Sunday, June 28, 2015

Former PSTA Board Chair 90% sure GreenLight defeat was a good thing

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog .

Wednesday's PSTA Board meeting was a typical right up to the very end.

The Board whizzed along Wednesday through the agenda and received a favorable budget report that estimates PSTA will be able to operate to nearly 2021 without dipping into reserves.

PSTA has done a good job of pulling some rabbits out of the hat but has used some estimates on fuel prices and property tax revenues that could be a bit volatile. The entire budget on paper looks pretty good.

More telling will be how the budget actually affects service, and that will become clear in the next few meetings as route changes and deletions begin to take shape.

All went along well until item number 12 on the Agenda which is simply Board Comments.

PSTA Board member Doug Bevis, Mayor of Oldsmar, was first up in this round robin of comments where most members resort to promoting some event in their community or thanking PSTA staffers for their efforts.

Mayor Bevis began by thanking the budget staff for their excellent work and then said, "I think it is a good thing GreenLight failed.' He went on to add, (Paraphrasing)"If Greenlight had not failed we would not have had the level of review we see in this budget and a leaner PSTA."

I was at the meeting and as he as speaking, I did a quick sweep of the dais and if looks could kill Oldsmar would be looking for a new Mayor.

The next couple of speakers tiptoed around Mayor Bevis's remarks doing the soft shoe that is typical of this section of the Agenda, then Commissioner Welch was up to bat.

Neither able nor capable of just letting it pass, Commissioner Welch said he could not agree completely with Mayor Bevis that the GreenLight defeat was a good thing but, "He was about 90% sure the Oldsmar Mayor was right."


Welch, who did everything to get the GreenLight referendum passed except lay his first born on the GreenLight alter is now 90% sure it was good that GreenLight was defeated?????

Remember Welch was the PSTA Board Chairman, who defended the ethics review during GreenLight, supported Brad Miller's bad judgment during the misuse of Federal funds debacle, lead the charge for a vote of confidence for Miller, constantly and vehemently pushing the GreenLight referendum and belittled those who opposed it.  

Now all of sudden 8 months later he is 90% sure it was a bad idea. Where was the great enlightening? It could not have been the vote because he was still up on the idea after GreenLight was mauled at the polls.

The unanswered question is: how many other people on the PSTA board really agree with Mayor Bevis but are afraid to speak out?

They booted Norm Roche when he didn't buy GreenLight.

Here in lies the problem with PSTA, HART and all of the "Taxing Authorities" that are set up and populated with a majority of elected officials. The problem is all of these people are politicians. These boards should be made up of a majority of citizens so the politics is second and the governance is first.

It does not take a rocket scientist to simply observe and see that this board does not really function as a governing board. It is politics first and functional governance second in virtually every case.

The evidence is pretty clear as the board snuggles up to its new consultants and members who may face elections begin to set the stage by distancing themselves from their failed attempt to take $130 Million a year from this County's economy for something the people did not want.

And then they wonder why we don't trust them.

As for me I am 100% sure GreenLight was a bad idea before the vote, after the vote and I will be forever. And it is a fact 62% of the voters agree. 

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Darden Rice looking to upgrade her political status

It really didn't come as much of a surprise that City Council member Darden Rice is throwing up a trial balloon in the 13th District Congressional race. That seat is currently held by David Jolly, who is considering a run for the Senate.

You can get some additional information in an article in the St. Petersburg Tribune by Christopher O'Donnell, St. Pete councilwoman Rice eyes David Jolly’s U.S. House seat.

Rice has always been politically ambitious and this would be a major leap should she decide to run.

Darden is smart, articulate and very politically savvy as her soaring rhetoric on City Council often shows. She is tenacious and has strongly held set of ideals and goals that have served her well right up to this moment.

There are some who would argue that Rice is not quite ready for the prime time of the US House of Representatives but I would strongly disagree. If you look carefully at her background she has spent the greater part of her life in public service and has navigated some very tough political waters.

She is a great consensus builder and can calm a political storm as well as anyone.

The other thing that Rice has going for her is she is not part of the privileged political class. Darden has had to work hard for everything she has accomplished. She is not afraid of failure or hard work.

There is nothing to indicate that that dedication would not continue with her to the US House.

In her run for City Council a lot was made of the amount of money she raised for her campaign, but I think you have to look past the dollars and look at the number of contributors who were willing to offer their support. There are a lot of people who trust and believe in Darden.

