Monday, December 30, 2013

Mayor-elect Kriseman Names Sherry McBee Administrator of Leisure Services; Michael Jefferis to Serve as Director of Parks and Recreation


December 30, 2013, Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman announced the appointment of Sherry McBee as the Administrator of Leisure Services. Michael Jefferis will serve as the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Said Mayor-elect Kriseman: “As a part of the restructuring of the Leisure and Community Services Administration, Administrator Clarence Scott and I mutually agreed to part ways. I thank Clarence for his dedicated service to the citizens of St. Petersburg. ”

The Department of Community Services and the Housing and Community Development Department will move under the purview of Mike Dove, the Director of Neighborhood Affairs.

Said Mayor-elect Kriseman: “I am pleased that Sherry McBee has agreed to serve as Administrator of Leisure Services. Sherry is incredibly qualified, and her background has prepared her to lead the leisure services team. I am proud to have her as part of this great team.

“I also want to thank Mike Jefferis for stepping into the important Director’s role at Parks and Recreation. I am counting on him to lead the efforts in a department that is highly visible, and very important to the citizens of St. Petersburg.” 

Said Ms. McBee: “I look forward to the opportunity to serve our citizens with these expanded Leisure Services responsibilities. It is an honor to be part of a strong management team, working hard to enhance the quality of life in our city.”

Said Mr. Jefferis: “I am sincerely looking forward to this opportunity and am excited to continue the great work of the many professionals that have guided the Parks and Recreation Department before me. This department has always been a national leader and innovator, and I look forward to continuing that tradition.” 

Biographies

Sherry McBee
Sherry McBee began her career with the city in 1974 and served as the recreation director since 1983. In 2010, Ms. McBee also assumed responsibility for the city's Parks Department, overseeing the care and maintenance of the city's more than 2400 acres of public parkland, nature preserves, athletic fields and athletic programs. She oversees all recreation programs provided at the 15 recreation

Bay Post Internet reached a milestone in December 2013. There were over 3000 page views for the month as logged by Blogger.

Don't panic, we don't know who you are, but I would like to thank each you for taking some of your valuable time and reading Bay Post Internet.

In 2014 I hope Bay Post Internet can become an even greater part of your information resources for what's going on in St. Petersburg and around Pinellas County.

One of my goals in 2014 is to add some other voices and opinions to the Blog. You can post as often or as little as you would like. Dissenting voices are always welcome.

If you're interested in sharing your thoughts, opinions or stories here on Bay Post Internet just send me an e-mail at dr.webb@verizon.net. I'll get right back to you with the simple details.

There is a lot to write about with the run up to the November 2014 elections, the proposed transportation sales tax referendum, new leadership in St. Petersburg, a new Pier, the Tampa Bay Rays and the list goes on.

The goal is to get to 6000 page views per month by next December, so like us on Facebook, Twitter and your other social media sites and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below each Post.
 
Have a great 2014

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday December 29, 2013

St. Pete
The Kriseman administration is ramping up the number of reports from the transition team that are available at Mayor Elect's Page. Still unanswered is my Public Records Request from December 9, 2013 for the Public Safety Meeting Minutes.

Some of the Mayors top team selections stirred up some comments from My Post on Sunday December 22 Kriseman and King will it Work  and A Not So Casual Conversation with Kevin King to Chris O'Donnell of the Tampa Tribune report on King's past in his article Kriseman's mayoral team grows to 7, the new Mayor's Chief of Staff drew some controversy.

Tish Elston, long time City Administrator has left the City reportedly followed by Parks and Recreation Director Clarence Scott.

Things are changing at City Hall and throughout the organization.

The new mayor will be sworn in Thursday January 2, 2014 about 12:30. The ceremony will be on the steps of City Hall and the public is encouraged to attend if possible.  

Upcoming election
If you are a registered Republican you may have received a ballot in the mail for the District 13 Congressional primary. If so be sure you find it and vote.

