Page 1

We see the world through their eyes.

We look at things from a child’s perspective, and tailor our care just for them. As a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine, a leader in health care, we offer care closer to home. Everything we do at our new state-of-the-art hospital and 10 Outpatient Care Centers located throughout Florida’s West Coast, is focused on kids. Every doctor, nurse, and every minute of every day. We give kids our all.

mostmagazine advanced children’s hospital on Florida’s West Coast. 02Explore | Powerthe Broker / 360

Power Broker magazine | 03


Imagine if the next time you went to vote for your favorite candidate for Mayor or City Council, you could also vote on projects that would benefit your neighborhood, improve a local park, or provide summer jobs for at-risk youth. The idea is called Participatory Budgeting and it’s exactly what The People’s Budget Review is fighting for in St. Petersburg. W W W. P E O P L E S B U D G E T R E V I E W. O R G INFO@PEOPLESBUDGETREVIEW.ORG 727.279.5660

04 | Power Broker magazine

Power Broker magazine | 5

Editor’s Note

Tribute to the Men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity A special place in my heart, a special help to my career

Dear Readers, It was a high point of my career and life last November when I become the first woman ever honored as Citizen of the Year by the Eta Rho Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity in its 51year history.

Although it always touches my heart when one of our community organizations recognizes my volunteer work, this award struck me with added significance. Not only because of my deep respect for all of the “Divine 9” black Greek fraternities and sororities, but because it gave me the occasion to reflect on how the men of this purple and gold flecked fraternity have so often helped my career over the years. As far back as childhood, the Omega brand provided one of my earliest examples of old fashioned chivalry, through our neighbor Mr. McTier, who’s living room proudly sported the fraternities trademark colors. The Omegas, a.k.a. “the Ques,” also showed that same spirit on my undergraduate campus, back when I was a 20-year old single mother with a baby boy. Our duplex was located directly behind the Ques’ fraternity house, and the brothers made sure to keep an eye out for our safety. Over the years since then, so many Omega men have supported my growth that as I look back, it makes me wonder whether there isn’t something divine about that brood of brothers. • Larry Newsome, Sr., my boss of nine years at Urban Development Solutions, who generously supported my volunteer work in the community and financially sponsored over a dozen of the non-profit projects I organized • Watson Haynes, Pastor Frank Peterman and State Rep. Darryl Rouson, who were all original advertisers of the Power Broker magazine, and without whose backing, this publication would not exist 6 | Power Broker magazine

• Brother Grady Terrell, who worked with me on advocacy movements to increase the City of St. Petersburg’s minority and small business investments • Harry Harvey, who helped a coalition of us generate record-setting voter turnout in South St. Petersburg in 2004 • Dr. Glenn Cherry, publisher of the Florida Courier newspaper, who stood firm with me and others in 2006 to push for more gubernatorial election campaign advertising investments with black-owned media outlets across the state • Tom Packer, who became my brother in Christ as we sat together through new member classes over a decade ago at Mt Zion Progressive • James Jackson, Jr., President of the St. Petersburg chapter, who lent the fraternity’s financial support to help publish the bay area’s first bi-county African American voter guide in 2012 • Randy Lewis, who helped lead Agenda 2010, an advocacy effort to ask City leaders for new policies and investments to address poverty in South St. Petersburg. • And others… Even more heartwarming is the impact of the Omegas on the community as a whole. At the same ceremony where I was honored, the chapter also recognized three high school principals and over 50 young black men, all on the honor roll. In so doing, they gave our boys an all too rare public platform of praise for their achievements; and in turn, reflected to those young men the often unrecognized strength of manhood in our community. Sisterly,

Gypsy C. Gallardo Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Beta Zeta Chapter Publisher, The Power Broker magazine

February 2014 Volume 8 Edition 3 A product of The Power Broker Media Group

Advertise or promote your news, events, and opportunities in Tampa Bay’s “most read” magazine for African Americans. See rates & circulation details at: The fraternity’s regional representative Harry Harvey with Dr. Michael A. Freeman, keynote speaker at the November Achievement Week event and assistant vice president and dean for students at the University of South Florida. Dr. Freeman is also an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

Gypsy C. Gallardo PUBLISHER Lonnie Donaldson CO-FOUNDER, The Power Broker magazine Deborah Figgs-Sanders CHAIRMAN, The Power Broker Foundation Dr. Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, GUEST COLUMNIST Dr. Sharon Williams, GUEST COLUMNIST Swiyyah Muhammad, GUEST COLUMNIST Clacci Harmon, GUEST WRITER Carl Lavender, Jr., CAPACITY CONSULTANT

Omega brothers Grady Terrell and chapter president James Jackson, Jr. with Power Broker publisher Gypsy Gallardo

Marcy Palmeri, Freelance Writer Pop Lancaster OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHER Misha Wong CREATIVE DIRECTOR Kimberley Webb DIGITAL media manager Robert Gallardo SOCIAL media manager Aleyah Conway PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Briana Lake EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Arthurene Williams, widow of Omega member Lewis “Lew” Williams, former Pinellas County School Board Member, presented a check in the amount of $2,500 to go toward the Chapter’s Lew Williams Scholarship fund. 06 | Power Broker magazine


CORRESPONDENTS Kellis Glenn - Clearwater Candy Lowe - Tampa Sandra Butler - Polk County

Kimberly Albritton -Manatee & Sarasota Counties Kevin Rose - St. Petersburg REACH US: P O Box 15006 St. Petersburg, FL 33733 T: 727.866.1783 F: 877.255.9572 SSN: 1554-933X SEND YOUR NEWS TO US: reachout@ SEE 100 NEW EVENTS, NEWS ITEMS & JOBS POSTED WEEKLY: LIKE US OR FRIEND US AT: PowerBrokerMagazine GypsyGallardo FOLLOW US: IF INTERESTED IN BECOMING A DISTRIBUTION LOCATION To request that your business or office be one of the Power Broker’s 200+ distribution sites, e-mail us at reachout@ TELL YOUR STORY If you have a story that should be told in our magazines or via our digital media outlets, e-mail your idea or insight to us at reachout@ Power Broker magazine | 7

TheLeadership Files Who’s moving up, who’s moving on

Pictured are Sharon Welch, daughter; Marilyn Welch, wife; Rev. Ricardo Welch, son; and Rafael J. Sciullo, president and CEO of Suncoast Hospice.

Elder Clarence Welch Honored In early December, Suncoast Hospice honored the life and accomplishments of St. Petersburg native Elder Clarence Welch. Welch, a long-time board member of the Hospice and proponent of quality end-of-life care, was senior pastor of the Prayer Tower Church of God in Christ, from 1964 up to the time of his passing. Welch’s family and church community were present for the unveiling of a threepanel fountain. FAMU names first female president, Elmira Mangum FAMU, for the first time in its history, will be led by a female president. Elmira Mangum will transition into the post from her role as vice president for budget and planning at Cornell University. “Dr. Magnum emerged from a noteworthy pool of applicants as the candidate who the Board believes is the best fit for this pivotal season in the university’s history,” said Trustee Karl White, chair of the presidential search committee. Since 2010, Mangum has been the senior administrator charged with managing Cornell’s annual budgeting process. She is credited with helping the university overcome a structural deficit that followed the recession. 8 | Power Broker magazine

Lovie Smith soon coming to Tampa Bay The two-time Super Bowl contender and former head coach of the Chicago Bears will lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next season. Smith was selected, apparently, for his ability to build championship teams.

KudosColumn Hepburn Collins retires after 34 years Congratulations to Mrs. Carolyn Hepburn Collins, President of the Hillsborough County Chapter of the NAACP for her retirement after a 34 year career at Tampa General Hospital. ‘Nutcracker Twist’ carries the torch in 2013 Hats off to Jai Hinson for carrying forward with the Chocolate Nutcracker tradition, only this time with The Nutcracker Twist, a spin on the classic ballet staged for the first time during the Christmas season in 2013. Presented by Artz 4 Life Academy, the show, per usual, featured dozens of bay area youth performers.

FAMU alumnus John Thompson succeeds Bill Gates as Microsoft board chairman On February 4th, FAMU alumnus John W. Thompson was appointed the independent chairman of computer software giant Microsoft Corp. Thompson is a 1971 graduate of FAMU’s School of Business and Industry who has served on Microsoft’s board since 2012.

at least temporarily, to help with the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

Local Wealth Strategist Gains National Attention

Author and financial advisor Douglas Eze recently released “Creating Generational Wealth,” a guide to financial stability and prosperity, with tips from the wealthiest 1% of income earners. Eze’s publicist says the book is a useful reference for people at every socioeconomic level, but emphasizes breaking the generational curse of poverty. Dr. Jomo Cousins and others hosted a book release/signing celebration on January 23rd at Jackson’s Bistro to launch Eze’s national tour. Eze is CEO of Largo Financial Services with offices in Tampa and Greenbelt, Maryland. He was recently nominated as one of the Top 100 Financial Advisors of 2013 by the International Financial Leadership Association. For more details, visit www.

Owens Returns to Tampa Bay

For those who recall working with Stephanie Owens in St. Petersburg during the Clinton administration, she has returned from Washington D.C.,

Owens is now a Senior Advisor in the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, charged with advising senior HHS officials on strategic collaboration with elected officials, as well as community and business leaders to implement the Affordable Care Act. Owens is on detail from her position as a Deputy Associate Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency. Stephanie was formally the senior vice president of The Agency LLC, a firm specializing in the development of corporate social responsibility strategies. She also served as the VP of Collaborative Initiatives for the American Cancer Society; and Special Assistant to Vice President Al Gore for the Federal Interagency Task Force on St. Petersburg.

Randall Morgan, Jr. Joins WBTT Board

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT) announced in December that Dr. Randall C. Morgan has become the newest Trustee on its Board. Dr. Morgan is a board certified

orthopedic surgeon, presently with Sarasota Orthopedic Associates. Before moving to Florida in 2005, Dr. Morgan led a prestigious medical career in Illinois and Indiana for over 30 years. He has been recognized many times for his contributions to medicine and his community. He presently serves as the first Executive Director of the W. Montague Cobb/National Medical Association Health Institute, which is named for one of his Howard University Medical School faculty members and mentors. Morgan received his medical degree from Howard University and served an internship and residency at Northwestern University in Chicago, where he was recognized as “Resident of the Year.” He returned to Illinois where he became the first African American surgeon on staff at Evanston Hospital. He later returned to his hometown of Gary, Indiana to practice medicine. He was founder of The Orthopedic Centers of Northwest Indiana, where he served as president for 20 years. Lo Berry Nominated for Sapphire Award Tampa’s own Estrellita “Lo” Berry, who is CEO of REACHUP in Tampa, has been selected by Florida Blue Foundation as a finalist in the 2014 Sapphire Awards honoring outstanding individuals, programs and nonprofits in community health care, or health fields, whose work is distinguished by leadership, innovation and achievements. Winners will be announced at the 2014 Sapphire Awards April 24th at the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort Convention Center in St. Augustine, Florida. Power Broker magazine | 9


‘Golden Generations’

My Sistah’s Place, home for women and girls


t appears as though their breakthrough dream will soon come to life. A year ago Juanita Suber (a licensed social worker) and the late Carol Brown (a real estate agent) dreamed of doing something to address the housing and service shortage for older women who face housing and care crises and young women 17 to 21 who are transitioning out of foster care.

of the property that will be transformed into My Sistah’s Place throughout this year.

After Carols’ recent transition, Juanita was determined to keep their dream alive and finally took the plunge on December 25, 2013 to launch a grassroots fundraising campaign to open doors to My Sistah’s Place, a “home away from home” for elders and girls entering adulthood without the support they need.

She says elders often face even scarier situations,such as losing their homes and being placed into assisted living facilities, without the support of children and loved ones.

She and her new board of directors are aiming to raise $80,000 more by the end of 2014, to complete renovations, and purchase the furniture and equipment needed to house up to five residents beginning in September.

