Hard Candy


Cathy Salustri kid

Hard Candy is a weekly column by long-time Gabber writer Cathy Salustri examining the ins and outs of politics, life and community in Gulfport and, occasionally, beyond.

Cathy welcomes feedback and input. Feel free to contact her at CathySalustri@theGabber.com or visit her website.

Opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Gabber publishers, staff or advertisers.

The Valediction

This column makes me sad, because it is my last. Twelve years ago, the Gabber offered me a job and a place in the community. Over the years I have delighted you, angered you, and most of all, I hope, I have made you think.

Read More »

Appearance of Clean

We’ve stopped talking about the tough issues, like 49th Street or the water quality in Boca Ciega Bay, because the answers aren’t apparent and they aren’t problems we can easily solve – if we can solve them at all. So we shove them into that big blue box in the back of the closet, along with the old cameras and our grandmother’s clock, and we close the door.

Read More »

Elegy For Familly

With four December birthdays in our family, the rule is that Christmas doesn't "start" until my birthday (the last of the four, now five if you count El Cap’s late November birthday, which we obviously do) ends. Christmas wasn’t the only holiday for us, not by a long shot.

Read More »


I knew when I moved to Ward Four we were the red-headed stepchild, and don’t misunderstand: I love a lot of things about living over here. I love that I don’t need flood insurance, that I don’t have to deal with street parties every week, and that because I moved across the street I bought more house for less.... I don’t love that we have this ward-wide indifference.

Read More »


Christmas, in my world, starts about a week before Thanksgiving at the latest. If I can get away with it, it starts November 2. I can never, I should note, get away with that. And part of celebrating Christmas, to me, is celebrating Thanksgiving. I suspect that’s because I tend towards the misanthropic, so the idea of gratitude makes for a nice respite.

Read More »

This One

We get all manner of phone calls at the Gabber office. Not just the “I have a news idea for you” or “I’d like to place an ad” calls, but the ones that most people might not expect. For example, a few years ago a duck with an injured wing found its way into the pond at Wood Ibis Park. We received daily phone calls asking us what we were going to do about it.

Read More »

Why You Should Attend the Mayors’ Cleanup Saturday

I’ve heard for years that Childs Park and other south St. Pete residents don’t care about the litter in or look of their communities, that they accept more crime and don’t mind lack of decent groceries and other niceties we take for granted. Note that although I said “south St. Pete residents” I don’t really believe that’s what people mean when they say it. I mean, the streets of Broadwater and the pink streets aren’t really rife with old Mello Yello bottles and Swisher cigar wrappers, are they?

Read More »

Math and Trash

I have grown disturbingly fond of our town’s vice mayor, Christine Brown. We both volunteer with the Gulfport Historical Society, and even though she’s apparently a Republican and I’m a bleeding-heart liberal, we’ve managed to look past labels and somehow work together. As it turns out, our political allegiances have shockingly little to do with our love for Gulfport.

Read More »