The Primary election is January 14, 2014 with the General election on March 11 where the GOP primary winner will face Alex Sink for the Congressional seat held by Bill Young. Some good information at Saintpetersblog: More than 16K ballots already cast in GOP primary for CD 13, by Phil Amman

2014
It looks to be a good new year. Things will definitely be changing in St. Petersburg, and there much to expect throughout the Bay Area.

I'll be following the new Kriseman administration, GreenLight Pinellas, the Pinellas County School Board and some other stuff.

New Years Wish
Have safe, happy and prosperous New Year. And, resolve to express your views each time you have an opportunity to vote in 2014.

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Friday, December 27, 2013

A Not So Casual Conversation with Kevin King


Like most everybody, the last week or so has been a bit hectic. Over the weekend I found a voice Mail from Kevin King, Mayor elect Kriseman's chief of staff designee in the in box.

I got back to Mr. King and it seems he was a bit concerned about my Sunday Post Kriseman and King Will It Work?

Mr. King took exception to my statement he was in the background during the election citing a TV interview for example, but if you follow the coverage, his public appearances were few.

He was also upset by statement he might have a tough time with City staff, indicating that he would only be supervising the small group in the Mayor's office and that since he "had picked them himself" he did not think that would be a problem.

Funny, I thought the Mayor elect picked these people.

After it started to become clear that the call was not going to significantly change my opinions, Mr. King wrapped up the conversation with somewhat stunning close.

"Well", he said, I think I have already wasted too much time on this." He went on, "it's not like it is

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Gary Cornwell to Serve as Interim St. Pete City Administrator

(St. Petersburg) -- Today, December 23, 2013 Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman announced the appointment of Gary Cornwell to serve as Interim City Administrator after the current City Administrator Tish Elston announced her departure today.

Said Mayor-elect Kriseman: “I thank Tish Elston for her years of dedicated service to this city. I am very grateful that Gary Cornwell has agreed to serve as Interim City Administrator. We need to ensure that, during this important time of transition, that city functions and services continue without interruption. I know Gary will make that happen.  

Said Dr. Cornwell: “I am excited for the opportunity to work with Mayor-elect Kriseman, and continue to serve the City of St. Petersburg as the Interim City Administrator. I am looking forward to making sure there is a continuity of the day to day operations of our city government, and to ensuring the citizens receive services in a seamless fashion.”

Dr. Cornwell was hired by the city in 1980. As human resources director, he is responsible for employee recruitment and selection; position compensation and classification; benefits for employees and retirees; labor relations and negotiations; employee development; equal employment opportunity; and city risk management and general liability functions.

He holds a bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University, and a master's and Ph.D., both in industrial/organizational psychology, from the University of South Florida.

He is active with the American Psychological Association, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the Florida Public Personnel Association, the International Personnel Management Association and the Florida Public Employer Labor Relations Association.

Commet:
Tish Elston has been a calm force in the storms, and a firm hand when needed in the City Administration. No one I know in the administration was more caring, compassionate or concerned about her city and the City's employees. 

I was a joy and a pleasure to work with her and for her in my career with the City. 

Gary Cornwell is also a good friend, reviewer of my Doctoral thesis and someone from whom I often sought guidance on critical City issues. Gary is well prepared for this role and he will be a significant asset to the new mayor during the transition period.

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Merry Christmas - The Greatest Gift

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.(This was the first census that took place while  Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An Angelo the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,  and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.  ........... (Luke 2, New International Version)

Theresa and I wish you and your family the very merriest of Christmases. May the peace and salvation that begins here be personally yours.  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday December 22, 2013 Kriseman and King - Will it work?

Mayor elect Kriseman's decision to appoint Kevin King has started up a bit of a fire storm.

Chris O'Donnell of the Tampa Tribune reported on King's past in his article Kriseman's mayoral team grows to 7 and other local media outlets have also brought up King's past and his long association with the Mayor elect.
 
Just after the primary and I had begun supporting Rick Kriseman in my blogs I had a call, one of those out of the blue "tips", about King and his background. The tip essentially was the same facts as reported in the Tribune article with a few embellishments.

