Tuesday, September 18, 2018

City Council reviewing City Noise Ordinance.

Can St. Petersburg be both VIBRANT and GREEN

St. Petersburg Fl
Public Opinion by author: 

Robert Neff

With the upcoming Noise Ordinance discussion at the September 20th Public Services and Infrastructure committee meeting, the City Council is poised to revise the noise ordinance. The City has failed to enforce the noise ordinance. Both Mayor Kriseman and City Council Member Kornell are pro-noise. 
It took decades to educate people on the dangers of second-hand smoke,” anti-noise protester Bradley Vite told the Washington Post recently. “We may need decades to show the impact of second-hand noise.

The City has been working on the noise ordinance revision for well over a year. Council started hearing the City presentations in January 2018. The City was well aware of the noise issue in the downtown area, but was not aware of the noise issue residents faced from bars outside of downtown's border. While Mayor Kriseman has been not been proactive or leading this City on the noise issue, the City Council has procrastinated. The inaction demonstrates a lack of concern for resident's quality of life.

If the City reduces the repeat calls to both establishments that serve alcohol and residences, then this will drastically increase resident's quality of life.

What do concerned residents want?

Concerned residents impacted by the noise have been held hostage by the bars and the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce. We support a stronger noise ordinance that measures the noise with decibel levels at a level that does not impact adult and children's health. We also want a noise ordinance that fines the bar or establishment that serves alcohol. The current noise ordinance fines an individual employee who works there.

Can St. Petersburg be both VIBRANT and GREEN?

Mayor Kriseman's pro-business position has overlooked the noise issue. Several Council members are struggling with the meaning of the decibel level, duration of the exposure, and how this impacts your health. 

Unfortunately, the City has not invited a noise health expert to present to the committee. Despite requests to City Council and the City to hear from a noise health expert, the City has excluded a noise health expert in multiple public and committee discussions on the noise ordinance revision. It is time for City Council, Mayor Kriseman, and Police Chief Holloway to understand how noise impacts adults and kids health. 

The Mayor and Council want a vibrant city and “Green” presence, but the "green" part has been put on the back burner. The City of St. Petersburg's City Council has the opportunity to revise the noise ordinance and protects resident's quality of life.  

Will the Democratic Majority on City Council Protect Resident's Quality of Life?

The Democrats have a 5-1 majority on City Council. However, there is one obstacle the Democratic majority faces, and that is City Council Member Steve Kornell, a democrat, who is Chair of Public Services and Infrastructure Committee. Kornell is pro-noise. His comments are available online at the end of the article.

The lone Republican Ed Montanari had invited former Mayor Foster to speak on behalf of Jannus Live and others. Former Mayor Foster spoke for higher decibel limits. This position does not improve resident's quality of life. Former Mayor Foster's presence had to be approved by PSI Vice Chair Kornell's, and was. Montanari appears poised to favor a noise ordinance recommendation that supports the bars, and not resident's quality of life. 

Residents must hope the four remaining democratic council members protect resident's quality of life! 

Remind City Council

It is important to remind Council that residents have suffered under the past and current noise ordinance. The City can make a statement with the noise ordinance revision and demonstrate a concern for resident's quality of life. City Council and Mayor Kriseman can either protect resident’s quality of life and health or cater to businesses and special interests led by the bars and the Chamber of Commerce. 

Residents are tired of listening to the thumping inside the home, feeling the walls vibrate, or dealing with a "Do Nothing" Police Department. Residents are tired of Chief Holloway's Police Department targeting callers as re-occurring complainants. 

The City Council is resident’s last line of defense residents have before seeking a legal remedy. 

When Former Mayor Foster represented Jannus Live and several businesses, and spoke at a PSI meeting, he demonstrated a lack of understanding of the noise and the noise issue. Jannus commissioned noise study has serious flaws in its recommendations that support its position. The Jannus Live owner also spoke at the 2nd Noise Ordinance Public Hearing where he shared with the packed auditorium that he does not live downtown, because it is too noisy. Downtown residents did not appreciate that statement.

At the 2nd Public Hearing, the City was asked how many citations had there been. The City did not know. This graphic illustrates the City Noise issue and the lack of enforcement.

World Health Organization Issued Noise Recommendation

The World Health Organization’s recently published an article that has "recommended to avoid long-term damage, we should only expose ourselves to noise 70 dbs or less. Anything above 85 dbs is considered the danger zone for hearing loss. Exposure to 105 dbs – the average dbs in a bar – for at least one hour is enough to cause long-term damage.”

