Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Subpoenoacrats – will the Democratic establishment ever grow up?

Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD 

Author: In Search of RobinSo You Want to Blog.

I have watched with both humor and growing concern as the US House of Representatives now controlled by the Democrats wrenches in a headlong convulsive rush to get Trump at all costs.

The problem is there is a real price to be paid if this obsession of investigations and subpoenas continues.
In order for a democracy to go forward there are certain things that must be accomplished regularly.  For now, the Democrats and their committees have turned the People’s House into a carnival as their leader’s lurch and gasp for air in a constant tirade against the Trump administration.
Point is Trump really doesn’t care, and Republicans are enjoying to some degree watching the Democrats make absolute fools of themselves at every turn.
Their obsession with the thought that another four years of Trump could lead to an all-out collapse of democracy as, we know it is more than a little hypocritical as their growing number of presidential candidate's race to the left and socialism.
Nothing kills off a democracy faster than socialism. So maybe what the Democrats need to do is spend a little more time listening to their own rhetoric.
If the Democrats main focus was to take back the White house, you would think they would be working toward major pieces of legislation that would actually help the American people. Instead, House and Senate Leaders are more taken by the side show and the drama and the prospect of appearing on CNN than they are by the real prospect of governing.
I have heard two viable comparisons, the first from a couple of well-versed commentators on NPR, Brooks and Shields, where they indicated their view is the Democratic leadership is playing right into Trump’s hand for the general election. This is his kind of battle, and he loves it.
The other was on one of the Sunday morning news shows when a panelist made the comment that Trump is using the old “rope a dope” technique on the Democrats. The prospect is Schumer; Pelosi and Shift will keep flailing at the air going more overboard until they wear out themselves and their audience. In the meantime accomplishing nothing legislatively they can hang their hats on.
Perfect grist for the Trump mill when he decides to use it.  
At some point, the Democrats will have to turn away from fanatical desire to get Trump at all costs and start running a campaign that can win. And that means moving toward the center.
My current guess is the Democratic Nominee will be Michelle Obama with a last-minute dramatic entrance to save the Democratic Party from itself.
I know, I know she has said and continues to say she is not interested, but as her husband’s legacy continues to be dismantled by Trump and the Dems move ever more left a saving angel may just be what the Democrats need.
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Sunday, May 12, 2019

St. Pete Housing Authority in Turmoil Again

Mayor Kriseman has set out to make some serious changes to improve the lives of those living in the Housing Authority properties.

Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
It just seems like the St. Pete Housing Authority cannot get its act together. In the latest episode, St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman is calling for the removal of three of the Housing Authority Board Members, including the board Chairman Harry Harvey, and board members Delphinia Davis and Ann Sheman White.
Mayor Kriseman recently decided not to reappoint Board Members Jo Ann Nesbitt and Basha P. Jordan Jr.
For good insight into the St. Pete Housing Authority and its issue's check out, this article and the links it contains from Tampa Bay Times by Christopher O’Donnell   Mayor Rick Kriseman, St. Pete Housing Authority on legal collision course. Note the Times no has a pay wall so unless you subscribe you may not be able to see the whole article.
You can also check out a Post in Florida Politics by Janelle Irwin: Embattled St. Petersburg Housing Authority sues Rick Kriseman over potential board member removal. No Pay Wall here.
The St. Pete Housing Authority has a long and often troubled history. To his credit, Mayor Kriseman has and continues to replace Board Members who’s self-serving interests frequently out weigh the mission of the housing authority.
These latest legal moves by the Authority Board are more of an effort to protect turf than to serve their constituents.
For example, see Christopher O’Donnell Tampa Bay Times article: St. Petersburg housing agency board approved pay raise for CEO without reviewing his evaluation.
The final word on the removal of board members Delphinia Davis and Ann Sherman White will come at the City Council meeting on May 16 barring some last-minute political maneuvering.
In the past City Council and previous administrations have spent too much time worrying about the ethnic make-up of the housing authority and not enough time focusing on the ability, willingness to participate and the capability of those being elected for Board and leadership positions.
This is a difficult set of problems but Mayor Kriseman has set out to make some serious changes to improve the lives of those living in the Housing Authority properties. He deserves the support of City Council.
E-mail Doc at mail to: 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, May 10, 2019

$300 Million+ Class Action Suit Filed against Beleaguered Vinik

Tampa, Fl
Tampa Bay Beat
By: Jim Bleyer

Gush of text messages promoting Lightning could prove costly to Jeff Vinik.

