Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hurricane Irma – Social Media ad gouging


The public does not need a web page or social media site that looks like a cross between a pinball machine and a carnival poster.


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


We heard lot about price gouging from Governor Scott and Attorney Pam Bondi, and I haven’t seen much of that.

Local TV Channels curtailed most of their advertising for continuous, at times almost too much, hurricane coverage.

I periodically had enough and dropped off to Amazon Prime for a movie.

Local media social media sites and apps were a different story.

They were beset with flashing ads, scrolling crawls and dysfunctional displays of hurricane information.

Side bars, banners and scrolls displayed often confusing information.

Hurricane maps were surrounded by useless text and even more often useless ads. I was not looking for a car at the moment, and it was a little late for hurricane windows at that point.

Even more annoying were the popups, blinking notices and auto start ads with varying volume levels.

As you might imagine we have a number of computers running here and I was looking for continuous feed of the hurricane track with no banner, side bars, scrolls and no ads, so we could have distraction free real-time tracking information that would stay up for up for hours with no interruption.

I could not find, although there may have been one, a local media web site or social media page that would let you open a hurricane tracking map with no banners, scrolls or ads, text boxes and expand to full screen and stay open indefinitely.

IF YOUR MEDIA OUTLET HAD SUCH A SITE AND/OR PAGE COMMENT BELOW.

After considerable searching, I found such a site.

The NBC affiliate in Dallas, Texas Channel 5 had a simple page with limited text and no ads with several options one of them a real time Irma tracking map that would clearly expand to full screen with no banners, scrolls, popups or ads. The page would stay up for 5 to 6 hours at a time and when it did drop it went to an NBC logo and all you had to do was scroll down click the link, and it was good to go for another 6 hours or so.

So, here’s the point. Just because your social media whiz kid can cram a crapload of banners, scrolls, widgets, popups, auto start ads, blinking boxes, pictures, hyperlinks and text boxes full of useless or out of date information on to you web site or Facebook page doesn’t mean you need to.

At times like these, the public does not need a web page or social media site that looks like a cross between a pinball machine and a carnival poster.

People are looking for simplicity, clarity, ease of use, and they ARE NOT SHOPPING.

It is a good bet that a lot of first-time users of local social media, and those slick apps were more than a little turned off by what they found.

It is a little difficult to understand why the same thinking that limited ads and provided clarity on the broadcast side did not prevail on the social media side.

Probably a message for management in there somewhere.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com 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.

Friday, September 15, 2017

After Irma – Things to know before you take your boat out


Leave the salvage efforts to the experts.



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



Looks like it may be a pretty nice weekend, and you may be tempted to take the boat out for a cruise around Tamp Bay, up the intercostal waterway or out on one of our fresh water lakes.

First of all, you might want to think carefully before you make that decision.

There will be a lot of floating debris in all of our water ways. Though a lot of stuff gets washed out and up onshore by the tide, a lot of it floats around in Tampa Bay for a long time.

Pieces of docks, construction material, metal roofs and even sunken boats are common scenes following an event like Irma.

A lot of the material floats just under the water making it almost impossible to see. Dock boards are especially notorious for floating just below the surface.

Obviously if you hit one of these objects, it could do a great deal of damage to your boat and/or motor and also to you and any passengers onboard.

It is a good idea to stay away from any sunken or partially submerged vessels or boats and remember that the rigging from a sunken sail boat may still be attached to the hull with long steel cables.

Watch for sailboat masts sticking up out of the water especially at dusk and it is a very good idea to get off the water before it gets dark and you lose all visibility.

I was a charter captain here in Tampa Bay for years and invariably someone tries to pull an abandon boat off a shore or a partially sunken one back to port. Sometimes the results are humorous sometimes they are tragic, but almost always you end up damaging something on your boat.

Be very careful if your boat is powered by an outboard motor, as an improperly secured tow may cause the stern of your boat to sink suddenly when you apply power swamping your vessel in just a moment.

Most modern pleasure vessels are not designed to tow much of anything, and any salvage attempt is a dangerous effort no matter how small the boat you are trying to save.

Leave the salvage efforts to the experts.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com 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.

Monday, September 11, 2017

What to do after IRMA is gone

Staying safe after the hurricane is your first priority.


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


If you have evacuated and are returning to your home or just venturing outside after the storm passes, here are some suggestions to keep you safe.

