panhandling (7%)
  •  35 percent have a disability
  •  90 percent were residing in Florida at the time they became homeless
  •  51 percent are experiencing homelessness for the first time
  •  16.5 percent have been homeless at 4 or more times
  • The Hillsborough County Public Schools reported there were 3,109 homeless students enrolled on the day of the 2011 homeless count.
* Florida definitions of homeless, s. 420.621, was changed in July 2009 and includes persons who lack a fixed regular nighttime residence including those living on the streets, in shelters, places not meant for human habitation, living doubled up with family/friends, in motels and campgrounds due to loss of housing and economic hardship.
** The percentage of homeless veterans is believed to be inaccurate as many of the reporting agencies did not provide data on veteran status as well as an unusally low answer rate by individuals surveyed.  This situation is dcoumented by the 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, which states, "there is anecdotal evidence that homeless veterans sometimes do not divulge their veteran status to homeless program staff."

(CBS News)TAMPA BAY, Fla. - As Republicans gather for their national party convention in Tampa, they will be aware of the stormy weather but may not see another issue clouding the city.
The Tampa-St. Petersburg metropolitan area has the highest rate of homelessness in the nation, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness in a report issued earlier this year - 57 homeless for every 10,000 residents.
There are about 16,000 homeless people in the Tampa area, and one in five of them are children. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Florida is now ugly to business - thank Bagger Rick

CNBC survey delivers jolting decline to Florida's attraction to business

Florida's standing as one of the top states for business just suffered a serious bruising, dropping 11 spots from 18th to 29th in a single year, according to an in-depth annual analysis by CNBC.
The dramatic drop is based on an overall state ranking gleaned from 10 separately ranked factors as diverse as education, access to capital and quality of life in the CNBC report calledAmerica's Top Business for States 2012.
The decline raises questions about the Pollyanna forecasts from Florida Gov. Rick Scott who this week insisted the Sunshine State has made a strong turnaround in the right direction.
Apparently CNBC analysts are looking at Florida without the benefit of rose-colored glasses. They smacked Florida with an 11-spot drop among the states driven by several specific category declines in the past year.
• Access to capital. Florida dropped to 24th from 9th.
• Education. Florida fell to 42nd from 35th.
• Infrastructure and transportation. Florida dipped to 11th from 8th last year.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Rick Scott, TB King

The CDC officer had a serious warning for Florida health officials in April: A tuberculosis outbreak in Jacksonville was one of the worst his group had investigated in 20 years. Linked to 13 deaths and 99 illnesses, including six children, it would require concerted action to stop.
That report had been penned on April 5, exactly nine days after Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill that shrank the Department of Health and required the closure of the A.G. Holley State Hospital in Lantana, where tough tuberculosis cases have been treated for more than 60 years.
As health officials in Tallahassee turned their focus to restructuring, Dr. Robert Luo’s 25-page report describing Jacksonville’s outbreak — and the measures needed to contain it – went unseen by key decision makers around the state. At the health agency, an order went out that the TB hospital must be closed six months ahead of schedule.
Had they seen the letter, decision makers would have learned that 3,000 people in the past two years may have had close contact with contagious people at Jacksonville’s homeless shelters, an outpatient mental health clinic and area jails. Yet only 253 people had been found and evaluated for TB infection, meaning Florida’s outbreak was, and is, far from contained.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tallahassee, Anal Crevassee of Nation

Light goes on at the Tampa Tribune.

Study ranks Florida No. 1 in government corruption

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An upcoming study by the new Integrity Florida watchdog group says Florida leads the nation in government corruption.
The study will be the second major production of Integrity Florida, a public interest watchdog group in Tallahassee.
The study, to be released in about a week, will show that Florida had 781 federal corruption convictions from 2000 to 2010, the most of any state, executive director Dan Krassner told the Tampa Tribune editorial board.
In five of the last 12 years, the study shows, Florida led all states in at least one category: It had the most criminal convictions among people in government.
Florida's lead is partly because of its size, Krassner said, but the numbers are still disproportionate.
"We're the fourth-largest state, soon to be the third-largest, and it makes sense that we'd be up there," he said.
But the two largest, California and Texas, each led in only three of the last 12 years, compared with Florida's five.
Zealous prosecution doesn't explain the numbers, either, Krassner said, noting the state Commission on Ethics doesn't have authority to launch its own investigations.
Ethics commission executive director Virlindia Doss said she can't judge whether the figures mean Florida is the nation's most corrupt state.
"I wouldn't be able to interpret the meaning of those numbers any more capably than anybody else who reviewed them," Doss said. "It's like any kind of data — it's hard to know what's causation and what's just correlation."
In other words, it's not clear whether the numbers are a result of ethics problems specific to Florida or simply coincidence.
The study looked at convictions won by the Public Integrity section of the U.S. Department of Justice, a data source that allows for state-by-state comparisons.
The cases included elected and appointed officials and staff, and most involved local government officials, who outnumber state government officials.
The recent conviction of former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White on bribery and corruption charges is an example but isn't included in the study results because it was too recent, Krassner said.
The figures do include the convictions of four Palm Beach County commissioners on corruption charges from 2006 to 2010 — events that earned the county the title of "capital of Florida corruption" from Time magazine.
A University of Illinois study recently ranked Florida fourth in corruption from 1976-2010, but there's apparently been an upward trend, Krassner said.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Arts Capital of My Arse

The next time you hear about how Sarasota is the art capital of Florida, or the south, or the entire world, all of which one hears (but only in Sarasota), consider this:


 Count 'em, 31 sexual predators caught seeking to seduce, solicit, or entice a child to commit sex acts.

Thirty-one -- in just 6 days of one Sheriff operation.

 Here's the Wall of Shame.

 Not that they look like they are capable of much shame. Sarasota wants your business, wants you to move here, wants you to think it's just the best thing since sliced child.

 Of course Sarasota can't have all the glory. It shares some of this lice with other bungholes -- Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, Bradenton, and even California. Long may they fester.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mitt stands alone

The Penile State Penile Operator par excellence

Let's have a loud round of nasty PenileState applause for this corporate Penile Operator:

GEO Group of Boca Raton, Fla., the nation's second-largest for-profit prison corporation, ... posted a profit of $284 million last year. The Mississippi Department of Corrections pays GEO to manage this prison:

Jonathan Smith is chief of special litigation in the civil rights section at the Justice Department, which spent two years looking into conditions at Walnut Grove.
"To have a prison that's chaotic, poorly run, dangerous, didn't provide services, highly sexualized and highly violent really limits the ability of the state to turn those folks around, and to ensure public safety upon their release from prison," Smith said.
Among the conditions described in the report released last month:
  • Prison staff had sex with incarcerated youth, which investigators called "among the worst that we've seen in any facility anywhere in the nation."
  • Poorly trained guards brutally beat youth and used excessive pepper spray as a first response.
  • The prison showed "deliberate indifference" to prisoners possessing homemade knives, which were used in gang fights and inmate rapes.
  • Some guards had gang affiliations — a finding confirmed to NPR last year by former inmate Justin Bowling.
"A lot of times, the guards are in the same gang," Bowling said. "If an inmate wanted something done, they got it. If they wanted a cell popped open to handle some business about some fighting or something like that, it just pretty much happened."

Friday, March 23, 2012

A small kingdom for big-spending suckers

A Secret Disneyesque royal 1% in Disney in Anaheim

You almost certainly have not been inside Club 33.

Located behind a pedestrian-looking door in the theme park’s New Orleans Square, just next to the Blue Bayou Restaurant, is this incredibly exclusive, closed-to-the-public part of the Disneyland experience.  Entrance is restricted to members who, in a process reminiscent of a Prohibition-era speakeasy, announce themselves via an intercom hidden under a panel on the doorway.  A receptionist checks to make sure that the guest is indeed a member and, if so, admits the person to the club.

Once inside, members are met with an ornate elevator wrapped by a similarly ornate staircase, as seen here.  The elevator is a replica of one Walt Disney himself wished to buy from a Parisian hotel, but the owner would not sell.  The ladies’ restroom resembles a throne (or at least it did in 1998.) Upstairs are two restaurants, which by reputation are two of the best in the area.  And these restaurants — with their extensive wine lists — are also the only places in Disneyland where a guest can purchase alcohol.

Membership comes with benefits beyond club access.  Members are given free access to Disneyland, of course, and are often allowed entry before the park regularly opens.  They are entitled to up to six special Fastpasses – special, because they can be used to skip the Fastpass line itself — and are given access to other parts of the park which are typically reserved for special occasions and/or first-comers.

Want to become a member?  Sorry, you can’t.  Membership is limited to 487 people at a time, and the waiting list — which is so long, the estimated wait time (by most every account) is 14 years.  In fact, the waiting list has become so long that, rumor has it, Disney has stopped accepting applications.   (If you really want to try anyway, this unofficial information site suggests that you send a letter requesting membership information to Disneyland, Attn: Club 33, 1313 South Harbor Boulevard, Anaheim, California 92803.)  And even if you are offered a spot, be prepared to take out a hefty loan, as memberships start at just over $3,000 a year with a $10,450 initiation fee.  Found here.

Darkness visible

When it comes to lobbying, Florida’s Sunshine law is dark

State Integrity news for Florida from SII partner WLRN | Miami Herald News:
Florida has some of the nation’s most expansive open records policies, but its Sunshine Law does not adequately regulate the sometimes shadowy role of lobbyists, according to a national report released Monday.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sarasota City of Koch Stooges: Exhibit A:

  • It's Great. I Agree With Everything This Sign Says.
     4466 (68%)
  • I Don't Agree With The Message, But It Should Stay. It Supports Free Speech.
     331 (5%)
  • The Sign Should Be Considered An Election Sign and be Removed
     1343 (20%)
  • I Hate The Sign. I Don't Agree With Anything This Sign Says.
     367 (5%)

"We are all Mike Fox" says Specifically Massive Sarasota Stooge Rich Swier 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sarasota's Flying Wingnuts

Thousands here are dealing with dementia {gnuwspaper}

Sarasota prides itself on its pretensions of being a hip, artsy, well-heeled, chic town -- totally unlike the Yahoos in the middle of the state, more laid back and stylish than the ancient rich dweebs of Naples or the crochety dorks of Tampa. A smaller, svelte place in the sun. SRQ Cheese Fests indeed.

Best place to retire.

Best beach.

Great opera, ballet, theaters, music scene, clubs.

Only when you see "cosmopolitan" Sarasotans in action, as in these comment streams, you discover they can't spell. Or think. Or put three lucid words together. You discover it's a mega-wingnut town that makes Alabama birthers look like Madison Wisconsin 60's radicals. Home of Jerry Springer. And Dick Vitale. Catering to grammar-free hard-ons full of money, shoes, and nothing going on.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pecksniff, anyone? Florida S&M in the Schools

Florida is one of 19 states, mostly in the South and Mountain West, that still allow public schools to paddle, according to the Center for Effective Discipline. Most Florida school districts have opted out of using corporal punishment, but almost every county in the state's rural North has policies that allow schools to paddle students.

Do they allow cornholing too?