Golden Generations, Inc., a nonprofit Juanita founded in 2003, was created to “bridge those transitional phases of life,” she says. “The goal is to aid transition-aged youth to achieve self-sufficiency and develop a personal support system and help older women maintain selfsufficiency and dignity of life.”

Learn more about My Sistah’s Place or send your tax deductible contribution via check or money order to Golden Generations, Inc. (2900 Pallanza Dr. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33705). You can also call or email Juanita to send you a link to contribute on-line (goldengenerations@gmail. com or 727-471-8683).

As of February 2nd, Juanita’s birthday, her on-line and hand-to-hand fundraiser was within reach of the goal to raise $15,000 to complete acquisition

10 | Power Broker magazine

Juanita says “In my field of work, I’ve heard and seen the stories of women – young and old - who’ve lost their life anchor. Take the example of Danielle, who lost her mother and was placed into a group home only to “age out” an angry young woman with a stipend of $1,200, an eighth grade education, and nowhere to go. After six months, Danielle was pregnant and homeless.”

My Sistah’s Place will provide a loving home where women in the major transitional phases of life can live with respect, caring, and trust in their own community. My Sistah’s Place is located at 2920 Pallanza Drive South, just off of MLK Street South in St. Petersburg. Juanita is hopeful that the home’s grand opening will happen this August, following renovations.

Solomon delivers message to 162 young men in St. Pete: “To be a man, “Step Up, Even if it Isn’t Easy”


– By News From St. Petersurg College

One person told Jimmie Lee Solomon he could do more than spend his life as an East Texas farmer. “I was lucky to have a grandfather that told me that I could go to college; I could be a lawyer, a doctor or a preacher,” Solomon said. “Everybody told me I couldn’t. But one person said ‘you can’ and that was all I needed to hear. Solomon went on to graduate from Dartmouth College and Harvard Law and spent a distinguished career as a top executive in Major League Baseball. This January 31st, he told the 162 male college and high school students at St. Petersburg College’s annual Keys to Manhood conference that they, too, can move beyond where they are now. They just have to believe in possibilities, and they have to be bold enough to take a chance. Solomon was the keynote speaker at the second annual conference, which is part of the college’s continuing efforts to prepare all students — especially those who may have challenges to overcome — to be successful in school and in life. Being a man, Solomon told the group, means: • Owning up to your responsibilities. • Being accountable for your actions. • Seizing opportunities when they arise. • Getting an education — whether it’s a

certificate, a job-training program or a bachelor’s or graduate degree. • Developing employable skills. He advised them to disregard the media’s portrayal of manhood, which often encourages poor values and decisions. “You’ve got to break the conditioning,” he said. Part of his work with Major League Baseball was to develop programs to help young people in poor neighborhoods break that cycle. He spearheaded the development of Urban Youth Academies in Houston, Compton, Baton Rouge, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, to provides youths with professional training for MLB careers — not just on the field, but in roles throughout the organization, from groundskeeper through executive. “You’ve got to get a skill set that allows you an opportunity, a chance to be successful in our society. Without it, you have no chance,” Solomon said. Solomon’s message about being prepared for success and staying focused on education resonated with Charles Bazelais, 17. He traveled from Riverside Academy in Tampa to attend the Keys to Manhood event. “It was really important that he talked about not giving up and staying focused because you see the results of people like him who do stay focused,” said Bazelais, who plans to go on to study real estate

at the Gold Coast School of Real Estate in Miami. “I just gotta stay focused and finish school.” Solomon shared a personal story about his path to manhood. When he was a young lawyer, Solomon visited his hometown to speak about his success to students at a local school. After the speech, by accident, he met Tricia, his 12-year-old daughter that he didn’t know existed. When he realized she was at risk, living with her maternal grandmother in poverty, he decided to invite her to stay with him. “I brought my daughter in to live with me less than a year after I met her,” he said. Although it uprooted his plans for his career, he recognized his responsibilities. “It was important for me to recognize my priorities as a man,” Solomon said. Manhood didn’t mean getting rich. “It meant setting my needs on the back burner and helping a young person figure out what she needed in order to be successful,” he said. His daughter, now in her 30s, went on to graduate from George Washington University and is now a successful attorney in Atlanta. Solomon shares this story to help young men understand that his personal and professional success, as well as his daughter’s, is due to education and a willingness to embrace his idea of manhood.

Power Broker magazine | 11

Rev. Deborah (right) being heralded by Pastor Frank Peterman during her installation ceremony.

Rev. Dr. Deborah Green

becomes first female pastor of a Missionary Baptist church in St. Petersburg This past August, the Reverend Dr. Deborah Green was installed as senior pastor of Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, making her the first woman ever selected to lead a church of the Missionary Baptist denomination in St. Petersburg. The honor was a full circle moment for Rev. Deborah, as she is called by her flock, especially because her mother was the first woman to be ordained under the Baptist jurisdiction in Florida in 1990.

“It means so much to me to be called to pastor the people ofMt. Calvary. Witnessing what my mother endured in her struggle for acceptance among many of her male peers, the church has come a long way over the past quarter of a century. This role will allow me to use all of the expertise I’ve acquired in both ministry and non-profit leadership.

12 | Power Broker magazine

Rev. Deborah is the only child of the late Rev. Dr. Constance Samuels and Edward Green. She was raised by her step-father Nathaniel Jerido and accepted Jesus as Lord at an early age. The new pastor first accepted the invitation of discipleship from Pastor Long of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, but spent most of her childhood under the pastorage of her great-grandfather, Rev. Dr. Charles Gardner, as a member of the Greater St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church. After graduating from Lakewood Senior High, Rev. Deborah earned a Bachelor’s degree from BethuneCookman College, then a Master’s in Christian Education and a Doctoral Degree in Christian Ministry, both from Tampa Bay Bible College. Rev. Deborah built a reputation in the mission field, working alongside her mother at Earth Mission Ministries, Inc., where she served as Executive Director of the Youth Cultural Arts Program and as Youth Pastor. Earth Mission provided an after school program to youth ages 5 -17 to alter

defiant behavior by building selfesteem through the performing arts. She began ministering in 1999, on her mother’s birthday, and in 2001, was ordained and commissioned to go higher in the work of the Lord. Rev. Deborah has always been a program preacher with a long history of work with non-profits. She has served with the James Sanderlin Family Center, WorkNet Pinellas, Mt. Zion Human Services, Suncoast Hospice, and now with Mt. Calvary, Inc. In 2008 she resurrected the program component of Earth Mission, by obtaining a contract with the Florida Department of Education Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to help individuals with disabilities, including ex-offenders, to obtain gainful employment. Mt. Calvary’s outgoing Pastor of 12 years, Robert Peak, Jr., began mentoring Rev. Deborah in 1999 and will maintain a close relationship with his mentee as she moves forward in her pastorage.

Nikki Gaskin Capehart Nikki Gaskin Capehart

The new Director of Urban Affairs for the City of St. Petersburg


t seems that just about all of South St. Petersburg knows Nikki Gaskin Capehart. Whether you went to school with her; met her in her role representing Congresswoman Kathy Castor; know her as a Soror with Delta Sigma Theta; or are a member of her church family at Mt Calvary Missionary Baptist. Her face is as familiar as just about anyone in the community, but questions abound about what precisely Nikki will do in City Hall.

Not only is she newly named as Director of Urban Affairs for the City, but the position itself is brand spanking new. And for those who wonder whether Nikki is “Go Davis version 2.0,” think again. Besides the fact that our former Deputy Mayor Dr. Goliath Davis is irreplaceable, Capehart has a far different terrain, not only geographically but substantively. Whereas Dr. Davis was tasked by former Mayor Rick Baker with shepherding a specific slate of projects – mostly constructionrelated – within the tightly bounded Midtown area, Capehart’s domain is more diverse: from the Skyway district on U.S. 19 South and the emerging EDGE business

corridor along Central to the still untapped potential of the City’s downtown.

And yes, Midtown, along with Childs Park and other areas of South St. Petersburg are a bread and butter focus for the new Urban Affairs official as well.

The Plan includes a heavy emphasis on job training and placement and other human services. Capehart will help refine the 2020 Plan’s wrap-around family services pilot program this summer, which will work with the parents of 24 low-income families to enter new or better paying jobs.

Capehart says “Mayor Baker and Dr. Davis sparked a renaissance in Midtown, which has a much different landscape today because of their work.” Indeed, the two men led nearly 450,000 square feet of new construction, renovation and preservation projects in the area from 2002 to 2009.

“And that’s precisely what enables me to focus more deeply in priority areas, such as workforce development and youth development, to help our City reach its potential as an economic power in Florida,” said Capehart. She has also become a central figure in guiding Mayor Rick Kriseman’s commitment to the 2020 Plan to reduce poverty in South St. Petersburg by 30% by the 2020 Census.

Prior to joining the City, Nikki served as the Director of Communications & External Affairs for the Pinellas County Urban League; and before that, as Deputy District Director for Congresswoman Kathy Castor; Executive Director of the Partnership for a Healthier Pinellas; Outreach Director for Congressman Jim Davis; owner of Sanaa’ Systems Inc.; and Assistant Vice President of Community Development Banking for AmSouth Bank. Nikki is a graduate of the University of South Florida and several leadership development programs including the National Urban Fellows, America’s Leaders of Change Cohort II program.

Power Broker magazine | 13

Excitement is building Future Midtown Center Coming 2015

for your future St. Petersburg College is invested in the success of the Midtown area and its residents. Our new center, coming in 2015, will be more than a college campus. It will be a community hub where we will teach, learn and grow together.

SPC is committed to being your partner – now and in the future. | 727-341-4772 St. Petersburg College is an Equal Access/Equal Opportunity institution. 14-0077-01

14 | Power Broker magazine

Power Broker magazine | 15

16 | Power Broker magazine

Career Moves

Binger exits banking after 25 years, enters commercial insurance


fter more than a quarter of a century in the banking industry, Roy Binger exited his role as City President at SunTrust Bank, and entered a whole new era. The 52-year old father of two adult daughters is now a Commercial Insurance Advisor for Wallace Welch & Willingham, one of Florida’s oldest commercial firms. Roy says he will use his years of experience with large commercial transactions in the finance sector to help his clients – corporations, municipalities, businesses and non-profit agencies – maximize their risk coverage and bottom lines.

“This comes with a learning curve, but it’s exciting to see my financial skills help companies and organizations get more value out of their insurance investments,” says Binger. A release by Wallace Welch & Willingham says Roy’s primary role will be to help companies obtain property & casualty and workers compensation insurance. Scott Gramling, WWW’s CEO said “Roy is a great addition to Wallace Welch & Willingham. His background in finance and his outstanding community involvement are a perfect fit with our corporate culture.” Roy received his MBA in Finance from the University of Miami

and holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics. He serves on several local boards. Some of his current affiliations include Board Member of USF St. Petersburg, Board of Trustees for the Museum of Fine Arts, Bayfront Health Education and Research Organization, Inc., and St. Petersburg Catholic High School. Roy also serves on the Finance Committee of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and is a coach for the St. Petersburg Junior Triton Basketball Team. Wallace Welch & Willingham is an independent insurance agency, founded in 1925. The firm is headquartered in downtown St. Petersburg. Reach Roy at Wallace Welch & Willingham’s office: (727) 522-7777 ext 168 | rbinger@ | 

Power Broker magazine | 17

VIP Judges

Event Sponsored by:

18 | Power Broker magazine

Bridgette Bello

Cloe Cabrerra

Sef Gonzalez

Ernest Hooper

Franco Silva

Gayle Guyardo

Guido Maniscalco

Harry Cohen

Janet Rifkin Cruz

Jeff Houck

Jose Bello

Larry Cotton

Lisa Figueredo

Lydia Guzmรกn

Mary Mulhern

Mike Suarez

Shawn Robinson

Tammy Levent

Vince Pardo

Power Broker magazine | 19

Truth Time – Shedding Light on Lies and Part Truths No, Obamacare will not kill jobs

CBO Director: Actually,

Obamacare Will Reduce Unemployment The Huffington Post | Published February 6, 2014 President Obama’s health care reform law isn’t going to kill 2.5 million jobs, Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Elmendorf told the House Budget Committee in early February. One day after multiple media outlets misinterpreted a CBO report on Obamacare, Elmendorf clarified the CBO’s position during the hearing. The federal agency, Elmendorf said, had found Obamacare “spurs employment and would reduce unemployment over the next few years.” “When you boost demand for labor in this kind of economy, you actually reduce the unemployment rate, because those people who are looking for work can find more work,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) asked Elmendorf. “Yes, that’s right,” Elmendorf responded.

