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Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Steve Otto Columns

Otto: Stress survey shows Tampa could use a break

You and I know these “Best” and “Worst”surveys are hokey. Whenever some survey claims to be the top 10 this or the best of that, the first thing you ought to do is find out who did the survey and decide if they are likely to have a clue about the subject.

A new survey claims Tampa is the most stressful city in America. This is from a so-called research firm that measures “livability rankings.” I went back to last year and noticed that we came in at No. 27 in the same survey.

What that means is either we had a very bad year or the survey needs a little more refining.


What is a little strange is that four Florida cities made the top 10 list, including Miami (3), Jacksonville (4), Orlando (6) and West Palm Beach (10).

Right off the bat you wonder about any survey that would claim four Florida towns, including West Palm Beach, are more stressful places to live than say, Detroit, New York City or Los Angeles.

The firm, Sperling’s BestPlaces, says the factors include the unemployment rate, suicide rate, commute time, mental health, poor rest, alcohol use, violent crime rate, property crime rate and cloudy days monthly.

So what was it between last year and this that caused us to move up 26 slots? What factors went into putting four Florida cities in the top 10 in a country that is already so uptight its government can’t even cough up a budget?

We’re not the only ones with crime, mental health problems and cloudy days. About the only real difference I can see is Rick Scott, but then other states have some lulus as governors, as well.


Tampa has had its share of stress. I believe they did the survey back around the time of the Republican National Convention. If you had to go anywhere near downtown, your stress level had to be up there with the temperature.

But things have settled down, and most of us are feeling pretty good. Of course, there was that opening game between the University of South Florida and mighty McNeese State.

Things are already a little uptight out on the USF campus, where they can’t even afford to keep the lights on.

The stress level for Buccaneers fans is apparently going up, and if they don’t beat the Jets this afternoon, the Buckos may ask to have all of their games blacked out so no one will watch.

Other than that, as long as you don’t have to be on any of our roads coming into town in the morning or going back in the afternoon; or you don’t have to keep up with your rising insurance rates, especially flood insurance, which somehow comes due at the peak of hurricane season; or if you drop your kids off at school and wonder if you need to believe all those things you’ve heard about public education in Florida; or if you come home one afternoon and there is a swimming pool-size hole in your backyard and you don’t have a pool; or if you turn on the weather on TV to check out that hurricane you heard about and there seems to be about a dozen spaghetti lines pointing toward Tampa Bay ... well then that stress thing sounds about right.

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