Check out this Red Cross Link Be Red Cross Ready

From the Red Cross site:
 “Preparing to return home after evacuating will keep you safer while inspecting and cleaning up the damage to your home. Before traveling, ensure local officials have declared that it’s safe to enter your community and that you have the supplies you will need. Follow the suggestions below for returning to, inspecting and cleaning your home.”

Items to Take When Returning Home:
·         Government-issued photo ID and proof of address
·         Important phone numbers
·         Bottled water and non-perishable foods
·         First aid kit
·         Cleanser/ hand cleaning gel for personal use
·         Hygiene products and toilet paper
·         Insect repellent and sunscreen
·         Long sleeved shirts, long pants, sturdy waterproof boots and work gloves
·         Flashlight, portable radio and extra batteries
·         Cameras for photos of damage for insurance claims
·         Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.

Things to watch for:
·         Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
·         If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
·         Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
·         Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
·         Stay out of any building that has water around it.
·         Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.
·         Use flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles.
·         Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
·         Check for smells of leaking gas
·         Watch out for an increased presence of rats and other rodents which may feed off spoiled food or animal carcasses. Contact animal control authorities for information on how to dispose dead animals found on your property.
·         Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
·         Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
·         Don't wade into the water. Standing floodwater on your property may hide a host of dangers including live electrical lines and fecal matter from overflowed sewage lines.
·         Do not let children play in any water or touch objects that may have been exposed to possibly contaminated water.
·         Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
·         Watch your back. Use teams of two or more people to remove debris and heavy objects that weigh more than 50 pounds.

Take care of yourself:
·         Stay Hydrated
·         Take your medications
·         Take frequent breaks 
·         Wear sunscreen
·         Wear gloves, long pants and boots when removing debries
·         If a task looks dangerous call for help
·         Don’t try to do everything in one day

Finally, don’t take any unnecessary chances. Nothing at your home is worth a serious injury or your life.

Think before you act.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com 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, September 6, 2017

Hurricane Irma Preparation – Emergency Supplies and Photo Documentation

Be sure to take pictures and videos of your home, cars, boats, trailers and campers.


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


Here is a list of Emergency Supplies from Florida’s State Emergency Response team:

o   Water (at least a gallon a day per person, for 3 to 7 days)
o   Food (enough for at least 3 to 7 days)
o   Non-perishable foods and juices
o   Foods for infants and the elderly
o   Snack foods
o   Non-electric can opener
o   Cooking tools and fuel
o   Paper plates and plastic utensils
o   Blankets and pillows
o   Clothing (Including rain gear and sturdy shoes)
o   First-Aid Kit, medicines and prescriptions
o   Toiletries ad hygiene items
o   Special care items (for babies or the elderly)
o   Moisture wipes
o   Flashlight and batteries
o   Radio (Battery operated and NOAA weather radio)
o   Cash (Banks and ATMs may not be open or available)
o   Keys
o   Toys, books and games
o   Important documents (Keep in a waterproof container)
o   Insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, social security cards, etc.
o   Toolset
o   Pet care items
o   Proper identification and immunization records
o   Ample supply of food and water
o   Carrier or cage
o   Medication
o   Muzzle and leash

CAUTIONS:
If you have a generator make sure you have:
o   Adequate extension cords with the right plugs
o   Note the Power requirements of items you connect to the generator.
o   Fuel: Do Not store close to the generator.
o   DO NOT RUN THE GENERATOR INSIDE THE HOUSE OR GARAGE.
o   Generators get very hot keep them in a place where they are not near combustible materials.

Portable propane stoves or grills: 
     o   Disconnect fuel can when not in use.
o   If you are not used to cooking with an open flame use caution.

VIDEO DOCUMENTATION
Using your Cell Phone or digital camera take pictures of the following:

o   Your Home or Apartment: 
o   All angles, including a shot front and back of the roof
o   Garage door
o   Fences - each fence segment
o   Pool and enclosure: front, each side, back and top
o   Patio: Any structures (Pergolas, built in grills, fire pits)
o   Yard toys, swing sets
o   Screen rooms or Florida rooms interior and exterior.
o   Covered decks, especially those with aluminum roofs
o   Interior: Video of each room or still shots of each room be sure to get electronics
o   Detached Garage: front, each side, back, roof and door
o   Any Trees in your yard or a neighbor’s yard that might fall.
o   All your cars and trucks: front, each side and back
o   Work Trailers: front, each side and back
o   Campers: front, each side and back. If your camper is parked in offsite storage go take pictures of your camper and the surroundings and make sure they are DATED.
o   Boats: front, each side and back. If your boat is parked in offsite storage go take pictures of the boat and surroundings, if moored in a marina or mooring field take pictures and make sure they are DATED. 
o   Any other large scale or expensive item take pictures.

