Voting Early

Eddie Shedrick, 49, of West Tampa, volunteers for Rev. Scott's campaign for mayor outside of the C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library on East Dr. MLK, Jr. Blvd. 

Eddie told me he registered to vote the year he graduated from high school, and has voted (and had jury duty) every year since. 

According to the US Census in 2008, younger citizens (18–24) had the lowest voting rate. I asked Eddie if he had any ideas how to increase voting among the younger population, especially among young black men. 


Eddie replied he has no idea. "I don't know how to reach them. If they would only listen and react like we did...they're gonna get what they always got." 


"I wish they'd get out to vote," he added. "We have the college students, but we need the others."

Early voting continues at various locations through Saturday.


Hitting the Road

Support Tampa Bay's best musicians this Saturday night as they head to Austin next month to represent. (Yes, I'm married to one, but I adore the others, too!) 


Yes Means Yes!

On Tuesday I'm interviewing Jaclyn Friedman, editor of Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape. The interview will be part of a 30 minute radio documentary I'm producing for 88.5 WMNF's annual observance of International Women's Day on March 8th. (If you didn't know that most of the world celebrates women on this day, you should, and now you do!)

My doc is tentatively titled I Am Someone, and it addresses the global pandemic of violence against women, woven together with stories from survivors (myself included).

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), 1 in 6 American women and 1 in 33 American men have been raped or sexually assaulted.

The recent assault on journalist Lara Logan in Egypt has caused many other female journalists to "come out" about their own attacks on the job, kept secret because they didn't want to seem weaker than their male counterparts and denied work opportunities. And I can't think of the last time a high profile male admitted his abuse before Senator Scott Brown revealed his childhood trauma Sunday night on 60 Minutes.

As terrible as these stories are to hear, it's better than the "good old days" when people refused to talk about such disturbing things. Though out of sight, out of mind, the abuse existed.  

These crimes are seldom talked about openly because the victims are often shamed into silence. Each victim reacts differently, but there are definite patterns caused by the trauma. If victims stay silent, they don't get the chance to become survivors. And the people who hurt them have the opportunity to harm someone else.


Good Days and Bad Days

Last week after reading about Florida's new budget cuts, I could only see the waves of impending suffering pounding down on the state's most vulnerable citizens.

The Florida Department of Elderly Affairs then fired Brian Lee, who was the director of the state ombudsman program, which investigates complaints against assisted living facilities (ALF's) and nursing homes. As a former volunteer ombudsman and nursing assistant myself, I have seen first hand the harm done to the elderly when there is no one to hold these facilities accountable.

For a recent editorial by current ombudsman Pam Anderson, click here and scroll down to the letter entitled "Facilities need watching".

That's one of the challenges of fighting the good fight: the little guy often loses when pitted against massive Goliaths backed by big business, money, media, and power.

As a sensitive individual (and I know lots of us are out there!), some times I wish I could either turn off my need to care so much. Or at least finally fill that Xanax prescription I was prescribed long ago.

But I don't want to feel less, I want to be empowered and do more. Work more efficiently. But unless you do that kind of activist work every day, it's easy to lose focus or focus on failure.

Which is why I interviewed Hannah Sassaman last week for 88.5 WMNF. Here's a gal who has made it her job to fight the good fight against corporations who want to own everything and deny the public airwaves to the public. She spoke about how everyone can be an advocate and activist, and addressed some tools, like grass roots lobbying.

We have so many options as citizens: we elect our representatives, and we have to tell them when what they're doing is not in our best interests. The worst thing to do when you're having a bad day is to do nothing at all.


When Will We Be Recycled, Momma?

My friend Stephanie Armenia is a mother of two and passionate about how she'll leave the world to her children. Though she does not refer to herself as a writer, she wrote a brilliant children's book called When Will We Be Recycled, Momma? 

Stephanie's goal is to gift the book to all second graders in Hillsborough County by Earth Day on April 22nd.  Tampa Bay Beautification has already joined the effort, but Stephanie is looking for more sponsors and volunteers. 

After blasting off her recycling campaign in Tampa, her dream is to have at least one school in every state receive books in time for National Recycling Week in November. Each second grader who receives a copy would take a vow to recycle. 

 The book came about by Stephanie's desire to educate kids and their parents about "waste nothing and reuse everything at least twice if not more" on a daily basis. 

Then one day her daughter Juju came home with a plastic bottle rescued from a trash can.

Stephanie Armenia: She went on and on about how Jack, her water bottle, has a dream to be recycled into a spaceship and blast off to the moon insisting she had to recycle him because his family is waiting for him at the recycling center.  She said this with such passion I immediately had a vision of every second grade student in the entire country counting down and cheering for Jack as he blasts off into space vowing to be green. 

Tampa Do-Gooder: Would you describe yourself as an environmentalist? 

SA: I think it is safer to say that I am striving to make better choices everyday like making less trash come out of our home, not buying products that are individually wrapped, try to reuse gift bags, envelopes, clothing and make an effort to take care of our things so they last longer.  I'm just trying to teach my girls to care about their choices because they have an effect and they get it.   

Send me an email at if you're interested in learning more or want to help Stephanie with her recycling project. 


Concert Report

All shows in Tampa unless otherwise noted. Thanks again to WMNF's Bev for compiling. 

Wed 2/9 Acoustic BBQ The Cosmic Gospel Hour @ New World Brewery 7 p.m.

Thu 2/10 Singer/Songwriter Night feat. The Baker Act, Dan Feinman, Rayzilla's PBS @ The Bunker  7:30 p.m.

Thu 2/10 Robert Randolph & The Family Band w/ The Constellations @  State Theatre, St. Pete 

Fri 2/11 - Ella Jet, Danny and Alex  Live Music Showcase @ WMNF's Live Music Showcase 2pm

Fri 2/11 Food Will Win the War, Beardsley @ New World Brewery 9 p.m. 

Fri 2/11  Broken Social Scene @ The Ritz

Fri 2/11 Signals from Satellites w/ Braham Bones @ Ella's 10pm

Sat 2/12  Walter Lure @  Dave's Aqua Lounge, St. Pete

Sat 2/13  Flogging Molly @ Ritz

Thurs 2/17  Johnny Winter with The Mojo Gurus @ The Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater



I've been reading biographies and memoirs since I was a kid in South Jersey. I used to think my life was so boring (it really was), and I was dying to know how others lived theirs.

In high school when I was a shy but budding performer I devoured
Love, Janice, Gilda Radner's It's Always Something, and Kurt Loder's Bat Chain Puller

In college I veered off towards radio and film and was first introduced to the business of Hollywood from They Can Kill You But...They Can't Eat You by Dawn Steel, the first female head of a movie studio. Also, Quivers: A Life by Howard Stern's sidekick Robin, and even Kelsey Grammer's So Far...  

Now after several year's experience as a professional interviewer I've had plenty of people say to me: "I'm boring. I wouldn't make a good story." But I never believe that.

As Peter Osnos, senior fellow for media at The Century Foundation, wrote
recently in his weekly column: "Everybody has a tale to tell."

Every life has struggles and history and demons and light, but it's the average people, not the celebrities, who usually have the most original untold stories.

I've finally reached the point where I want to write about my own life as much as I want to help others share their life stories.

Tampa Do-Gooder has taken more of a personal turn lately because of this, but the theme hasn't changed. I'll keep on writing about the folks I see and hear about around Tampa Bay, but I'd also like to keep opening up about how I got to where I am today.