Friday, July 31, 2015

Trump – Some positive affects

St. Petersburg, Fl Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog .  


With just a few days to go until the first debate the media is still waiting breathlessly for Donald Trump to implode. They are longing to see the Donald in a tangled pile at the bottom the Republican Presidential candidate list and so far he is disappointing them greatly.

Chuck Todd, of NBC's Meet the Press, early predictions of Trump's eminent demise now seem more like prayers.

If you listen carefully you may just hear some of the less strident voices in the media hinting that the highly desired Trump implosion may just not happen at least not for a while.

Trump has been a positive force in the campaign on several fronts.

First he has revealed who among the political class can deal with outside the political mainstream competition. So far the results from the political elite have been disappointing.

From chopping up the tax code to smashing a cell phone with a golf club, Trump has reduced the most of the field to babbling idiots.

Jeb Bush, currently number two behind Trump in some of the Polls, is handling Trump the way he deals with most things he doesn't understand he just ignores them. Trump may be right Jeb just may be a wimp.

Another benefit of the Trump effort is the total demise of Marco Rubio's campaign. Probably was going to happen sooner or later but Trump certainly expedited the process.

The Republican Party is trying to do the nice dance pretty much staying out of Trump's line of fire but there are some serious questions that should be considered.

What if Trump lasts until the national convention? Even if he is not the leader at that point what happens if he has enough delegates to draw some concessions in the Party platform?

Could he influence who the presidential nominee or the vice presidential nominee might be?

Then there is that third party thing that seems to be keeping some of the big Republican players and the Party leadership at bay.

The argument, "you can't take this guy seriously" is starting to pale as Trump's poll numbers rise.

Trump is single handedly defining the Political Class for what they are and I think the real question that may be rising from Trump's popularity is do we as a people really want a political class that runs the Country?

For now Trump has accomplished the one thing no other Presidential candidate has been able to do. He has made the way to an early, way too long presidential election process revealing and entertaining.

E-mail Doc at mail to:dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.
Disclosures:
Contributor: Waterfront Charter Amendment (Vote on The Pier), Carly Fiorina for President
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Office of the Mayor – is it worth the money?

St. Petersburg, FL
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb, PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want to Blog
  
During last Thursday's St. Pete City Council meeting the Karl Nurse District 6 City Council member indicated that as part of the City Budget process he had asked Mayor Kriseman for a report on the accomplishments of the team of people hired to staff the "Office of the Mayor".

That would be Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, Chief of Staff Kevin King, and Communications Director Ben Kirby along with some support staff.

All of that adds up to about $900,000 in salary and benefits including the Mayor and Council member Nurse was looking for information on payback for the public's investment in this new layer of administration.

Council member Nurse indicated he was disappointed because there had been no report or even a response from the Mayor's office.

The office of Mayor was a creation of Rick Kriseman probably before he ever set foot in City Hall as the elected Mayor. King and Kirby are longtime political cronies of the Mayor and these jobs are simply high paid political crony appointments.

King has no credentials for the position he occupies; he is careful to make sure his fingerprints are on as little as possible. Kirby, a writer and Blogger, is at least qualified for the position he holds, problem is one floor down in City Hall is a fully staffed marketing department that should be doing the communications job.

The concept of a loyal office of the Mayor might have been a good idea if Kriseman had staffed it with some qualified, experience people instead of political sidekicks.

Tomalin is a bit different in that the objective was to get a successful African American as high up in the organization as possible. Think Don McRea.

In reality after nearly a year on the job Tomalin has very little to hang her hat on in the way of significant accomplishments. I suspect that is more Kriseman's fault than hers.

Nurse indicated he had hoped the report could showcase some of the accomplishments of the office of the Mayor.

The reason Nurse didn't get his report is because there is nothing to report.

The taxpayers are not really getting much for the money being spent on the Office of the Mayor other than some political maneuvering, some cute posts in the Mayor's e-mail blast and keeping the reelection team well fed.

