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Archive for the ‘public forum’ Category

The Westcare Foundation and the St. Petersburg College Center for Public Safety Innovation present nationally renowned experts, speakers and authors Edward Tick, Ph.D, and Kate Dahlstedt, MA, LMHC, for a workshop titled “Effective Approaches for Skilled Helpers Working with Veterans.”

The day-long session will explore the emotional, moral and spiritual wounds of veterans, their families and community. Trainers will also focus on understanding and healing from post-traumatic stress disorder and military sexual trauma.

The workshop is from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 28, at the Allstate Center, 3200 34th St. S, St. Petersburg.

Attendance is free, but registration is required by Wednesday, Jan. 22. To register, email Mary.Coburn@westcare.com.

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PEACE group image

St. Petersburg College students have a choice of in-person or virtual attendance at the Nov. 14 forum on world peace sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions.

The program will be from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the Digitorium on the Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N. Students unable to attend in person may view live streaming of the event at mms://media.spcollege.edu/worldpeace and participate in the question-and-answer segment by email.

Titled World Peace: Let It Begin with Me, the forum is co-sponsored by Rotary International, Seeds of Peace and Tri-Sense Medical, LLC. A panel moderated by SPC Associate Professor Roy Slater will offer insights on war and peace and suggest ways that young people can become involved in advocating for peace and against war.

On the panel:

  • Earl Fratus, SPC Associate Professor of Political Science and History.
  • Sane Haidara, an SPC student who fled war in his homeland of Mali in 2012, who will provide a student’s perspective on war and peace
  • Dustin Lemke, a professor at Hillsborough Community College who is active in the Quakers’ Peace and Social Concerns Committee.

Faculty on SPC campuses with technology-enabled classrooms are encouraged to participate in the forum virtually with their students. They may submit questions for the panel by emailing policysolutionsinstitute@spcollege.edu.

Admission is free, but advance registration is requested at http://www.spcollege.edu/survey/14399.

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DirectLinkLogoA new blog, launched this month at St. Petersburg College, aims to open a direct line of communication between the college’s leadership and students, college employees and the public.

Direct Link focuses on higher education issues and new initiatives at SPC. It features weekly blog and/or vlog (video blog) posts from members of the college’s leadership team, including SPC President Bill Law, Dr. Anne Cooper, Dr. Doug Duncan and Dr. Tonjua Williams.

The start of the blog also signals the return of the Listening Post, although in a new format.

The Listening Post initially involved college leadership traveling to various campuses to hear students’ suggestions, comments and concerns. That idea has expanded with this blog, which will promote and feature a monthly, virtual Listening Post. Each will be hosted by various members of college leadership. Students, employees and community members will have the opportunity to submit questions and RSVP for an upcoming Listening Post through the Direct Link blog. The first Listening Post with the college president is scheduled for the week of Nov. 11. More details about this upcoming event will be available later this month.

“With the creation of this site, SPC faculty, staff and students will be able to have access to the data, discussion and thought processes that go into the decision-making at the college,” Law said. “This site is one way to bring you into the conversation.”

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FloodScreenAbout 500 people turned out at the Seminole Campus Sept. 25 to learn more about a dramatic rise in flood insurance rates that spells extreme hardship for thousands of Pinellas County property owners, and potential economic disaster for the community as a whole.

The forum was co-sponsored by the SPC Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions and the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce, which put together the program. The forum received extensive coverage in local news media, and was heavily promoted by area Chambers of Commerce.

As a result, the Digitorium at Seminole was at maximum capacity, including two adjoining classrooms with moveable walls that were opened to accommodate the crowd. Still, a number of late arrivals were forced to watch on video screens in the Commons area of the University Partnership Building at Seminole.

The forum also was televised live on SPC-TV on the Bright House, WOW! and Verizon cable services.

Most of the major Tampa Bay TV stations carried coverage of it on their 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. news reports.

The flood insurance crisis is driven by the Biggert-Waters Act, which went into effect Oct. 1. The Act, which was passed in June 2012 to replenish the National Flood Insurance Program, left $18 billion in deficit since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the wave of destructive storms that followed, most recently Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

While well-intentioned as a fiscally responsible act of Congress, the law has many unintended consequences. It mandates that flood insurance premiums currently subsidized by FEMA accurately reflect the actuarial risk of insuring flood-prone properties. That, say bankers and realtors, will force many home and property owners into foreclosure.

The law requires that flood insurance policies phase in higher rates at roughly 20 to 25 percent per year until full actuarial risk level is achieved — a rate increase that is not affordable to many middle-class homeowners. For those who bought a home after July 2012 or who allowed their flood insurance policies to lapse, the premium hike is fully activated immediately. Thus premium increases of 500 percent or more will not be uncommon.

Pinellas County, with more than 50,000 of all flood policies falling into the subsidized category, has the highest percentage of affected properties in Florida, and Florida has the highest percentage of such properties in the nation.

