St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog.
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog.
There are times when you question people's judgment and then there are times you just scratch your head and smile. This article in the Tampa Bay Times by Tony Marrero: Pinellas officials head to D.C. in search of funds for St. Pete rapid bus line caught my eye.
PSTA CEO Brad Miller hauled County Commissioner Janet Long and St. Pete City Councilmember Darden Rice up to Washington to meet with Representatives David Jolly, Kathy Castor, Senator Bill Nelson and someone from Marco Rubio's office to talk about getting some federal money for PSTA projects.
If you don't follow the goings on at PSTA, this might seem like a worthwhile effort since PSTA is pretty much capped out on tax revenue and Federal dollars for public transit have dried up.
Brad Miller going to Washington to ask for Federal Dollars is kind of like the guy who just got arrested for breaking into your house sending someone by to knock on your door and ask if you could help with his bail.
Miller, who misused federal funds to try to get even more of your tax money in the GreenLight sales tax debacle and then lied to the PSTA Board, would likely be the last person any federal or state politician would be excited about handing federal grant dollars.
From 10 News Investigates:
County Commissioner Janet long, recently laughingly reappointed to the PSTA Board, gave Miller a bad review and then would not support his removal. See my Post Janet Long reelected to serve 3 more years on PSTA Board.
You can check out their evaluations of Miller:
Darden Rice, a long-time Miller supporter, just can't seem to see any fault with Miller's actions.
Even with PSTA's mounting financial problems, it is hard to rationalize how Long and Rice could look at US House Members, a Senator and a Senator's Representative with a straight face and ask for more money to be managed by the same staff that misused the last large federal grant.
Apparently Long and Rice must feel that the people in Washington are so isolated inside the beltway that they are oblivious to what is going on at the ground level in Pinellas County.
For now, Miller has seven months to "improve his performance." Not exactly sure what that means but one might assume figuring out more ways not to get caught misusing PSTA funds.
The PSTA Board should be required to clean up the PSTA staff before any more federal or state money flows into the coffers. The Board's lack of oversight and the backbone to deal with issues like Miller's dalliances are the real reasons public transit in Pinellas County lacks public trust.
If you would like to send a copy of this Post to your Florida Representatives and Senator, here is the contact information.
You can just copy the Post URL at the top of the screen, or copy the whole Post and paste into their email form.
Representative David Jolly: http://jolly.house.gov/contact/
Representative Kathy Castor: https: //castor.house.gov/contact/contactform.htm
Senator Bill Nelson: https://www.billnelson.senate.gov/contact-bill
Marco Rubio's office: http://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact
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