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Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014
Steve Otto Columns

If SoHo parking not fixed, customers will go elsewhere

Published:

One thing we don’t do down here at Mother Trib is mess around with dinky little displays on our front page. So I know you saw Monday’s paper with the story about a lack of parking in the SoHo section of town.

Of course the story might not have had the significance of, say, World War III. But for anyone who has tried to find a parking space in SoHo on the way to a restaurant or bar you know that unless your daughter is dating a valet in the area you are going to be out of luck.

There’s a nice Italian place on Howard Avenue we like to visit on occasion. But if we don’t go there at least two hours before happy hour I figure it would be quicker to walk the two miles from our house than try to park.

According to the article the city is trying to do something to alleviate the problem but doesn’t appear to have any real solutions.

I drove down Howard this week and noticed the immense new housing project going up at Howard and Swann. I’m not sure how many units we’re talking about but it’s bigger than some subdivisions. And it’s only the latest in a flurry of construction in the neighborhoods surrounding the SoHo entertainment district.

Somebody — and no names here — approved the zoning and scale of these projects with little if any regard to the residents and small businesses already there.

Apparently the building boom is going to continue unabated, I assume, until would-be customers give up and go elsewhere.

By the way, after driving through SoHo I continued on down to the Bayshore to where workers were assembling the chain-link fence closing off the former Bayshore Patriots Park so that construction can begin on a new condo tower.

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A sad sidebar to the shooting this week by the two loonies in Las Vegas was their dropping of a small Gadsden flag on one of the victims.

The flag, a yellow banner with a coiled snake above the words “Don’t Tread on Me,” has become one of the symbols of the tea party movement.

I’ve always liked the flag and its symbolism, and more than once have thought about hanging it in front of the house. It has a distinguished record back in revolutionary America, and to see it used by killers such as the couple in Nevada is discouraging.

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Finally, one of the more interesting campaigns underway is in Pinellas, where backers of the proposed Greenlight Pinellas transit plan are doing their best to convince voters the plan is not going to stick them with more taxes.

The plan essentially would improve vastly the bus system and even begin some sort of light rail system.

Those of us in Hillsborough who have listened to any number of community improvement taxing plans going back to “A Penny for the Good Life” and others know these things usually get shattered, unless you throw in something like the promise of a new stadium.

That’s an intriguing prospect in a town that is on the verge of losing its major league baseball team and where its minor league soccer team is pressing for a new stadium.

Of course this is also a town that last voted for something when it decided to paint over its iconic green benches and where the chances of coming together for a new pier are about as likely as Webb’s City coming back with its dancing chickens.

sotto@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7809

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