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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014
Steve Otto Columns

Otto: Sunday’s real game was over before kickoff

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The winner on Sunday was decided before they even played the game.

The real game — the one everyone is talking about today — is the battle for the best Super Bowl commercial.

It was a pretty good year as these things go, but the Budweiser “Puppy Farm” was a guaranteed smash. By Sunday, millions of viewers had already seen previews of the beer commercial with the puppies and the horses, and not a single beer can anywhere.

If you could watch this one without feeling a few tugs when the Clydesdales save the puppy, then you’re not a man, my son.

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One of the reasons these Super Bowl commercials succeed, other than the millions they cost to produce and show, is that you may not see them that often after the game.

Don’t you wish you could say the same now that the political season is settling in on the tube?

Around here we get the added bonus of a special election for the District 13 congressional seat held for so long by the late C.W. Bill Young in Pinellas County. That means we are getting a heavier and heavier diet of polybabble that will continue on up to the election in March. How lucky can you get?

To make matters worse, the election has not only drawn national attention, it is apparently bringing in outside dollars.

I saw one story the other day that said so far more than $4 million has been funneled in from outside the district.

Must be something in the air. In recent years what is called the I-4 corridor has also drawn national attention, mostly because it is seen as a demographic capsule of the rest of the country.

I don’t see it myself unless you count Goofy as representing the average citizen. On second thought, maybe there is something to it.

Don’t you wish we could have more puppies and horses in political commercials and less attack ads that look like promos for “The Walking Dead?”

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It was sad news hearing that Mary Mulhern is dropping out of the Hillsborough County Commission District 7 race for physical reasons. The Tampa city councilwoman is one of those who can drive fellow council members nuts with what sometimes seem like pointless questions.

But she has also been a thorough and independent voice. The commission could use some independent thinking these days, particularly as development picks up steam and we need representatives willing to take a stand for all of us.

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More bad news has come in local law enforcement with the recent problems at the top in Plant City and Lakeland. It is a reminder of how fortunate we have been with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the Tampa Police Department.

If you go back in history, it has not always been so. But Sheriff David Gee and Tampa Chief Jane Castor have built solid departments that have been immediately corrected when problems occur.

Finally, as long as we’re tossing out a kudo or two, you have to be impressed with the mayor’s plans for the west bank of the Hillsborough River. Buckhorn’s vision is more complex than just tearing down and building more of the same. It’s a vision that will take years to bring about, but it is a vision worth pursuing.

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