I had known about the King incidents for some time.

I called then candidate Kriseman and we had a sit down conversation about Kevin King. What struck me at the time was how supportive of King Kriseman was and how willingly and quickly he came to

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas at PSTA

It looks to be a Merry Christmas at the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority.

The Pinellas County Commission gave them the Greenlight Transportation sales tax ballot language they wanted and removed the only seriously dissenting voice Norm Roche from the PSTA Board.

If someone would just put a really big train set under the PSTA tree it would be a perfect holiday.

An indication of just how political the transportation sales tax referendum will be is indicated by Norm Roche's removal from the PSTA board. No dissenting voices welcome at PSTA only smiling heads nodding yes.

Granted Mr. Roche did himself no favors by missing meetings and providing the ultimate excuse to boot him off the board.

Incoming County commission Chairwoman Karen Steel appointed John Morroni to fill the PSTA seat and did some nice justifying with a little political fluff.

It looks like the incoming chair would like to put a little distance between the Sales Tax controversy

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mayor-elect Kriseman Names Four to Serve in Office of the Mayor


(St. Petersburg) -- Today, December 18, 2013, Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman made four final appointments to the Office of the Mayor before taking office January 2.

Kevin King will serve as Chief of Staff of the Mayor’s Office; Benjamin J. Kirby will serve as Director of Communications for the Mayor’s Office; David Flintom will serve as Director of the Mayor’s Action Center; and Jessica Eilerman will serve as the Mayor’s Small Business Liaison.

As Chief of Staff of the Mayor’s Office, Mr. King will help craft Mayoral policy and ensure that the operations of the Office of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor flow smoothly and efficiently.

Said Mayor-elect Kriseman: "Kevin is the natural choice to lead my office, ensure cohesion, and help turn my vision into action and then reality. I've seen him in action for more than a decade and trust that he'll be the effective chief of staff that a strong-mayor form of government deserves."

Said Mr. King: “I am looking forward to rejoining Mayor-elect Kriseman, directing the talented team in the mayor’s office, and helping to craft and advance a policy agenda that reflects the needs and wants of our community. The opportunity to help the mayor bring about positive change in my hometown is especially gratifying.”

As Director of Communications for the Mayor’s Office, Mr. Kirby will work with members of the media, the City of St. Petersburg Marketing Department, and others to effectively communicate Mayoral policy, plans, and actions.

Said Mayor-elect Kriseman: "What's happening inside City Hall must be clearly communicated to the

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Heisman - Worth Less?

I rarely write about sports. I am what you would call a casual sports fan. A little baseball, no basket ball, some hockey, a little soccer and some foot ball. No fantasy teams, even though I attended Ohio State for a short time, no college football allegiance.

What turns me off most about sports in general is the seemingly witless tendency the press and the public have to excuse these stars of college football and athletes in general for their actions off the field.

According to Wikipedia the Heisman winner is selected according to the following
  • Sports journalists: Heisman.com states that sports journalists are to be the determinants of the award since they are "informed, competent, and impartial." There are 870 media voters: 145 voters from each of six regions.
  • Previous Heisman winners (and in cases where an underclassman wins the award and remains in school to play, a prior winner may also be a current candidate). According to Heisman.com there are currently 57 prior winners eligible to vote and, thus, 57 potential votes (a prior winner is not required to vote and does not lose his voting privileges by not voting).
  • Fans: the survey collected by ESPN.com constitutes one Heisman vote.
I always felt the Heisman represented some of the best in college foot ball. Perhaps the newest requirement is one unprosecuted rape accusation.

One certainly has to wonder if the same accusations were brought an FSU 3rd year computer

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mayor-elect Kriseman Names Michael Dove to Serve as Director of Neighborhood Affairs

(St. Petersburg) --  December 17, 2013
Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman announced the appointment of Michael Dove to serve as Director of Neighborhood Affairs. Mr. Dove is the former Deputy Mayor for Neighborhood Services for the City of St. Petersburg, where he has lived for 33 years.