By Jim Bleyer
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment that could conservatively could cost the Jeff Vinik-led company $300 million.
The legal action alleges TBSE, owner of the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Litigation is being brought by the Miami law firm of Carey Rodriguez Milian Gonya on behalf of lead plaintiff Bryan Hanley and other “persons similarly situated.”  That number could easily exceed 10,000.
Basically, anyone targeted with text messages from the Tampa Bay Lightning marketing department may choose to join the class action.  The texts included promotions for upcoming Lightning games at downtown Tampa’s Amalie Arena as well as discount ticket packages.
Hanley is asking for $1,500 for each text message that he received promoting the Lightning.  The number of text messages is unspecified but exceeds 20 based on my experience with texts sent from the Lightning marketing arm.
Hanley alleges Vinik’s TBSE transmitted advertising and telemarketing text messages to cellular telephones throughout the Tampa Bay area.
Specific total damages are not mentioned in Hanley vs. TBSE 
but the math is simple: $1,500 for each text, 20 texts, 10,000 victims=$300 million.  Forbes Inc. at the end of 2018 valued the Lightning at $450 million.  Besides taking a financial hit, Vinik and the Lightning’s serial harassment becomes a public relations albatross as well. 
Class action lawsuits rarely culminate with such stratospheric settlements.   The attorneys invariably are well compensated but the sea of claimants have been known to receive pathetic amounts of compensation such as coupons or paltry two-digit sums.
That will not be the case in the litigation against TBSE, according to Ruben Conitzer, lead attorney for Carey Rodriguez.
In speaking with Tampa Bay Beat, Conitzer wouldn’t speculate on the amount of a settlement or court award but asserted this would not be one of those class actions that would translate to little or nothing for the aggrieved parties.
Conitzer revealed that Vinik’s legal team is trying to have the Telephone Consumer Protection Acyl declared unconstitutional.
”The tactic has been attempted in  other jurisdictions to no avail,” he said.

More travails for Vinik
There are other options for recipients of the illegal texts. Victims could opt out of the class action and file suit separately.  An award or settlement could be $30,000 or more but attorney’s fees would eat up much of that.  I asked Conitzer an aggrieved party could also be a lead plaintiff along with Hanley in the class action and he replied affirmatively.
2019 has been a rough year for Vinik:
—His $3 billion Water Street Tampa development chugs on but way behind schedule.  The project is collateralized to creditor Cascades Investments.
—The Vinik-instigated one percent sales tax for transit is tied up in the courts on several counts of unconstitutionality.  The tax is integral for building a Tampa light rail system that would run through Water Street.
—A retired hedge fund manager, Vinik tried and so far has failed to raise $3 billion (coincidence?) for a newly-formed hedge fund with himself at the helm.
—The Lightning, prohibitive favorites to win the NHL’s Stanley Cup, were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the lowest-seeded team in the Eastern Conference. The team’s post-season collapse was stunning and historic.
—-Vinik has failed to register TBSE, a Delaware corporation, as a “foreign agent” though doing business in Florida for nine years.  Fines are due the State of Florida and registration is imperative.
—-Vinik’s fiduciary relationship with the Tampa Bay Times, the area’s only daily, has become more sinister. Bloomberg’s company profile of Vinik’s Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment LLC lists  its address as the Times building at 490 1st Ave. S., St. Petersburg. TBSE’s  line of business “includes publishing newspapers” but nothing else, according to Bloomberg.
Now, there is this class action suit that, if taken to the limit, could wreck or, at best, pare Vinik’s interest in the Lightning.
 (Tom Rask, publisher of the Tampa Bay Guardian, contributed to this article)
 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.

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