Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year 2017

May 2017 bring you good health, love, success,  great joy, and peace.

Thank you for spending some of your valuable time this past year reading my Blog Posts. If you have taken the time to comment on one of the sites or on Facebook an extra special thanks.

The new year looks to be a very exciting time in the Tampa Bay area so please keep checking back on bay area PATCH sites, Eye on Tampa Bay and my flagship Blog site Bay Post Internet.

Have a happy and safe new year.


Doc
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Friday, December 30, 2016

The Pier – who got us here

Along with the Pier problems, the uplands development is starting to raise a few eyebrows.


Originally Posted May 15, 2016


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

I thought it was time to remind everyone about who got us into the slowly unfolding Pier and uplands debacle.

The well-orchestrated effort of the Kriseman administration to tear down the inverted pyramid and build a new millennial playground on St. Pete's waterfront is starting to come back and haunt them.

Things continue to move a bit slowly at the Pier construction site. It appears the demolition contractor, Sonny Glasbrenner, is having a few problems of their own.


Apparently, the old Pier approach may have been a bit tougher than City Council was led to believe. Demolition originally scheduled for early spring is  estimated to be finished in September.

You can check out the administration's spin on the pier at Current Progress and what's next.

Along with the Pier problems, the uplands development is starting to raise a few eyebrows. Local restaurateurs on the Beach Drive have suddenly figured out that those nice new water front restaurants proposed by the administration may be a problem.

Here is a comment from a reader:

Hi Doc.  Did you know that people are getting stirred up about the uplands development that is planned by hizzoner, the mayor?  The pier issue aside, virtually nobody wants those restaurants on the uplands of the pier.  The City is planning on removing parking for the public for the most part, unless you are a restaurant customer and they definitely want to remove the parking along the shoreline, on both Straub Parks.  I have heard that the Museum of Fine Arts is not happy about this and that Beach Drive establishments aren't either.  

The owner or manager of the Birchwood was quoted a few months ago saying that St Pete has reached a saturation point of restaurants.  Now, the City is using public money to increase their competition.  Everyone knows that restaurants with a closer view of the water will surpass Beach Drive.  Look what happened to Baywalk/Sundial when Beach Drive was enhanced?  

All in all, the City and the wanna be greenies think that people will abandon their cars and rely on those looper trolleys that really belong at the beaches, not as a legitimate form of transit.  Keep hearing that the residents aren't all that happy with the over abundance of activity on the waterfront and the mayor just doesn't listen to their concerns.  

There is a petition about to happen to address waterfront development.  It is being started by Tom Lamdon of Vote on the Pier.  He thinks that nobody cares anymore and I keep telling him that people are just not aware that there IS something that can be done with this over development.  

They are separating the pier issue from the development issues.  If you recall, it was overwhelming at the Pier Envisioning sessions that people didn't want development on the uplands.  Overwhelming, even more than the support of the inverted pyramid.  I bet that none of the council and certainly not the mayor were at the envisioning sessions.  They are wolves in sheeps' clothing thinking that we elected them to make all our decisions for us.  They don't listen even though they meet with people. –JC

As you watch all of this unfold and the price starts rising, the features disappear and the Kriseman spin machine keeps telling you it will be another iconic destination just remember: these are the same people who promised they would heed your input and totally ignored your wishes.

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, December 29, 2016

Did Rick Kriseman make a strategic political error?

Kriseman was looking to spread the blame as far and as thin as he could while totally excusing himself.


Originally Posted June 17, 2016

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin  

As the level of concern about St. Pete's sewage problem rose along with the untreated wastewater and raw sewage, the Kriseman administration struggled to deal with the fall out.

Kriseman reverted to the old political ploy of deflect and divert as reported in a Tampa Bay From the Times piece by Charlie Frago: As sewage dumping ends, Kriseman reverses course on BP money.

After the meeting, Kriseman excused his predecessor, Bill Foster, saying the severe recession tied that mayor's hands. But he stood his ground regarding the culpability of Rick Baker, who served from 2001 to 2010 and is rumored to be considering a run against Kriseman next year.

