Archive for the ‘public forum’ Category

The Village Square, an initiative of the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College, will host Same-Sex Marriage: Saying ‘I Do’ Does Not End the Debate, a forum that explores the implications of same-sex marriage on Thursday, March 26. The forum will be from 6 to 8:15 p.m. in the SPC Seminole Campus Conference Center, 9200 113th St. N. Advance registration for the dinner event is required.

Although the U.S. District Court ordered county clerks to issue marriage licenses to couples regardless of gender, that neither settles nor ends the debate. The U.S. Supreme Court in January decided to hear appeals from four states where gay-marriage bans have been upheld. That creates the possibility that a majority of justices could vote to uphold same-sex marriage bans in Florida and the 30 other states that have formal bans – or to end such bans and legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

A panel of experts will explore these undetermined implications:

  • Ben Diamond, attorney, Williamson, Diamond & Caton, P.A.
  • David Liebert, professor and department chair for Social and Behavioral Sciences, St. Petersburg College
  • Nadine Smith, CEO, Equality Florida
  • John Stemberger, president, Florida Family Policy Council
  • Craig Kopp, station manager, WMNF FM, will serve as moderator

About the Institute: The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College is a resource for academic enrichment, a non-partisan venue for civil, objective debate of topical public issues, a center to promote better government, and a resource for sustainable economic development. Its mission is to support a broad array of research, training, educational and policy analysis and support activities at the local, state, regional and national levels.

Read Full Post »

With the primaries over, candidates are gearing up for the fall election season. This means that, until Nov. 4, voters can expect to experience a barrage of negative political advertising almost everywhere they turn.

Do these attack ads work? Is negative campaigning an effective political strategy? A distinguished panel headed by renowned University of South Florida political analyst Dr. Susan MacManus will address these and related questions at an upcoming dinner forum.

Political Campaign Ads: Why Did You Approve This Message?
Tuesday, Sept. 16
6 to 8:15 p.m.
Conference Center, SPC’s Seminole Campus
9200 113th Street N, Seminole

The event is sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College as part of the Institute’s Village Square Series. Media co-sponsors are the Tampa Bay Times and WEDU. Advance registration is required.

Negative advertising, once employed only rarely by campaigns desperate to gain traction, has become standard practice in today’s political arena. It is in part fueled by recent court rulings that permit Political Action Committees to collect and spend virtually unlimited amounts of money to inform voters about election issues.

What are the effects of these mud-slinging campaigns on the American political system? Do they actually move people to vote a certain way or discourage people from voting at all, as a silent protest of the negativity? Dr. MacManus, a nationally recognized political analyst, will be joined by two Pinellas County political consultants to provide insights from personal experience and answer questions from the audience. The program also will feature a reel of classic commercials from presidential campaigns going back to television’s early days in 1952.

The other panel members are:

  • Jack Hebert, founder and president, the Mallard Group, a Clearwater political consulting and direct mail firm
  • Gregory Wilson, president and creative officer, Parsons Wilson, a St. Petersburg political consulting firm
  • Al Ruechel, senior anchor of Bay News 9, who will serve as moderator

Negative political advertising is not new. It existed in the early days of America’s founding, when political parties emerged from the Revolution against Britain and vied for power. The second and third presidents of the new nation, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, were the targets of vicious cartoons and illustrations. But in the Electronic Age of the 21st Century it has taken on new forms with new power to reach wider audiences, and it has a virtually unlimited reservoir of special-interest money to finance its dissemination.

The forum will provide insights on this political strategy and offer audience members a chance to weigh in with their views via the Institute’s instant-polling technology.

Admission to the dinner and program is:
$25 for Village Square members and educators
$30 for guests
$20 for students.

Advance registration is required at solutions.spcollege.edu.

Read Full Post »

The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions will host a forum entitled “Our Families’ Four Generations: Ready or Not, Here We Are!” from 7 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, June 17, 2014, at the SPC Seminole Campus Digitorium. The forum is jointly hosted by the 4Generations Institute of Tallahassee and the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at SPC. The Tampa Bay Times is Presenting Sponsor.

4 Gen Flyer Graphic LgThe public is invited and advance registration is required at http://solutions.spcollege.edu.

Advances in medicine, workplace safety, risk management and healthy nutrition practices in the last 50 years have vastly increased life expectancy in the United States. As a result, Americans are experiencing an unprecedented demographic shift: four full generations in relatively good health living side by side.

Florida is a model of the demographic reality the nation will face in 40 years. There are currently 3.3 million Floridians, age 65-plus, living in the Sunshine State – 18 percent of the population. More than 500,000 of them are over 85. Pinellas County’s age demographics are even more tilted toward an older population: 21.5 percent of its population are 65 or older, and 4 percent are 85-plus.

How our four generations – children, parents, grandparents and super-elders – can live in harmony and mutual support is the subject of this community conversation.

A panel of experts representing programs serving each stage of life will explore how, by creative action and effective advocacy, the four generations can leverage the assets of each age group for the betterment of all.

“The needs for health care, education, family services, employment, public safety and environmental protection are best addressed through the lens of our four major age groups,” said Jack Levine, founder of 4Generations Institute. “How we address the needs of the four generations is among the most critical economic and public policy challenges for the next decade.”

The Community Conversation, moderated by Levine, will include six Pinellas County leaders whose organizations serve one or more of the four life stages:

  • Dr. Marcie Biddleman, Executive Director, Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County
  • Eileen Boyle, Executive Director, Allegany Franciscan Ministries
  • Hon. Rene Flowers, Member of the Pinellas County School Board
  • Judge Raymond Gross of the Sixth Judicial Circuit Family Court
  • Jeff Johnson, Director, AARP of Florida
  • Shannon Reid, Vice President of Education and Practice Management, Raymond James Financial

The 4Generations Institute is a non-profit organization based in Tallahassee that promotes community volunteerism for the mutual benefit of the four generations: children/youth, parents, grandparents and elders. Its goal is to identify model intergenerational programs and projects, to expand the impact of quality mentoring and volunteer initiatives and to cultivate an environment to nurture communications across the generations.

The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College is a resource for academic enrichment, a non-partisan venue for civil, objective debate of topical public issues, a center to promote better government and a resource for sustainable economic development. Its mission is to support a broad array of research, training, educational and policy analysis and support activities at the local, state, regional and national levels.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.”

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 184 other followers