Darden and I don't always agree and every now and then she ends me an always pleasant e-mail reminding me where I may have gone astray. And I always appreciate them.

There is a new Facebook page Draft Darden where people are expressing their support.

Darden Rice would represent the 13th District well in Washington. I hope she gives the idea a lot of thought.

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

PSTA misses another opportunity for funding as a grant request disappears from the State budget

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb, PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want to Blog

In Friday's PSTA planning meeting the subject of the disappearing million-dollar PSTA State budget line item came up briefly. The response from the PSTA administration was "we will make an application to FDOT and get the money from them".

It is hard to tell if the decision to pass on a budget line item for a PSTA grant is just a State budget issue or a not so subtle message to the PSTA Board and Pinellas County.

It could just be that the people who actually control the way money flows in Tallahassee are sending a suggestion that it is time for the PSTA to clean up its house and replace the team that pushed all of the limits in the GreenLight debacle up to and including the misuse of Federal FEMA funds which ultimately had to be returned.

I am not sure why any State or Federal funding agency would want to get in bed with Brad Miller and a public board that condones his misuse of federal funds and then gives a vote of confidence to those who misused the money.

The PSTA Administration cited State Senator Jack Latvala as the likely emissary to help acquire the FDOT funds. The good Senator might want to think twice before he hitches his star to an organization that views outright misuse of funds as "bad judgment".

There is no doubt that public transportation in Pinellas County is a major problem. But the real problem at PSTA is how it is being run. It may be time for a call to the governor's office and full scale complete review of PSTA and its Board.

These public transportation boards made up of elected officials sound good on the surface, but in reality all they seem to do is centralize everything bad about elected officials and their in ability to really represent the citizens.

FDOT should be cautious about turning over any funds to PSTA unless there will be extensive follow-up on how they are used.

Probably the most difficult thing to understand is why the PSTA Board has not moved to replace CEO Brad Miller who was at the center of all of the shenanigans at PSTA.

Then again maybe it's really not too hard to understand at all.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Jeb Bush officially but maybe not so willingly in the Race for the White House

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog .

Jeb Bush tossed his hat in the Republican Presidential campaign ring this week, though it was more like a lob since he has been effectively running for six months or so.

Jeb, as he would prefer to be known, now begins the arduous task of running from early primary state to early primary state hawking his view of the presidency and the future.

A Quinnipiac poll taken in Florida this week, shows Hillary Clinton leading both Bush, oops, Jeb, and Marco Rubio. It is even more interesting because the same Quinnipiac Poll shows those same voters think Hillary Clinton is NOT honest by 51-43 percent margin.

It would seem Florida voters would rather have someone they think is dishonest in the White House as opposed to someone they just can't stand or maybe is not female.

It is obviously still early, but Republicans would be wise to take this early polling to heart and begin to develop a strategy that speaks to women as well as minorities.

In post announcement interviews and appearances Bush (Jeb) seems a bit stiff and at times uncomfortable. He is going to have to shake off the "Bush" issue and either embrace it or just completely ignore it and start smiling, really smiling, and stop looking like there is someone behind him with a sharp stick prodding him forward.

It would also be a good idea if some of the big money people in the Republican Party shoved a little money in Carly Fiorina's direction and at least get a female voice on the stage that gives women someone to relate too.

The other option may be for one of the leading contenders or a lesser known to pick a strong, articulate female vice presidential candidate now and run in the early primary as a package.

If Jeb and his handlers had the courage to pick a strong female vice president now, even with all the risks that entails at this early date, and let the VP work the campaign trail they could really turn up the heat on Hillary.

Republicans have got to figure out the women issue in this campaign and they must do so early.

For now I look for Jeb to slog along the campaign trail, trying desperately to not make a major gaff, fending off the Bush issue and the dynasty problem, while laying out his presidential agenda.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

St. Pete Bagel Company newest location in West St. Pete (Kenneth City)

St. Pete Bagel Company has opened their newest location in West St. Petersburg at 4419 66th Street, Kenneth City. You can call them at 727-201-9645.

If you're looking for land marks it is on 66th Street at the south corner of the K-Mart parking lot.

Hours are Mon – Sat 6:00 AM to 1:00PM  (Note those hours)

From their web site stpetebagle:

St. Pete Bagel Co. is a family-owned bagel and donut bakery with locations in St. Petersburg, Largo, and Kenneth City, Florida. We offer an assortment of authentic NY-style, bagels, bialys, gourmet donuts, pastries, lunch sandwiches, grilled paninis, and home-brewed coffee and espresso.