Upload these pictures to your cloud storage so you will have them should you lose your cell phone or camera or put them on a CD.

AFTER THE STORM PASSES
Repeat all the above photos/videos so you have before and after video documentation.

Upload these pictures to your cloud storage so you will have them should you lose your cell phone or camera or put them on a CD.

Be prepared to share this information with any claim's adjuster that you deal with.

This will be the most valuable information you will have should you need to file an insurance claim. It takes all the argument out of the “condition before” discussion.

If you have recently made major improvements to your home, new roof, paint, new windows, new garage door look up the receipts NOW so you can provide copies for any possible claim.

The better your documentation the quicker and possible larger you claim settlement will be.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com 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.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hillsborough MPO Needs New Leadership

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


When the Chair of a powerful governing board uses their position to further their own agenda, it is time for a leadership change.

Under Commissioner Les Miller Chairmanship of the Hillsborough County MPO, the MPO continues to offer one monolithic group of people opportunities no one else is offered. That is wrong.

Commissioner Les Miller is Chair of Hillsborough MPO
Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO's) are federally mandated transportation policy making organizations made up of representatives from local government and governmental transportation authorities. They are a critical and powerful organization because all Federal funding for transportation projects and programs are channeled through the MPO planning process. MPO's are tasked with establishing and managing a fair and impartial setting for effective decision making. 

According to our Hillsborough MPO's own website (emphasis mine):
The Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is a transportation policy-making board comprised of representatives from local governments and transportation agencies. According to federal and state laws, the Hillsborough County MPO is responsible for establishing a continuing, cooperative and comprehensive transportation planning process for Hillsborough County.
Our local MPO does planning for Hillsborough County, not just the city of Tampa or the urban core. The MPO Board must consider the entire county in its planning and decision making process.

It has become obvious that Miller is playing his politics with Hillsborough's MPO.

He was MPO Chair last June 2016 during the MPO public hearing at that time. The Eye reported then that Miller voted against TBX (no tax hike required) while he supported the Go Hillsborough sales tax hike to fund costly rail/transit boondoggles. Miller got a Democrat challenger last year, StopTBXer Kimberly Overman, until she conveniently withdrew on June 23rd, the day after Miller voted no on TBX at the public hearing.

As we posted in May, it was Commissioner Miller who used his position as Chair of the MPO to offer only transit advocates an opportunity to attend FDOT's peer exchange in St. Louis. All but one of his six Hillsborough County invitees were from Miller's district and the city of Tampa, including four StopTBXers. 

The city of Tampa's population is only 27% of the county and Miller's district is much smaller than that. We are left assuming Miller does not think any others from a county of 1.3 million and 1100 square miles is worthy of such opportunity. We found no public vote or agreement by the members of the MPO Board for who Miller himself selected to participate in this unique opportunity.

We recently posted here that Joshua Frank, a USF masters student in architecture (not an engineer or a transportation expert) was offered an opportunity to present to the MPO. He, like Kimberly Overman, are part of the "tear down the interstates" extremists crowd. Frank was offered an opportunity to present his vision of tearing down I-275 from downtown to Bearss (almost 10 miles of a heavily used major interstate) at the August 1 MPO Board meeting. 

It was ironic that MPO Chair Les Miller was absent at the meeting. But MPO Executive Director Beth Alden told the Eye it was Miller who invited Frank and offered him 10 minutes. Frank took much longer than 10 minutes but no one moderated his time. 

Again we could find no public vote or agreement by the members of the full MPO Board to invite Frank - just Miller again making his own unilateral decisions. 

We could find no record of the MPO Board itself voting to solicit anyone from the public to present a lengthy presentation of "their" vision opinion. Is this a new precedent the MPO has set? Then those with differing visions than Frank and/or believe Frank's presentation left out critical information should be able present their vision too.

The federally funded MPO cannot be used to advance the agenda of a single board member, especially the Chair. As stated above, the federally funded MPO must govern in a fair and impartial way. It cannot be used as a platform to advance the Chair's political agenda, one person's vision or one group's opinion.