20 | Power Broker magazine

A number of new organizations wrongly interpreted the agency’s report Wednesday as saying that Obamacare “killed” 2.5 million jobs. In reality, the agency found Obamacare could shrink the workforce by the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time workers over the next 10 years. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Obamacare could cause a reduction in employment because it makes health care more accessible, allowing Americans to quit jobs they only keep for the health care coverage. That’s not killing jobs. It’s giving workers the ability to quit jobs they don’t want. Representative Van Hollen called the media out for misreading the report. “As the media has themselves confessed, they bought -- hook, line and sinker -- some of the talking points from our Republicans, and unfortunately

misrepresentations go around the world three times before the truth begins to catch up,” Van Hollen said. As pointed out by Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post, it’s extremely difficult to accurately predict the long-term employment consequences of Obamacare, a nearly unprecedented expansion of the country’s health care industry:

“The body of research on how health insurance expansion affects labor force participation is far from complete, ecoomists say, mostly because there aren’t that many health insurance expansions to study. Researchers don’t know for certain how many people keep their jobs because they provide health insurance -- or how many would leave their jobs if they had access to affordable health coverage elsewhere.”

Power Broker magazine | 21

22 | Power Broker magazine

Power Broker magazine | 23

24 | Power Broker magazine

Power Broker magazine | 25

Gordon & White Honored for 33 Years of Leadership & Service It was welcomed recognition for the characteristically quiet Cedric Gordon and Al White, when the St. Petersburg City Council honored them with the “Key to the City” for their 33 years of service to the City’s Police Department. Gordon and White retired in 2013 from their posts as Assistant Chief of Police and Detective Sergeant respectively. The ceremony happened this January in City Council chambers, attended by Mayor Rick Kriseman, along with the presidents of the NAACP, Urban League and Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Pinellas County. Proclamations and letters from U.S Congressman Bill Young, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, U. S. Representative Kathy Castor, State Attorney Bernie McCabe, and Bob Dillinger, Public Defender, Six Judicial Circuit, also marked the occasion. It was a second recent show of appreciation. The two men received a standing ovation at their October 2013 retirement celebration at the Hilton Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg. The October event, hosted by Dr. Goliath Davis, the former police chief and deputy mayor of the City, drew a full house audience of people who offered tribute after tribute for Gordon and White’s professional and personal service. Gordon made news recently as Chairman of the Public Safety Taskgroup of the Transition Team assembled by Mayor Rick Kriseman following his November 2013 win over former Mayor Bill Foster. 26 | Power Broker magazine

A Tampa Bay Times editorial applauded Gordon’s Taskgroup recommendations. He and White both helped drive African American voter support to Kriseman, who handily won a large majority in each of the City’s majorityblack precincts. White has since relocated to his home state of Alabama with his wife. He says ““It was a privilege to serve all the citizens of the St. Petersburg, but I give special thanks to the ones I call down to earth, every day people.”

About the Honorees Assistant Chief Cedric Frank Gordon joined the City’s Police Department in 1980 and was promoted up the ranks from Patrol Officer to the Special Operations division as a Detective specializing in Surveillance and Covert Operations; then to Sergeant in 1984, Lieutenant in 1990; Major in 1992 and ultimately in 1995 to Assistant Chief of Police. The proclamation issued by City Councilmember Wengay Newton praised Gordon’s community service, as host of a weekly call-in radio talk show, board member of the Pinellas County Urban League, site director and mentor for the 5000 Role Models program, and as a torchbearer in “Carrying Forward the Legacy of the Courageous 12,” the 12 African American police officers who won a landmark lawsuit in 1965 against the City and the Police Department that led to equal rights and full integration within the Department.

The former assistant chief is the recipient of over a dozen awards for community service, including the Sons of Allen 2002 Hero of the People Award, the 2003 Ebony Scholars Leadership Award for Outstanding Community Service, and the 2004 NAACP Law Enforcement Community Service Award, among others. Detective Sergeant Al White joined the Police Department in 1980 while attending the University of South Florida, majoring in Criminal Justice and after four years of service to the U.S. Air Force. Graduating third in his class at the Police Academy, White went on to serve as a patrol officer before being assigned to the Vice and Narcotics Division as a Detective where he distinguished himself with a DEA Task Force. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1987, and later transferred to the Investigative Services Bureau supervising criminal investigations for the burglary and robbery squads. White also served as Sergeant in Charge of Robbery-Homicide and as Acting Major in the Crimes against Persons division. The retiree has been honored with the esteem and recognition of groups such as Faith Memorial Missionary Baptist Church, along with Gordon, for his work in continuing the legacy of the “Courageous 12,” as well as by the Ebony Scholars, the Power Broker Magazine in its 2009 Who’s Who edition, the NAACP, and the St. Petersburg Rotary Club, which awarded White the prestigious Ned March Award.

Tampa Bay becomes a stage for the growing resurgence of classic/conscious hip hop


nybody over the age of 35 remembers the original old school hip hop, light, fun, and “fresh,” as we used to say. Most of us didn’t relate to the ‘gangsta rap’ phase of hip hop, with its foul language, woman-hating lyrics, and glorification of crime and drugs. But we can take heart that classic hip hop is making a comeback, and that Tampa is helping to set the stage. In May of 2014, OutKast – the Grammy Award-winning rap duo - Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton – will headline Tampa’s new Big

Guava Music Festival. The concert is part of OutKast’s 20th anniversary comeback and reunion tour which has Benjamin and Patton performing together for the first time in 10 years in 40 cities. The two men never formally split but haven’t worked together since the release of the 2006 soundtrack “Idlewild.” See them at the Big Guava Music Festival, May 2-4 at the Florida State Fairgrounds, as part of a who’s who line-up of indie rock and pop acts. Other groups on stage for the Festival include Foster the People, Vampire Weekend, Slightly Stoopid, Cake, Tegan and Sara, Violent Femmes and Haim. 

For more details about attending or vending at The Big Guava Music Festival, visit Power Broker magazine | 27

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) march in the 29th annual Kingdom Day Parade on January 20, 2014 in Los Angeles. (Photo by David McNew/Getty)

Obamacare success overlooked after failures over-covered Opinion by David A. Love | Published by You can say what you want about Obamacare, but you can’t call it a failure.  It is turning into a political and practical success story, and it is gaining momentum every day. So much had been focused in the media on the shortcomings, failures and setbacks in the initial implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  Now granted, the rollout was rocky, and the website,, suffered from flaws so many glitches and shutdowns that critics dismissed it as an abysmal failure.

Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, more than 6.3 million Americans are now eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. As many as 4 million new people signed up for Medicaid since October 1.  With millions of people who did not have access to healthcare or who could not otherwise afford it now having it, now that is what you call progress.

And yet, take a look at the successes: Obamacare has hit 3 million enrollments, a sign the administration has turned the corner on the healthcare reform law.  And the White House has a fighting chance of meeting its initial goal of 7 million enrolled by the end of March.

Meanwhile, with 60 days left for open enrollment in Obamacare, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds more people are becoming comfortable with the health care law. Negative perceptions of the rollout have decreased from 76 percent in December to 66 percent today.  And while 71 percent of people encountered problems on the health care website, those experiencing successes soared from 24 percent in December to 40 percent today.

Further, with the expansion of

According to a poll from the

28 | Power Broker magazine

National Association for Business Economics, the vast majority of businesses—75 percent— said that the Affordable Care Act will have no impact on their business conditions, while 85 percent said it would not change their hiring plans. For a concept fraught with such partisan division as Obamacare, the Republican criticism was made to order. And why not?  This is politics.  The GOP had a vested interest in the failure of the President’s ambitious initiative.  They knew if he succeeded, and apparently he has, the Democrats could solidify their support among voters, with millions of happy customers. There is no other way to explain the doomsday scenario by the Tea Party, with their cries of government intrusion, and their prediction of death panels, socialism, fascism, and any number of isms designed to

will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country until one Let us not forget that in day as Normal Thomas the 1930s under President said we will wake to find Roosevelt, critics of Social that we have socialism, and Security labeled the program if you don’t do this and I as socialism and prohibitively expansive government control. don’t do this, one of these One Republican lawmaker at days we are going to spend the time predicted “The lash of our sunset years telling our the dictator will be felt, and 25 children and our children’s million free American citizens will for the first time submit children, what it once was themselves to a fingerprint like in America when men test.” were free.” scare people into rejecting Obamacare.  The country has been down this road before.

In 1961, Ronald Reagan, acting as hired help for the American Medical Association, warned of the perils of the Democratic initiative later known as Medicare. “One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project, most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it,” Reagan said in a recorded speech. “Now, the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it.” “[Y]ou demand the continuation of our free enterprise system. You and I can do this. The only way we can do it is by writing to our congressmen even we believe that he is on our side to begin with,” Reagan added, urging the public to act.

“If you don’t, this program I promise you, will pass just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow and behind it will come other government programs that

Contrary to the naysayers, the sky did not fall, and Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid made America better. In fact, these programs enriched our lives.  They evolved and expanded along the way, just as Obamacare undoubtedly will evolve. And yet, there are valid criticisms of Obamacare, which was a political compromise made in a Washington, DC sausage factory, providing what some regard as a universal right within the constraints of the for-profit, free market system.   For example, progressives preferred a public option, or a government run, single-payer system, or simply Medicare for all. For now, after the public was bombarded with nonstop coverage of the Obamacare website failure, now things are operating smoothly and there is relative silence. Meanwhile, three Republican senators— Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)— have proposed an alternative to Obamacare.  You can hear crickets chirp.  Good luck with that. Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove   Power Broker magazine | 29

30 | Power Broker magazine

Dr. Nathalia Forte I don’t have it

Power Broker magazine | 31


West coast


By Loften Mitchell Journey back to the Harlem Renaissance (1920-1940) when audiences flocked to the area’s popular nightclubs to see the greatest talents entertain. Artists like Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Billie Holliday created this golden age of music. Bubbling Brown Sugar opened on Broadway in 1976 and was nominated for three Tony awards. The idea for the show was envisioned by a theater director, Rosetta LeNoire, whose nickname was “Brown Sugar.” One man referred to her as “Bubbling Brown Sugar” because it fit her personality. LeNoire thought this was an appropriate name for the show because “to get brown sugar, one must use white sugar and dark sugar together.”

apr 9 to MaY 11, 2014


Paid for in Part by SaraSota County touriSt develoPment tax revenueS

caLL 941-366-1505 NoW WBttsrQ.orG

32 | Power Broker magazine

a Power Broker Interview exclusive

Tampa Bay Becomes

Spotlight for Obamacare Push

By Carl Lavender, Jr. and Marcy Palmeri Tampa Bay became a spotlight for the nationwide wave of Obamacare enrollments during the threemonth push that ended December 31st 2013. In the lead up to the media-hyped January 13th visit to Pinellas and Hillsborough counties by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, the Power Broker’s Carl Lavender and Marcy Palmeri sat down with Melanie Hall, Executive Director of The Family Healthcare Foundation, and Carrie Hepburn, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Healthcare

Collaborative, for their “insider’s take” on where Tampa Bay ranks in the national push for Obamacare. CARL: Melanie and Carrie, welcome to the Pinellas County Urban League, our host site for this feature interview. Thank you for agreeing to participate. First, give our readers a quick introduction. What is Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act? Why was the Act created and why is it important? MELANIE: The Affordable Care

Act became the law of the land in 2010, and it gives consumers choices for the type of health care they purchase based on their individual needs. It puts Americans in control of their own health care and offers affordable care for everyone. It’s important because there are now opportunities for the uninsured who don’t have insurance through a job to get affordable coverage. That includes children who stay on their parents’ policies up to the age of 26 as well as people with preexisting conditions.