Said Mayor-elect Kriseman: “Our neighborhoods define our city, and for years Mike Dove helped define our neighborhoods. On the campaign trail, I said it was important for our neighborhoods to be destinations -- to have their own distinct flavor. And I promised that our neighborhoods would have the full support of City Hall. I am looking forward to having Mike on the team to help deliver that promise.”

Said Mr. Dove: "I am honored to be asked by Mayor-elect Kriseman to come back and help implement his vision for the neighborhoods of Saint Petersburg. He has consistently emphasized the importance of rebuilding and celebrating the unique cultural and historic resources of our

Executive Director Opportunity


ITT Technical Institute is establishing the Early Career Academy, a Charter School, serving grades 11 and 12 in Hillsborough County. Classes begin in August of 2014 with an initial enrolment of approximately 120 students. 

This is the opportunity to be part of an exciting new approach to high school education where students earn both a high school diploma and an associate's degree from one of the country's premier private postsecondary education providers.

ITT Technical Institute is a leading provider of technology-oriented postsecondary degree programs designed to help students develop skills and knowledge they can use to pursue career opportunities in a variety of fields. 

At our more than 140 accredited ITT Technical Institutes located in approximately 39 states, we predominately provide career-focused degree programs of study in fields involving technology, criminal justice, business, and nursing to approximately 60,000 students. 

Today, we continue to execute our model, add new programs of study, and grow at a very rapid pace building new campus locations across the country.

At ITT Tech we are committed to helping men and women develop the skills and knowledge to pursue many opportunities in fields involving technology, criminal justice, and business. 

The Executive Director executes the mission and vision of the Early Career Academy (“Academy”), leads and ensures excellence in teaching, student learning and student development; promotes community support and maintains efficient and effective operations of the Academy.

Interested applicants will need to go to our website to apply.
  http://www.itt-tech.edu/employment.cfm

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Transparency - No So Much

The Kriseman Transition Team is having a problem with their transparency. 

On December 9, 2013 I sent the Kriseman media director an e-mail asking where a public records request for the minutes of the Public Safety Committee meetings should be sent. 

He responded I should them send to him. I sent a request for minutes from the Public Safety subcommittee.

Later that day the Kriseman media director responded that all Public Records requests should be sent the City Clerk.

On December 11, I sent a formal Public records request to the City Clerk.

In a follow-up telephone call, the Clerk's office indicated that they had no information from the

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday December 15, 2013


St. Pete
Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman announced the appointment of Sally Everett to serve as the Director of Legislative, Education, and Intergovernmental Affairs for the City of St. Petersburg, filling the long-vacant Education and Government Services post.    

The Mayor-elect also named Robert Danielson the Interim Marketing Director for the City.

Transparency has become an issue for the Kriseman transition team. See My Post tomorrow Transparency - Not So Much.

GreenLight Pinellas
The Pinellas County Commission voted to put the 1% sales tax for the GreenLight Pinellas Plan on the November 2014 ballot.

The Ballot language, essentially developed by the PSTA Legal team, accepts the GreenLight plan, dedicates the sales tax revenue to that plan.

For a look at the opposition check out No Tax Tracks.

The County Commission accepted the language with no changes. As such I cannot support the sales tax referendum and the only sensible vote is NO.

The Rowdies
Local Businessman Bill Edwards has become the new majority owner of the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
"The Rowdies are a fantastic part of downtown St. Petersburg," said Edwards. "It is my goal to build the best team in American soccer and create the best fan experience in American soccer. I am confident we can do both."

Rick Baker, President of the Edwards Group, says there are a few things the club is doing to enhance the fan experience come the start of the season in April of 2014, starting with the addition of 1,100 seats at midfield in Al Lang Stadium, the club’s home field. 

Now if Mr. Edwards could just convince former mayor Baker to become managing general partner of the Rowdies, Soccer could take off like a moon shot in St. Petersburg. To say nothing of what Baker might be able to accomplish for the NASL.