How Can You Help?

You can help by contacting your City Council Member, and Mayor Kriseman asking them to protect resident's quality of life. You may also attend the Public Services & Infrastructure Committee Meeting on Thursday, September 20 at City Hall, Conference Room 10. If you are unable to attend, this is available live on StPete TV and later on St. Petersburg's YouTube Channel.

Listen to Kornell and others speak at Public Services and Infrastructure Committee Meeting

Kornell’s Jabil Intro to Music Industry at Apr 2018 PSI St. Petersburg

Kornell has couple requests at Apr 2018 PSI St. Petersburg

Kornell Introducing former Mayor Foster at Apr 2018 PSI St. Petersburg

Kornell proposed Montanari’s request for Foster to speak at Apr 2018 PSI St. Petersburg

Gerdes on bars policing themselves at Apr 12 2018 PSI St. Petersburg

Council Member Kornell’s impassioned speech for the Music Industry at April 2018 PSI meeting
Kornell on Music Industry Apr 12 2018—PSI 

Former Mayor Foster speaks at PSI Committee meeting on Apr 12 2018, St. Petersburg
Foster Speaks at Apr 12 2018—PSI

The opinions here are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bay Post Internet or the Blog Publishers where it appears.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Transit Tax Turmoil in Hillsborough County

By Developers, for developers 

St. Petersburg, Fl 
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD 
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog
There are bad tax proposals and then there are really bad tax proposals like the one being offered to Hillsborough County residents on the November Ballot. This Ballot initiative has enough holes in it to embarrass a block of Swiss cheese.
If you are considering voting YES on this Referendum, you will need to do some serious research. Below are a bunch of links to articles and Blog Posts about the referendum and the use of the funds it will generate.
Here is the link to the Hillsborough County General Election Sample Ballot
The Transit Tax initiative is on Page 5.
The end game is this. This All Florida Transportation initiative is even more poorly conceived, planned and promoted than Greenlight Pinellas and Go Hillsborough.
The revenue from this tax is controlled by an unknown board appointed by unnamed elected officials. The tax applies to all residents of Hillsborough County, but a significant portion of the funds goes to just three Cities. Another large chunk goes to HART the Hillsborough County Bus line. They're very inadequate controls and a significant lack of accountability.
It may be time for a tax to support transportation improvement in Hillsborough County, but this proposal is a light rail/developer’s delight not a commuter’s solution.
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.  
Contributor to: Rick Scott for Senate 