Power Broker magazine | 33

CARRIE: We live in a culture of “sickcare.” We seek out doctors and care not when we are healthy, but when we are sick. With the Affordable Care Act we hope to change that. The idea is to go get checked routinely and consistently, to lead people away from the habit of getting sick-care to the habit of managing health care. There is a difference.

CARL: What are the challenges with this law? MELANIE: It’s been much too politicized, both pro and con. CARRIE: The media put a spin on it as well. When it was announced that the website was open for enrollment, followed by all the challenges with the site, it created a frenzy, not to mention the conservative spin that cast Obamacare as bad. The problem was with the website, not with the health care program itself. We need to be clear on that.

CARL: We are in the midst of

national open enrollment. Can you explain what open enrollment is, and how your organizations are involved?

MELANIE: Open enrollment began October 1, 2013 and will continue through March 31st 2014. It’s the same as when you’re in a job and have employer sponsored insurance. There, you get two weeks to a month to choose an insurance plan. It’s similar but longer for Obamacare. The goal was to reach 7 million people during open enrollment. After March 31st, the next enrollment period will be November 15, 2014 to January 15, 2015. This is new and will take time before people become comfortable with the process. CARRIE: Through the professional assistance of health care navigators we’re guiding people into a virtual health insurance market place where folks can go to choose their own health care plans. The website has been fixed.  MELANIE: That’s very important for people to understand. People who originally couldn’t complete the market place application online, can do so now. They are able to create their own accounts, and their plans will let them tap into immediate benefits such as mammograms, cancer screening,

34 | Power Broker magazine

and more, without a copayment.

CARL: I also have been told that

if the website is ever jammed, or has glitches there are paper applications available at community locations. Where can people go for face-to-face help?

MELANIE: Good point. Let me explain. My organization – the Family Healthcare Foundation – is the recipient under a grant from USF Tampa and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, to help roll out the Healthcare Navigator program. A Navigator is the only certified professional qualified and authorized by the federal government to organize a sit down one-on-one with any adult to help them “navigate” the enrollment process. Navigators have extensive training and must adhere to confidentiality. They can help answer the applicant’s questions about requirements and options. CARRIE: Various non-profit organizations have folks available on staff to help people get through the process. In Pinellas County that includes Pinellas County Health & Community Services, all Neighborhood Family Centers and BayCare Health System; and in Hillsborough, you have groups like Tampa Family Health Centers. MELANIE: That one-on-one assistance can make all the difference. Take the example of a single mom with a family of four making $30,000 per year. A Navigator can help her understand all that’s available, such as qualifying for coverage under Florida Kid Care, and accessing tax credits to help cover insurance costs.

CARL: With so much support

available there should be no excuse for people to say “I don’t have insurance.” We should all be moving toward a more healthy lifestyle. Do you see our nation headed in that direction?

CARRIE and MELANIE (in unison): Um, no. MELANIE: We aren’t there yet, but Obamacare was a huge step forward in bringing health care coverage to more people. CARRIE: The Affordable Care Act

will make insurance more accessible to people. It’s a much longer journey toward Americans truly embracing healthier lifestyles. MELANIE: And we have to use this opportunity to continue pushing that shift. We have to move away from the reality that folks who are uninsured too often wait until they are really ill to seek care in the most costly way, in emergency rooms. We have to realize how that affects us all. People who have healthcare coverage on their jobs are the ones who absorb much of those ER costs through higher premiums. Having folks have affordable coverage will let them access care before they have to use emergency rooms. That will help reduce costs for everyone.

CARL: We heard in late December that over 1.1 million people had signed up on the federal marketplace. How is Obamacare doing in Tampa Bay? And what can community leaders do to help? MELANIE: The good news is that, overall, Florida is leading the nation in the federal market. The need for the marketplace is high in Florida. We have a very high uninsured rate. You’d be surprised to learn the tremendous effort being put into this. It’s excited to see entire communities throughout our state rally in support of open enrollment. I would love to know that Tampa Bay is leading Florida in that same measure. And people have options to get the help they need. They can contact us at or locally at 813-995-1066. They can leave a message, request one-on-one assistance, leave their contact info and zip code and we will get them connected to people that can help them. For face to face contact, they can also stop by any Community Health Center, like Johnnie Ruth Clark in St. Petersburg and [Readers – those locations are listed on the next page]

CARL: Speaking of rallying, your situation is unique in that you were able to pull folks together that don’t normally “play in the same sandbox” together. MELANIE: Yes. Thanks to the support of a private funder we were

able to design a collaboration that is fairly unique. We were able to build alliances with hospitals and local community based organizations. The work in Tampa Bay has caught the attention of leaders in Washington D.C.

CARL: Can you tell me who it was?

MELANIE: Allegany Franciscan Ministries. They are a huge supporter of helping

the uninsured gain access to care. Carrie and I are working together with getting folks and their families the help they need. The collaboration is also leading the effort to make sure we are maximizing the dollars that come into our community for this effort. CARRIE: Commitment goes beyond dollars on the table, it has to include action. We are excited to be a part of this amazing movement.

Where to go to learn more about Health Insurance Options For advice/locations, call the Family Healthcare Foundation, 813-995-1066 serving Hillsborough and Pinellas

Family Healthcare Foundation Main Office

Serving Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk 813.995-1066 By appointment Hospital Based Navigators St. Joseph’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital 3001 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Tampa 855.404.3334 By appointment St. Anthony’s Hospit 1200 7th Ave. North St. Petersburg 855.404.3334 By appointment Morton Plant Hospital 300 Pinellas Street Clearwater 855.404.3334 By Appointment Morton Plant Northbay Hospital 6600 Madison Street New Port Richey 855.404.3334 By appointment Winter Haven Hospital 200 Avenue F NE Winter Haven 855.404.3334 By appointment South Florida Baptist Hospital 1603 W. Reynolds St. Plant City 855.404.3334 By appointment St. Joseph’s Hospital North 4211 Van Dyke Rd Lutz 855.404.3334 By appointment Bardmoor Outpatient Center 8839 Bryan Dairy Rd. Largo 855.404.3334 By appointment Mease Dunedin Hospital 601 Main Street Dunedin 855.404.3334 By Appointment

Mease Countryside Hospital 3231 McMullen Booth Rd Safety Harbor 855.404.3334 By appointment Florida Hospital - Zephyrhills 7050 Gall Blvd. Zephyrhills 813.956.0207 Tuesday 9 a.m - 1 p.m. Florida Hospital - Wesley Chapel 2600 Bruce B. Downs Tampa 813.956.0207 Thursday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Florida Hospital - North Tampa 3100 E. Fletcher Ave Tampa 813.956.0207 Wednesday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Florida Hospital - North Pinellas 1935 Pinellas Ave Tarpon Springs 727.507.6330 ext. 238 Monday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Community Based Navigators

REACH UP 2902 N. Armenia Avenue Suite 100 Tampa 813.712.6300 By appointment Hispanic Services Council 2902 N. Armenia Ave. Suite 200 Tampa 813.936.7700 By appointment United Way Suncoast 5201 W. Kennedy Blvd. Suite 600 Tampa 813.274.0984 By appointment United Way of Central Florida 1201 Lakeland Hills Blvd. Family Fundamentals/LVIM Bldg. Lakeland 863.686.1221 x 226 By appointment Healthy Start Coalition of Pinellas County 2600 E Bay Drive, Suite 210 Largo 727.507-6330 x 238 By appointment Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County 2806 N. Armenia Suite 100 Tampa 813.233.2800 By appointment

Family Support and Resource Center Locations (staffed by Healthy Start Coalition of Hillsborough County’s Navigator)

FSRC - Brandon 1271 Kingsway Rd. Brandon 813.233.2800 Monday AM FSRC - Central Tampa 1002 E. Palm Ave Tampa 813.233.2800 By appointment FSRC - East County 639 E. Alexander St. Plant City 813.233.2800 Monday PM FSRC - North Tampa 1401 A E. Fowler Ave Tampa 813.233.2800 Wednesday 9 - 2 FSRC - South County 3030 E. College Ave Ruskin 813.233.2800 Thursday 9 - 2 FSRC - Town N Country 7520 W. Waters Ave. #8 Tampa 813.233.2800 Tuesday 9-2 Recreation Center Sites Jackson Heights Recreation Center 3310 E. Lake Ave Tampa 813.995.1066 Tuesdays 4 - 7 Cyrus Green Recreation Center 2101 E Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Tampa 813.995-1066 Thursdays 4 - 7

Hispanic Services Council Satellite Locations Wimauma: 5701 Camp Street 813.936-7700 Thursdays 1 - 5 Plant City: 503 N. Palmer St. 813.936.7700 Tuesdays 1 - 8 Ruskin:815 E. College Ave 813.936.7700 Every other Tuesday morning

Power Broker magazine | 35

36 | Power Broker magazine

Can You Fill These Shoes?

St. Petersburg Police Department “An Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer”

• 100% Sponsorship • Excellent Pay & Benefits • G.I. Bill Benefits • Take-home Vehicle Program •Tuition Reimbursement • Education Incentive

Accept The Challenge! Call Now To Begin Your Journey!

(727) 892-5555

Power Broker magazine | 37

Cover Story

Dr. Kevin Gordon

Leads St. Petersburg College and City into a Whole New Era


hen looked at against the “long arc of history” famously described by Rev. Martin Luther King, Dr. Kevin Gordon stands on the shoulders of the educational giants who came before him. People like Adelle Jemison, Vyrle Davis, Dr. Mildred Brown, Yvonne Reed Clayton, and Dr. Henry Oliver, who blazed new trails for education as a pathway to opportunity for African

38 | Power Broker magazine

Americans. Yet when eyed in his present post – as chief executive officer of St. Petersburg College’s Downtown and Midtown campuses - Gordon is a bridge to the future. He first gained renown for the turnaround success story he led as principal of Gibbs High School. During his three years at the helm, Gibbs went from an F rating to a grade just shy of an A. But since being installed as Provost of three St. Petersburg

College satellite campuses, Gordon has become one of two dozen or so central figures now leading the City into a whole new era. Gordon is part-and-parcel of the increasing integration between South St. Petersburg’s community economy, with the growing base of leading edge employers and industry base converging in the City’s downtown. In that sense, the 49-year old native of South St. Pete and graduate of Gibbs High Scool,

Dr. Kevin Gordon on the 4-acre site on 22nd Street South and 13th Avenue in Midtown, soon to be home to a new 45,000 square foot classroom center and campus. The new facility will replace a 10,000-square-foot building a few blocks north which the College has leased from the St. Petersburg Housing Authority since 2003.

has kept one eye on the community he calls home, while connecting the City’s labor force to the high tech jobs of the future. As an example of his handiwork, Gordon helped spearheaded a partnership with LumaStream, a manufacturer of intelligent lighting systems, to train students in the company’s state of the art 23,000 square foot production facility, located on the northern edge of the Midtown community. In tandem with that, a related priority project for him is Florida TRADE, an initiative headquartered at St. Petersburg College and being implemented at 12 institutions statewide to offer fast-track skills certifications to prepare students to enter manufacturing jobs. Thanks in part to his efforts, a full one- third of students enrolled in 2013 were African American. The College and LumaStream began their first joint advanced manufacturing training this past October with a crop of 12 students who will go on to enter paid internships in the field. The College hired an Outreach

Specialist to promote Florida TRADE and other science and technology degree programs, and to partner with WorkNet Pinellas and others to reach adult workers who want to take their careers to the next level. Gordon is also helping to steer the Community Benefit program by LEMA Construction, the firm selected to build a new 45,000 square foot Midtown campus for the College. The program, run by the Pinellas County Urban League, targets 30% of the project spend to community businesses, vendors and contractors. Gordon says “What we’re doing at St. Petersburg College is growing the base of skilled, qualified workers to fill jobs in high growth sectors, not only for South St. Petersburg’s workforce but for students from all across the City.” His focus on technology is tied to his passion for closing the achievement gap. Gordon considers it a priority for African American males in particular to be exposed to technology very early on. “My 10 year old son already knows he wants to be an

engineer from play time choices like Legos and my wife and I encouraging him to build things and pursue enrichment activities like summer robotics camp.” Apart from his work at St. Petersburg College, Gordon is backing community efforts to improve technology access and leadership in schools through his role as Chairman of the Urban League’s Education Advisory Council, which is working toward a leadership training program, starting with principals in South St. Petersburg schools. He’s also one of 26 key leaders on the 2020 Plan Taskforce, helping to steer a plan to reduce South St. Petersburg’s poverty rate by 30% by the 2020 Census. Going forward, Gordon says his campuses will continue to focus on the evolving market place, particularly high skill positions in fields such as environmental sciences, renewable and green technologies, and high tech electronics. “Our emphasis with be where job demand is the greatest.” And, he says, “We’ll continue to focus on young people who need and can fill those skilled positions.”

Power Broker magazine | 39

Tonjua Williams, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at the College, says Gordon’s deep roots in the community will be valuable as the college continues to expand its offerings. “Kevin grew up here, and he knows the community,” Williams said. “He’s passionate about education at all levels and is uniquely positioned to help students of all ages and needs reach their goals.” Both Williams and Gordon, along with others like Dr. Linda Hogans, are working to increase the school’s recruitment of students from lowincome backgrounds, especially black males. As a part of their community outreach effort, the College now offers a five week summer camp for disadvantaged high school students, at the end of which students receive a $500 stipend. The program is backed by Junior Achievement and Pinellas County Schools. “The College Experience” orientation is another way to support student success. New students meet with their advisors to develop a learning plan which maps out courses based on a career assessment that indicates where each student is most likely to excel. The program is enhanced by out-of-class tutoring. Gordon firmly believes that success in college should be purposefully formulated by each student, especially working adults and parents. “Students should look at all

the things they have going on in their lives to determine their course load. If they have children, a job, or parents to care for, they need to take all of this into consideration and manage accordingly.”

His advice to people considering higher education: “Prepare yourself to be successful. Don’t hurry through your education; don’t take four classes when you can only handle three. Develop a work plan for as long as it takes.”

Dr. Gordon has a bachelor’s in economics from Florida State University and a master’s in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University. He completed his doctorate in educational leadership at the University of South Florida in 2011. 40 | Power Broker magazine

SPC Closing the College Success Gap The January 2014 meeting of the St. Petersburg College Board of Trustees celebrated strong results in closing the “success rate” gap for minority students. Jesse Coraggio, Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Research, and Grants, reported that initiatives to improve support for students appear to be paying off. Success rates — the number of students who complete a course with an A, B or C — increased for a third semester in a row during Fall Semester 2013; and increased most markedly for African American males in comparison to white and Latino men. Black males saw their success rate rise by nearly 14 percentage points while Latino males’ success rate climbed by 6.5 points and whites males improved by 5.

About Stephanie Brown’s GrowWomen


ummer 1975. Gerald Ford was the president and Muhammad Ali was set to take on Joe Frazier in The famous Thrilla in Manila. But in a small Arkansas town an 11-­year­-old girl was trading in summer break trips to the ice cream shop for a job selling burial insurance door to door with her funeral home owner father. It was the first job “in business” for Grow Women’s Stephanie M. Brown. It was one that taught her the importance of service, structure and leadership.

Now after two decades in the world of business and marketing, she continues to employ the same values with Grow Women. Stephanie considers Grow Women to be her life’s calling. Every experience educationally, personally, professionally and spiritually has prepared her for her role as a Life Coach for Women. Women get coaching from a survivor with guidance from God. She encourages women to dig up their confidence and make moves in the areas of peace, purpose and progress. She earned an MBA in market-

ing and has 20+ years in sales, marketing and entrepreneurial training. She has certification in one of the leading research based relationship education programs in the world, PREP; is a licensed facilitator of the Identity and Destiny program and holds certification in national entrepreneurial programs, Fast Trac and NFTE, plus certification in Evagelism Explosion. Arkansas native, now self-proclaimed “Florida girl,” Stephanie has been in the Tampa Bay area for over 20 years. During that time she has been busy pursuing her three passions: her family, healthy living and entrepreneurship.

Power Broker magazine | 41

PTEC’s graduation ceremonies, bigger than they used to be, are graduating hundreds of “career ready” students each year many from South St. Petersburg and areas like Greenwood in Clearwater.

The New PTEC

New leadership, new directions, new levels of student success By Marcy Palmeri


f you’re like most people you shop around before making a final decision when it comes to life’s most important purchases. As responsible adults, we do our homework and seek out those who best represent our interests when life-altering choices are involved. And when it comes to adults making choices about their own education, many of us take the time to explore the right next step toward financial and personal independence.

42 | Power Broker magazine

Boe Norwood, six-year Assistant Director of Pinellas Technical Education Center (called PTEC for short), and the rest of the leadership team at the school are working to take the guess work out of the equation. Norwood, who served on the administration teams at Osceola Fundamental High and Gibbs High School before transitioning to PTEC, says “We haven’t reinvented the wheel, we’ve realigned it, to give students more of the in-demand job and career training that can help them enter

the workforce earning respectable wages.” PTEC has long offered a diverse menu of career training programs, but these days, said Norwood “We’re giving students more of the courses that can lead most directly into the workforce. As a result of students and workers’ feedback, we’ve brought back the culinary, cosmetology and automotive programs..” Arlene Corbin, a 23-year veteran of PTEC and Director of the South Pinellas campus, says the realignment is proving successful.

“I’m so proud of recent results. Data from last school year shows that 89% of students who complete PTEC programs find jobs in their fields. Also, this year 88% of nursing and cosmetology students passed their State licensure exam on the first try!”

stop center of career education.” Tuition costs for career based learning centers like PTEC are considerably lower, and allow students to enter the workforce at an accelerated pace, compared to the more conventional college option. Both the St. Pete and Clearwater campuses of PTEC have career centers staffed with job placement coordinators to help students secure jobs. Students often have jobs waiting for them prior to completing their programs, and as Norwood points out “Students who complete a certification program in their career of choice often earn the same or better levels of pay as those who have a college degree, and in far less time.”

The St. Pete campus cosmetology program started its first class last August, and added a second in October, ahead of schedule in response to demand. The culinary program is also at maximum capacity at 69 students with a waiting list of others trying to enroll.

And for students who didn’t complete high school, the PTEC St. Pete and Clearwater campuses are home to new certified computerbased GED testing centers - a. distinction that will grow in importance this year. As of January 1, 2014, students are taking a revised version of the GED exam aligned to new high school graduation requirements. “As the only GED testing centers in Pinellas County,” the new GED requirements will likely increase the number of students being served at PTEC this year” says Ann-Marie Clarke, a former middle school principal who joined the PTEC leadership team two years ago. Clarke and others are working to expand the base of business support for PTEC students through campus associations such as Future Business Leaders of America; the National Technical Honor Society, which recognizes outstanding student achievement in career and technical education; and SkillsUSA, which promotes high standards in craftsmanship, scholarship, and safety.

Located in South St. Petersburg at 901 34th Street South, Norwood calls PTEC “a great alternative to the typical college education.” He says, “For those making the transition from high school to life preparation, who’ve been out of the workforce for a while, or who want to explore new career possibilities, this institution is a one-

Corbin points to efforts such as the new Lew Williams Center for Early Learning – an early childhood education center and teacher training facility - as examples of partnerships being cultivated at PTEC, which will soon be home to the new center, named in honor of the School Board Member who passed away in 2011.

Power Broker magazine | 43

“The community and those in the school system got together and pooled resources to open this center,” Corbin said with great passion. “It was Lew Williams’ dream to prepare educators to work with young children, not to wait until they go into elementary and kindergarten.” The center will provide education for 120 children up to age four. Norwood touts the added synergy of PTEC students having on-site childcare. A new high tech conference center in the South St. Petersburg campus is drawing more partners onto the campus as well. Norwood notes “Over the past two years, we’ve seen a lot more community involvement and partnerships. We’ve leased and loaned our facilities to community organizations and to the City of St. Petersburg for 2020 Plan/ Southside CRA meetings. Plus, our testing facility for fire and EMT is in full swing.” The campus has also expanded its support of initiatives such as the Pinellas County Urban League summer S.T.Y.L.E. program, Boley Centers’ job training programs, and WorkNet Pinellas career fairs. Dual enrollment is another growth area for PTEC, which has become a key partner in helping to train and certify students while in high school, especially those enrolled in Academies of Pinellas programs. “We train students from the St. Petersburg High construction program and Boca Ciega’s Center for Wellness and Medical Professions, which

44 | Power Broker magazine

currently has 14 students in our dental assisting program.”

employees for various city and county agencies.

Corbin emphasized progress in the Public Works Academy as well under Mr. Rohland Bryant. The Academy serves municipalities all the way up to Tarpon Springs to train workers for high-demand jobs in fields such as water treatment and water management, where Corbin says the demand is up due to the high rates of retirement for the public works

Administrators at PTEC say they’re working hard to cater to students with busy life-styles, families and jobs. Campuses offer full-time, part-time, and online coursework, in addition to continuing education courses and apprenticeships for on the job training. For more information, visit www.

Progress Report

Racial graduation

gap narrows in Pinellas, widens in Hillsborough in 2013 For years, Hillsborough County was ahead of Pinellas in its graduation rate for black students. But now, not only is Pinellas County catching up; Hillsborough lost ground in 2013, as least in terms of the racial graduation gap. Data released last fall by the Florida Department of Education shows that, between 2012 and 2013, the gap increased by 1.6 percentage points between white and black students in Hillsborough. Though black students increased their graduation rate by .8 percent in 2013, the rate for white students climbed by 2.5 percent.

narrowed the graduation gap by 3.8 points, which shows an acceleration from the 5.1 point narrowing of the gap in the six years from 2003 to 2009.

student graduation rate gain was 1.5 larger than for white students (a climb of 16.8 percentage points for African Americans versus 11.7 for white students).

If the current pace of progress were sustained, black students could close the gap within the next six years.

The steady climb was reflected in the Census. From 2000 to 2010, the percentage of black adults 25+ with a high school diploma or higher level of education grew from 68% to 77.0%.

In 2012, the graduation gap was identical for both counties at 22.7%, but in 2013, Hillsborough’s graduation gap grew to 24.4%, while in Pinellas, the gap shrank to 20.3%. A closer look at Pinellas Recent news that the Pinellas County graduation rate remained effectively unchanged (71.8% in 2013 versus 71.96% in 2012) overlooks a major move of the needle for black males especially. Black males have increased their graduation rate by 9 percentage points since 2011, with a 3 point climb in 2013 atop a 5.6 point increase in 2012, when the black female graduation rate rose by 9.6 points.

South St. Petersburg schools leading the way Results are particularly promising for the four high schools that serve the largest share of students from the majority-black South St. Petersburg area (Boca Ciega, Lakewood, Gibbs, and St. Petersburg High). Their combined average graduation rate for black students was a full 20.5 percentage points higher than the County average for African Americans in 2013. It was also slightly higher than the districtwide average for white students.

Over the past two years, black students – male and female - have

Historic graduation data show that, from 2003 to 2009, the black

The Post-Secondary Impact The number of African Americans enrolled in college or graduate school blossomed over the past Census decade. Some of the increase can be credited to the recession, as people opted to improve their educational credentials while the labor market recovered. But the rise is also catalyzed by a long-term trend of nearly uninterrupted increases in the black student graduation rate over the past decade especially.

Power Broker magazine | 45

Her Story of overcoming Mental Illness By Swiyyah Muhammad St. Petersburg native Swiyyah Muhammad is intent on sharing her story with the world, and she just may meet that goal. This March, Swiyyah will be honored by the Black G.I.R.L.S. Rock Tampa Bay Award Show for her work in tackling the taboo subject of mental illness, and winning her own years-long battle with schizophrenia. The Power Broker is honored to help Swiyyah speak up about how she took control of her life and is now teaching others to do the same. 46 | Power Broker magazine


was born in the projects of Bethel Heights listening to gun fire almost every night. In my earliest years, I felt a sense of protection because I had my dad by my side. But then at the age of 3 my parents divorced and I had to be raised in a single parent home. At the age of five my brother molested me. I forgave him because I knew a young girl did the same to him. By the time I entered school, I had slurred speech and didn’t care to make friends, so I was often bullied by my peers. A young girl wanted to fight me so I decided to take my own life at the age of eight. I looked into the medicine cabinet for medication to take but I could not find any. My mother remarried and I ended up being physically abused by my step dad. The abuse was so severe that God blocked it from my memory. At the age of only 23 the brother that molested me committed suicide. This was very devastating to me and my entire family. I didn’t want to give up hope. I had dreams and goals so with my mother’s encouraging words I went on to college and received my BA degree in Psychology. This was the proudest moment in my life. I felt like I could concur the world, and had no idea of the trauma that would soon unfold. It took a year to find a job but I found one in the field of mental health. I hated the way the therapist used to talk about the patients in the break room, naming names and telling of their patient’s life tragedies. One therapist said, “This child’s file is so thick there’s no hope for him.” It was also very stressful going from one client’s house to another hearing about their severe family problems. I quit that job to find another one and this was the start of my downward spiral. I started seeing faces everywhere. There were faces in the sheets,

faces in the walls. I began getting migraine headaches everyday for six months. I began having racing thoughts, delusions, hallucinations. I started talking to myself, laughing, and crying, all at the same time. I was then Baker Acted. The doctors sat me down, looked me in the eye, and said, “You have the most debilitating mental illness known in mental health, paranoid schizophrenia.” I felt I was normal. I never had any disciplinary problems in school and I made good grades so I refused the medication and was hospitalized six times.

My family took a picture of me at my worst and that’s when I knew I needed help.

faith.” Begin living out your dreams. Do what you love for free, and then start reading books, exploring your field, and cultivating a way to make a living by doing what you love. Everyone has gifts. It’s up to you to discover your God-given talent. And remember, life is 1% what happens to you, and 99% how your react to it. Never give up!

Swiyyah Muhammad is the author of Don’t Call Me Crazy! I’m Just in Love and a motivational speaker. She was recognized as a Bay News 9 Everyday Hero last year, and has been profiled by several local media. To reach Swiyyah visit www. or call 727-776-0291.

I’ve been taking medication now for seven years without a relapse. During my first episode God told me that a movie would be made about me and I would later become wealthy. At the time, I didn’t have a job, a car, or any money but I had faith that one day his revelation would come to light. And today I have actual offers from directors who want to produce a movie about my book, which is now required reading for a class at St. Petersburg College. My message is that through God, any dream is possible. He has a dream for you bigger than what you can imagine. One of the keys to success that I highlight in my book is to “walk by Power Broker magazine | 47

Operation Graduate joins army of initiatives to raise the graduation rate in Pinellas County

A Power Broker Impact Report

Operation Graduate class of 2014 with Bay News 9 personality Juli Marquez during a Career Exploration field trip, summer of 2013.

Operation Graduate joins army

of initiatives to raise the graduation rate in Pinellas County


inellas County has doubled the pace of progress in helping black students reach the graduation “goal line,” thanks in part to efforts like Operation Graduate, a project funded by the United Way, which is now in its third year of a push to help students in Clearwater’s Greenwood area. Students enrolled in Operation Graduate had a 93% graduation rate over the past two years – which is especially hopeful, since over three quarters of program alumni are African Americans, a group that still has the County’s

48 | Power Broker magazine

lowest graduation rate. The project took shape as a partnership between the Clearwater Police Department, St. Petersburg College, Pinellas County Schools, and the United Way in 2011, working with at-risk students on two tracks. Track one is Credit Recovery for students who are behind in accumulating the credits needed to graduate. Track two, called Dual Enrollment, helps high school juniors and seniors gain college credits while they are still in high school. “The idea is that when they

graduate, these students will have a much stronger chance of either entering the workforce in a careertrack job or completing a college degree,” says Emery Ivery, Tampa Bay Area President of the United Way Suncoast. Students on both tracks also complete financial and life skills education, a motivational speaker series, and job training and job placement. One student per year is selected to receive a $5,000 scholarship from the Clearwater for Youth organization. A $2,000 Sydney Taylor Memorial Scholarship Award goes to any student that demonstrates a need for transportation, books

and supplies in order to attend college or a technical institution after graduation. The results so far: the latest graduation data (2012-13) show a healthy increase in the number of black students graduating from Clearwater, Dunedin, and Countryside high schools, where Operation Graduate draws the majority of its students. A recent analysis by Urban Market Ventures (UMV), an impact and innovation analysis firm, notes that the United Way’s investment in Operation Graduate could be responsible for over 35% of the increase in black students graduating from Clearwater and Dunedin last year. In addition to the graduation boost, UMV emphasizes the program’s “income effect,” saying “Operation Graduate has

so far increased yearly earnings for its alumni by over a quarter of a million dollars combined. If the program continues its current scale of operations, the United Way’s impact will grow to a cumulative $690,000 in added yearly earnings for students who complete Operation Graduate, by the end of 2015-16.”

Quick Facts about OPERATION GRADUATE • 78% of alumni who completed the program are now enrolled in college; 22% are working or in the armed services

Nathaniel Ramsey, the Program Coordinator for Operation Graduate, says he’s most proud of the students who’ve turned their lives around. He says “Some of our youth already had criminal offenses on their record, but have their lives on track to a living wage job or a career. They have a solid chance now, thanks to our volunteers and supporters.”

• Over 75% of students who came to Operation Graduate to help them with “credit recovery,” were able to catch up and graduate on time

To reach Nathaniel Ramsey, or to find out how you can help, call (727) 400-6805.

• On average, students tutored by Operation Graduate had a 75% learning gain in either math or reading

• The program also offers tutoring and enrichment activities for middle school students

O.G. class of 2014 participating in the “Make A Difference” community service project to assist the elderly, at the North Greenwood Aquatic Center in Clearwater.

O.G. SPC Summer Class completion celebration, 2013. The students beginning their yearlong program successfully completing a college course as a rising senior.

Note: The ad need to be changed.

Power Broker magazine | 47

Moving Forward – Focus on Solutions

Black Males:

An Endangered Species


Have you ever noticed the intense passion exhibited by many when it comes to saving endangered animals or protesting against the killing or maltreatment of animals? Don’t get me wrong, I am a bonafide animal lover.  But, as I reflect on the condition of Black men and boys in America, one would be hard pressed to find a more endangered species.  Black males typically rank at the top of most negative social, financial, health, and educational indicators known to man.  Since I am a Floridian, I will use my home state to make the argument for the inclusion of Black males on the endangered species list. According to the Schott 50 State Report 2012, Florida’s graduation rate for Black males was 47%. Only six other states reported a lower rate. If less than half of Black males eligible to graduate are in fact graduating, what outcome should we expect for the [other] 53%?  Although Black males represent less than 9% of Florida’s population, they comprise 47% of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and 46% of the Department of Corrections incarcerated populations.

Criminologists have long since recognized the correlation between lower educational attainment levels and the likelihood of incarceration. 50 | Power Broker magazine

By Dr. Randy B. Nelson Published by Politic365 |

While these sobering statistics may justify the need to include Black males on the endangered species list, [they don’t speak to solutions]. When animals are placed on the endangered species list, specific policies are enacted to prevent further population decline. This has not been the case for Black males. I would argue the same level of sustained commitment is needed to change the plight of the Black male. At the urging of the Florida Caucus of Black State Legislators, the 2013 Florida legislature approved and Governor Scott signed a state budget containing a small down payment towards changing the trajectory of Black males in Florida.  The funding of the Situational Environment Circumstances (SEC) mentoring model served notice that Florida’s consistently low graduation rates and high incarceration rates for Black males are unacceptable and unsustainable. It also denotes a recognition that an effective educational system at the front-end could reduce the nearly $3 billion tax payer funded budgets of the departments of Juvenile Justice and Corrections. The University of Florida College of Education has partnered with Florida’s Historical Black Colleges and Universities to implement the SEC model and conduct cuttingedge research on effective Black male engagement strategies.  Partnering institutions include Edward Waters College, Bethune Cookman University, Florida A & M University and Florida Memorial

University. Select students from these institutions will mentor minority male elementary students attending low performing schools.  The mentors and mentees will share similar family and socioeconomic backgrounds to allow mentors to provide real life examples of educational achievement and the tools needed to overcome certain obstacles. I fully recognize that no single initiative will immediately resolve the problems that have negatively impacted Black males for generations.  However, our collective failure to address the systemic threats to the survival of an irreplaceable segment of the human race is and should be unacceptable in the greatest nation in the world.

Dr. Nelson founded 21st Century Research & Evaluations, Inc. in 1997. He earned his B.A. in Sociology from Eckerd College, M.S. in Criminology with emphasis on Corrections Administration from the University of South Florida, and a Ph.D. in Criminology & Criminal Justice from Florida State University.

Principal Debra Woodard of Mt Zion Christian Academy says she’s looking forward to another growth year

A school of Faith achieving dreams By Dr. Sharon Williams


rain up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. - (Proverbs 22:6)

Monday, August 20th, 2012, was no ordinary day. It forever changed the history of Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church. It marked the beginning of firsts. For one thing, it was the first day of the first week of the new school, Mt. Zion Christian Academy (MZCA), a K-5th grade private Christian school. Most importantly, it was the first day of school for 100-inquisitive, yet anxious tiny souls. Also, it was the first inaugural school year for the principal, Debra Woodard, eight-teachers, foursupport staff, and two-volunteers. Grounded in Christian beliefs and principles, the Academy is guided by faith-based curriculum and rigorous academic standards. Moreover, the Academy aims to engage students in musical performances, technological advancements, and exploratory field trips. In addition, the Academy plans to develop a foreign language component, an African-American studies program, and a chess-for-

success program. “God was so good to Mt. Zion Christian Academy during its first year,” said Debra Woodard, the principal of MZCA. “We launched so many new programs and concepts. This year, we’ll continue to grow.” One of the most exciting concepts put in place is called “Enrichment Wednesdays,” when MZCA invites community leaders to join the students in active-learning activities, such as story-time, health and wellness activities, journalism classes and much more. The school also emphasizes the performing arts as a by-product of the expansive music and performing arts ministries at Mt Zion Progressive. Talent showcases are a staple of MZCA’s programming for students in every grade level. They recite long passages of Biblical scriptures, produce fluent and expressive poetry readings, perform dramatic Mime dances, and sing classic and contemporary gospel favorites. “I’m so proud to see future scholars and community leaders being

nurtured here at Mt Zion Progressive,” says Rev. Louis M. Murphy, Sr., senior pastor of Mt. Zion, who first cast the vision for the Academy over a decade ago. “Our goal is for the Academy to grow stronger each year, as a center of excellence, training young minds in the rigors of faith, academic achievement and service to their families and community.” Over 95 percent of the Academy’s students reside in South St. Petersburg and qualify for free-and reduced lunch. Thus, the MZCA School Board members are busy raising funds, building partnerships, seeking grant opportunities, and support from corporate sponsors and various foundations to provide students with meaningful learning opportunities. Constance Coleman, MZCA School Board chairman, said “This is a school of faith, and we are committed to achieving dreams and promoting rich learning experiences to prepare our students for this competitive, global society.” To support the Academy or to learn more, call 727-894-0140 or visit

Power Broker magazine | 51

MLK Day of SERVICE 2014 GROWS The second annual commemoration of the Dr. MLK Day of Service in St. Petersburg did the legacy proud. Volunteers of all ages and stripes lent their time and energy to 65 projects this year, nearly double the number that happened in 2013. All told, the Day of Service had a sweeping impact on South St. Petersburg primarily, where homes were renovated, gardens were planted, roofs were steam cleaned and elders were visited with gifts of love and fellowship. Dr. Linda Hogans, the Director of Special Programs at St. Petersburg College, who led the effort for a second year running says “I couldn’t be more proud of the groups who gave of their time to serve young people, elders, the homeless, and the underserved.” Her team this year was expanded to help Dr. Hogans mentor her counterparts at Hillsborough Community College and the State College of Florida in Manatee County as both institutions implemented their 1st Annual King Day of Service efforts. The two schools led nearly 30 service projects this year in honor of Dr. King’s birthday. State Rep. Darryl Rouson, District 70, says that he and the team will pursue corporate sponsorship to continue the new tradition in 2014.

52 | Power Broker magazine

Darryl Rouson, Florida State Representative Dr. William D. Law, President, St. Petersburg College Rene Flowers, Pinellas County School Board Member Shameka Jones, Chairperson, Advisory Committee Deborah Figgs-Sanders, Executive Director, YMCA of Greater St Petersburg Delquanda Turner, Senior Planner, Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County Leila Wilson, District Assistant to Florida State Representative Darryl Rouson Ann Sherman-White, Suncoast Hospice Patricia Payne, Omega Psi Phi Bill Puller, Omega Psi Phi Todd Smith Brook Taylor Sonja Felton The Committee will soon publish a summary of community involvement and impact from King Day of Service 2014.

The 2014 MLK Day of Service Committee In addition to staff leadership by Dr. Linda Hogans, Mr. James Robinson, Laurie Suitt, and Terri Murph, the Day of Service Committee lent their service to make St. Petersburg’s one of the largest King Day of Service commemorations in Florida.

Power Broker magazine | 53

54 | Power Broker magazine

The 14 Annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival drew tens of thousands to Tampa this January th

An electrifying two day music fest on January 18th and 19th was only a part of the magnetic 10-day sequence of events otherwise known as the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival. Other signature events during the 10-day commemoration included: Throwback Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, with a Battle of the DJ’s, Drum Circle and Wobble Dance Line, end-capped by the Ohio Players in concert Opening Night with Porgy and Bess at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts Youth Night where young people took over the stage and showcased their interpretation of African-American heroes of yesterday and today Curtis Hixon Park rocked with backto-back Music Fest themes. Throwback Saturday featured classic acts for fans across the generations while Jazz Sunday drew R&B/soul group Pieces of a Dream whose hits include “Keep It Smooth” and “Baby It’s Your Turn Now,” along with Smooth Jazz artist Nick Colionne whose hits include “The Windy Dance” and “Wes Before Dawn.“

Leadership Luncheon featuring rising star in the ministry, Dr. Raphael Warnock, author of The Divided Mind of the Black Church and senior pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church Gospel Night, an annual gathering to celebrate the heritage of Gospel music And more….. Festival hosts are already gearing up to accept sponsorships for next year’s event. For more information visit www., or contact Ruby Jackson at 1-888-224-1733 x3143 or at Power Broker magazine | 55

Kriseman’s transition team gave new meaning to “ Self Governance” By Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, Ph.D


his March, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman will reassemble the 50 brave citizens who helped set the agenda for his first term as chief executive of the City. Not only to thank them for their hundreds of hours of volunteer service to the City, but to affirm that their recommendations during the two-month transition following his November 5th election, will concretely frame new directions for St. Petersburg. Weeks before Kriseman knew that he would be victorious over incumbent Mayor Bill Foster, he already had in mind a strategy for how he would govern. When election results were announced, he had secured commitments from architect and flight warrior Andy Hayes and me, a city planner and political scientist, to Co-Chair his Transition Team, a new idea which he was introducing to the City.

As first steps to prepare for taking office on January 2nd, the Mayor Elect and his Co-Chairs identified 50 citizens who agreed to do the intense work of evolving out of one administration into another, in two months’ time. The City and the citizens who signed onto the Team had no idea of what to expect, and no previous

56 | Power Broker magazine

local point of reference to judge either the transition process itself or what it could produce. Community curiosity was high and impatience lay just beneath the surface. This absence of a transition experience was apparent when some media critics, who themselves lacked knowledge about or exposure to such a process, missed the point entirely, disrespecting the Team’s dynamics, discounting the careful planning they led, and attempting to improve arbitrary deadlines and constraints. Such distractions, fortunately, did not diminish the focus of Transition Team members, who worked long hours, individually and in groups, collecting and analyzing information, and interviewing experts to refine the recommendations they regularly provided to Mayor Kriseman. Nine Task Groups were formed by Transition Team members to address concerns identified by the new Mayor during his campaign and in meetings with the Team Co-Chairs and his personal staff (Kevin King and Ben Kirby), along with Deputy Mayor-Designate, Dr. Kanika Jelks Tomalin, and Nikki Gaskin Capehart, appointed to the newly created position of

Director of Urban Affairs. In more than 32 Task Group meetings, noticed to the public and diligently attended by many private citizen observers (but by virtually no reporters), recommendations were regularly transmitted to the Mayor-Elect to facilitate his integration of facts and priorities. As one who has been involved in several transitions around the country, and who helped guide St. Petersburg’s first transition experience to its successful conclusion, I take this opportunity to praise the work of every one of the volunteers on the Team. They were highly skilled in the areas for which they volunteered, and no doubt displayed their commitment to the needs and aspirations of ordinary citizens. They were dedicated, visionary, as thorough as time permitted, and most importantly, they believed in the promise and potential of St. Petersburg. They defined, through their excellence, the concept of authentic self-governance and participatory democracy, the promise which earned Rick Kriseman the mayoral victory by 12 percent of the vote.


Mayor Rick Kriseman’s Citizen Transition Team Co-Chair Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, Ph.D. is a public scholar, author, policy analyst, urban planner and former professor. Co-Chair Andrew Hayes, AIA is the managing principal for Hayes Cumming Architects. In 2015 Hayes will serve as President of the American Institute of Architects - Florida. Askia Muhammed (Chair, Strengthening Neighborhoods Task Group) Is CEO of Community Housing Solutions Michael Babboni, Esq. Is a partner at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh Johnny Bardine, Esq. Is a practicing attorney and member of the Pier Advisory Task Force Teresena Bryant Is an activist and officer with various organizations Louis Brown III, Esq. Is Assistant Director of Legal Affairs for Minor League Baseball Vince Cocks Is the Vice President of Operations at Faith House Michael Connors, P.E . Is Administrator for Public Works with the City Leslie Curran Is a former City Councilmember a former member of the City Council Ben Diamond, Esq. Is a partner at the law firm of Williamson, Diamond & Caton Bob Devin Jones Is Artistic Director & CoFounder of Studio 620 Mike Dove Served the City for 26 years, most recently as Deputy Mayor for Neighborhood Services Winnie Foster Is CEO of the Sojourner Truth Center Gypsy Gallardo (Chair, Economic Development/2020 Task Group) Has 20 years executive-level experience in economic, workforce, commercial & business development Joel B. Giles, Esq. (Chair, Transportation Task Group) Is an attorney with Carlton Fields Cedric Gordon (Chair, Public Safety Task Group) Is a former Assistant Chief of the St Petersburg Police Department William ‘Bill’ Heller, Ph.D. Is Dean of the College of Education at USF-St Petersburg Bob Jeffrey Is a former City employee who led revisions to City’s Land Use Ordinance Deborah Kelley Is Executive Director of St. Petersburg City Theatre Carl Lavender, Jr. Is a retired non-profit executive with forty years’ experience Lorraine Margeson Is co-owner of Donlo Communications, Inc. Brad Miller Is CEO of the Suncoast Pinellas Transit Authority Ed Montanari (Chair, Pier Task Group) Is an American Airlines pilot

Brother John Muhammad Is President of the Childs Park Neighborhood Association Mary Anna Murphy Is President of MAM Exhibit Design Rev. Louis M. Murphy, Sr. is Pastor of Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church Rick Mussett Is Senior Administrator for the City James Newman, CPA (Chair, Transparency & Fiscal Oversight Task Group) Is a shareholder and Managing Partner with Gregory, Sharer & Stuart Winthrop Newton Is the Florida Professional Firefighters 2nd District VP Karl Nurse (Chair, Innovation & Sustainability Task Group) Is a member of the City Council Ross Preville, WMS Is VP of Investments with Raymond James Dan Ray (Chair, Arts & Culture Task Group) Is former President the Institute at Biltmore Angela Rouson Is President of the National Council of Negro Women Joey Saunders Is a student at USF St. Pete and assistant baseball coach at SPC Craig Sher (Chair, Rays Task Group) Is Executive Chairman of the Sembler Company Rick Smith Is Chief of Staff for the Florida Public Services Union Herb Snitzer Is a nationally renowned photographer Sophia Sorolis Is Co-Director of the Greenhouse for the City Chris Steinocher Is CEO of the St Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Rev. Dr. Manuel Sykes Is President of the St. Petersburg NAACP Rev. John Tapp Is Pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church Rabbi Michael Torop Is the Rabbi of Temple Beth-El Katee Tully Is the former Executive Director of the Morean Arts Center Donna Welch Is the founder of My Daughter’s Keeper of Tampa Bay Frank Wells Is the CEO of World Power & Water Lisa Wheeler-Brown Is President of the Council of Neighborhood Associations. Father Robin Whitlock Is Pastor of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church. Tonjua Williams, Ph.D. Is the Senior VP of Student Services at St. Petersburg College. Ann Wykell Is former Manager of Cultural Affairs & International Relations for the City

Power Broker magazine | 57


“OLD NEW IN EVERYTHING WE DO” By Ersula Odom, President of Sula Too, LLC


For as long as I can remember I have loved old documents, stamps, photos, postcards, letters, and old stories. For years I collected such items without really knowing why. Now I understand that I do it for you. It was only recently that I discovered that my passion is also part of my life purpose, and in 2013, I founded One Great Date™ - an on-line library and document retrieval services firm that connects people to the memories that would otherwise be lost. The joy in what I do rests in helping people unlock memories that warm the soul. I love seeing the smile that erupts on someone’s face, the uncontrollable laughter or emotional freedom on a wave of tears when someone gets a glimpse of the past from the sight of an old photo. My fascination with documents is really about the people behind them. It’s not where they are now but how they arrived here. That is where lessons are hidden. And it’s not just photos that bring memories alive. It could be a postmarked envelope slipped into a

58 | Power Broker magazine

greeting card or a wonderfully crafted scrapbook page. I’ve seen people recall previously unrecorded facts, just from the sight of aged photos and documents. I once shared a 1969 vintage magazine with Angela Davis on the cover and learned from someone that during this time he was personally taught to strip naked if stopped by the police to prove he had no concealed weapon. I’ve also seen people “grow in memory” from seeing historic documents such as a man seeing a picture of an antique shoeshine kit, prompting a wellspring of forgotten memories about his own entrepreneurship as a child. Last year, my love of history became my livelihood as well. One Great Date™ offers five services that include executing searches to help people find and purchase a document for themselves or as a gift; and document retrieval for folks who want to clean out their closets, which may hold hidden treasures of memory. A lot of African American history

especially is tossed out in the trash because someone doesn’t understand its value. So before you toss those old files and photos, allow One Great Date™ to help you donate or sell what could be a gem to someone else. Ersula Odom is president of Sula Too LLC, a title that honors her grandmother, after whom Ersula was named and hence became “Sula” too. She is the author of three books, including At Sula’s Feet; and is a legacy writer currently chronicling the life of Doris Ross Reddick. Ersula travels the state performing a self-written monologue honoring Mary McLeod Bethune for the Florida Humanities Council and hosts the weekly Princess Memories radio program at 5 pm on Sundays ( For more information about Sula Too or One Great Date™: www.; www.

