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September 17, 2000

Risky hospital politics
The dispute between St. Petersburg and Bayfront Medical Center is down to nothing but bad alternatives. Many people have failed here, but Mayor David Fischer is the one to hold responsible.

Universities in the political muck
Florida's Education Transition Task Force, meeting for the first time last week, was told that its mission is "not about abolishment of the Board of Regents" but rather "much, much more than that." So said outgoing House Speaker John Thrasher, the regents' arch-enemy, whose appointment to the task force supposedly sealed their fate.

Tim Nickens
Florida offers some political contests worth watching
The caller was irate.

Martin Dyckman
Give voters two choices
TALLAHASSEE -- My middle son will be voting for the first time Nov. 7. Like many other people, not all of them young, he does not appreciate being told that he shouldn't waste his vote by casting it for anyone other than George W. Bush or Al Gore.

Philip Gailey
Tax cut turns into Bush campaign's albatross
On what has become the signature issue of his presidential campaign -- a proposed $1.3-trillion across-the-board tax cut spread over 10 years -- George W. Bush stands virtually alone. And for a good reason.

THE BIG THAW, by Donald Harstad (Doubleday, $23.95)

Hard-boiled and on target
Is it just me, or have others noticed that fictional private eyes have been getting softer and more sensitive over the last few years? Let's face it, most contemporary practitioners of the PI yarn have about as much in common with Hammett and Chandler -- the rightfully revered progenitors of the form -- as Mary Higgins Clark has with Mickey Spillane.

Ex libris Florida
FLIGHT OF HOPE: Two men -- a flight instructor and his student -- without much in common except two stationary lives, embark on an "unstructured adventure" in a single-engine aircraft in Sky Warriors, by former St. Petersburg resident Steve Liddick. When they land near several Indian reservations in South Dakota, they learn how relatively insignificant their problems are and gain a much needed change of attitude. Liddick, who was the morning DJ at WDAE in Tampa in the '60s, sees his story as a "large helping of Hope for everyone who ever believed their lives were stagnant and would never improve." Sky Warriors is available in paperback ($10.95) or electronically ($3.95) from and at major bookstores.

Honoring your mixed heritage
I'm half-Jewish.

Foreign correspondence
THE ALPHONSE COURRIER AFFAIR, by Marta Morazzoni, translated by Emma Rose (Harvill Press, $15)

The writing machine
It happened years ago, under A Dreadful Lemon Sky, yet I still hear the thud of falling hard for Florida shamus, Travis McGee. I was holed up in a posh Miami hotel, A Nightmare in Pink, reading the stack of his adventures I'd bought in a Plain Brown Wrapper. It was costing me more than A Flash of Green but I didn't care if the weather turned A Lonely Silver Rain or stayed Darker Than Amber. I wanted to be alone with Travis by An Empty Copper Sea in A Tan and Sandy Silence.

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