In addition, in January of this year, Miller was selected Chair of HART, our local transit agency. The same person should not be Chair of multiple transportation governing boards in Hillsborough County. That has potential for conflicts of interest, especially since HART is dealing with declining transit ridership and budgetary issues and the MPO is dealing with the overall contentious transportation issue in Hillsborough County.

According to the latest Bylaws of Hillsborough MPOtenure of the Chair and Vice-Chair is for 1 year or until a successor is elected but any officer may be removed by a majority of the total members. 


Miller has been MPO Chair for almost three years since January 2015. That is long enough, not withstanding that Miller is now also Chair of HART.


Hillsborough County has endured enough shenanigans regarding its transportation issue. Transportation remains contentious in Hillsborough County. Miller's recent actions add to that contentiousness. Therefore, it is time for someone else to take over as MPO Chair.

The Hillsborough MPO will soon begin updating their federally mandated Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). The MPO cannot be used to offer opportunities to one group of people not offered to others in a large and very diverse county or the MPO will lose their credibility of fairness.


Hillsborough MPO needs new leadership.


Time for the MPO Board to select a new Chair NOW.  

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

Monday, August 28, 2017

Did you forget to vote your mail in Ballot????

Help set the direction of your City for the next 4 years by casting votes for the candidates of your choice


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

Tomorrow is election day in what is probably St. Petersburg’s most important Primary election ever.

Are You Election Ready? To find out click the link and get the answer at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Web site.

Need to Find Your Precinct? To find where you should go to vote click the link and the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Web site will get you to the right spot.

Forgot to mail in your mail in ballot? To late…..They were due back six days before the election.

Solution? Find your Precinct as indicated above, Take the Ballot and your voter's ID card and head to your precinct. They should be able to help you there.

Mail in ballot damaged or destroyed? Take the remains if any and head to your precinct. Don’t forget your Voters ID Card.

This is a very important election for everyone who lives in St. Petersburg. Citywide  everyone votes in the Mayoral Primary and in District 6, you will vote for a Council Candidate to move to the General election and for the Mayoral candidate of your choice.

Help set the direction of your City for the next four years by casting votes for the candidates of your choice.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com 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.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The rationale for electing Rick Baker Mayor of St. Petersburg

Baker never picked “his” solution over the solution the citizens wanted.


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


To get a feel for how Rick Kriseman sustains his positions read these two Posts from a 2013 interview I did with the then potential candidate Rick Kriseman.



Looking at what has transpired in the last three-plus years of the Kriseman administration it can truly be called unprecedented. Beginning within hours of his swearing, Rick Kriseman began a deliberate process of politicizing the office of Mayor of St. Petersburg.

Hiring his two longtime political cronies, Kevin King and Ben Kirby, who remain on the city payroll through this election cycle, to populate his office of the mayor was just the beginning.

Kriseman’s attempts at making the political stage by tweeting a ban against now President Trump while possibly cute was really stupid. It had no place in City Governance and only made St. Pete look small not the City it is.

Kriseman’s careful manipulation of the Pier Selection process to get “his Pier” approved not the voter’s choice clearly indicates his complete disregard with how the citizens of St. Pete feel.

This should be a warning that all those south side leaning platitudes are just another Kriseman scam. All he wants is your vote, if you don’t believe that ask yourself this question: what has he done for you in the last three-plus years?

Finally, there were the lies. The sewer system the sewage leaks, the nature of the problem and never taking responsibility. And a hastily constructed plan with no currently long range dedicated funding.

And now an endorsement from Barack Obama that is very hard to believe because there is no doubt the former president has little or no knowledge of what Kriseman has done or the lies he has told or the promises he has failed to keep.

More misdirected partisan politics from  Rick Kriseman.

Rick Baker has done what he said he would do. He put practical solutions in place for south St. Petersburg. He had a significant impact on quality of public education in all of St. Petersburg. He worked to fix the infrastructure problems existing during his two terms.

Baker never picked “his” solution over the solution the citizens wanted.

Baker choices for his staff were never made on cronyism but on competency.

Rick Baker built the strongest neighborhood association structure the City of St. Petersburg has ever had.

Most of all when Rick Baker gave his word, you could believe it.

Four more years of Rick Kriseman and his politically inspired approach to local government will leave the City of St. Petersburg in the biggest mess we have seen since the beginning of the strong mayor form of governance.

Your vote for Rick Baker can put St. Petersburg back on the path to a higher quality of life, better schools, sustainable infrastructure, respect to all citizens and recognition of the world-class city St. Petersburg is.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com 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.