Efforts in Congress to delay the bill have so far been unsuccessful. An amendment delaying effect of the law for one year was passed by the House earlier this year. But a similar measure introduced in the Senate by Sen. Bill Nelson has gone nowhere, bogged down in Congress’ gridlock over the federal budget and efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act.

The Institute currently is exploring a sequel to the forum to help affected citizens and community leaders discover ways to cope with the flood insurance rate hikes.

You can watch the 87-minute session on the college’s YouTube channel.

Follow the institute on Twitter at #polisol or on Facebook.

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“Criminal justice is driven by fear. It should be driven by data.”

That closing comment by Judge Michael P. Boggs of the George Court of Appeals succinctly sums up the message that the Peachtree State has for the Sunshine State when it comes to prison reform.

The comment came near the end of a forum on Sept. 24 in Tallahassee co-sponsored by St. Petersburg College’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions. The forum, Part III of the Project on Accountable Justice partnership between SPC, the James Madison Institute and the Florida Institute of Government at Florida State University, was held at the FSU College of Law. Participating from SPC were Jeff Kronschnabl, Instructor in Charge, College of Policy, Ethics and Legal Studies, and David Klement, Executive Director of the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions.

The forum was held in Tallahassee to bring the reform message to the doorstep of key policy makers at the state level, including state legislators in the Capitol for the first week of hearings for the 2014 session of the Legislature.

Among the 75 attendees were Rep. Dennis Baxley, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and three other members of the Florida Legislature. Also attending were representatives of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association, Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Justice, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Florida NAACP, Teamsters Union, FSU College of Law, Askew Center at FSU, Florida Alliance of Boys and Girls, FAM U, Florida Times Union, Leon County Public Defender’s Office, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The forum was titled A Tale of Two States: What Can Florida Learn from Georgia’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice Reforms?

A panel consisting of representatives from Georgia government and court systems offered a concise summary of the measures Georgia took to reform its criminal justice system over the last three years. The panel included Appeal Court Judge Boggs, Rep. Jay Neal of the Georgia House of Representatives, and W. Thomas Worthy, Deputy Executive Counsel in the Office of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. Moderator was J. Robert McClure III, president and CEO of the James Madison Institute.

Each panelist attributed the success of Georgia’s prison reforms to the leadership of Gov. Deal. Besides overseeing the creation of the legislative package that resulted in significant reform to the state’s criminal and juvenile justice system, he made it a bi-partisan effort. According to the panel, of three major pieces of legislation taken up by the Legislature in the past three years on this issue, which involved three separate votes in each chamber, all passed unanimously with the exception of one “no” vote on one of the bills.

When funded by the Legislature in 2007, the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions was designated as a statewide policy center, serving the entire Florida College System. This forum represents fulfillment of that role for the first time.

Follow the institute on Twitter at #polisol or on Facebook.

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Those who missed the recent Village Square forum, “Immigration: Is the Melting Pot Boiling Over?” sponsored by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions can watch it on SPC-TV Sunday, Sept. 29 at 8:30 p.m.

America is a nation of immigrants. The iconic Statue of Liberty declares our open-arms policy for all the world to see. Yet today Americans are embroiled in a bitter debate over immigration as they have repeatedly been since colonial days.

Congress continues to grapple with competing views on how to deal with the problems associated with more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. A comprehensive reform bill passed the Democrat-controlled Senate in June by a wide margin. But the Republican-controlled House is reluctant to take up the Senate bill.

The forum, moderated by Rob Lorei, News and Public Affairs Director, WMNF Radio, and host of Florida This Week, WEDU TV, discussed the pros and cons of the two approaches to resolving the debate. The panel included: Tim Curtis, chairman, Tampa 912 Project; Edwin Enciso, director, Campaign for Immigration Reform Now; and Tara Newsom, associate professor, Social and Behavioral Sciences, St. Petersburg College.

The Village Square is a forum for non-partisan debate of key state and national issues. Past programs have focused on gun control, climate change, the FCAT and testing, and American civil liberties.

In addition to campus televisions, SPC-TV is broadcast on Bright House 620, Wow! 19 in Pinellas County and Verizon 47 throughout the Tampa Bay area. For more information, visit: www.spcollege.edu/spctv. Immigration: Is the Melting Pot Boiling Over? is also available on-demand via YouTube.

Follow the institute on Twitter at #polisol or on Facebook.

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FloodWhat’s going on with flood insurance rates?

That is the question on the minds of a number of residents who live in or near flood zones. The concern comes in response to reports of a financially devastating increase in flood insurance rates scheduled to go into effect Oct. 1.

Some answers will be provided at a free forum at 6 p.m. Sept. 25, co-sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College and the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce. The forum will be in the Digitorium at the Seminole Campus. Registration is not required.

A panel assembled by the chamber, including a Realtor, two insurance agents and Pinellas County Property Appraiser Pam Dubov, will discuss the implications of the looming flood insurance rate hike and answer questions from the audience.

