Sunday, December 10, 2017

My NFL Boycott continues

This week will be no different – NO NFL 

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog


As we move deeper and deeper into the 2017 NFL season, I miss it less and less.

You may remember that following the NFL players “protest” of the American flag and the National Anthem, I completely swore off professional and college football.

Someone asked this week,” So, how’s that going for you?”

“Actually, quite well, I replied. “More time for the family, house, yard and some long weekend walks with my wife.”

We not only swore off football on television but also any of the mainline NFL advertisers whose products we could reasonably avoid. I have been keeping a running total of diverted purchases, and it’s up to about $2,000.00 so far.

Since I am just one guy with a growing lack of respect for the NFL on a number of fronts, I thought I would take a look at the NFL TV ratings.

Check out SMW Sports Media Watch,
The NFL Rating Page and it would seem I am not as alone in my decision to invest my viewing time in something other than the NFL.  There have been a few hot games, but in general it looks like ratings are down.

This week will be no different – NO NFL.

Sunday, we will probably put up some Christmas lights, maybe a long walk on a cool and breezy beach, and possibly check out some new cars. It will be tough to find a car brand that doesn’t throw some ad dollars at the NFL.

This has been a serious issue for me. Professional football and collegiate football have been in a downward moral drift for some time.

The outrageous salaries paid to college coaches while students struggle with the cost of getting a higher education just seems unconscionable and watching professional football is more like watching a cross between professional wrestling and a street brawl than a sporting contest.

So, I will take my eyes and my dollars elsewhere.

By the way, if you can give me some help with the car thing, a car brand that does not advertise on the football games drop me an e-mail or post it below.

Try today without football, you may just be surprised at what happens. 


To listen to the BAY POST PODCAST of this Post Click here: My NFL BOYCOTT CONTINUES

E-mail Doc at
mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
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Friday, December 8, 2017

Jack Latvala – The face of ugly old-school politics

If you live here in the Bay area, Jack Latvala is your state senator.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog


Like many, I have watched the sexual misconduct charges originally reported in Politico regarding Florida State Senator Jack Latvala gradually unfold.

Latvala, often referred to as the most powerful man in the Florida Senate, has reacted to the allegations with a full-frontal attack on the lone accuser of the six reported in Politico to come forward.

The moral outrage by some of Latvala’s colleagues is at times laughable, but the circumstances of Mr. Latvala’s actions are certainly not.

Latvala’s approach to intimidate his accuser and scare off any others from coming forward is as old as time.

The tide is turning against the senator as colleague State Senator Lauren Book has filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee.

 “It appears the Senator may have engaged in behavior that violates the trust we sought to establish, and which every alleged victim of misconduct deserves, by potentially victimizing, or re-victimizing, the complainant,” wrote Book, herself a childhood victim of sexual abuse. Read more in  the Miami Hearld/Times article by Mary Ellen Klas: Senator files complaint against Latvala for interfering in investigation.

Just in case you question the power and reach of Jack Latvala, note this December 5, 2017 article from John Romano Tampa Bay Times Romano: Forget the accusers, Latvala is taking himself down. One day later a much more understanding John Romano in the Tampa Bay Times, writes Romano: Like him or not, Latvala deserves a fair hearing.

It seems the most concerned people about the imploding of Latvala’s political career are those he could or has helped the most, and the ones most interested in his political demise are his political adversaries. Few seem concerned about the women he has viciously attacked in the media and the others who may lie awake at night enraged by what happened to them and too terrified to say anything.

The only thing that gives guys like Latvala the ability to commit and get away with these acts is the power of the position they occupy.

It is way past time for Latvala to go, and the only thing keeping him in place is the rest of the good old boys in Tallahassee who are scared to death that the timely demise of Jack Latvala’s political career may open the flood gates and swallow them up too.

To listen to the BAY POST PODCAST of this Post Click here: Jack Latvala – The face of ugly old-school politics

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tampa Streetcar Futility

Tampa, Fl
From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert


Yet another taxpayer funded study trying to figure out what to do with the Tampa Streetcar was recently released.

The plan to extend the TECO Line Streetcar system north through downtown got its first positive reviews from the public on Tuesday night.
The streetcar system already runs from Ybor City to the Channel District. The aim of a $1.7 million study to look at expanding service is to choose the path to reach more of downtown and extend the system north to Tampa Heights. 
The Invision: Tampa Streetcar study selected two preferred routes for the extension of the existing 2.7-mile streetcar line. Both routes travel an additional 1.3 miles from E Whiting Street north to E Palm Avenue.
In the Preferred Options Alignment Report, There are two finalist routes identified from the seven studied, both of which add a northern extension to the current 2.7 mile route.