We were recognized as the best bagel shop in Tampa Bay in 20122013, and 2014. Our stores are open seven days a week, 361 days a year, and we distinguish ourselves by making our donuts and bagels fresh every morning (stop by at 6:00 AM if you don’t believe us). We also offer more donut flavors than virtually any of our competitors (proof here!). Come and say hello!

St. Pete Bagel has been around since 1987 and they have locations in St. Petersburg on 4th Street North, and in Largo on Indian Rocks Road.

St. Pete Bagel is a great addition to West St. Pete and they are just a short drive up from the Tyrone Mall and worth every mile.

Really good coffee, great bagels and donuts check them out.

Before you ask, NO, I did not get a free anything for this post. I am just a really big fan of good bagels, donuts and coffee.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sign or Symbol The City of St. Pete may have a Flag problem

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog .

Janelle Irwin has an interesting Post in saintpetersblog: Larry Ahern has his panties in a bunch over gay pride trumping pro-life at City Hall.

You can read Janelle's Post, but the flap is over a request by a pro-life life group to fly the pro- life flag promoting their event 40 Days for Life. The issue, as the pro-life people point out, hinges on the Mayor's decision to fly the Gay Pride rainbow flag supporting the St. Pete Gay Pride event that is held every year here in St. Pete.

I'll leave the abortion argument to those dealing with it and the Gay Rights Flag/Pride thing to that camp for the moment.

Janelle's Post turns into a gay verses abortion rant which I don't quite understand, but I guess that's the point.

There is however a much bigger issue here and that is how the Mayor is dealing what probably seems to him a minor issue.

The Mayor's communication director Ben Kirby's comment on Facebook , "The City flies that flag because the event has a multi-million dollar impact on the city and “it’s the right thing to do”, once again shows the Kriseman administration's complete lack of maturity in dealing with these issues.

So the point is if I bring enough money into town I can get my flag raised over City Hall? 

Once the Mayor made the decision to put a special event flag over City Hall he opened a can of worms and now someone has kicked the can over.

I would point the Mayor to former Assistant City Attorney Mark Winn and suggest he ask Mr. Winn about the issue of "signs and symbols". Mark Winn, myself and a number of other staffers had a long running discussion (about 10 years as I recall) about the differences and the precedents involved.

Once the Mayor decided to fly the Gay Pride Flag he at the least set a precedent of some sort, and picking and choosing who can display their flag based on the economic benefit to the City or any other criteria may not be legal.

As to the Mayor not responding to the Pro-life request, it seems the Mayor has a tendency to just ignore those things he doesn't want to deal with and as usual that approach comes back to bite him.

For now the Mayor should set down with group requesting the their flag be flown and work out something before he finds himself in the middle of the Pro-life battle, with a federal lawsuit and another costly distraction caused by poor decision making.

As to the Ben Kirby statement, as I have pointed out before the Mayor needs to put a muzzle on these inexperienced staffers they are only opening up their mouth's long enough to change feet.

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Kriseman Administration continues to misfire

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog .

The Rays
Kriseman and his dream team can't seem to come to agreement with City Council let alone the Rays on a deal to let them look for a new stadium. Baseball, which is usually reluctant to talk business deals during the season, has been typically quiet.

At this point I am not sure who is stringing whom along. If you listen carefully to the drumbeats from across the Bay, the desire to pony up a lot of public or private money to build the Rays a cushy new home seems a bit muted these days. 
The Mayor said he did not want to do an economic impact study because it might put the City in bad position for recovering damages.

Read that as the Rays are not as big an economic deal as they would like you to think they are.

So if the Rays get a chance to look in Tampa and there are no sites or suitors they also have a now damaged position.

Maybe they are not as anxious to look as they used to be.

The Pier
The Kriseman administration has saddled themselves with a selection for the Pier, Pier Park, that a lot of people don't seem to want. Bubbling under the surface is a potential referendum that could tank the whole deal.

Quietness and some secrecy surround the "negotiations" for Pier Park. Look for the designs, contracts and procurement documents to come out late in an effort to stampede Council into a quick decision.

When City Council gets Pier Park back for a final decision, they need to take all the time they need to review the entire deal.

Downtown Waterfront Master Plan
This effort, a near debacle, was only partially rescued by a series of last minute trees thrown on the drawings and some careful wording that hid but did not eliminate the real goal of commercial development of a large part of the waterfront.