Cause of the concern is the Biggert-Waters Act, a law passed by Congress in 2012 to restore equity to the National Flood Insurance Program. With the fund overdrawn by $18 billion due to a series of national disasters, Congress decided to end artificially low, subsidized rates for flood insurance to reflect the true cost of insuring properties in high-risk areas such as high-hazard zones. The law, scheduled to go into effect October 1, will raise flood insurance rates for homes in high-risk areas by 20 percent per year until an actuarially sound rate is reached. Owners of a waterfront home currently paying $2,000 for flood insurance would see their bill go to almost $5,000 in five years.

And that’s just for long-time residents of those zones. People who purchased a home since passage of Biggert-Waters, in July 2012, will be subject to maximum rates immediately. Increases of 500 or more percent will not be uncommon, according to recent information obtained by the chamber.

Some elected officials are holding out hope that Congress will intervene before the October 1 deadline to delay effect of the rate hike for one year. The U.S. House has already approved such a delay. An intensive advocacy campaign is underway to convince the U.S. Senate to do the same.

But that would only buy time. Some form of rate increases — perhaps not as drastic — would still likely be in store for residents of low-lying areas. The forum will provide answers about that prospect as well.

Follow the institute on Twitter at #polisol or on Facebook.

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The fall season of The Village Square dinner series kicks off in September with the program “Immigration: Is the Melting Pot Boiling Over?” The event will be held on Sept. 19, TBNweekly.com reported. The dinner series is sponsored by St. Petersburg College’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions.

The Village Square is a forum for non-partisan debate of key state and national issues. Past programs have focused on gun control, climate change, FCAT and testing, and American civil liberties.

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VSImmigration reform, one of the most hotly debated issues in modern times, will be the focus of a forum at St. Petersburg College from 6 to 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 19. Titled “Immigration: Is the Melting Pot Boiling Over?”, the forum kicks off the fall season of The Village Square dinner series sponsored by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions.

Media sponsors are the Tampa Bay Times and WEDU.

The program is planned as Congress continues to grapple with competing views on how to deal with the problems associated with more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. A comprehensive reform bill passed the Democrat-controlled Senate in June by a wide margin. But the Republican-controlled House is reluctant to take up the Senate bill.

immigrationMany Republicans favor a piecemeal approach, first securing the nation’s borders, then addressing the problem of how to deal with the millions of undocumented immigrants already here.

A distinguished panel will discuss the pros and cons of the two approaches to resolving the debate. They include:

  • Tim Curtis, Chairman, Tampa 912 Project, representing the anti-immigration point of view.
  • Edwin Enciso, coordinator for Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now, based in Tampa, representing the pro-immigration point of view.
  • Tara Newsom, Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, St. Petersburg College.
  • Moderator will be Rob Lorei, News and Public Affairs Director of WMNF radio and host of the weekly news review show on WEDU TV, Florida This Week

The Village Square is a forum for non-partisan debate of key state and national issues. Past programs have focused on gun control, climate change, the FCAT and testing, and American civil liberties.

Reservations are required by Friday, Sept. 13. They may be made online or by mail: Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions, P.O. Box 13489, St. Petersburg, FL 33733. Admission, which includes dinner, is $25 for Village Square members and educators, $30 for guests and $20 for students.

For more information, please call 727-394-6251.

Follow the institute on Twitter at #polisol or on Facebook.

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Immigration reform, one of today’s most hotly-debated issues, will be the focus of a forum at St. Petersburg College from 6-8:15 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19. The forum, Immigration: Is the Melting Pot Boiling Over?, will kick off the fall season of The Village Square dinner series sponsored by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions. Media sponsors include the Tampa Bay Times and WEDU.

The program is planned as Congress grapples with competing views on how to deal with the problems associated with more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. A comprehensive reform bill passed the Democratically-controlled Senate in June by a wide margin, but the Republican-controlled House is reluctant to take up the Senate bill. Many Republicans favor a piecemeal approach, first securing the nation’s borders, then addressing the problem of how to deal with the millions of undocumented immigrants already here.

A distinguished panel will discuss the pros and cons of the two approaches to resolving the debate. They include:

  • Tim Curtis, Chairman, Tampa 912 Project, representing the anti-immigration point of view
  • Edwin Enciso, coordinator for Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now, based in Tampa, representing the pro-immigration point of view
  • Tara Newsom, Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, St. Petersburg College

The moderator will be Rob Lorei, News and Public Affairs Director of WMNF radio and host of the weekly news review show on WEDU TV Florida This Week.

The Village Square is a forum for non-partisan debate of key state and national issues. Past programs have focused on gun control, climate change, FCAT and testing, and American civil liberties.

Reservations for this dinner event are required by Friday, Sept. 13. They may be made online or by mail: Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions, P.O. Box 13489, St. Petersburg, FL 33733. Admission is $25 for Village Square members and educators, $30 for guests and $20 for students.

For more information, please call the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at 727-394-6251.

Follow the institute on Twitter at #polisol or on Facebook.

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