Thursday, May 23, 2019

Wheels Come Off Hillsborough Transit Planning



Tampa, Fl
Tampa Bay Beat
By: Jim Bleyer



Imagine a Champs Elysees-type corridor with light rail in the center as a hurricane evacuation route

 By Dr. Jim Davison
Hillsborough County’s Metropolitan Planning Organization has concocted an impractical transit scheme that involves tearing down 10 miles of Interstate-275 in favor of a boulevard concept, a plan ranked last by a survey of Tampa Bay citizens.
The unfathomable concept attempts to shoehorn a cumbersome light rail system onto an already congested area of Tampa and replace a roadway that is part of the U.S. interstate highway system.
The City of Tampa-centric proposal also defies the MPO’s own pronouncement that I-275, along with Interstate-4 and Interstate-75, is the most important transportation infrastructure to be protected from storm vulnerability. It is a major hurricane evacuation route for Tampa and Pinellas counties.
The concept envisions a grand corridor, a la the Champs-Elysees, with six to eight lanes of traffic, a two-way light trail system in the middle, and elaborate landscaping with sidewalks on the edges.
A light rail system would not only be useless in a hurricane but an impediment to evacuation as well.
At the MPO’s last board meeting it voted unanimously to finance a study of this grand corridor beginning immediately north of Tampa at the intersection of I-4.  The county MPO asserted the study was requested by the citizens, but it was its own advisory committee that made the request.  Most committee members oppose any improvement to I-275 and have actively campaigned against any plan from the Florida Department of Transportation.
The interstate teardown was included as one of three scenarios in the MPO’s long range transportation planning.  It was chosen last by public responses and was soundly rejected in a three-county survey and for good reason.
In addition to being a vital evacuation route, I-275  is the major regional economic engine in Tampa Bay.  The highway is expected to carry in excess of 250,000 cars per day in 2045 with more than half the vehicles entering from the northern most interchange in Hillsborough County and from Pasco County.  Those surveyed in Pasco and Pinellas ranked the boulevard as very low, as did Hillsborough residents outside of Tampa.
Despite this, the county commissioners and Tampa city officials said they did not believe the scenario ranking numbers. FDOT Secretary David Gwynn has attempted to explain the difficulties such a plan would entail and its costs, but it fell on deaf ears. This is an idea strictly engineered by the City of Tampa that adversely effects the entire region.
Driving this train are a small group of politicians, some of whom reside in the area but don’t believe the facts and a small group of citizens living in the area without any facts. They are attempting to slow or stop the improvements to this stretch of I-275.
Improvements to I-275 planned by FDOT will markedly decrease congestion, increase safety, decrease injuries and fatalities, and increase the area’s economic performance over the 25-year life of the road. The MPO has already planned a “road to nowhere” (East-West Road), but is now encouraging a small group of citizens, at the risk and expense of the entire region, to clamor for an idea that is foolhardy at best and lethal at worst.  
 Dr. Jim Davison is a conservative activist and noted expert on transit and tax matters.
 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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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.
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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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: 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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