The Latest & Hottest Events

For discounts and free offers exclusively for Power Broker readers, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter PowerBrokerMagazine

For full details on these & hundreds of events, visit the power Broker on-line at

Taste of Jazz Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 6:00PM Crumb & Cork, 501 N. Franklin St. in Tampa Price: $25 advanced tickets www.tasteofjazz.eventbrite. com

Frances Willard, Benjamin Jealous inspires young people to define how they will each change the world. Drawing on victories he has won he lays out the simple steps that can accelerate anyone toward achieving feats of great social transformation and service. Part of the College Program Series. Sponsored by the Afro American Society & Office of Multicultural Affairs. Public welcome.

Sunshine Senior Center, 330 5th St. No. in St Pete Price: Free Admission w/ donation of canned food or clothing

Enjoy Live JAZZ and Fine FOOD. Network with Tampa Bay’s top black professionals.  “That One Big Thing” Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 7:30PM Fox Hall - Eckerd College, 4200 54th Ave. So. in St. Pete Drawing on the leadership tradition that connects Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Shirley Chisolm, Federick Douglas, Cesar Chavez, and

FPSU Movie Night Presents “The Butler” Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 6:00PM

Charlie Wilson Live Friday, February 21, 2014 at 7:30PM USF Sundome in Tampa Charlie Wilson is one of the most iconic figures in music today. Wilson has garnered six Grammy Award nominations over his enduring and extraordinary career.

SEIU Florida Public Services Union is sponsoring a monthly movie night to bring together our members and the community for an evening of film, fun, food, and family. We encourage everyone, both members and non members, to join us as we show our appreciation for your service and commitment to the union and our community. Power Broker magazine | 59

5th Ave. No. in St. Pete Price: $20, $100 VIP - prime seating and pre-show brunch

Former National President to Speak at Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s Founders Day Celebration Sunday, February 23, 2014 at 2:00PM Hilton Hotel, 5111 Tamiami Trail No. in Naples Price: $75 The newly established Collier County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. will honor the legacy of the public service organization’s 22 founders during a special celebration. The Collier County Alumnae Chapter will present Dr. Gwendolyn Boyd, the 22nd National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, as the keynote speaker for its inaugural Founders Day Celebration. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is a private, non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide services and programs that promote human welfare. PCULYP Political “Power Hour” Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 6:00PM Pinellas County Urban League, 333 31st St. No. in St. Pete Join PCULYP for Political “Power Hour”.  You will learn more about what is at stake for this year’s upcoming elections.  Refreshments will be served.

60 | Power Broker magazine

Enjoy mime, dance, spoken word, and a 100 Voice community choir from featured area churches. All proceeds benefit ACT (Arts Conservatory for Teens, Arts Education Program).  VIP includes brunch starting at 1P. 

Black Girls Rock Tampa Bay Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 7:00PM Cathedral Conference Center, 1301 S. 78th Ave. in Tampa The BLACK G.I.R.L.S. ROCK TAMPA BAY AWARDS SHOW is inspired by the “Black Girls Rock!” show which premieres annually on the Black Entertainment Network (BET) . Our award show honors and showcases local black women who have worked tirelessly in the Tampa Bay Community, representing seven categories: Arts/Media/Entertainment, Business, Civic, Education, Government, Health & Wellness, and Religious. SHOUT! ST. PETE SHOUT! A Musical Experience of the Journey of Gospel Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 1:00PM The Palladium Theater, 253

Harlem Globetrotters 2014 “Fans Rule” World Tour Friday, March 7, 2014 at 7:00PM USF Sundome in Tampa The world famous Harlem Globetrotters have been thrilling families and millions of fans for 88 years, all the while innovating the game in exciting new ways. Last year, the Globetrotters did something unparalleled in the history of sports and entertainment, letting fans vote on new rules to be used in actual games. It was so much fun, we are doing it again.

STEM Careers Focus of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.’s 17th Annual Youth Symposium Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 9:00AM University Area Development Center, 14013 N. 22nd St. in Tampa Price: Free Beta Kappa Sigma Tampa Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. www. Students throughout the Tampa Bay area are invited to learn more about careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at the 17th Annual Sigma Youth Symposium. Hosted by the Beta Kappa Sigma Tampa Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., the Youth Symposium is held simultaneously with other member chapters throughout the country. In addition to speeches from motivational speakers, students will participate in interactive work-shops designed to enhance self-esteem, leadership and problemsolving skills.

Natural Hair, Health & Beauty Expo Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 11:00AM St. Petersburg Hilton Price: $15.00 Adv $20.00 at the door www.naturalhairshow2014. Loving My Hair Natural Hair Studio would like to invite you to come and experience the most exciting Natural Hair, Health & Beauty event to come to the Bay area. This is not your average hair and health expo. This show is designed for the extremely Fly, Fierce & Fabulous Naturalista. If you are looking for the latest in hair care, skin care, unique items, wearable art, entertainment, aroma therapy, physical therapy, and other services that educate, encourage and inspire then this is the event for you. Come experience Natural beauty at its best during the Spring Fashion Show. Lights, Camera and Couture Fashion adorned by the best natural hair styles you’ve ever seen will Rip the runway!

Katt Williams Growth Spurt Saturday, March 15, 2014 from 8:00PM USF Sundome in Tampa Tickets on sale now!

Bill Cosby Sunday, March 16, 2014 3:00PM & 7:00PM Van Wezel in Sarasota One of America’s most beloved comedians of all time, Bill Cosby has captivated generations of fans with his comedy routines, iconic albums and best-selling books such as Fatherhood. His comedy transcends age, gender and cultural barriers, creating an environment of wholesome fun and laughter that will warm the heart! Two shows: 3P & 7P

Power Broker magazine | 61

3rd Annual Cuban Sandwich Festival Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 10:30AM Ybor City Saturday Market, 1800 E 8th Ave. inTampa

Unveiling Tamar Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 4:00PM The Murray Studio Theater, Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater Price: $15.00 New Zion Missionary Baptist Church | phone: 727-415-8251 New Zion Missionary Baptist Church Presents “Unveiling Tamar,” A Play Originating from Genesis, Ch. 38.

Enjoy LIVE cultural music on Stage featuring dance and EXCITING LIVE musical performances! A true cultural festival featuring over 75 Food, Art & Cultural Exhibitors! Florida Dental Association - Mission of Mercy Dental Event From: Friday, March 28, 2014 To: Saturday, March 29, 2014 Location: Florida State Fairgrounds Florida’s first ever Mission of Mercy event will help provide FREE dental services for the underserved in the Tampa Bay Area. At least 1,000 volunteers are needed to help with this community event.

Bollywood Comes to Tampa From: Thursday, April 24, 2014 To: Saturday, April 26, 2014 Tampa, FL

The Wiz From: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 To: Sunday, May 4, 2014 Location: Demen’s Landing Park in St. Pete Dorothy is going to the Land of Oz and she’s walking on a road paved in rock, gospel, and soul! This beloved Broadway musical – winner of 7 Tony Awards (including “Best Musical”) is a dazzling

CONNECT TO US: LIKE US AT: Follow Us: SIGN UP FOR OUR E-ZINE: LET US PROMOTE YOUR EVENTS: For help from the Power Broker to promote your events, call Kimberley Webb, the Power Broker DIGITAL media manager, at 727-637-6660 or e-mail her at

62 | Power Broker magazine

multi-cultural journey that will take you to the most fantastical places…and back home again. The perfect night for families and theatregoers to see American Stage under the stars… downtown St. Petersburg’s cool spring tradition for almost 30 years.

The International Indian Film Awards (IIFA) Weekend is all set to make its American debut as they bring the magic of Indian Cinema to Tampa Bay from April 24th - 26th. The cinepacked weekend of film-festivals, workshops, exhibitions, filmshowcases and global business forums culminates with the highlight of the Weekend, the IIFA Awards.   2nd Annual Dinner Cruise - Color Me Royalty Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 6:30PM 3400 Pasadena Ave. So. in St. Pete - Corey Causeway $65.00 727-362-8935 or 727-455-7827 | Sistahs of Compassion - Color Me Royalty Dinner Cruise!  A Dress to Impress Affair!  Elegant 4 course dinner service with an individual choice of 10 entrees prepared on board and served to your table.  Full cocktail service available.   Register by March 1st.

Power Broker magazine | 63

Night Life for the 30 and Under Set


here was a time when Tampa Bay didn’t have much to offer for young professionals like Clacci Harmon and her age peers, at least by way of nightlife. But the recent Florida State University graduate, temporarily back home while developing her career, said that times have changed. “Young professionals and students who will soon enter the professional world have several options for a night out,” says Clacci, “Ybor City is still a draw, but downtown St. Petersburg, Channelside in Tampa, and other areas are picking up as well.” The Power Broker asked Clacci to identify some of the hot spots for the “under 30” crowd. Here were her top picks. Vu 19 in downtown St. Petersburg is known for its Sushi bar and martini selection. Offering daytime and nightfall service, Vu19 is currently one of the most popular venues. The club splits its facility into two different areas, for entertaining and catering. A lounge is open on Monday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 10:00 until 3:00 a.m. Guests must be 21 or up to enter. During the day there is an open sushi bar that closes at 1:00 pm. The club clearly caters to 64 | Power Broker magazine

high-end guests, with a roof top view that overlooks the water. Vu19 is on the 19th floor of the Bank of America building in the 200 block of Central Avenue. Club Aja is located in the towers at Channelside at 290 South Meridian in Tampa, offering a warm and relaxing environment tailored to young professionals. Aja masters the aesthetic, with an elegant lounge and ample architectural flourishes. The Club seems to specialize in “intimate” spaces, perfect to unwind with clients, friends, and co-workers. The two-story design is also the perfect touch of class for couples. Nova 535, owned by Michael Novilla, was created in 2008 offering a unique brand of event services to diverse audiences. Nova’s open space design accommodates comedy shows, corporate events, live performances, weddings, and, often, club events hosted by top area promoters. See Nova’s event portfolio, rental rates and more online at; or stop by at 535 Dr. Martin Luther King Street North in St. Petersburg. Blue Martini, equipped with an outdoor patio bar, a tantalizing tapas menu and an upscale cocktail lounge, Blue Martini Tampa is a hot spot not only for local young professionals, but tourists and traveling business

people alike. The patio bar, stage area, and VIP lounge offer space for private parties as well. Blue Martini is located at 2223 N.W. Shore Blvd (in the International Plaza in Tampa). Onyx Premium Nightclub in downtown St. Petersburg recently changed names. Formerly The Scene, located on 3rd Street and 2nd Avenue South, is most popular for its dance lounge services on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and for its occasional celebrity sightings and performances by artists such as Yo Gotti, Gucci Mane, and Young Scooter. Onyx has, shall we say, seen its share of challenges. New rules strictly enforce the age 21 and older limit. Club Skye, at 1509 East 8th Avenue in Tampa, has two levels, three rooms, a VIP balcony area, an exclusive private Champagne Room, a Tiki Bar, two dance floors, and eight fully stocked bars that its website is proud to note offer “the finest liquors, wines and champagnes.” The state of the art sound system and stage at Skype has welcomed frequent national acts and performers. By day and evening, Club Skype also doubles as a popular choice for corporate events, business receptions and parties of all sizes.

Blue Martini

Blue Martini

Vu 19

Club Aja

Club Skye

Blue Martini

The Kennedy Tampa

Vu 19

Nova 535

Power Broker magazine | 65

66| Power Broker magazine

Power Broker magazine | 67

Power Broker magazine | 67

The Power Broker magazine - February/March 2014  

This first issue of the year for the Power Broker magazine focused on education from several angles: Dr. Kevin Gordon at St Petersburg Colle...

The Power Broker magazine - February/March 2014  

This first issue of the year for the Power Broker magazine focused on education from several angles: Dr. Kevin Gordon at St Petersburg Colle...