Lakeland City Commission Adds Fairness and Inclusion to List of Principles and Values

Commissioner Walker saying that breakdown of principles & values have resulted in the decline of this country. #lkld — Lakeland, Florida (@lakelandgov) June 2, 2014 In some respects, I agree with Commissioner Walker. The breakdown of principles and values cause the decline of many countries. We may not agree about that exact list of principles […]

Your City Hall Just Lost a Leader

Tamara Sakagawa, community redevelopment manager for Lakeland since 2002, has resigned. Sakagawa, 40, oversaw the redevelopment of Dixieland, downtown and the midtown redevelopment areas.Sakagawa declined Thursday to discuss why she is leaving her job. Her last day will be April 11. — The Ledger In that resignation, Lakeland lost the person most responsible for making […]

Merry Christmas and Happy Leadership from Shakespeare and King Hal

It occurs to me — as odd, non-sequitorish things often occur to me — that Shakespeare’s ruthless quill may have created the white Santa and struck the first fierce blow in the war on Christmas. Sure, I guess it’s well-established that the notion of Santa Claus comes from that swarthy Greek, Saint Nicholas. But honestly, […]

Frank’s Friends Are a Minority — and a Problem

I have a soft spot for Frank O’Reilly. He was giving the business to predatory charter schools, generally, and Harold Maready, specifically, before it was cool. Even before me. Before that, he used to light up the Polk County Builders Association over obstinate impact fee objections. I once called Frank “the only card-carrying member of […]

Bottom Line: A Vote for Wiggs is the Only Chance for Reckoning

Gow Fields weaves together condescension and content-free word strands as skillfully as my grandmother braided hair. It is his core political talent. And it was on full display during my little visit to the City Commission last week. With two exceptions, I have a hard time remembering anything he said.* But those two exceptions are […]

Lakeland Has America’s Worst City Government. We Have to Confront It Every Day.

Late Update (9 p.m.): Wow. Much has happened in the last 10 hours. First Don Selvage, then Howard Wiggs, have made clear calls for leadership changes. Good for them. The dynamics of this have just changed significantly. It will probably not be pretty from here on out, but this is a necessary process for getting […]

Our City Commission is Quite United, Bruce. The Unity is the Problem

The Lakeland Police Advisory Committee (LPAC) is headed and given voice by the forceful Bruce Abels, a longtime top executive with Saddle Creek. I know Bruce pretty well, and I respect his sharp intellect and civic-mindedness. He didn’t ask for the peculiar unpaid honor of taking a lot of crap in public — not to […]

Get Specific or Get Rolled: Fighting Lakeland’s “Darkness Visible”

I’ve attended any number of police Town Hallish events over the years. And LPD’s on Monday night went about as I expected. The over-under on speaker references to unfair Baker Acts is always 2. We hit that exactly. And there’s always the funny woman saying/doing something outrageous to make the entire uproar seem ridiculous. Thus, […]

Chaos and Reckoning

This is what disarray looks like. And it’s healthy — vital even. Behold, Lakeland and Polk County, your leadership class — with nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no one to blame but itself. Long-term, mass-degradation-of-child-sexual-abuse-victim scandals at your largest city’s police department tend to have that effect. Here’s The Ledger’s story from this […]