Just in case you missed it, this move gives Mr. Edwards control of all of the entertainment real estate south of Central, with the exception of the Dali Museum. Add to that the Edward's Shops at Bay Walk, and Mr. Edwards becomes quite a force in downtown St. Pete.


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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mayor Elect Kriseman selects Intergovernmental Affairs Director and Appoints Interim Marketing Manager


December 12, 2013

(St. Petersburg) -- Today, Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman announced the appointment of Sally Everett to serve as the Director of Legislative, Education, and Intergovernmental Affairs for the City of St. Petersburg, filling the long-vacant Education and Government Services post.

"It is vital that we have an experienced, in-house professional tracking state and federal legislation, identifying opportunities and challenges, and representing our City when other government bodies are meeting, " said Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman. "St. Petersburg will benefit greatly from Sally's breadth and depth of experience and longstanding relationships with area officials."

Ms. Everett will also help lead Mayor-elect Kriseman's initiatives to improve St. Petersburg's schools.

"I am excited to join Mayor-elect Kriseman's team,” said Ms. Everett. “I love St. Petersburg and am looking forward to working with the Mayor to optimize the city's effectiveness with elected and appointed officials and the many stakeholders who contribute to our city's vibrancy."

Most recently, Ms. Everett has been the Director of Community and Government Relations at Hillsborough Community College. She has extensive experience in governmental and public affairs, having spent four years as the Manager of Intergovernmental Relations for the Board of  County

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cleaning Up St. Pete

Here is  St. Petersburg Mayor elect Kriseman's vision for Neighborhoods

St. Petersburg is home to many unique, culturally rich, and historically significant neighborhoods. These neighborhoods deserve the full support of city hall.

As mayor, I will encourage effective and influential neighborhood associations by funding the Neighborhood Partnership Grants program and support staff and treating our Codes Compliance Assistance Department as a budget priority.  As we continue to emerge from the economic downturn and related budget cuts, we must look to restore funding to the areas that were hit the hardest, and that includes Codes.

Further, we must expedite the demolition of condemned homes in order to reduce blight and make our neighborhoods safer.

Just as important as a safe, clean neighborhood is the neighborhood's identity, because a sense of belonging fosters pride. My goal is for each neighborhood or area to have its own vibe, to be its own

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Pinellas County Commission Could Fix GreenLight Pinellas.

Originally Posted on Saint PetersBlog.....

The County Commission could make a few changes and place the GreenLight sales Tax referendum in a much better position for voter approval.

Here are some suggestions:

· Modify the ballot language and to make it impossible for any of the tax revenue to be spent for light rail or light rail planning until all of the current GreenLight Plan Bus goals are implemented, met and verified. If the rail people want to plan let them do it on their own dime.

· Add in some strong control and outside auditing language that holds PSTA accountable.

· Require PSTA to establish an express bus route that follows the proposed light rail line to test the viability of the GreenLight rail plan. Requiring regular reports on rider volume. If it won't work with buses it probably will not work with rails.

· Ratchet down the marketing hype. People are all ready questioning the project, and a lot of them are starting to think if it requires all this hype then there has to be an issue.

The County commission more than likely holds the key to the fate of the Tax Referendum.

Some repositioning would go a long way toward approval of the Referendum.

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Max - Blind But Now I See


It was 1 year ago today December 10, 2012. At about 7:45 AM I loaded my 5 year old Poodle, Max, into my pickup truck, Max's favorite vehicle, for a trip to Blue Pearl Veterinary clinic on Ulmerton road.

It had been a tough year. Max, had developed server cataracts and was completely blind in one eye and had limited visibility in the other. As I climbed into the truck, Max glanced my way and then stared intently out the window trying to see his surroundings.

Max is a happy dog, playful, loving and really smart. He had adjusted to his gradual loss of sight, as most dogs do, and at times it was hard to tell he was almost blind. Things had gotten steadily worse over the summer and fall. After consultation with several canine ophthalmologists the decision was made to do double cataract surgery.