E-mail Doc at: mailto:dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook and Twitter. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mike Connors - recycled

St. Petersburg, FL
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb, PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want to Blog
With little fanfare Mike Connors the front and center get it done guy for the Kriseman administration has been mildly demoted. Actually kind of recycled.
You can pick up the details in Kameel Stanley’s Tampa Bay Times article: Kriseman cuts back duties for administrator who oversaw recycling.
The Sanitation department and the Purchasing department have been removed from Connors’ span of control.
In response to an E-mail Ben Kirby, Kriseman Communications Director, indicated Sanitation will move to Neighborhood Services currently run by Mike Dove and Purchasing will report directly to Gary Cornwell City Administrator.
Connors has be a lightening rod most recently in both the Pier Park decision and the very noisy launch of the City’s recycling program.
It appears all of this leaves Connors still in charge of the City’s two largest construction projects, Pier Park and the new Police complex.
Best quote from the Stanley article: “In Mike’s role as a public servant and an operations manager, authenticity and humility, as well as being a good listener and communicator, are so important,” said Darden Rice. “People don’t want to feel managed. What we want are straight answers and real collaboration. Mike is used to doing things his own way, and that approach has not produced the best outcomes.”
Great observation and things are not likely to change.
Kriseman and City Council’s issues with Connors are not over. Despite the efforts of the Mayor’s office via Kevin King to assure everything is ok between the Dream Team and Connors those of us who have worked with Mike know he rarely goes quietly into the night.
For those who would have preferred Connors be fired the fact is Connors is probably the City’s best large scale project manager, and he has kept it that way through his hiring practices for years.
I don’t know who has been given the responsibility to keep watch on Connors, but if it is anybody on the Mayor’s Dream Team Mike is grinning from ear to ear.
For now Connors will have more time to focus on his three primary objectives: getting that damn Pyramid torn down and keeping the police building as austere as possible.
What’s the third objective? I’ll leave that to your imagination.
E-mail Doc at: mailto:dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook and Twitter. See Doc’s Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos
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Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Wizard of Oz Orchestrates Another 30 Year Sales Tax Hike

Tampa, Florida Posted By: Sharon Calvert Eye On Tampa Bay

The Transportation Policy Leadership Group and the million dollar taxpayer funded GoHillsborough campaign loudly touted "options" throughout their campaign effort. However, Parsons Brinkerhoff and County Administrator Mike Merrill offered the Transportation Policy Leadership Group only ONE transportation funding option:  another 30 year, CIT like $3.5 Billion sales tax hike. Why?

The decision for another 30 year huge sales tax hike appears to had already been decided long ago. The only question remaining was whether the county would push again for a full cent (14%) sales tax increase again or a smaller increase to dent any opposition to the county having the highest sales tax rate in the state. Greenlight Pinellas and the other sales tax referendums that went down in flames last November may have put the nail in the coffin of trying for a full cent in Hillsborough AGAIN.

Since the Transportation Policy Leadership Group took a "ceremonial vote of confidence" to continue pursuing the 30 year tax proposal, we will start a series of posts to revisit how the proposed huge 30 year sales tax increase was all very well orchestrated. 

We will start at the beginning.

In March 2013, then Commissioner Mark Sharpe, made a motion to hire a facilitator to facilitate workshops to develop a transportation strategy that would be integrated into the county's strategic plan. Below is Sharpe's motion from the March 30, 2013 BOCC meeting:
WHAT THIS PLAN DOES, REALLY, THOUGH, IS IT'S GOING TO HELP US GAIN MORE TRUST IN THE COMMUNITY BECAUSE WE'RE TAKING IT THROUGH A PROCESS, AND AS YOU ALL KNOW FROM THE URBAN LAND INSTITUTE, THAT WAS A HUGE ISSUE IS THE TRUST AND -- AND HAVING A GROUP THAT -- WHERE WE CAN BUILD CONSENSUS AND THERE'S NOT THIS 14-13 VOTE OR, YOU KNOW, DIVISION, THAT WE CAN ALL SIT DOWN AND REALLY AGREE AND MAKE THOSE REALLY IMPORTANT DECISIONS, I THINK, SO I'M -- I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A MOTION IF IT'S -- AND IT WOULD READ, TO REQUEST THE COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR TO NEGOTIATE A CONTRACT WITH THE STRATEGIC PLANNING CONSULTANT FOR SERVICES RELATED TO THE FORMATION OF A POLICY GROUP AND TO ASSIST IN PREPARING AND FACILITATING A SERIES OF WORKSHOPS FOR THIS GROUP TO DEVELOP A TRANSPORTATION STRATEGY WHICH WILL BE INTEGRATED INTO THE BOARD'S STRATEGIC PLAN, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/REDEVELOPMENT AREAS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 1-10 OF THE ECONOMIC PROSPERITY STAKEHOLDER COMMITTEE. (emphasis mine)
The Wizard of Oz manipulates behind the curtain
How did we get from developing a transportation strategy to an almost $1.5 million dollar taxpayer funded campaign pushing for more of your tax dollars? The chief orchestrator has been County Administrator Mike Merrill but he was empowered to do so.  Merrill has been empowered to take on a new role as Hillsborough County's first policy making unelected County Mayor. Merrill has become a Wizard of Oz of County Center deceptively manipulating the entire transportation initiative from behind the curtain. 
Merrill was told to lead the charge by the county commissioners. That was the first mistake. County Administrators are unelected bureaucrats and are NOT responsible for policy making nor responsible for running around the county advocating tax hikes. According to our Home Rule Charter which includes separation of powers, the County Administrator is
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Friday, July 24, 2015