Alignment A: N/S on Franklin Street

Alignment B: N/S Tampa Street - Florida Ave couplet

But it's not the first study. As recently as 2014, HART commissioned a study, which referenced several earlier studies. The one thing the Tampa Streetcar is good for is... more throw away studies, and wasting your money.

One benchmark for investment is to understand how well similar investments in the past have performed. Well, we have one... in the current Tampa Streetcar, which HART breaks out in regular reporting to the Federal Transit Agency. Here is some data from 2016.

2016 Streetcar metrics

Operating Expenses$1,594,758
Fare Revenue$566,665
Fare Recovery %36%*
Annual Unlinked Trips286,685
Estimated Riders per Day353*
Operating Expense per Vehicle Revenue Mile$24.10
Operating Expense per Passenger Mile$3.16
* calculated

About 353 people per day use the Tampa Streetcar, for an average trip under 2 miles, of which 64% of the operating costs are paid by the taxpayers, not the riders. Not such good numbers.

So lets double down.

What does the extension study say about the proposed alternatives?

Preferred Alignment Characteristics
These characteristics are very similar for these routes, as expected, since they are very similar routes.

But it's interesting they have an estimate for the capital costs, when they've not figured out what they will build. From Section 4.1 of the study:
The project assumes enhanced transit service, whether provided by streetcar or another form of transit technology, will be provided along the extension and the existing historic streetcar alignment serving Ybor City, the Channel District, Water Street, and the Tampa Convention Center. The project assumes the full alignment—existing plus extension—will be designed to provide a “one seat” trip, maximize exclusive transit guideway opera ons, and over high levels of service with full-day and evening opera ons with 15-minute headways. As a result, a paramount assumption is that the same vehicle technology will be operated on the existing system and the extension.

As identified in previous studies prepared by HART and depending on the final vehicle technology decision, modernization of the existing system may require reconfiguration of stations, changes in guideway alignment and additional double-tracking, upgrading of tracks on power distribution, and improvements to or replacement of the existing maintenance and service facility.
In other words, they will want to do make the extension seamless with the existing track, and standardize the technology, buy and install a bunch of new technologies, but no decisions have been made on the technologies. But we know how much it costs.

The 2200 weekday boardings over the planned 2.2 mile route is suspect as well. The current 2.7 mile route averages 785 boardings per day, so they are planning hoping for a big jump in riders. Or, based on the 2020 population estimates of 5150 people living within 1/4 mile, nearly 20% of them will ride every weekday.

What else is missing? Well, it is a STREETcar study, that runs on the streets. There is no mention of potential impacts to vehicular traffic, particularly on the Tampa Street - Florida Ave couplet Plan B, both roads are major thoroughfares in and out of downtown Tampa.

But we're not the only ones skeptical of Streetcars. Others are as well:
A few weeks after the city of Detroit began charging riders a few bucks per ride on its brand-new downtown streetcar, ridership dropped 40 percent, according to the Detroit Free Press. Sadly, few observers were surprised. 
“The streetcar doesn’t even connect directly to the city’s primary bus station,” remarked the transit consultant Yonah Freemark on Twitter. “It runs a total of 3 miles in a huge region. Set up to fail.” 
The streetcar, dubbed the QLine, is carrying 3,000 riders per day, short of the projected 5,000 to 8,000 per day required to break even. Sure, it’s still early; the line opened in May. But a similar story is playing out across the country’s other 21st century streetcars: Pokey, infrequent, and generally disconnected from other transit, line after line keeps bottoming out. 
Atlanta saw a 60 percent drop in ridership after its 1.3-mile line, which opened in 2014, started asking for $1 per go. The line is in the process of being transferred from the city’s authority to the metro’s transit agency, which may consider making it free again. But it’s been bedeviled by administrative and financial issues. Since it opened in September 2016, Cincinnati’s Bell Connector line has seen about two-thirds of the daily ridership consultants predicted. Salt Lake City’s Sugar House line has fared even worse, with just about one-third of the passengers originally projected. Even Seattle, for all of its other transit successes, is seeing about the same sorry share of original predictions.
And that's from the usually transit friendly Citylab.

But developers love it! Transit oriented development to save the day, right?
Nothing is inherently wrong with a streetcar beloved by developers, so long as developers are paying for it. But they’re not, at least not on their own. Taxpayers are picking up most of the bill for the 21st century streetcar renaissance—money which could otherwise support more effective forms of public transportation. Overall mobility suffers when transit dollars are diverted to projects that are more about real estate than riders.
We are not excited about wasting more money on the Tampa Streetcar. We've seen this movie before. We've lived it the last 20 years.

This post is contributed by EYE ON TAMPA BAY. The views expressed in this post are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of Bay Post Internet.

Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay