Friday, June 23, 2017

Global Climate change - Is it really the question in the St. Pete Mayoral election?

Rick Baker is focused where a Mayor should be - on his City.

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

Current St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman is trying to make global Climate Change a decisive issue in the upcoming St. Petersburg Mayoral election. You can get more info in Charlie Frago, Tampa Bay Times, Next big fight in St. Petersburg's mayoral race: the science and politics of climate change.

From the Frago article, Rick Kriseman is quoted, “Mayors are the elected officials closest to the people."

Truer words were never spoken.

But President Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Accord is not a local issue. If Kriseman is focused on the global issue of climate change, he should more appropriately run for the US House or Senate.

Therein lies the problem with the current St. Pete Mayor.

Captivated by the need for attention and bedazzled by the bright and shiny, like water ferries, expensive water parks, eclectic Pier designs and accompanying outlandish art Kriseman has a hard time staying focused on and managing serious local issues.

Issues like waste water and storm water infrastructure, crime, deteriorating streets and sidewalks, the infrastructure stresses of major downtown redevelopment, the concerns of St. Petersburg’s midtown and Southside problems.

Kriseman wants to play on a grander stage using St. Pete merely as a backdrop while sewage is dumped in the bay, local schools fail; neighborhoods deteriorate and project cost's spiral out of control.

Issues like St. Pete’s failing schools, and crime are often in Mayor Kriseman’s speeches but rarely on his to-do list.

In his three-plus years of leading St. Petersburg, every major project is over budget.

 Rick Baker, on the other hand, is focused where a Mayor should be on his City.

On schools, rather than wring his hands and wine a mayor can’t have an impact on schools; Baker has proven that involvement of the top City official can have a dramatic impact on schools, quality of education and teachers.

On crime, Baker has already indicated he will look at reinstating the St. Pete PD Street Crimes and Auto theft units. Maybe why Kriseman’s crime numbers look so good is his police chief is not pursuing the criminals.

The Pier, Pier Park and the new Police station are already way over budget. Baker will manage these projects to restrain any more scope and budget creep.

One of the reasons the Rays issue is at a standstill is simply because Rick Kriseman could not negotiate his way out of a wet paper bag. Rick Baker’s whole career has been about negotiating. You can rest assured that any deal with the Rays will not leave the City holding the bag.

And then there is climate change.

It is hard to appreciate the current Mayor’s passion for climate change and rising sea levels while he trumpets spending 10’s of millions of dollars on a water park that is just barely above sea level.

Kriseman’s climate-change argument is just a way to deflect your attention from the sewage in the Bay, the project cost over runs, an administration filled with political cronies, a failing midtown, a Pier that the people did not want and a proper respect for the office of the Mayor.

I spent over 28 years working for and with the people of St. Petersburg, and I don’t think they will buy any of Kriseman’s shallow comments and hollow promises.

E-mail Doc at mail to: or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Be sure to follow me on Pintrest (Doc Webb),  Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures: Contributor to  Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign 

Please comment below.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Bigger Mess with Tampa Bay Next?

It's another taxpayer funded public outreach free for all AGAIN.

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

Tampa Bay taxpayers keep funding more transportation initiatives. The consultants love us…

FDOT has recently launched another two year transportation initiative Tampa Bay Next. This is a FOUR County (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk) TBX replacement initiative on steroids - complete with new graphics! We know they're really serious this time!
It's another taxpayer funded public outreach free for all AGAIN.

This latest transportation public relations endeavor is underway at the same time as the $1.6 million Streetcar study, the $1.5 million Regional Premium Transit Campaign, HART's TDP update and an effort to regionalize our MPO's. They all have taxpayer funded public outreach creating confusion, chaos and public fatigue on the transportation issue. Maybe all that is intentional…

But logic defies how FDOT would dole out $1.5 million for a THREE county (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco) regional transit campaign BEFORE this latest FOUR county initiative - cart before the horse.

Governor Scott just signed Latvala's egregious TBARTA bill creating an unnecessary new FIVE county (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Manatee) transit agency. But Scott also veto'd all of TBARTA's funding that got appropriated this session.

What a mess!

But here we are…

FDOT states the obvious on their new web site: "Tampa Bay has a traffic problem".

We agree. Probably everyone agrees.

But Tampa Bay has wasted too much time, too much taxpayer money and too much energy on FAILED proposals at the detriment of getting other things done to actually help relieve congestion.

