Sunday, December 10, 2017

My NFL Boycott continues

This week will be no different – NO NFL 

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


As we move deeper and deeper into the 2017 NFL season, I miss it less and less.

You may remember that following the NFL players “protest” of the American flag and the National Anthem, I completely swore off professional and college football.

Someone asked this week,” So, how’s that going for you?”

“Actually, quite well, I replied. “More time for the family, house, yard and some long weekend walks with my wife.”

We not only swore off football on television but also any of the mainline NFL advertisers whose products we could reasonably avoid. I have been keeping a running total of diverted purchases, and it’s up to about $2,000.00 so far.

Since I am just one guy with a growing lack of respect for the NFL on a number of fronts, I thought I would take a look at the NFL TV ratings.

Check out SMW Sports Media Watch,
The NFL Rating Page and it would seem I am not as alone in my decision to invest my viewing time in something other than the NFL.  There have been a few hot games, but in general it looks like ratings are down.

This week will be no different – NO NFL.

Sunday, we will probably put up some Christmas lights, maybe a long walk on a cool and breezy beach, and possibly check out some new cars. It will be tough to find a car brand that doesn’t throw some ad dollars at the NFL.

This has been a serious issue for me. Professional football and collegiate football have been in a downward moral drift for some time.

The outrageous salaries paid to college coaches while students struggle with the cost of getting a higher education just seems unconscionable and watching professional football is more like watching a cross between professional wrestling and a street brawl than a sporting contest.

So, I will take my eyes and my dollars elsewhere.

By the way, if you can give me some help with the car thing, a car brand that does not advertise on the football games drop me an e-mail or post it below.

Try today without football, you may just be surprised at what happens. 


To listen to the BAY POST PODCAST of this Post Click here: My NFL BOYCOTT CONTINUES

E-mail Doc at
mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
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Friday, December 8, 2017

Jack Latvala – The face of ugly old-school politics

If you live here in the Bay area, Jack Latvala is your state senator.


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


Like many, I have watched the sexual misconduct charges originally reported in Politico regarding Florida State Senator Jack Latvala gradually unfold.

Latvala, often referred to as the most powerful man in the Florida Senate, has reacted to the allegations with a full-frontal attack on the lone accuser of the six reported in Politico to come forward.

The moral outrage by some of Latvala’s colleagues is at times laughable, but the circumstances of Mr. Latvala’s actions are certainly not.

Latvala’s approach to intimidate his accuser and scare off any others from coming forward is as old as time.

The tide is turning against the senator as colleague State Senator Lauren Book has filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee.

 “It appears the Senator may have engaged in behavior that violates the trust we sought to establish, and which every alleged victim of misconduct deserves, by potentially victimizing, or re-victimizing, the complainant,” wrote Book, herself a childhood victim of sexual abuse. Read more in  the Miami Hearld/Times article by Mary Ellen Klas: Senator files complaint against Latvala for interfering in investigation.

Just in case you question the power and reach of Jack Latvala, note this December 5, 2017 article from John Romano Tampa Bay Times Romano: Forget the accusers, Latvala is taking himself down. One day later a much more understanding John Romano in the Tampa Bay Times, writes Romano: Like him or not, Latvala deserves a fair hearing.

It seems the most concerned people about the imploding of Latvala’s political career are those he could or has helped the most, and the ones most interested in his political demise are his political adversaries. Few seem concerned about the women he has viciously attacked in the media and the others who may lie awake at night enraged by what happened to them and too terrified to say anything.

The only thing that gives guys like Latvala the ability to commit and get away with these acts is the power of the position they occupy.

It is way past time for Latvala to go, and the only thing keeping him in place is the rest of the good old boys in Tallahassee who are scared to death that the timely demise of Jack Latvala’s political career may open the flood gates and swallow them up too.

To listen to the BAY POST PODCAST of this Post Click here: Jack Latvala – The face of ugly old-school politics

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tampa Streetcar Futility

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


Yet another taxpayer funded study trying to figure out what to do with the Tampa Streetcar was recently released.

The plan to extend the TECO Line Streetcar system north through downtown got its first positive reviews from the public on Tuesday night.
The streetcar system already runs from Ybor City to the Channel District. The aim of a $1.7 million study to look at expanding service is to choose the path to reach more of downtown and extend the system north to Tampa Heights. 
The Invision: Tampa Streetcar study selected two preferred routes for the extension of the existing 2.7-mile streetcar line. Both routes travel an additional 1.3 miles from E Whiting Street north to E Palm Avenue.
In the Preferred Options Alignment Report, There are two finalist routes identified from the seven studied, both of which add a northern extension to the current 2.7 mile route.