Please comment below

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Friday, September 14, 2018

2010 All Over Again! Tampa Bay Partnership Funds Another Massive Rail Tax Hike

Tampa, Fl
From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert
Or not.
Voters and taxpayers are not funding the All for Transit (AFT) 30 year 14% rail tax hike.
The Tampa Bay Partnership, leader of the local rail cartel, is at it again.
According to AFT's latest campaign filing on the SOE website, $175K was recently donated to the AFT transit tax hike PAC - from two donors.
BayCare Health Systems donated $50K and Tampa General Hospital funneled $125K through their wholly owned coffee shop subsidiary. (really…)
BayCare & TGH donate to AFT
Seven special interests donors have donated $925K to push the unnecessary massive 30 year transit tax hike scheme scam of deception on local taxpayers. 
While almost a million dollars have been donated by special interests cronies, only $1025 has been donated by individuals - in a county of 1.3 million people. The dismal support by those who actually can vote may indicate how totally underwhelmed voters and taxpayers are about raising their sales taxes to the highest in the state. Especially for a $16 Billion transit tax hike that includes Billions for costly rail but Zero funding for new roads and new lane capacity - for 30 years.
AFT donors Jeff Vinik, Sykes Enterprises and of course the Tampa Bay Partnership itself are all connected to the Partnership. BayCare and Tampa General Hospital (TGH) are also $50K pay to play members of the Tampa Bay Partnership.
BayCare gave at least $25K to Greenlight Pinellas in 2014.
BayCare donates to Greenlight Pinellas PAC in 2014
When we looked at BayCare Health Systems 990 for 2014, which is available thru Guidestar, we could not find the $25K donation to the Greenlight Pinellas political advocacy campaign accounted for in their Schedule C - Political Campaign and Lobbying Activities. Wonder why.
House of Coffee Tampa is a Starbucks franchise that operates in Tampa General Hospital and TGH Brandon Healthplex. House of Coffee's legal entity is TGHHOC, Inc. which is a for profit wholly owned subsidiary of Florida Health Sciences Inc.
Florida Health Sciences, Inc. is the nonprofit legal entity Tampa General Hospital operates under. 
It seems a bit odd for a 2 site coffeehouse to be handing $125K to a PAC. But for profit corporations do not have the limits or restrictions on engaging in political activity that nonprofits have.
Therefore, it appears TGH funneled their $125K PAC contribution to AFT through their for profit coffee house subsidiary. A bit misleading huh?
The President and CEO of Tampa General Hospital John Couris, who receives a total salary package over a million dollars a year, was hired last June from Jupiter, FL. Coincidentally, Couris had previously worked at BayCare.
Couris is on the Board of Florida Health Sciences Inc. (TGH) and interestingly Kathleen Shanahan is also on the Board of Florida Health Sciences (TGH)).
The plot thickens. Shanahan is currently a city of Tampa (Mayor Buckhorn) appointee to the HART Board and she is HART's representative on TBARTA.
HART would get so much transit tax dollars from AFT's rail tax hike, they would literally be swimming in it. We bet TBARTA, created by the state at the request of Tampa Bay Partnership, will want a piece of the massive transit funding action too.
And schizophrenia abounds. For the last few years, Tampa Bay Partnership has been running around Tampa Bay, Tallahassee and DC pushing regionalism and lecturing us all that we must regionally speak as one kum ba ya voice - to get more state and federal tax dollars - of course.
Now Tampa Bay Partnership is funding another unnecessary 14% Tampa centric Hillsborough County rail tax hike. They want to force taxpayers in unincorporated to pay billions for Tampa centric costly rail at the same time the $16 Billion tax hike provides ZERO dedicated funding for new road capacity desperately needed in unincorporated - for 30 years. How more divisive can that be?
Tampa Bay Partnership's kum ba ya moment had an expiration date.
Tyler Hudson, Chair of AFT PAC, is a Board member of the Tampa Heights Civic Association whose members want to tear interstates down.
More schizophrenia…Tampa Bay Partnership aligned themselves with the Tampa urbanists transit advocates who want to tear down I-275 from downtown to Bearss Avenue and replace it with a street level boulevard and a train. Yet at the same time the Tampa Bay Partnership has been pushing the proposed regional BRT on I-275 from Wesley Chapel to downtown St. Pete.
Earth to Tampa Bay Partnership - that includes I-275 from downtown to Bearss Ave. Cannot make this stuff up.  
Tampa Bay Partnership cronies must have lots of money to burn. They threw gobs of money behind both overwhelmingly defeated transit tax hike boondoggles in Tampa Bay in 2010 and 2014 and are doing it again. And 2018 is not 2010 or 2014 as innovation and technology is disrupting traditional transit as transit ridership has been tanking everywhere, including in Hillsborough County.
Tampa Bay Partnership was not elected or appointed by anyone and they do not represent the overall business community in Tampa Bay. They are a pay to play lobbying group of one-percenters who keep funding expensive campaigns for rail tax hike boondoggles and refuse to even consider any other transportation funding solutions.
Insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome.
The All for Transit tax hike is worse than the 2010 rail tax. The AFT $16 Billion tax hike with its 5 pages of big government regulations ignores funding new road capacity and absurdly prevents  and prohibits changes for 30 years - in a county that is expected to grow by 700-800K over the next 30 years.
This is not just an All for Transit tax hike, this is a 30 year congestion creation tax hike that will cause gridlock on Hillsborough County's arterial roads.
Does BayCare and TGH simply have money to burn?
Why did they decide to financially support an unnecessary massive transit tax hike that hurts the low and fixed income the most? BayCare and TGH benefit from the one-half percent indigent care and trauma center sales surtax that generates over $140 million a year from county taxpayers. They know those who cannot afford to pay for an emergency room visit. Does BayCare and TGH want the low income and the most financially vulnerable to pay for the costly rail they will rarely if ever use.
And we are left wondering why two healthcare systems support a massive transit tax that will negatively impact first responders as congestion increases in a rapidly growing county.
The common denominator is the Tampa Bay Partnership.
Reject them again.
Vote No on the Rail Tax Hike in November!
Posted by Sharon Calvert at 8:28 PM 
This post is contributed by EYE ON TAMPA BAY. The views expressed in this post are the blog publisher's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of Bay Post Internet.
Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay
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