This new initiative is not just an update to the 1997 Environmental Impact Study (EIS) done the Federal Highway Administration requires for interstate expansion projects. FDOT says TampaBayNext initiative is a new program to modernize Tampa Bay's infrastructure and prepare for the future but leaves out Interstate expansion that must be done if we don't want gridlock in our future.
  • Interstate Modernization
  • Transit
  • Bicycle/Pedestrian Facilities
  • Complete Streets (most expensive street built)
  • Transportation Innovation
  • Freight Mobility
This is what our federally mandated/funded MPO's do. MPO's already do extensive public outreach for long range planning paid for by taxpayers. We have an MPO Board who approves the MPO's five year Transportation Improvement Plan. Why is FDOT stepping

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sierra Club “Press Conference” Sets Up for Buckhorn

Tampa, Fl Posted From: Tampa Bay Beat 
Author: Jim Bleyer
The two Tampa Bay chapters of the Sierra Club just may have tossed a life preserver to a flailing politician that has had waves of bad press for more than a month.
We will know by noon on Monday, June 19 whether or not Tampa  Mayor Bob Buckhorn grabs the lifeline.
The 11 a.m. event, called the “Ready for 100 Petition Drop and Press Conference,” takes place at Tampa City Hall and calls on Buckhorn to join 15 other Florida mayors and more than 100 nationwide in signing a pledge to make Tampa a 100% Clean Energy community by a target date that can vary.
The FB promo reads:
“Now, it’s time to pay Mayor Buckhorn a visit with a special delivery! Join Organize Florida activists, Sierra Club activists, and residents of Tampa who are already experiencing the devastating conequences of sea level rise on Monday. We are delivering our petitions to Mayor Buckhorn and speaking to the media about why we want him to sign the “Mayors for 100″ proclamation!”
One of the organizers, Phil Compton, an employee of the national Sierra Club and based in Pinellas County, refused to talk with a Tampa Bay Beat representative who is a member of the organization that pays Compton’s salary.
Compton is a friend of Buckhorn and observers have suggested the press conference is greased to enhance the image of the mayor known as “Mr. Photo Op”.  We are not that cynical….or that optimistic.
Kent Bailey, president of the Sierra Club’s Hillsborough chapter, called Buckhorn’s refusal to meet with his group “a challenge,” adding that if the mayor realized clean energy would be an economic boon to the city, he would be more open to pledging support.
One of the 15 Florida mayors that signed the pledge is St. Petersburg’s Rick Kriseman, the first to do so.
This is an ongoing problem for Buckhorn as Tampa’s crossbay rival city has historically been more sensitive on environmental and LGBT issues, dealing with minority communities, and opening relations with Cuba.  It is also no contest on which city has the more vibrant downtown.
Organize Florida, seemingly the more vocal partner leading up to the Monday event, noted,  “Mayor Buckhorn recently pledged to uphold the Paris Climate Accord, which is more symbolic than actionable. Tampa residents are asking him to take a more actionable approach by committing the city to 100% clean energy.”
Even at that, Buckhorn was one of the last to join in the Paris Climate Accord pledge.
Here’s what I would do if I were Ashley Bauman, Buckhorn’s flak, paid with city funds.  Unlike in the past when Buckhorn refused to meet with the Sierra Club and other petitioners, she shoukd advise the mayor to not only meet with the group, but declare the city’s willingness to join the rest of the country’s metropolitan areas who have instituted a clean energy program.  He could reference that his two young daughters (as well as their contemporaries) deserve to grow up healthy and live in an area free from pollutants.  The mayor might even be able to devise a few actionable steps to kickstart the effort.
The ambitious Buckhorn recently has had his image tarnished, particularly among fellow members of the Democratic party.  He will co-host a fundraiser for an incumbent Republican state representative in a battleground district and is the special guest of the Hillsborough County Young Republicans at its June 27 meeting.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is scheduled to meet next weekend in Miami Beach, where a news conference is scheduled to be held among American mayors who’ve endorsed the 100 percent clean energy future.  Tampa’s absence would be glaring and reflect on the city’s leader. 
Cross Posted with permission from: Tampa Bay Beat
This post is contributed by Tampa Bay Beat. The views and opinions expressed in this post are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Bay Post Internet or the publisher. 
E-mail Doc at mail to: or send me a Facebook Friend request. 
Please comment below, be sure to Like or share on Facebook and follow Bay Post Internet on TWITTER @DOC ON THE BAY 
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.