the simpson challenge

Samm Simpson's got one heck of an uphill climb if she wants to be elected to Congress. On two fronts, no less.

Simpson is running as a Democrat for Florida's 10th congressional district, which is made up predominantly of St. Petersburg, Dunedin and the beach communities. Her first challenge is to get on the ballot.

Simpson does not plan to pony up the $9,726 entry fee, so she has until April 10th to collect the 4,088 necessary petition signatures. As of yesterday, she has only 1500 of those signatures. She has less than two weeks to gather up another 2500 or so.

But let's assume she gets the necessary John Hancocks. Her next challenge is to knock off a veritable institution in the US House of Representatives - C.W. "Bill" Young. Young has been in congress for 18 straight terms - 36 years! His unwavering support of military initiatives and backing from the National Republican party makes him an indominable obstacle in the path of Samm's campaign.

It's not quite Apollo versus Rocky, but the two candidates are at the opposite ends of the political spectrum. What are the odds Pinellas County will cease their ardent support for Young, and place it on a newcomer who is the opposite of what Young has stood for?

the arlington and sky fly

this is the second in an ongoing series

part one: residences at franklin

use our handy map of downtown to follow along

Two smaller projects are underway in the 1200 block of N Franklin, right near the Residences of Franklin.

A hotel over nine decades old is undergoing rehabilitation to become The Arlington. Plans include The Arlingtoneleven flats or lofts upstairs, and ten units on the ground floor. The lower level will be used for retail, office, residential, or mixed uses.

Originally slated to open last summer, code enforcement issues pushed the anticipated completion back to… well, last month. Interior work is moving along and exterior rehab seems to be nearing completion. This project should open sometime between May and July, like the Rez of Franklin.

Across the street, in the building once occupied by AV-02, a notorious former nightclub, work is moving along on the most eagerly Sky Restaurantawaited project in downtown (at least in Smitty's house): a new restaurant called Sky Fly.

Sky's Fly's owner hopes to bring in local musicians and display works by local artists. This building was completely gutted, but now has a ceiling, floor, and furniture was delivered last week. It is expected to open in late spring or early summer.

Update 11 Apr 2006 9am: Restaurant to be called "Fly," not "Sky."