My eyes moistened a bit as this would be a land mark day, the day Max would see again.

We took the short ride to the Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners clinic where I handed Max over to the care of an exceptional staff and caring canine ophthalmologist Dr. Michele Stengart DVM, ACVO.

Two options, leave Max overnight or pick him up at 4:30PM and then return first thing the next day

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday December 8, 2013

St. Pete Politics
The clock winds down toward inauguration day as Mayor Elect Rick Kriseman's transition team works toward recommendations on key issues. You can find a list of meeting times and locations at Mayor Elect Kriseman's Transition Team. All of these meetings are open to the public and you are encouraged to attend.

The Mayor elect announced Nikki Gaskin-Capehart as the new Director of Urban Affairs.

Still no word on key appointments such as Chief of Staff and the new Communications Director along with other staff changes. 

Possible political drift is already occurring in the new City Council Members as Darden Rice may have signaled a departure from her hard stand against red-light cameras as she indicated she " she wants to see more data before deciding on a course of action.” More at Future of Red Light Cameras Could be first test for new St. Pete City Council Members.

Around Town
Looks like the slow moving Bay Walk , soon to be The Shops at St. Pete, will have a spring launch. If you missed it check out Chris O'Donnell St. Pete Tribune Piece, Ex-Baywalk to get Upscale over haul. Also don't be too disappointed if this drags on into the summer.

Bar owners and late night drunks all over the Bay area were shivering in their shoes as the Hillsborough County Commission pondered moving closing time back to Midnight. Not to worry, Hillsborough commissioners were deeply influenced by whining bar owners. Late night consumption will continue for now.

GreenLight Pinellas
The effort moves on with the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce soundly jumping on board with a ringing endorsement. I wonder if they gave even a moment's thought that a big hunk of this proposed tax is coming out of the spendable incomes of the customers and of their members.

I got taken to task on one of my Posts Greenlight Pinellas the Hype and the Circumstance by a well versed reader. You can see his comments and my response at GreenLight Pinellas a Commenter responds.

Thank all of you who take the time to comment on these posts.

I was Blind But Now I See

Next week December 10 is the first anniversary of my poodle Max's double cataract surgery. 

Be sure to check in Tuesday at St. PETEPATCH or Bay Post Internet and catch up on his progress.

e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb)Friend request.
See More of Doc at Bay Post Internet, St.PetePatch and SaintPetersBlog

Friday, December 6, 2013

GreenLight Pinellas a Commenter Responds


Here is a comment from Bruce Nissen December 04, 2013 at 08:53 AM on my Post GreenLight Pinellas - The Hype and The Circumstance .

"Just like virtually all opponents of Greenlight Pinellas, Doc Webb omits important information and therefore misleads. He writes that you "will pay almost 1% more for almost everything you pay." False. The tax is capped at $500, so large purchases over $5,000 will not have the 1% on any amount over that $5,000. Also note that Doc Webb doesn't mention that property taxes will be reduced in exchange for this 1% sales tax. Also note that that tourists pay between 30% and 40% of all sales taxes in the county, meaning that while our property taxes goes down, out-of-town tourists will pick up a substantial portion of the new tax replacing it. I could go on an on. Omitting key facts like the above is not balanced commentary. The case for better mass transit in our county is overwhelming, if one looks at all the facts. And simply focusing in the 1% sales tax is so limited, and so distorting, that one misses the big picture. The economic benefits to all of us from vastly improved (and increased) bus service, plus eventually light rail in about 10 years, are clear."

Let's pick this apart

Tax is capped at $500 so no tax on purchases over $5000
Just how many individual $5000 purchases do you make? Not that many I would suspect. You will pay 1% more on EVERYTHING else  except excluded items: groceries and medical supplies. There is no cap on the total amount of this tax you pay..

Property Taxes will be reduced
Maybe, but this requires an act of the State legislature which has not yet happened. So it is possible if you vote yes for the sales tax you could end up paying both taxes. Granted not likely, but possible.