Fiorina fading in the shadow of Donald Trump


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog .
                        
In the interest of full disclosure you will note below I am a contributor to the Carly Fiorina campaign.

Like all of the other candidates Carly Fiorina is suffering from the onslaught of Donald Trump. Even though she is currently ranked 14th out of 15 candidates she has not escaped Trump's attention as reported in saintpetersblog Post by Mitch Perry: Donald Trump blasts Carly Fiorina's qualifications for president.

It is tough for all of the Republican presidential candidates to run an issue based campaign at this point and Carly Fiorina relies on logic and common sense to make her points and that kind if campaign simply is not resonating.

Carly makes some excellent points on and the environment (Louder with Crowder) but they are lost in the media rush to see what Trump will do or say next.

Fiorina is trying to stay on point but she is in real trouble as pointed out in a Political Post by Eli Stokols: Carly Fiorina on the bubble.
 
Fiorina has stayed out of the Trump debate up to this point and that may have been a big mistake. As the Donald continues to control the Republican news cycle lesser know candidates are simply swept aside.

There is talk about Fiorina as a VP candidate on the Republican ticket, but with Trump making third party noises the Republican Party will want all the star power on the ballot they can muster.

While I would not write Carly Fiorina off completely, following the FOX Presidential Debate August 6, 2015 Fiorina's presidential campaign could well become a footnote in American Politics.

E-mail Doc at mail to:dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

La Gaceta takes down GoHillsborough

Tampa, Fl, By Sharon Clavert

Eye on Tampa Bay
We wrote recently the leaders of the GoHillsborough initiative better take notice, as groups across the political spectrum are aligning against the proposed sales tax referendum.

Now its causing some disagreement among Democrats running for Hillsborough County Commission.
"My position is it's not enough," said Tom Scott, a former Democratic county commissioner and Tampa city council member who is running for county commissioner again in District 6.
"I'm optimistic about the direction it's heading," [Brian] Willis said. "What I'm seeing is there are needs everywhere across this county and if it's a plan that allows the city of Tampa to build rail and address mass transit needs while allowing the county to go forward with its needs, that's going to be a good plan."
[Pat] Kemp, meanwhile, is not weighing in yet, though she said she's "somewhat disappointed by the commitment to transit" in the half-cent proposal.
We can now count another, Patrick Manteiga, publisher of La Gaceta, the influential local Latin newspaper.
Two weeks ago, this column endorsed a “No” vote on the Go Hillsborough half-penny sales tax increase for transportation. It was the first time in our long memory of our history that La Gaceta endorsed against a sales tax, property tax or special assessment increase when the money was to be used for a range of improving public infrastructure including transportation, schools, public safety, sports facilities, environmental lands, sewer, water and/or storm water.
One week ago, we met with County Administrator Mike Merrill on this topic. We listened to his pitch on why we should give our support. We came away unmoved. We shared with him that we think the plan was designed to appeal to the area’s far right. That it was a transportation plan to appease those who frowned on investing in all forms of mass transit. The plan embraces more roads, wider roads, faster roads and roads for the rich as the only answer to Hillsborough County’s future transportation needs. We told him in spite of the plan’s design, the far right would fail to support it and that he would lose the normally dependable support of the left.
We don't often agree with Mantiega, there is much we agree with in his commentary... and things we disagree. While he thinks the plan "was designed to appeal to the area’s far right", we got news for Mantiega -- the "far right" will surely not vote for GoHillsborough in its current form.

The traffic jam will continue with GoHillsborough
We at the Eye believe the plan is too dispersed with it's something for everyone, making too many promises, and betting the house on a sales tax increase referendum in 2016. Not to mention 30 years is way too long to plan this effort. We'd rather start
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Where's the Mayor?