Hard to tell if this less than brilliant ploy was the brainchild of Kriseman himself, his political pocket mouse Kevin King or Ben Kirby Kriseman's personal blogger who first declared the effluent highly diluted only to retract that inappropriate statement.

Kriseman was looking to spread the blame as far and as thin as he could while totally excusing himself.

His decision to take a shot at former Mayor Rick Baker may not have been Kriseman's brightest political move.

Baker responded, "My recollection is that council and I spent $200-$300 million on water and sewer capital projects," Baker texted the Times late Thursday. "And I know that we replaced sewer pipes throughout the city. That is a substantial investment."

I had a good friend in the City administration that used to say, "Be careful when you poke the bear."

Baker would like to return to public service and a lot of us; me included, would like to see him replace a lackluster Mayor, who operates an administration staffed with inexperienced political cronies powered by doling out city money.

There is no strong indication that Baker is seriously considering another run at being St. Pete's Mayor.

Baker needs motivation to make that decision and Kriseman may have just poured a little gasoline on a smoldering fire.

I don't think anyone was particularly impressed by the Mayor's attempt to pass the blame for the crap in Clam Bayou, or the untreated waste water in the Bay. At times like these if you're the Mayor you're the guy responsible and supposedly the person who can get the fix started.

Kriseman had a 10-month head's up alert on the wastewater problem but then there were   brighter and shiner things to focus on.

Will this "poke" be enough to catapult Baker into a run for St. Pete Mayor? Probably not, but I have been around Baker after he has been "poked" and quite frequently the reaction was surprising.

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.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Kriseman Administration a Crisis of incompetency

City Council must set up independent reporting and monitoring for all major City projects.

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: 
In Search of Robin

This is Part 3 of a three-part series focusing on the competency of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and his Office of the Mayor.

I was an assistant director and manager of IT with the City of St. Petersburg for 28 years. During that period, I worked for City Managers and strong mayors. This experience gives me a unique perspective on how the top leadership of the City of St. Petersburg affects the staff, its openness and effectiveness.

As the sewage crisis grew Kriseman cast desperately about to find someone to hang the blame on.

Kriseman was quick to sack Tom Gibson Director of Engineering and Steve Leavitt Public Works administrator, who were neither smart enough nor quick enough to jump on the whistle blower band wagon, but the real place he needs to cut heads is in his own office.

As a side note since Representative Jolly is making some sort of whistle blower protection available for City employees, my suggestion for City employees would be to take advantage of it.

Kriseman is always looking for a scapegoat, and you could be next.

It is time for Kevin King and Ben Kirby to go and Rick Kriseman to step up and be a really strong Mayor.

Let's get the spin merchant and political operative out of the Mayor's office and the decision-making process and work to improve the trust and confidence of the City employees.

I know many of these people.

They are good people proud of their City, and the vast majority of them want to serve the public and do the best job they can.

The problem is simply Kriseman/King/Kirby's "shoot the messenger,'" pass the buck and spin the " news" management style has the lid on all upward information flow.

Since there is a serious trust issue with the Mayor's office, just saying, "Everything will be OK" will not work and the reality is as long as Kriseman holds on to his crony security blanket not much will change. In fact, I would expect things to get worse - much worse.

Kriseman needs to hire or promote a chief of staff with some serious political and managerial experience and let Deputy Mayor Tomalin, and City Administrator Gary Cornwell do their jobs.

Once Kriseman has his own shop in order, which I seriously doubt he will do, he should hold a meeting with all management personnel and give them his guarantee that no one will lose their job for doing their job.

All of this puts a significant burden on City Council.

City Council must set up independent reporting and monitoring for all these major projects, especially as long as the current office of the Mayor stays intact.

Anyone on the St. Pete City Council that takes anything that comes from Kriseman's office or the City senior staff at face value without full vetting, and backup is not performing his or her elected duty.

Although it is something we avoided during my time at the City, it is time for City Council to consider creating a backdoor for City employees to the City Council either directly or through an advocate who works directly for City Council.

This comes with a significant amount of risk, but it may be the only way City Council can be sure the public's best interests, health and safety are being properly managed.