Most of the really smart people in town know the DWMP is a concept that will likely never materialize, but it does crack the door open for development that  might not be in keeping with the City's historical goals for the waterfront.

If the Pier Park design goes wildly bad, like it very well may, and City Council does not refuse to fund it, then the waterfront referendum effort will certainly gain some momentum and the DWMP will become part of the fuel.

The Big Blue Cans
The Mayor's latest nightmare is the recycling program, those 95 gallon blue cans and trucks too big to go down an alley.

One has to wonder if anyone did a study on the actual amount of recyclables households in St. Pete generate and just how big those cans should really be.

Somebody should have also been thinking about how the great big automated trucks get down the narrow streets of Old Northeast and how they will get to the cans around all of those cars parked on the street. Maybe a street parking ban is in the works.

Giving some thought to the alleys would have also been good idea.

One lesson to be learned from all of this by the Kriseman administration is if you leave the selection of trucks, cars, fire trucks or anything else that rolls completely up to the department that will use it, you will almost always get the biggest thing out there. A St. Pete Fleet Director once said to me, "Go ahead and get the big one, better too big than too small."

Anyhow old Northeast is up in arms and that is never good for a Mayor who would like to have a second term especially when he is a Democrat. The dream team better think of something fast or this one could become a threat to the whole recycling effort to say nothing of some political careers.

The list goes on but so far the Mayor and his team of newbie's have started a lot of things but they seem to have difficulty closing the deal. In every one of these issues the devil is in the details and the details are where the Kriseman administration seems to have the most trouble.  

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Carly Fiorina a voice that needs to be heard

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb, PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want to Blog

Carly Fiorina is one of a growing group contending for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. Unless you follow politics closely, you may not have heard of Ms. Fiorina yet.

You can find out about her at her campaign web site Carly Fiorina for President.

Carly, a former CEO of Hewlett Packard the computer company, has never held political office. She ran for US Senate in California in 2010 and was defeated by incumbent Barbra Boxer.

Why is Carly Running for President? Here is a quote from her campaign WEB site:

"Our founders never intended us to have a professional political class. They believed that citizens and leaders needed to step forward. If you believe that it's time for citizens to stand up to the political class and say enough, then join us."

She brings an important voice to the Republican nomination process. A political outsider with a true global perspective, Fiorina brings a fresh view to the domestic and geopolitical stage.

Fiorina comes to the political process in the unique position of being the only Republican who can stand toe to toe with the leading Democratic contender, Hillary Clinton, and ask and answer the tough questions with no fear of gender bias being used as an excuse or defense.

That alone makes her decision to run for President key in the race for the Oval Office.

A call to the Pinellas County Republican Party office indicated that as of now there is no organized effort to support the Fiorina Campaign, but it is still early in the process.

Can Carly Fiorina win the Republican Presidential nomination? That remains too seen.

For now check out the WEB site, follow the campaign on line and listen to the future of politics and governance in the 21st century.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

If this is your Disaster plan you need a new plan

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog .

Let me begin this Post by clearly stating this is NOT a knock on the wireless industry.

 I spent a number of years while I was with the City of St. Petersburg working with cellular companies and cell tower companies configuring and locating cell towers.

When it comes to dedication to service and reliability they are to a person totally dedicated.

Here is the problem:
In virtually every major local emergency or disaster the local cellular system has collapsed under the weight of its call load.

One of my most vivid memories is the from the Oklahoma City bombing. As I stood in the City IT Data Center I watched the Oklahoma City Fire Chief begging people to please get off their cell phones so first responders could communicate.

That story has and continues to repeat itself in almost every localized major disaster right up to today. The cellular system fails for a brief time under the volume of calls, texts, tweets, posts and pictures.

When a major hurricane or even a very bad storm like the No Name Storm of a while back hits here it will be no different.

Those cell towers you see around the bay area will in all likelihood survive all but the worst Category 4 or 5 storms, but if you look closely at the pictures you will see many cellular antenna arrays mounted on roof tops of tall and some not so tall buildings.

These critical links in the cellular system are only as good as what they are bolted to and the roofs they sit on. There will undoubtedly be some physical loss of capacity in a really big hurricane event. 

The real problem with the wireless system in an emergency is not the survivability of the system it is us.

We have all come to rely on and take for granted our cell phones and tablets when it comes to communication. Look around. It is ever more difficult to find someone who is not on their cell phone or tablet.

We text our kids, use locators track our kids and sometimes spouses and it always works.