St. Petersburg, Florida
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog .  

I attend a number of St. Pete City Council meetings and watch a few more on the City's cable television channel.

What I rarely see in person or on TV is the Mayor of St. Petersburg, Rick Kriseman, sitting in his designated chair on the dais. When he is on the dais he rarely looks happy about it.

The citizens of St. Petersburg should take that as serious disrespect.

Tax payers pay this guy a lot of money and he only does them the courtesy of showing up sometimes for the presentations so he can get the photo op and when he is pushing some major issue. It would seem the rest of the City Council meetings and the business of the City is simply beneath him.

Even more irritating is when he sends one of his handpicked, non elected and not particularly qualified dream team to keep his seat on the dais warm. That to me is the ultimate disrespect since nothing in the City Charter authorizes any of these people to actually stand in or sit in for an elected official.

More often than not the chair is simply empty.

Kriseman has taken the run and hide position so people speaking open form or on other issues cannot address him directly. His absence also eliminates any public dialog with City Council.

Kriseman has never been known for being particularly quick on his feet in political or challenging discourse and not being on the dais eliminates the possibility of a political faux pas.

The citizens of St. Petersburg are not beginning to get there, money's worth from Kriseman or his dream team, nor are they or City Council getting the access or the respect they deserve.

The Mayor is the leader of the City organization that's the job Rick Kriseman was elected to do.  While his outward disrespect for the office and the people may make him feel a bit more regal in his role it won't move him from Mayor to King.

It's time for the Mayor to show up for City Council meetings stay for the whole meeting, make constructive comments, express some compassion and engage his constituency.

Maybe if all of that is just too much for Rick Kriseman to stomach, St. Pete citizens should consider making the guy who is currently doing all of that, Karl Nurse, the next Mayor.

E-mail Doc at mail to:dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Pier Looks more like a prison than a tourist attraction or a park

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

In a panic to get the Pier demolition process started, the Kriseman administration quickly canceled security protection for the Pier, and erected a mesh covered used chain link fence across the Pier approach.

The net effect is to create something on the water front that looks more like the entrance to a prison than a tourist attraction.

With no daytime security, regardless of what the City Legal department says, the Pier is now a safety risk, ripe for vandalism and who knows what else.

Elsewhere in social media, saintpetersblog, a City attorney says he doesn't think there is a liability to the City, but that will be a pretty weak explanation if someone's child or a wandering tourist is killed or injured.

The Corps of Engineers says it could be fall before all of the pieces are in place for the permits, and while it is quite likely the Corps is getting some political heat, my experience is they don't respond real well to that kind of pressure.

Some attempt to protect the public (this fence doesn't qualify) and the image of the Pier and downtown would seem to be a wise plan.

It would only make good sense for the Administration to keep things neat, clean and safe around the Pier approach since a lot of people walk down that way and a fence like that is really tempting to a lot of people.

This is yet another short sighted knee jerk reaction by an administration that is so fixated on getting their way and tearing down the Inverted Pyramid that they are exercising no reason in their decision making. Same approach will likely carry right into the design review process.

It is also interesting that the City's New Pier Web site has not been updated since July 9, 2015. That's just about the time the demolition Permits thing blew up.

So much for transparency and timely updating.

E-mail Doc at mail to:dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.
Disclosures:
Contributor: Waterfront Charter Amendment (Vote on The Pier), Carly Fiorina for President
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Friday, July 17, 2015

Trump, Bush and Rubio

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

It continues to interest me how the "Republican Party" presidential candidates prefer to attack Donald Trump rather than deal with the issues he raises like immigration.

A lot of people have compared Trump to the play ground bully. You probably had at least one run in with the playground bully while you were growing up. You know, threatening, loud and aggressive.

I did.

In the Republican Presidential race, most disappointing has been Jeb Bush who seems to be trying to dismiss Trump as a joke. The former governor needs to check the polls.

Marco Rubio ducked recent questions about trump in a Forbes article: Marco Rubio Ducks the Donald Trump Question. Trump in turn responded in the CNN politics Piece: Trump calls out Rubio for being 'weak' on immigration, praises Cruz

If a potential presidential candidate can't deal with a personality like Trump how will they deal with a geo-political bullies like Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and Kim Jong-un or even an Angela Merkle for that matter?

Smile and shrug with "no comment" as their response?

