Police Chief search
The Tampa Bay Times reported Tampa Mayor Jane Castor has decided to forgo a national search for a police chief and tap interim Chief Lee Bercaw for the job. Castor told the times yesterday, “Bercaw’s performance as interim chief and feedback from community leaders, residents and department personnel has made it “crystal clear” that the 27 year veteran of the department is the right person for the job.” Castor’s change of plans is reminiscent of her predecessor Bob Buckhorn’s decision in 2017 to call off a search that the Police Executive Research Forum to appoint then-interim Chief Brian Dugan to the job. Bercaw, who lives in Pasco County, will have to address a residency issue. The city charter requires department heads such as the police chief to live in the city.
LGBTQ Pride celebration in Pinellas County
Several cities across the area marked the beginning of LGBTQ Pride Month yesterday by raising the rainbow flag. WMNF’s Seán Kinane reports from one celebration last night in Pinellas County beachfront city of Gulfport.
“Doodle for Google” art contest
A St Petersburg fourth grader’s artwork was selected to represent Florida in the “Doodle for Google” Art Contest. WMNF’s Chris Young reports that the art was inspired by her passions and struggles.
Protesting against Florida’s new immigration law
Hundreds of protesters rallied in Tampa, Bradenton, and other Florida cities today in opposition to Florida’s new immigration law. Many fear the law will make criminals out of Tampa residents as they strive to provide for their families while on their path to citizenship.
Democratic State Representative Susan Valdes is a first generation US citizen born to Cuban immigrants, and she grew up in the Bronx before resettling in Florida. She said that other states with similar laws are opting to not enforce it.
Under the new law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, hospitals are required to ask patients about immigration status, and businesses with 25 or more employees must use the federal E-Verify system. In addition, the state has $12 million available to fund the transport of migrants lacking legal status to other states.
Tropical Depression Two
Tropical Depression Two developed in the Gulf of Mexico late yesterday afternoon, the first day of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. This morning, the system remains in the Gulf and has winds up to 35 miles per hour. Meteorologist Megan Borowski from the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network says that an uptick in thunderstorms caused by the system could lead to local flooding over parts of our area.
Megan says that a few of these thunderstorms could become strong enough to produce damaging winds or quick tornado spin ups. She encourages us to take appropriate action if warnings are issued for our area. In the event of a Flash Flood Warning, we should seek higher ground. If a Tornado Warning is issued, we should head to the inner most room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building.