Wednesday, March 21, 2018

St. Petersburg’s “SAD” water resources Administrator

His face was sad; his body motions almost contorted and his signature bow tie somewhat askew.

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
Last Thursday’s St. Pete City Council meeting featured a report, more like an episode of a soap opera, entitled “Sewer Report” featuring Claud Tankersly, Public Works Administrator, in the lead role.
 The event complete with intrigue, deflection, denial and betrayal was replete with hand wringing, whining, sad eyes, sorrowful but poor acting and accusations.
Craven Askew, the St. Petersburg treatment plant operator turned Whistle Blower, who informed all of us and City Council of issues with the treatment plants last year has raised the ire of St. Pete Public Works officials by once again blowing the whistle when one of his reports was modified.
Askew ‘s report said about 100,000 gallons of reclaimed water entered a ditch that led to Tampa Bay. Upon review by St. Pete Waste Water officials, the report was changed leaving out the part about leading into the Bay and Askew was not notified.
You can get more detail in an article by Josh Solomon in the  Tampa Bay Times St. Petersburg’s latest sewage mystery is quite colorful. 
What struck me about Thursday’s Council meeting and Tankersley’s report was the demeanor more than the substance. Tankersly moaned and whined about the report with his “I’m saddened" argument.
His face was sad; his body motions almost contorted and his signature bow tie somewhat askew.
You can catch the whole somewhat disgusting episode on video at the City Council Sewer Report scroll down to Item 3  “Sewer Report” and listen/watch the woeful lament of  Claude Tankersly the City’s Public Works Administrator.
He blamed Askew for putting the “entire” wastewater department into turmoil. I suspect the reason the department is in a turmoil is most of them don’t trust management any more than Askew does.
 It was clear that Tankersly was sending a strong message to the rest of the plant operators and the rest of the Waste Water employees to keep their opinions to themselves.
If you look carefully you will see a somewhat uncomfortable appearing Water Resources Director, John Palenchar, standing in frame dutifully nodding agreement with everything Tankersly says.
Great staging.
It would seem Tankersly is most upset because Askew originally reported as a whistle blower to protect himself, and once again invoked whistle blower status, since apparently, he (Askew) does not trust either of these guys any further than he could throw them.
Tankersly went on at length to firmly state “he” not think this episode rises to the level of whistle blower, but I am not sure what he thinks about the law matters much.
The point is, these two guys, Tankersley and Palenchar, are those selected to run the wastewater system. They only stop shooting themselves in the foot long enough to reload and Askew is handing them the bullets.
A lot of us have had employees who somehow manage to get themselves into a seemingly untouchable position but going out of your way to further agitate the man is just simply poor management.
 And Tankersley’s argument regarding reconciliation that Askew had not “reached out to him” has to be one of the lamest excuses ever and brought reactions from Council Members Montanari and Kornell. (Scroll down the video).
All of this would be pretty good television and print if there was not so much at stake.
It is time Mayor Kriseman step in and get someone to bring some sanity and manage the chaos that his current team can’t seem to handle before something really serious happens again.
I can’t wait for the next episode.
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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Is St. Pete too loud for The Who and AC/DC?

St. Petersburg Fl
Opinion by author: Robert Neff

Rock 'n' Roll fans know noise is serious when Roger Daltrey of The Who declares himself “very, very deaf” in the Times article, I'm so deaf I have to lipread at gigs admits Roger Daltrey, by Geddes and Tucker, who added, AC/DC postponed their 2016 tour because of the singer Brian John Johnson risk of “total hearing loss.” Neil Young said, "I hurt my ears [Making the live Album Weld] and they'll never be the same again." Daltrey is advising fans to bring your ear plugs to the gig. 

According to the article, “Hearing degrades slightly with every period of sustained noise above 85 decibels.” Unfortunately the City of St. Petersburg didn't hear that! In the 3rd Noise Ordinance’s Public Meeting, the City proposed a separate noise level for the Downtown Core.
  • Jannus Block 85dBA/87dBC. 8a.m.-*11 p.m.(1a.m. Friday, Saturday, before holiday)
  • Jannus Block 65dBA/75dBC. *11p.m.-8a.m.(1a.m. Friday, Saturday, before holiday)
Residents need to understand the difference between dBA (A-Weighted) and dBC (C-Weighted).
dBA is a measurement of audio, where dBC measures bass and subwoofers. 
Both 85 dBA and 87 dBC during the day is a serious cause for public health. Just ask Roger Daltry, Neil Young and Brian Johnson! Will the City issue ear plugs and noise cancelling headsets to downtown visitors and residents?

The City had a respected acoustical company measure the sound in several locations and areas. There were three studies, where one was a mechanical study and two were acoustical. Overall, the noise results were worse than expected for the downtown areas measured.
At the City's 3rd Noise Ordinance Public Meeting, bar supporters questioned the company's credentials without knowing who the City had hired. The audio engineer who asked the question could have used his cellphone to do a quick google search, but instead chose to question the City's selection. Here is Keane Acoustics' portfolio

The real issue is Mayor Kriseman and City Council, who will approve the ordinance, do not understand what the noise levels are, how they feel inside your home, and how they impact our health. Nor do the bar owners and patrons. 

