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Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Steve Otto Columns

Otto: Elections, rumored stadium plan give us something to gnaw on

About the only real news around our house today is whether dinner is going to be turkey soup or hot turkey sandwiches.

The Frau is determined to clean out the fridge before coming up with a menu “sans bird.”

There is still some rice and potatoes. Being a Yankee, she always had mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving, but since my very southern mom moved in a few months ago she felt like we ought to have rice as well. I figure you can put gravy on either one and that it all worked out just fine.

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Since it is now the first day of December and you wouldn't expect much to be going on outside of the shopping malls until the new year — unless of course the Chinese start a war in the East China Sea or the Bucs continue their miraculous late run today ­— I thought I might toss in a few leftovers as well.

It's beginning to look obvious that the two national parties have learned nothing from the debacle that passed for government last year. Heading into 2014, the political season promises to be as mean and dismal as ever.

You may have read about the machinations of Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner trying to get the state's supervisors of elections to stop letting voters drop off absentee ballots at “remote sites” such as libraries or other public buildings.

I thought Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer summed it up when he said, “I was flabbergasted. It's a perfect example of a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.”

You would not like to buy into what I also read is a suggestion that behind some of this is an effort to influence the spring election in District 13 in Pinellas County, where more than 105,000 voters cast absentee ballots in 2012.

It ought to be bad enough that vast sums of money continue to be the deciding influence in how Floridians cast their ballots in statewide elections, where about all voters know is what they see in TV advertising.

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Closer to home, even if you have no children in the Hillsborough County School District, you might want to start paying attention early to what is going on.

This is a district that shows up in national headlines as one of the models in the Gates Foundation's grant programs. It is loaded with all of today's issues, including the new “Common Core” curriculum that some people, such as myself, believe to be one more step in the dumbing down of America.

It is also going to have three new board members in an election that will deeply influence the direction of what I think is an already mediocre board.

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Finally, just as there must be pie left to sneak in the fridge, there is this tidbit of a rumor I have heard, that a comprehensive proposal for a new baseball arena in downtown Tampa is going to be made early next year.

Although that would not exactly be a surprise, it seems to have some substance. Just something to gnaw on, like maybe that last turkey leg.

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