You can't just dismiss these people because you don't agree with their economic strategy, politics, ideology or stand on immigration.

The problem with the abundant crop of Republican presidential candidates is they are all playing to the Party and Trump is simply playing to the people.

Jeb has 100 million reasons in the bank why he has to play to the party faithful and most of the other candidates believe their fate lies with the Party and their fund raising ability not the people.

Why is Trump so popular right now? Because the press is talking about where he stands and not how much money he has raised.

The American people are hungry for ideas and the courage to back them up, not really good fund raisers.

I think our two Florida boys are short in both categories.

E-mail Doc at mail to:dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Is the Pier approach really safe for those demolition trucks and equipment?


After being told repeatedly that the Pier approach was unsafe for pedestrians now the approach will be used to haul thousands of tons of debris as the inverted pyramid is torn down. There will also be a lot of construction equipment needed to complete the demolition process.

You may also remember that "safety" was one of the reasons given for shuttering the Pier over a year before any final decision was made.

It will be interesting to see what safety precautions Glasbrenner takes in terms of truck size and load size as the demolition process begins. Limitations on size and weight of demolition equipment could seriously affect the time to complete the demolition phase.

It is a real dilemma for the Kriseman administration. They want the inverted pyramid gone as soon as possible to help avoid a referendum and it is also in Glasbrenner's interest to get the job done as soon as possible.

Check out the Sonny Glasbrenner website for some stunning views of the Pier.

My guess is the Pier approach had a lot more life left in it than Foster, Kriseman or Connors wanted the public to know about, but then it would be a shame to see one of those shiny 12 wheeler dump trucks sitting on the bottom of the bay.

E-mail Doc at: mailto:dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook and Twitter. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

City caught with its Pier Park permits down

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog .
  
Just when it looked like the Pier issue was pretty much settled and I would have to search for something new and dumb to write about, Tampa Bay Times Staff writer Waveney Ann Moore put up an article: No clear answer on when Pier can come down.

And I was starting to worry about what to blog about.

It is starting to look like the Kriseman administration's dedicated leader of the charge to demolish the Inverted Pyramid has once again put his foot in his silver tongued mouth.

I was at the meeting when Karl Nurse asked Connors about the permitting, First Connors said yes they had all the permits, and then he said they didn't need an Army Corps of Engineers Permit to tear down the Inverted Pyramid since it was above the water.

Didn't sound right to me; given that the Pier sets right in front of the largest marina in Florida, the Vinoy basin and marina and the City's mooring field.

That makes all of the water around the Pier and the Pier head navigable water.

But everyone on Council was so anxious to get this deal done and behind them no one followed up.

Quoting from Waveney's article: "Last week, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Nakeir Nobles told the Tampa Bay Times that since the Pier is over navigable waters, the agency must issue a demolition permit for the entire structure — the approach, or bridge, the pyramid and the area surrounding it. Further, she said, work cannot begin until an agreement concerning historic preservation is finalized. The tentative timing for that is this fall, she said."

For now they have pushed Tom Gibson, the City's Director of engineering, out in front to try to explain what's going on. Gibson, whose forte has never been explaining things to the press or the public, just seemed to further confuse the whole issue.

Gibson, in true engineering fashion, demonstrated why the City hires consultants as he blamed to whole mess on the consultant hired to get the permit.

Then there is the whole historic preservation agreement which the Corps says must be completed before demolition can begin. That could take months.

In addition, has anyone checked with the Army Corps of Engineers to see if they will need permits to moor those barges used to haul away debris?

By the way, has anybody checked with Glasbrenner to see what kind and how big the cranes will be and with the FAA to see if they have any issues?

How much longer is City Council going to sit on the dais and drink up everything Mike Connors tells them. They have been misled or lied to so many times I would think they would finally figure out that this is a means justifies the end game and the end game is to tear that Inverted Pyramid down.

With these kinds of shenanigans right out of the gate, it is hard to imagine what will go on in the Pier Park design meetings and what stories will be concocted to get Council to buy into what will be a "changing design".

Nothing better than this permit debacle, could make the case for the Waterfront Referendum and the absolute need to put control of the waterfront in the hands of the public.

Every time you turn over a rock in this project it becomes clearer you can't trust the administration, and City Council seems incapable or unwilling to act properly, ask the right questions and get the documentation to protect the City's most valuable asset.