There is the occasional dropped call but almost all of time it just simply works. Like all things that provide convenience and connectivity we become totally dependent on them.
The Hurricane:
Chances are in a hurricane leading up to the storm the cellular system will work reasonably well. But as the storm grows closer and people go from concerned to panic and start calling and texting, the wireless system will begin to slow down. At some point it may just stop working.

What's even more important is a text that would go through almost immediately in normal circumstances may take hours in an emergency. You cannot count on texting as a form of immediate communication.

Following the hurricane and the ensuing panic to find love ones, secure property, get help from first responders and let family and loves out of town know your status it is easily possible cell service will be spotty for hours if not days.

The Tornado:
The Hurricane is the scenario that we most often plan for in Florida, but a strong tornado which happens almost without warning can be just as serious.

The wireless system inside the tornado zone will be severely impacted, but outside the zone it will be functioning. Loading from calls, messages and pictures will be a major problem causing delays, dropped calls and no service. Relying on the cell phone to get family back together may work but it also may not.

If your home is not affected by the tornado it is the best rallying point.

If it is damaged, you and your family members may not be able to get to your house. You need a place defined in advance where everyone knows to rendezvous.
Local school, disaster shelter, large store in a shopping center somewhere everyone can go to and get back together quickly.

Trying to set that up in real time on your cell phone may just not work.

If your disaster plan is:

We will round up the family by texting or calling
Everyone call dad, if you can't get dad call mom
We will know where the kids are by using the locator
We have chargers in the cars
We can text message or call the grandparents up in Ohio
Probably should send some pictures after the storm.
Should get a case of water, some hot dogs and some propane for the grill

Good plan problem solved.
Not really.

What if you can't get a call or a message to go through?

What if you haven't connected with one or more of the kids or your spouse or significant other?

What if someone in your family is found by a first responder, where will they be taken?

Now what?
As a backup plan check one of the Hurricane Guides and find the shelter nearest to your home. Follow the Hurricane Guide for  preperations and add this additional step.

Take the family, get in the car and drive by the shelter so everyone will know where it is located.

Write your child's name on a piece of paper along with the shelter address, put it in small plastic bag and put it in a zipper compartment in their back pack or computer bag.  That way they can tell a first responder where their family will rendezvous.

Put that same information on a card in your wallet or purse so you will always have it with you.

This is a simple way to establish a single point where you can get your family back together in a disaster.

The people who run the wireless system are dedicated beyond belief. They will risk life and limb to get the system back up and running in a disaster. But, they cannot control how we will use it and there is the problem.  

As a final thought should a disaster strike try to resist the temptation to start texting, tweeting and sending photos up north to your relatives, and keep the kids off their phones until things calm down a bit.

One of the best hurricane or disaster plans you can have is a plan that does not rely on your cell phone to gather up your family and your loved ones.

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday June 7, 2015 Pier Park, Downtown Waterfront Master Plan – Now What?

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog .

With the Pier Park decision and the approval of the Downtown Waterfront Master Plan it seems pretty clear that the Mayor's Office and City Council cannot be trusted to protect the waterfront.

Pier Park continues through its "redesign" phase, see my post The Incredible Shrinking Pier, and the Downtown Waterfront Master Plan (DWMP), while modified to eliminate the hotel/conference center and renaming some for the Development Opportunity sites, still seems to be more of an attack on the waterfront than a plan to protect it.

The mind boggling thing about all of this is seeming lack of commitment to protect the City's most valuable asset by the City Council.

With the stage set for a new "Pier" that, if it can actually be constructed, will not look anything like the plans that were sold to the public over their whishes, and a DWMP that at the very least opens the door wider for development, what will those in St. Pete that really want to protect the waterfront do?

The case will be made that the current charter provides for a public referendum for certain activities on the water front, but it is far to narrow and as we have seen Mayors and City Councils seem to always find a way to do what they want as opposed to what the public desires while skirting the referendum process.

Those who would protect the waterfront are at a critical moment. Will they move forward with a referendum to modify the charter and tighten up the requirement for waterfront changes and development or is it time to just give up?

Given the results of the LENS, Pier Park and the waterfront master plan it seems the only true way to protect the waterfront is to give the people the final say in ALL that happens on the waterfront.

There will be cries from the politicians, developers and others that it will be too restrictive. Could be, but that entire outcry is really about a few people making a lot of money and politicians getting some big campaign contributions all at the cost of your waterfront.

The waterfront is the people's property, and it's time for the City Charter to make that crystal clear.

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Is the Kriseman administration Weasel Wording their way around the Development Opportunity issue in the DWMP?

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog .
Here is a question from a Blog reader that deserves an answer:
Dr. Webb - Perhaps you can help clarify or raise the question on the following language on the revised Page 68 of the Plan that addresses the areas around Al Lang, The Mahaffey & the Dali. The " Redevelopment Opportunity "  language has been removed & replaced with " Opportunity Site for Civic and Cultural Use". Any idea what constitutes Civic & Cultural use? The language is very ambiguous.

We need specifics.

My concern is that this is just another way of saying development. Could that be commercial development? After the bait & switch tactics ( & resulting loss of credibility ) previously used by the City on the DMWP I think that the revised language begs clarification.

This is just another example supporting your posting that suggests that the Council be very clear in what is allowed for by the DWMP & that it not be commercial development of the waterfront.
St. Petersburg

Definitions from Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
Civic - of or relating to a citizen, a city, citizenship, or community affairs
Cultural - of or relating to a particular group of people and their habits, beliefs, traditions, etc.
              : of or relating to the fine arts (such as music, theater, painting, etc.)

For example, one could argue that a craft brewery fits into the "cultural" definition.

It looks like the Kriseman administration is trying to weasel word the definitions of these key pieces of the waterfront property so they are broad enough to drive the preverbal development bulldozer through.

How about labeling them "Non Commercial Opportunity Site for Civic and Cultural Use" unless the real goal is commercial development?

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Disclosures and understanding what you read in my Posts

This month (June 2015) I will begin following the upcoming election cycle at the national, state, county and local level.

As I often remind many of my friends, I am a Blogger not a reporter. I Post my thoughts and opinions. You will rarely see any "Breaking News" in my Posts.

In this election cycle, as in the past, I will periodically contribute to political campaigns, PACs or issues. I think it is important that as a reader you can easily see when I am commenting about a campaign or candidate where I have made a contribution.

All of my Blog Posts end with the following:
E-mail Doc at: mail to: Or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook.

Beginning this month (June 2015) the tag line will be as shown below with Disclosures added. As I contribute to various campaigns the campaign or candidate will be listed.

E-mail Doc at: mail to: Or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook.

These contributions are not ringing endorsements, and I frequently disagree on specifics with those I have supported and agree with those whom I have not.

I would encourage you to make a contribution to a candidate or cause you support. Today virtually all campaigns have a WEB site where it is easy and secure to make a contribution.

The amount really isn't that important, but you will be amazed at how much more engaged in our political process you become when you make a simple $5.00 contribution to candidate you support.

Running a campaign whether it is for city council or president of the United States is an arduous task. Most candidates will tell you they are more inspired by the number of names on the contributor list than the numbers beside the names.

Thank you for the time you invest in reading what I Post.  I deeply appreciate all of your comments, Tweets and e-mails.

It will be an interesting election cycle with just under 500 days until the Presidential election. I hope I pique your interest, make you smile, raise your awareness and move you to comment in the coming months.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Baseball and the Trop is not St. Pete's Biggest Problem

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog .

The Tampa Bay Times Editorial: St. Petersburg City Council boots it again on stadium stalemate seems to me a little over the top.

Calling for baseball to be a top issue in the upcoming City Council election cycle seems as much an over statement as some of those made by the council members the Times would like to replace.

Let's put baseball in perspective. It is a game where a few owners make millions of dollars operating in facilities paid for in large part by public funds. In St. Petersburg all of that happens for somewhere around 10,000 to 12,000 "fans" a good number of whom likely do not even live in St. Pete.

I am all for letting them look where ever they want and move as soon as they can. But I also understand a lot of people were displaced by the fanatical desire to get baseball, the City has put up a lot of money to keep the Trop running and all of that has sold a few newspapers along the way.

The interest of the people displaced and the rest of the citizen's of St. Petersburg needs to be protected.

But to think that any of this even begins to rise to the level of the problems on the south side of St. Petersburg, or the current attempted attack on the waterfront from the Downtown Waterfront Master Plan, or the City's aging water, sanitation and road infrastructure is just plain silly.

St. Pete needs people like Steve Kornell who are willing to stand up for what's right.

Kornell proposed $55 million. Council should adopt that number or something close.

Kriseman asked for a number now he has it. Instead of whining, take it back to the Rays and find out just how bad they really want to look for a new stadium.

People in St. Petersburg have a lot of issues to consider when they vote in fall, but baseball should not be very high up on the list of points that influence their voting decision.

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