If you rent or lease it will have no off-setting effect you will just pay a tax you were not paying before.

Tourists will pay 30% to 40% of the tax TOTAL
So what? We make the area even less desirable for tourists by raising the sales tax and all of this has no affect on you, you still pay more taxes. This argument is just a shell game marketing ploy.

Not balanced commentary
I have absolutely no intention of providing balanced commentary. What I am providing is a counter balance to the very expensive marketing campaign that PSTA is using your tax dollars to pay for, so you can be convinced GreenLight Pinellas is a great idea, and you should vote for the sales tax increase.

Where we agree
The case for better mass transit in our county is overwhelming, if one looks at all the facts.

Comment
The sales tax referendum would have a much better chance if the Ballot language and supporting Ordinance/Resolution had specific control language that sets County Commission controlled milestones and strictly prohibits any dedication of these funds for any light rail effort including consultants and planning until the bus transportation goals are met.

What we have now is a proposal to take millions of dollars out of the local economy, dedicate it to specific named program and give it over to PSTA who has stars their eyes and trains on their mind.

The County Commission can fix this if they will. If they don't, it is going to be a tough sell regardless of how much tax payer money is spent on slick marketing.

e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb)Friend request.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mayor Elect Kriseman's Transition Team Meetings - Public Notice



Be sure to attend these meetings if you have questions or input. 

12-16-2013 - Transparency & Fiscal Oversight Task Force Meeting
8:00 AM, Gregory, Sharer, Stuart, 100 2nd Ave. S, Conference Room

12-13-2012 - Transportation Task Force Meeting
4:00 PM, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, 100 2nd Ave. N

12-12-2013- Public Safety Task Force
5:00 PM, Bethel Community Church, 2901 54th Ave. S

12-11-2013 – Arts and Culture Task Force Meeting
2:00 PM, SPC Downtown Center, 244 2nd Ave. N, Room 210

12-10-2013 - Transportation Task Force Meeting
7:30 AM, Gills YMCA, 3200 First Ave. South

12-10-2013 – Economic Development Task Force Meeting
3:00 PM, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, 100 2nd Ave. N

12-09-2013 - Transparency & Fiscal Oversight Task Force Meeting
8:00 AM, Gregory, Sharer, Stuart, 100 2nd Ave. S, Conference Room

12-06-2013 - Public Safety Task Force
5:00 PM, Bethel Community Church, 2901 54th Ave. S

12-06-2013 - Transportation Task Force Meeting
4:00 PM, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, 100 2nd Ave. N

12-5-2013 - Strengthening Neighborhoods Task Force Meeting
7:00 PM, St. Augustine's Church, 2920 26th Ave S.

You should attend any of these meetings that interest you.

Follow the Mayor elect's Transition Team at St. Pete News and Events

e-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net, or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb)Friend request.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Red Light Cameras Could be the First Test for New St. Pete City Council Members

If you believe the campaign rhetoric, St. Pete red light cameras could be in trouble. Darden Rice and Amy Foster both strongly indicated they were opposed to the red light camera program and would vote against its continuation.

All of this could play out at the January 12th City Council meeting following a review of the camera controlled intersection data. You can pretty well bet Wengay Newton will make sure it is on the agenda.

Given the past reluctance on the part of the Parking and Transportation staff to be fully forthcoming with accurate information, some digging by City Council is fully in order.

Rice, however, may be waffling a bit based on a Chris O'Donnell article in St. Pete Tribune, Red Light Camera Tickets Drop in St. Pete where Rice indicated "she wants to see more data before

Monday, December 2, 2013

GreenLight Pinellas - The Hype and the Circumstance

There has been a lot of planning go into the GreenLight Pinellas Project. In fact millions of dollars worth of planning.

A big part of the planning process has been how to sell YOU the taxpayer that this is a good idea worthy of your vote.

One of the stalwarts of all political campaigns is the ENDORSEMENT.

