Axios Tampa Bay

Picture of the Tampa Bay skyline with TPA written across it.

Hello, Monday. Character is pertinent.

β˜€οΈ Mostly sunny. 80/62.

Situational awareness: The NFC South-leading Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6) take on the New Orleans Saints (4-8) at 8:15 tonight in what could be Tom Brady’s last Monday Night Football game.

Today's newsletter is 955 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Hold your nose, Tampa Bay

A fish kill on Casey Key.

Dead fish litter Casey Key recently. Photo: Courtesy of Angela Mariani

🐟 Here come the dead fish.

Driving the news: That massive red tide bloom that took hold off the coast of Sarasota County after Hurricane Ian is killing thousands of fish right now and depositing them on some of the world's best beaches.

Why it matters: Beyond widespread fish kills polluting beaches and waterways, toxic red tide can cause respiratory irritation in humans and animals.

  • All of which is not fun, and bad for tourism.

Details: Bloom levels of red tide were found last week in samples taken from Lee, Collier, Sarasota and southern Manatee counties, per the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The latest: FWC reported Friday that fish kills were observed and respiratory irritation was reported in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties over the past week.

Between the lines: Scientists say the Karenia brevis bloom is now being fed by nutrients running off the landscape in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

  • "I don't see any good evidence that hurricanes initiate a red tide, but once you have a red tide started, runoff will make it worse," Larry Brand, a water quality expert, scientist and professor at the University of Miami, told the Fort Myers News-Press.

2. Tampa chief under disciplinary review

Mary O'Connor portrait.

Tampa police Chief Mary O'Connor. Photo: Courtesy of the city of Tampa

Tampa police Chief Mary O'Connor was placed on administrative leave late last week after Creative Loafing unearthed bodycam video of the chief showing her badge and asking for leniency when she and her husband were stopped driving their golf cart on a roadway in Oldsmar.

  • "I'm hoping you'll just let us go," O'Connor told the Pinellas County sheriff's deputy, Larry Jacoby, on Nov. 12, per the video.
  • Jacoby let the couple go. His office has not said whether he will be disciplined.

Flashback: Weeks ago, Creative Loafing reporter Justin Garcia requested the video from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, acting on a tip.

  • The office sent Garcia the video Thursday. That same afternoon, O'Connor sent an apology email to her staff, writing, "I want you to hear it from me first prior to news stories circulating," Garcia reports.

What they're saying: "We hold everyone accountable, no matter their position, and this behavior was unacceptable," Mayor Jane Castor said in a statement. "Chief O'Connor will go through the due process and face appropriate discipline."

3. The Pulp: Now you pit with me

Illustration of an orange with arms and legs, walking.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

⚾︎ Fred McGriff, 59, a Tampa native, was voted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday by a committee formed to take another look at players who had been passed over. (Tampa Bay Times)

βš–οΈ Steven Lorenzo, the man accused of drugging, torturing and killing two men in Tampa's Seminole Heights in 2003, has asked a judge if he can change his plea to guilty and be sentenced to death. (WFLA)

🏟️ The Tampa Bay Rays are looking for a new stadium for spring training after Charlotte County officials determined they can't make Hurricane Ian-related repairs on time. (WUSF)

πŸ΄β€β˜ οΈ The Tampa Convention Center is expecting record-breaking traffic in 2023, with its busiest convention schedule in history. (Bay News 9)

πŸ—οΈ The city of St. Petersburg is expected to release this week the four proposals submitted to redevelop Tropicana Field. (Tampa Bay Times)

Quote du jour
"If you're conservative, and probably most of you here are, force yourself to read The New York Times. I subscribe. It's expensive. But it's worth doing because you get a different view that may make you change some of your thoughts. And it will give you a sense that these people may be wrong, but they're not enemies. And if you're liberal, watch Tucker Carlson from time to time."
β€” Former Gov. Jeb Bush at Florida TaxWatch's annual meeting in Coral Gables, per Florida Politics.

4. Our favorite things 2022, part 4

The Deadwood Bible.

Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

"The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man, and give some back."
β€” Al Swearengen, "Deadwood," Season 2, Episode 7.

If you know someone who loves to quote the beautifully profane Al Swearengen from David Milch's beloved drama "Deadwood," this is the Christmas gift you need.

Hey, Ben here, highlighting another cool thing Selene and I found in 2022, in hopes it inspires your gift-giving this year.

⭐️ "The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon" is a new collection of "Deadwood"-related material created and assembled by veteran film and TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz, who chronicled the acclaimed HBO series since its debut in 2004.

  • Complete with old-timey illustrations, the book covers the show's origins, production, cancellation, and lasting influence.
  • It includes historical material provided by Milch's family, plus critical essays on all 36 episodes, the HBO movie, and Milch's other television shows, like "John from Cincinnati" and "Luck."

The rub: The cloth edition of this book, which Seitz created and published himself, costs $175 β€” a steep price, but worth it to the most hoople of the hoopleheads.

🎁 Go deeper: The best things we bought in 2022

Is a new job in your future?

πŸ’Ό Check out who's hiring around the city.

  1. Communications Manager at Florida Department of Citrus.
  2. Cybersecurity Technology Product Marketing Executive Director at JP Morgan & Chase.
  3. VP State Government Affairs at Avalon Healthcare Solutions.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

5. πŸ“Έ Where in Tampa Bay?


Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

It has been far too long since we tested your knowledge of all things local, so we're back with another "Where in Tampa Bay."

  • You know the drill. Take a look at the Octo-Cat above, and if you know where she is, hit reply and tell us with some specificity.

If you're right, we'll enter you in a contest to win some Axios swag.

🏜 Selene is off.

πŸ₯“ Ben subscribed most of his Okie family to Zingerman's Bacon Club for Christmas. Don't tell.

Tell a pig farmer to subscribe.

Today's newsletter was edited by Alexa Mencia and copy edited by Carlos Cunha.