Black and White, Part Three

This isn’t about Gulfport, but Gulfport started it with its whole “let’s work together and not live in a bubble” mentality. I, like our readers, have progressed beyond the City’s borders.

I do not believe the lip service paid to the south side. I cannot think of it as midtown because to accept “midtown” would be akin to trying to believe the political spin surrounding it.

What’s going to happen to the south side? I don’t know, but I fear that the bad guys far outnumber the good.

The police don’t get paid enough for what they do, and I don’t for a moment believe we have enough of them in St. Pete. The drug dealers get overlooked while police try to keep certain drug busts quiet because they want to use a house as “a honey hole” as one officer told me last month.
Mayor Baker points to a supermarket that barely keeps its staff off welfare- and I’d like to point out that these folks probably would have found a job somewhere without the supermarket- as signs that the south side has a bright future.

I had my scooter stolen the first week of April. It had a wheel lock and was right under my front porch light. The police recovered it from a young man who had ecstasy in his possession. They charged the young Marcus Fleming with grand theft, possession of ecstasy, and two counts of violating probation. Mr. Fleming was on probation for possession of cocaine as well as possession of marijuana. He will be 20 in October.

When the young Mr. Fleming couldn’t find a loved one to post his bond, a judge released him anyway. On April 23 I will meet with the State Attorney and the St. Pete Police to see if there’s enough cause to prosecute.

Yeah, reread that last sentence. They caught him on the scooter- which, by the way, sustained over $600 worth of damage (it only cost $1000 new) and they don’t know if they have enough to make the charges stick. It makes me wonder why the police even bother doing their job at all; it has to be not only the most dangerous job around but also the one with the potential to feel the most futile.

Now, I know that I should have locked the scooter up in my fenced backyard. But I’ve had the locks busted off my fence before as well, and I’ve had my shed broken into. I’ve lost more money in lawn equipment over the past two years than I, prior to living in the south side, had espent the other 32 years of my life.

But the bottom line is this- I want to live somewhere where locking up your vehicle is sufficient. I want to live somewhere where my garden sandals don’t get stolen from my front porch. I want to live somewhere where I can go to the corner gas station and not get offered drugs or hookers. I want to live somewhere where every time I go outside I don’t glare at the strangers wandering along my street, worried they will be the next to steal from me. I want to live somewhere where the police have the support of the city to do something about drug dealers.

I want to live somewhere where I don’t worry about my dog dying, not just because I love her more than anything but because I truly believe her presence rather than the the presence of a Sweetbay is the only reason the stuff inside my house hasn’t been stolen.

I don’t know where that place is. I just know that right now, it isn’t here.

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I write. I take pictures. I love my dog. I love Florida. My 2016 book, 'Backroads of Paradise' did really well for the publisher and now I feel a ridiculous amount of pressure to finish the second book.