TAMPA — The firefighter suing the city of Tampa for discrimination took the stand for the first time Tuesday, telling the courtroom how other firefighters slammed the door in her face, refused to let her pump breast milk and propositioned her for sex.
Tanja Vidovic told a judge and seven jurors at a discrimination trial in U.S. District Court that she did not want to file formal complaints because she "didn't want to be seen as a complainer." She said she was afraid of retaliation if she did speak up. Several of the people who harassed her, she said, were the people to whom she was supposed to report such activity....
Tampa Fire Rescue says pregnant firefighter insisted on working in the field much longer than others11/16/17Civil
TAMPA — Tampa Fire Rescue had never before had a firefighter in her third trimester of pregnancy who could get called into a hazardous situation at any moment.
Former Personnel Chief Jace Kohan told a judge and seven jurors Thursday at a sex discrimination trial in U.S. District Court that Tanja Vidovic insisted on working in the field much longer than other pregnant firefighters before her. ...
TAMPA — In August 2015, a firefighter broke protocol and went outside his chain of command to email then Division Chief Jace Kohan.
In a regimented organization like Tampa Fire Rescue, chain of command is part of daily operations. But Kohan told a judge and seven-person jury Wednesday that firefighter Mark Pattison wasn't reprimanded for his email, or even scolded.
Two months later, he was promoted. ...
TAMPA — The highest ranking woman in the history of Tampa Fire Rescue said Tuesday that she has been peeped on while showering. She said it in front of a judge and seven jurors at a sex discrimination trial in U.S. District Court, while describing the perils of a shared workplace bathroom.
"The biggest struggle is when you're the only female and there's a bunch of men," Division Chief Susan Tamme testified at a former colleague's lawsuit against the city of Tampa. "One gender is going to get to use the restroom first and the other person is going to wait and hold it."...
11/10/17 Mass Transit
Still waiting for the Cross Bay Ferry to return? It's going to be a while — say, 2018 at the earliest.
The ferry's supporters, most notably St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, had hoped to bring the boat back for another season after the first six-month trial run ended in April.
But lack of regional cooperation and funding, the same things that routinely bedevil Tampa Bay's transportation system, stymied those efforts. In the end, there wasn't enough support from local governments — and by support, that means money — to run it again this year....
TAMPA — Katharine Eagan, the leader of Hillsborough County's transit agency, is leaving the job just a month after implementing a widespread overhaul of the county's bus network.
She will take over as CEO of the Port Authority of Allegheny, Pa., which provides public transportation in the Pittsburgh area. Her last day at the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority will be Jan. 5....
ST. PETERSBURG — Realtor Brandi Gabbard will replace term-limited Jim Kennedy on the City Council, after defeating Barclay Harless by a substantial margin Tuesday.
Gabbard beat Harless with 61 percent of the vote, wining by 12,519 votes. That was the preliminary result of all 92 precincts, early voting and partial mail ballots.
The two first time candidates are both Democrats with ties in the community. Gabbard has been active in the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the local realtor trade organization while Harless was state policy chair for the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Pinellas Charter Review....
11/06/17 Mass Transit
TAMPA — Hillsborough's transit agency heard its first public comment Monday since overhauling its bus network and cutting about 20 percent of its routes last month.
A handful of people spoke at the agency's board meeting, with one praising the new network, a couple sharing concerns for how service adversely affects those with disabilities, and others pleading with board members to return bus service to their neighborhoods. ...
TAMPA — For decades, Tampa Bay football, baseball and hockey fans have become accustomed to driving to games and parking a few hundred feet away from the venue.
Those days would come to an end if Hillsborough County builds a new baseball stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays on the southern edge of Ybor City.
If it ever gets built, there will likely be no gigantic surface parking lots outside this baseball stadium. Instead, sports fans would have to park in garages, use transit and — brace yourselves — even walk to games....
TAMPA — The plan to extend the TECO Line Streetcar system north through downtown got its first positive reviews from the public on Tuesday night.
The streetcar system already runs from Ybor City to the Channel District. The aim of a $1.7 million study to look at expanding service is to choose the path to reach more of downtown and extend the system north to Tampa Heights.
The Invision: Tampa Streetcar study selected two preferred routes for the extension of the existing 2.7-mile streetcar line. Both routes travel an additional 1.3 miles from E Whiting Street north to E Palm Avenue....
ST. PETERSBURG — Residents of Bayfront Tower Condos peppered City Council candidates Tuesday night with questions about noise ordinances, road repairs and the multi-million-dollar plan to rebuild the pier.
The candidates for Districts 2, 4 and 6 gathered at Bayfront Tower for a forum sponsored by the St. Petersburg Downtown Residents Association. Mayor Rick Kriseman and his challenger, former Mayor Rick Baker, also addressed the crowd. District 4 incumbent Darden Rice did not attend....
ST. PETERSBURG — Two first-time candidates aim to replace Jim Kennedy as the District 2 representative on the City Council.
Both are Democrats. Both are young — relatively. Both are navigating life as a political candidate for the first time.
But there are differences between Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless, too.
Though it's his first time as the one whose name is on the ballot, Harless, 32, isn't new to political campaigns in Florida. He served on state Sen. Darryl Rouson's staff when the St. Petersburg Democrat was in the House of Representatives. Harless later worked on Alex Sink's campaign for governor. The Bank of the Ozarks manager voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. Kennedy, he said, personally encouraged him to run for his seat. And now that he's running his own campaign, he made a pledge not to accept money from political action committees....
TAMPA — The state's revamped proposal to expand interstates in Hillsborough County got one of its first public vettings on Monday.
Earlier this year, the Florida Department of Transportation reopened a federal study looking at the state's vision to add express toll lanes along Interstates 275 and 4. The move came after the department's previous plan for the area, known as Tampa Bay Express, faced significant community backlash. The DOT later scrapped the plan and replaced it with a new initiative, Tampa Bay Next. ...
10/09/17 Mass Transit
TAMPA — Bus riders in Hillsborough County are trying to figure out the new bus system that launched this weekend.
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority flipped to an entirely new network at 4 a.m. Sunday, as part of "MissionMax," — a complete overhaul of the agency's sprawling system, changing stops, times and routes on which people have come to depend.
Sunday was a test run of sorts. But by Monday morning, the 43,000 people who typically ride the bus on weekdays were trying to make sense of new route maps and transfer points....
10/09/17 Mass Transit
TAMPA — Sunday was a day of questions and long waits as riders tried to figure out the new bus system that launched this weekend in Hillsborough County.
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority flipped to an entirely new network at 4 a.m. Sunday, as part of MissionMax — a complete overhaul of the agency's sprawling system. Sunday was a test run of sorts, as weekend ridership is lower than the 43,000 people who typically ride the bus on a weekday....