Saturday, October 20, 2018


Tracey McManus, Times staff writer

Tracey McManus, Times staff writer

Tracey covers Clearwater government and general topics in the city. Before joining the Times in August 2015, she spent five years covering everything from education reform to animal welfare for The Augusta Chronicle in Georgia. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was raised in Palm City, Fla., and graduated from University of Florida in 2010 with degrees in journalism and Spanish.

Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne. Times files.

Clearwater’s strong mayor ballot question hangs over City Manager Bill Horne’s review

CLEARWATER — It started as a standard evaluation. Just like the ones City Manager Bill Horne has received every year over the past two decades.But the impending ballot initiative on whether to eliminate the council-manager form of government...
Published: 10/19/18
The  Church of Scientology has a long, contentious history with the city of Clearwater. Times files

Leader of Clearwater’s strong mayor initiative goes to work for prominent Scientologist

CLEARWATER — The chairman of the group backing Clearwater’s Nov. 6 strong mayor referendum began a job this month with a company owned by a prominent Church of Scientology donor that focuses on local and state government education.Zach Thorn,...
Published: 10/19/18
Political consultant, Beth Rawlins leads a meeting for the No Boss Mayor Clearwater Committee at Clearwater Family Restaurant in Clearwater, Fla., on Sept. 12, 2018. The grassroots group made up of community members and business owners hopes to defeat a strong mayor referendum on the ballot this November.

Clearwater is latest battleground for strong mayor initiative opponent

CLEARWATER — Beth Rawlins has done this before.As movements have surfaced across Florida to transform governments run by appointed city managers to put daily authority in the hands of mayors, it was often Rawlins who would show up. She...
Published: 10/15/18
[Screengrab of Chris Hunter for Congress video] Democrat Chris Hunter released a video Friday calling out U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis for an ad this week where he took credit for a law targeting opioids he did not craft. Instead, Bilirakis did co-sponsor a law in 2016 that made it harder for the DEA to halt suspicious shipments of opioids to doctors.

Chris Hunter pounces on false Bilirakis opioid law ad

Days after U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis aired a campaign advertisement taking credit for a bill targeting opioids that he did not craft, Democratic challenger Chris Hunter responded with a video saying the claim was a...
Published: 10/12/18

City goes back to drawing board for band shell in Imagine Clearwater

Clearwater officials, residents debate value of concerts versus green space.
Published: 10/11/18
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis' TV ad released this week shows him taking credit for a

Bilirakis takes credit for law he did not craft in new ad touting fight on opioids

In a campaign advertisement U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis released this week touting his work fighting opioids in Pasco County, the six-term congressman takes credit for a law he did not have a hand in crafting.And it omits major legislation...
Published: 10/10/18
Updated: 10/12/18
From left to right: Bob Carpenter, who was arrested July 27 for the alleged theft; Carpenter's then-supervisor Brian Craig, who was fired Wednesday; Craig's then-supervisor Mike Lockwood, who was reprimanded; programmer Lori Burdell; and Patrick Carter, who resigned in lieu of termination Wednesday [Photo courtesy of George Cretekos]

Clearwater parks ‘good ole boys’ bullied women, lost track of cash

CLEARWATER — Two city employees are out of jobs this week, and several administrators have been reprimanded, for their failures that enabled a former Parks and Recreation employee’s alleged theft of $148,000 in cash over five years in a department...
Published: 10/10/18
Updated: 10/11/18
MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | TimesMeeting attendees take home yard signs at the end of a meeting led by political consultant, Beth Rawlins for the No Boss Mayor Clearwater Committee at Clearwater Family Restaurant in Clearwater, Fla., on Sept. 12, 2018. The grassroots group made up of community members and business owners hopes to defeat a strong mayor referendum on the ballot Nov. 6.

No Boss Mayor gets boost from trade group; pro-strong mayor PAC leads in cash

The group fighting the strong mayor initiative in Clearwater has received its single largest boost from the leading organization that advocates professional management for governments.The International City/County Management...
Published: 10/08/18
Updated: 10/09/18
TAILYR IRVINE | TimesDistrict 12 Democratic candidate Chris Hunter speaks with John Kirby, 35, about the Nov. 6 election during his door-to-door campaign walk through of a neighborhood on Ballantrae Boulevard on October 2, 2018 in Lutz.

Will Chris Hunter be the Democrat to break the Bilirakis dynasty?

Chris Hunter has a theory on how he could become the first Democrat to break the Bilirakis family's Republican dynasty of 36 years and counting.It's not so much his resume, which by itself makes supporters wonder how this race could even...
Published: 10/08/18

Pet walk scheduled for Saturday

ST. PETERSBURG — SPCA Tampa Bay will host its 28th annual Pet Walk on Saturday, where walkers join to celebrate “the joy that pets bring to our lives.”The event, at St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park from 8:30 a.m. to noon, offers...
Updated one month ago