Alignment A: N/S on Franklin Street

Alignment B: N/S Tampa Street - Florida Ave couplet

But it's not the first study. As recently as 2014, HART commissioned a study, which referenced several earlier studies. The one thing the Tampa Streetcar is good for is... more throw away studies, and wasting your money.

One benchmark for investment is to understand how well similar investments in the past have performed. Well, we have one... in the current Tampa Streetcar, which HART breaks out in regular reporting to the Federal Transit Agency. Here is some data from 2016.

2016 Streetcar metrics

Operating Expenses$1,594,758
Fare Revenue$566,665
Fare Recovery %36%*
Annual Unlinked Trips286,685
Estimated Riders per Day353*
Operating Expense per Vehicle Revenue Mile$24.10
Operating Expense per Passenger Mile$3.16
* calculated

About 353 people per day use the Tampa Streetcar, for an average trip under 2 miles, of which 64% of the operating costs are paid by the taxpayers, not the riders. Not such good numbers.

So lets double down.

What does the extension study say about the proposed alternatives?

Preferred Alignment Characteristics
These characteristics are very similar for these routes, as expected, since they are very similar routes.

But it's interesting they have an estimate for the capital costs, when they've not figured out what they will build. From Section 4.1 of the study:
The project assumes enhanced transit service, whether provided by streetcar or another form of transit technology, will be provided along the extension and the existing historic streetcar alignment serving Ybor City, the Channel District, Water Street, and the Tampa Convention Center. The project assumes the full alignment—existing plus extension—will be designed to provide a “one seat” trip, maximize exclusive transit guideway opera ons, and over high levels of service with full-day and evening opera ons with 15-minute headways. As a result, a paramount assumption is that the same vehicle technology will be operated on the existing system and the extension.

As identified in previous studies prepared by HART and depending on the final vehicle technology decision, modernization of the existing system may require reconfiguration of stations, changes in guideway alignment and additional double-tracking, upgrading of tracks on power distribution, and improvements to or replacement of the existing maintenance and service facility.
In other words, they will want to do make the extension seamless with the existing track, and standardize the technology, buy and install a bunch of new technologies, but no decisions have been made on the technologies. But we know how much it costs.

The 2200 weekday boardings over the planned 2.2 mile route is suspect as well. The current 2.7 mile route averages 785 boardings per day, so they are planning hoping for a big jump in riders. Or, based on the 2020 population estimates of 5150 people living within 1/4 mile, nearly 20% of them will ride every weekday.

What else is missing? Well, it is a STREETcar study, that runs on the streets. There is no mention of potential impacts to vehicular traffic, particularly on the Tampa Street - Florida Ave couplet Plan B, both roads are major thoroughfares in and out of downtown Tampa.

But we're not the only ones skeptical of Streetcars. Others are as well:
A few weeks after the city of Detroit began charging riders a few bucks per ride on its brand-new downtown streetcar, ridership dropped 40 percent, according to the Detroit Free Press. Sadly, few observers were surprised. 
“The streetcar doesn’t even connect directly to the city’s primary bus station,” remarked the transit consultant Yonah Freemark on Twitter. “It runs a total of 3 miles in a huge region. Set up to fail.” 
The streetcar, dubbed the QLine, is carrying 3,000 riders per day, short of the projected 5,000 to 8,000 per day required to break even. Sure, it’s still early; the line opened in May. But a similar story is playing out across the country’s other 21st century streetcars: Pokey, infrequent, and generally disconnected from other transit, line after line keeps bottoming out. 
Atlanta saw a 60 percent drop in ridership after its 1.3-mile line, which opened in 2014, started asking for $1 per go. The line is in the process of being transferred from the city’s authority to the metro’s transit agency, which may consider making it free again. But it’s been bedeviled by administrative and financial issues. Since it opened in September 2016, Cincinnati’s Bell Connector line has seen about two-thirds of the daily ridership consultants predicted. Salt Lake City’s Sugar House line has fared even worse, with just about one-third of the passengers originally projected. Even Seattle, for all of its other transit successes, is seeing about the same sorry share of original predictions.
And that's from the usually transit friendly Citylab.

But developers love it! Transit oriented development to save the day, right?
Nothing is inherently wrong with a streetcar beloved by developers, so long as developers are paying for it. But they’re not, at least not on their own. Taxpayers are picking up most of the bill for the 21st century streetcar renaissance—money which could otherwise support more effective forms of public transportation. Overall mobility suffers when transit dollars are diverted to projects that are more about real estate than riders.
We are not excited about wasting more money on the Tampa Streetcar. We've seen this movie before. We've lived it the last 20 years.

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

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Kevin King – It is time for City Council to take a stand

With growing emphasis on public figures and their actions where do current and recently elected St. Petersburg officials stand on the matter of Kevin King?


