Don Gifford walks among us

Don Gifford is a former Lakeland city and Polk county commissioner. He’s a well-known contractor and self-professed Christian. And he posted this on Facebook on Tuesday. “Islam is a cancer on humanity that, left unchecked, will kill it’s host.” [CQ spelling] He received approving likes from — among many others — a former Lakeland police […]

Poo flingers and whiny babies: of power, honesty, and discourse on campus and America

I’ve had two fairly recent personal experiences with “free speech”-related kerfuffles. 1) I attended the Leadership Lakeland Alumni forum at Grasslands a while back concerning the strong/executive mayor effort, of which I am a supporter and public advocate. Leadership Lakeland brought in a former Miami city manager to speak about his point-of-view, which was generally […]

Johnson Avenue is 38 percent “better” than it was in 1999

I’m quite pleased with the Lakeland Police Department’s response to my series of articles concerning the killing of Mario Acosta on Johnson Avenue last month — and a series of other unpleasant events in the previous year. I’ve had long, productive discussions with Chief Larry Giddens and Asst. Chief Vic White. Giddens and White led […]

Kelli Stargel is helping Joe Negron gut Polk State College — and every other state college. Why?

Lakeland Local readers will know that Polk State College is probably our county’s best-functioning, highest value institution. You will also know that parent-grading, beer entrepreneur-hating state Sen. Kelli Stargel is likely the worst legislator we’ve ever produced. Now the two have collided in predictably awful ways. And this could produce far more lasting damage than […]

Lockdown drills and our illusions of order

At my kid’s school, which is very small, lockdown drills consist of herding the children into two rooms, turning off the lights, and remaining quiet for five minutes. That’s fine as far as it goes. But knowing the size and layout of the school, I severely doubt the adults will have any time at all […]