They do not live near a bar or nightclub, so they have no real world experience. Saying 60 dBA is a normal conversation at 3 feet and thinking 70 and 80 decibels is not bad, is wrong. This is not a linear measurement. The sound keeps doubling every ten decibels!  That is, 70 is double 60 and 80 is double 70.

Where dBA measures audible, dBC measures  low frequency bass and subwoofer. Bass and subwoofers are low frequency waves. This is the thumping residents hear and feel inside their home. These are powerful waves and can bounce off buildings, impact one floor and not another, and enter buildings through the walls and glass. 

When they enter the building, the wall material acts as a filter, leaving only the thumping. How would you like to be subjected to thumping in your own home for 2 hours? How about 2-8 hours?

Noise impacts adults and kids health. This causes health issues with blood pressure, anxiety, heart issues, ringing in the ears, and sleep deprivation. Since the Mayor and City Council do not live with the noise, that is why they always seem happy and well-rested.

Unlike Mayor Kriseman and City Council, trapped residents do have real world experience. Yet, residents are forced to listen to the thumping inside the home because Police are not actively issuing citations. Many times, the officers just tell the repeat noise offenders to turn it down, again, and again, and again. 

Police can hide behind the current noise ordinance and say the noise is not clearly audible. So the Police who have had been to homes and felt the walls vibrating are not convinced the noise is clearly audible. Doesn't it seem odd that many times residents can give you the DJ's play list? 

Then to add insult to the injury, residents who complain, get to hear the bar owners or the offending resident tell them to move.  The bar owners will have you believe they are the victims, but let’s think talk at the bars in the City’s Top 50 addresses with repeat calls

There are approximately ten bars, but not all are downtown. One club blasts the music at the outdoor pool every Sunday per their advertisement on Facebook. You can see the 2016 map of addresses with repeat calls online.

Actually, the City has no idea how many bars and residents have repeat calls for noise. There is very little information on where the problem addresses are, how many are bars or residences, and how much crime comes with repeat noise calls

How can our Mayor and City Council make a solid decision without understanding how many addresses are repeat callers? What is the mix of residents and bar owners? What day of the week has the most calls? What time of day does Police dispatch get the most calls? How many calls are made during the allowable and not allowed times and where?What are the trends? 

Why haven't the the City and Police broke down the data for each bar and residence with repeat calls? Council needs to ask or the data, so they can make an informed decision.  

Mayor Kriseman and the Police have not provided the City Council with the data needed to understand the noise issue. This is a lack of transparency, and Mayor Kriseman excels at this! Or maybe, he can't hear you because he is wearing his City-issued earplugs and noise cancelling headset?

The opinions here are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bay Post Internet or the Blog Publishers where it appears.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Bed Tax fund takes a hit, and TBARTA gets $1 million

New tax bill allows bed tax to be spent on transportation and gives TBARTA $1 million.

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
In a last-minute move Senator Jeff Brandes R of St. Petersburg managed to get some transportation language added in the tax cut bill approved by the State Legislature.
You can get some addition detail in a Tampa Bay Times Editorial: Editorial: 2 smart transportation investments for Tampa Bay.
The editorial goes on to point out that the Legislature also included $1 million in the 2018-2019 that would be used by the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit authority to produce a “regional transit development plan” for the Tampa Bay area.
Raiding the bed tax, which is primarily used to develop tourism, the bay area's largest income steam, is generally a bad idea. Although the language in the legislation provides some safeguards, unless there is a significant oversight, you can bet this will become a honey trough for the light-rail hogs.
The thought of getting their fingers on some of that bed tax money probably has a number of local politicians staying awake at night trying to figure out how they can divert these funds to their use.
The $1 million to TBARTA is a complete waste of money, although it does empower TBARTA to do what it does best: waste money on endless reports and bountiful consult fees.
 In over two decades of effort, TBARTA has nothing to show for its voluminous reports and numerous meetings, and it is very unlikely this new million-dollar effort will be any different.
My guess is this money will be directed at developing a series of reasons that the recently proposed inter county rapid bus service should be should be slowed down until a light-rail plan can be wrapped around it.
The $1 million from the State takes TBARTA off life support for a while, ensures the financial support of a number of consultants and longevity for a bunch of mostly useless bureaucrats that have proven themselves light rail centric and pathetically biased
The recent re-tooling of TBARTA had little effect on the overall TBARTA goal of light rail as the only transportation solution for the Bay area and suggestions from numerous TBARTA supporters and politicians that we need to “slow down” the bus rapid transit project is a harbinger of what this money will be directed at supporting.
I am not sure what motivated Senator Brandes to promote this legislation, but I seriously doubt the results will anything close to what he envisioned.
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