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

To:
Charlie Gerdes District 1, Charlie.gerdes@stpete.org
Jim Kennedy District 2, James.Kennedy@stpete.org
Ed Montanari, District 3, ed.montanari@stpete.org
Darden Rice District 4, darden.rice@stpete.org
Steve Kornell District 5, Steve.kornell@stpete.org
Karl Nurse District 6, Karl.nurse@stpete.org
Lisa Wheeler-Bowman District 7, lisa.wheeler-bowman@stpete.org
Amy Foster District 8, amy.foster@stpete.org

Council Members elect

  
As the issue of sexual impropriety among government officials has grown over the last months, and prominent officials have been asked to step down I would like to get your opinion in the matter of Kevin King, Mayor elect Kriseman’s chief of staff.

 As I am sure, you know Mr. King was arrested in 2001, and he was accused of sending inappropriate messages to two female students ages 14, and 15.  The 14-year-old's mother found the message in her daughter’s e-mail and reported it to the police.

King was charged with three felonies: one count of computer solicitation to commit a lewd and lascivious act, and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was released from the Pinellas County Jail after posting $5,500 bail.

We do know Mr. King was terminated the next day by the Pinellas County School system.

There have been numerous reports in the media about Mr. King and since the records of the charges have been sealed, and Mr. King has refused to release them, there is no resolution as to what actually occurred in the legal process.

I would like to ask you personally seven questions on the record regarding the Kevin King matter:

1.    Fully understanding that it is the mayor’s prerogative to hire whom he pleases, and City Council does not have a legal position such as confirmation in the hiring process for key staff members, do you think City Council has a responsibility to set a moral compass for the City Administration?

2.    Do you feel as a council member elect or a council member elected by the citizens of St. Petersburg you have a responsibility to take a public position on Mr. King’s continued employment by the City of St. Petersburg?

3.    Given the current public focus on sexual exploitation by and the moral focus of public officials and in light of your responsibilities as an elected City Council member do you think Mr. King’s continued employment by the City of. Petersburg is in the City’s best interest?

4.    Do you think it is appropriate for Mr. King to be responsible for the City’s educational programs?

5.    Do you think it is appropriate for Mr. King to be in a powerful position where many of his subordinates are female?

6.    Does Mr. King personify to you the type of individual you want to represent the City of St. Petersburg to the public, and organizations the City does business with?

7.    Would you support a non-binding resolution condemning Mr. King’s continued presence on the City payroll?

Please provide an individual, personal and formal response to these questions so your constituents may know where you stand on these issues.

Thank you for your response.

E. Eugene Webb, PhD

Above are the names and Email addresses of the City Council members elect, and the current sitting City Council members.

I have sent an individual Email to each of these councilmembers and the council members elect asking for a personal response as opposed to a blanket statement from one of the Kriseman’s spokes people.

If you agree I would suggest you send a copy of this E-mail to each City Council member or post this blog on their Facebook page.  

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.
Please comment below.
E-mail Doc at
mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Please comment below.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Sexual Harassment – why are we surprised?

This type of activity is not limited to the powerful, famous, and rich. It takes place all the way down to store, the shop, the fast-food restaurant and even the church.



As they like to say where I come from, you could hardly swing a dead cat this week without hitting a politician, actor, news anchors or some other celebrity who was involved in some sordid type of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.

They were everywhere from the morning news to halls of Congress and pretty much everywhere in-between.

Many seemed “shocked” by the sudden public revelation of all this aggressive behavior. Fact is it’s been going on since the beginning of recorded history. Men, universally in power exert that power to impose their will on women.

From City hall to the statehouse and on to Congress the charges of improper sexual advances by men toward women began as a trickle and has morphed into a torrent.

This type of activity is not limited to the powerful, famous, and rich. It takes place all the way down to store, the shop, the fast-food restaurant and even the church.

Women are feeling empowered to come forward, and they should. The rest of us needs to support these women as the powerful use the primary defense tactic of trying to discredit their accusers. The defense is also as old as time.

Locally, we have a St. Pete Mayor, who shelters a chief of staff who reportedly solicited sexual favors from an under aged girl and a State Senator, who is doing everything he can to discredit one of his several accusers.

Neither is acceptable.

Where is our moral compass?

Why is it so difficult for politicians to move against those of their own who are guilty of these acts?

At least, the media and some businesses are moving quickly to take away the very power that allows this type of behavior. When will the politicians quit mealy mouthing around and do something besides talk?

When will city councils, county commissions, state legislatures and the courts protect the victims and stop providing sanctuary for the guilty?

This could be a tipping point in our society where finally women do not have to be afraid to speak up when they are improperly treated, or it may just be a blip on the sexual harassment radar.

For now, it looks like women are getting the respect they deserve, and it is up to all of us to support them.


To listen to the PODCAST of this Post Click here: Sexual Harassment – why are we surprised? 

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.
Please comment below.