E-mail Doc at mail to:dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pier Fatigue

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb, PhD

Thursday St. Pete City Council voted for each of the four Ordinances that officially starts the Pier Park construction process and ended of the reign of the inverted pyramid. The vote was the same on all four 7-1 with Wengay Newton remaining true to his opinion through the whole long and contentious ordeal. 

I spent the rest of Thursday and Friday talking to a few people on both sides of the issue. The general consensus of opinion was we are tired. We're tired of the process, the wrangling,  disappointment in the Kriseman administration and the list goes on.

There was a lot of  "let's just get on with it and let them, build what ever they want."

As one commenter pointed out, "It won't be much of a tourist draw, just another park and on any given day most of our parks are empty."

There were still a lot of valid questions that will never get answered. Even City Council seemed more than relieved to just get it over.

One of themes on both sides of the issue is concern about the amount of the subsidy, how much revenue if any Pier Park will generate, and how programming will work with paid events on the event lawn.

But, all in due time.

There were some excellent points made during the public comments. One man solidly in the millennial generation expressed the view that it was time for his generation to have a Pier they wanted. Sounded reasonable to me as long as they are willing to support and pay for it.

The usually very vocal opposition was represented by a lone person. Council chambers were oddly light on attendance more indication that people are just basically over it.

I'm not much of a kumbaya person, so calls for "lets all get together and move forward" don't ring real loud to me especially given the well documented questionable tactics used by the Kriseman administration to get this project in place. To think the administration's approach or the attitude will change is a Pollyanna view of reality.

The good news is there are program pauses in the Pier Park process where Council gets a look and a decision about moving forward, problem is with no Council dedicated reporting process Council will likely be told only what the administration wants them to know.

The Waterfront referendum group has been very quiet and with the Pier Park decision made there is little opportunity that the referendum would affect the Pier process. Getting any interest in the referendum is going to be tough.

For now it seems it is not so much Pier Park verses Destination St. Pete as the bad taste of the process. I think it will take some time for that to go away.

E-mail Doc at: mailto:dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook and Twitter. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos

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Friday, July 10, 2015

It is tough to trump Trump

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

If you missed the NBC Katy Tur interview with Donald Trump click here. Allow yourself some time it runs about 28 minutes but is well worth the watch.

The problem began with whoever picked Tur to do the interview and went down hill from there. When you start out an interview with someone like Donald Trump asking a question like you are talking to a three year old you are already doomed.  

Tur tried to back Trump into a corner over and over again with really silly questions and Trump just chewed her up. Here was a chance to get into the man's head and Tur was more interested in making a score for herself than drawing out Trump. In a battle of egos with Donald Trump most people are going to lose.

It was classic Trump.

Here is a transcript of Trump's comments on Mexico:
“When Mexico (meaning the Mexican Government) sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you (pointing to the audience). They’re not sending you (pointing again). They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people! But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”

"They’re rapists". This is what the firestorm is all about. Go back and read it again.

The reference here is the people Mexico (the State) sends. The media quickly picked up the statement and implied Trump was referring to all immigrants. That's not what he said.

What has been interesting is the stream of organizations turning and running from the Trump comments. So far all we are getting is a lot of self-righteous comments from business and industry leaders but no serious conversation from these "leaders" about the fact that a porous border and illegal immigration is a problem that affects all Americans. No recognition that a problem really exists.

What is even more interesting is that some of those crying out against Trump are probably exploiting the very people they are purporting to so deeply revere.

It will be interesting to see how far they run when it starts affecting their bottom line.

On several occasions, including the NBC interview, Trump has made the point that the immigration discussion would not even be on the table if were not for his comments. I have not seen or heard a major or minor candidate in either party disagree with that statement So far they all seem to be tap dancing around the immigration issue.

Trump is in the enviable position of being able to openly speak his mind not really pandering to any political party camp and his poling numbers indicate at least so far his message is resonating with the public.

There has been a lot of talk about Trump hurting the Republican Party. The only thing Trump is doing is pointing out how difficult it is for all of the Republican candidates to speak with open candor about the issues that really matter to the people.

As hard as it may be for the media to grasp, most Americans don't really care about how much money Jeb, Marco or Hillary have raised what they are looking for is some one who understands their concerns and can clearly articulate them.

For now trump's pressure on the Republican Party is a good thing simply because he cannot be bought off or bullied away and when you take those two tools away from Republicans they are pretty much helpless.

E-mail Doc at: mailto:dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook and Twitter. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos

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