If you are like most people you don't follow all this stuff that closely, so if your Mayor, City Council person or someone you respect steps up and says this is a good deal,  many people pay attention.

Over the last couple of years there has been a steady stream of presentations, workshops and meetings conducted by PSTA, TBARTA, their consultants and marketing company to Mayors, City Council members, State Representatives, State Senators, local power brokers and movers and shakers.

It has worked quite well. Most Mayors and City Councils have passed Resolutions supporting GreenLight. Many Politicians have endorsed the plan and the sales tax. In fact several St. Pete Politicians, including the new mayor frequently campaigned supporting GreenLight.

The Consultants and marketing experts have done a solid job in getting these people on board. (no pun intended).

Question is: Have any of these people actually sat down and read the Plan? Do they really know what's in it? Do they actually know what they are endorsing?

Case in point. The current ballot language specifically dedicates the sales tax revenue to the GreenLight Pinellas Plan.

I doubt that any of these Mayors or City Council members would feel real comfortable passing a local taxing ordinance or resolution that dedicates long-term non, sun setting tax revenue to a specific named program without any oversight and ability of the Council to step in if something goes wrong.

So why did they vote to "endorse" the GreenLight and the tax?   Good marketing.

The County Commission has voted to move forward with the sales tax referendum. The lone dissenter, Commissioner Norm Roche, asked some good questions but was generally ignored.  Why?   Good Marketing.

Commissioner Roche questioned the using GreenLight Pinellas as the designee of the Tax funds but he was voted down. Why?  More good marketing.

Commissioners also decided how strictly to define what the new tax money could be spent on, ruling out bridge construction and other options.

“Including all that list is a sure way to kill the referendum,” said Commissioner Susan Latvala.

In other words they don't want you to know what the money will actually be spent for.

Oops, can't wait to see how the marketing team spins that one.

So there you have it. GreenLight Pinellas is more marketing hype than buses or trains at this point.

Expect to see your TV screen and mail box full of ads with gleaming buses full of smiling people whizzing up and down US 19. Streamlined trains stopping at well manicured stations and hansom people telling you how wonderful all of this will be.

Lots of "testimonials" about how you won't need your car any more, and trying to convince you that the 4 mile hike to the train station is really not an inconvenience just good exercise.

Read, watch and enjoy your paying for it.

Then remember, you will paying 1% more for almost everything you buy. And the GreenLight people will have almost $100 million of your money to play with every year.

The Pinellas County Commission needs to put on the brakes and build some serious control language into the Ballot Language or the Ordinance it puts in place, and most of all get The "GreenLight Plan" out of the Ballot Language, otherwise the tail will soon be wagging the dog.

e-mail Doc at: dr.webbsmail@gmail.com, or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday December 1, 2013

St. Pete Politics
St. Pete Mayor elect Rick Kriseman's Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner came with a plate full of problems.

 First,  South St. Pete activists claim brutality on part of St. Pete & Pinellas County officers (Mitch Perry Creative Loafing), then Assistant Chief Dave DeKay becomes "acting" St. Pete Police Chief almost 3 weeks before he will be appointed "interim" Police Chief offering the opportunity for some Politics at The St. Pete PD.

Now it looks like the architects and designers are gaming the St. Pete Waterfront Plan development, Cost of St. Pete waterfront plan Set to Rise (Chris O'Donnell ST. Pete Tribune) trying to push it into a "negotiated" deal and up the cost rather than use an open bid process.

Then there was the moving of money from the Penny for Pinellas account dedicated to neighborhoods to the New Police Building, St. Pete debate: Money for new police departments or neighborhoods? (Chris O'Donnell ST. Pete Tribune), Council Member Charlie Gerdes  summed it up well, “If you don’t have a safe community, you’re not going to have good neighborhoods, you’re not going to have parks and recreation places that anyone wants to go to because they’re all going to be dangerous.”

Add to all of that Mayor-elect Kriseman's transition team which is a bit lopsided and sure to come