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Local Government This Week in Politics


Now through the November election, columnist Dennis Maley will rundown the week's big local, state and national political stories in this new, exclusive TBT feature. This week – the debates are finally over: now what? Riverwalk debuts before election, bus depot to debut after ... coincidence? Plus, developers have made their choice known for the school board race.

The president apparently got a shot of B-12 for the second debate and doubled up for the third. A livelier Barack Obama traded sharp barbs with Mitt Romney in two of the most confrontational debates ever, and I get the feeling that we're pretty much back where we started – too close to call – which is also what the polls would seem to indicate.

A few pet peeves from the debates. The president cannot keep saying he's going to take the money we “save” by winding down wars in the Middle-East and spend it rebuilding infrastructure, right after he's pointed out that they were waged “on the credit card.” There's no money saved when you consider that the deficit is as large as the entire defense budget.

Conversely, Mitt Romney cannot keep shouting, Listen to me, government DOES NOT CREATE JOBS, then follow it with, “I know how to create jobs. I have a plan to create 12 million jobs when I'm elected President." You just can't shake an Etch A Sketch that quickly. It says so on the box.



Whether or not the $6 million plus development of the Sandpile, Bradenton's last piece of undeveloped riverfront, will pay off remains to be seen. However, the well-timed grand unveiling just weeks before the elections, was a success.

I did, however, get a kick out of the announcement advertising a November 9 ribbon cutting for the city's new multi-million dollar downtown bus station. I get the feeling no one wanted to take public credit for the loudly painted, oddly designed, architecturally out of place addition until after voters pulled the levers – both of which, I must admit, were politically shrewd decisions.

Much is being made of Lakewood Ranch developer SMR funneling about $10,000 in late donations to District 2 school board candidate Robert Moates' campaign, which coincided with a large TV ad buy. Moates, a government and economics teacher at Lakewood Ranch, is clearly the politically-active builders' choice. What that means is hard to say, other than the fact that they clearly don't want long-time reformer and activist Dave Watchdog Miner having a vote on how hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are spent, especially when it comes to new school construction.



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