Kriseman through his office of the Mayor has created a managerial problem that is a least as big projects the City has in the works. Losing the trust and confidence of a nearly 3000-employee organization and trying to regain that confidence and trust is a daunting task.

I seriously doubt Rick Kriseman can fix the problem.

IF YOU WORK FOR THE CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO DOES PLEASE BE SURE TO E-MAIL A LINK TO THIS ARTICLE TO THEM AND LIKE IT ON FACEBOOK.

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 Like or share on Facebook.

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Who is he this Jesus?


Revealed in Your Birth, God’s answer for earth.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

Many people go through this time of year and never find an answer for the question who is this Jesus.

Here is a good thought reposted from a comment on the devotional Web site Our Daily Bread:


Why did you come as a Baby,
And not as the King that You are?
You are the Way the Truth and the Life,
Your light drew wise men from afar.

Life in the womb of a virgin,
Alone by the Spirit’s command.
Revealed in Your Birth, God’s answer for earth.
Not found in the plans of man!

Chorus
Not like this the next time,
But by trumpet sound
Then returned in Glory,
We clearly see Your Crown.

Joseph’s faithful obedience,
A mystery he can’t understand.
His love for God and the promise declared
Has placed him in Gods Glorious Plan

The gentle light in a stable
Would one day reveal all our sin
No Babe in a shed, a Savior instead,
This one who is truly our King

Love to the Forum Fellowship

Roy

Life is a jumble these days; too fast, too tense, too stressful, too much information, and too uncertain.

We all long for something that will help us put our lives in order.

The manger in Bethlehem is a good place to start and the cross where this child would die for you some 30 years later is the answer.

May your Christmas be complete and fruitful as you look to the New Year.

Merry Christmas – Doc and Theresa

 E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, be sure to Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Kriseman- One step short of starting to clean up the sewer mess

It is not clear why Kriseman would opt to keep Gibson around.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman decided this week to fire Water Resources Director Steve Leavitt and retain his boss Tom Gibson "demoting" him to a $120,000 per annum position as engineering-transportation manager.

You can follow the saga with Charlie Frago, Tampa Bay Times, Kriseman places top sewer officials on unpaid leave and Charlie Frago, Tampa Bay Times, One sewer official fired, another brought back by Kriseman after investigation

Regarding Gibson, "He was brought back because his engineering expertise can still help the city, Kriseman said, but Gibson will no longer serve “in a leadership capacity.”

Kriseman's comment is sort of political of double speak.

If Gibson is an "engineering-transportation manager" but has no "leadership" role what does he do?

Probably what he has done his entire career at the City - very little.

According to the consultant's report, "Neither Water Resources Director Steve Leavitt nor Engineering Department Director Tom Gibson tried to keep elected officials in the dark about a 2014 report that indicated the city’s sewage system was at the risk of massive overflow" but it appears neither took any aggressive action to make it known.

Keeping Gibson around is a little like asking your Oncologist to leave a few of those cancer cells in there so you will know how it feels.

Gibson is no leader, and his presence in the department sends a bad signal to all the other employees and presents a major obstacle to anyone who takes over the Public Works leadership role.

It is not clear why Kriseman would opt to keep Gibson around. Some possible reasons:

Maybe Gibson knows something, and this is a good way to keep him quiet.
Gibson is a protégé of Mike Connors maybe a quid pro quo with Connors.
Avoid possible legal action resulting from the unpaid leave.
Maybe Kriseman is looking to buy himself a mole over in public works, if so he just wasted $120,000 of the taxpayer's money.

Kriseman did not solve a problem, he just created a new one that will come back to bite someone in the future.

A clean sweep here would have allowed the new Public Works leadership to make significant changes, improve the professionalism at all levels in Public Works and not have to watch their back at every move.

Once again, Rick Kriseman has proven that as a manager, he is a better politician.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, be sure to Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

USF preparing to bow down at the throne of NCAA football

Show me one store where you can buy a loaf of bread for a gallon of school spirit, and we can talk.

St. Petersburg Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author:
In Search of Robin
Ok, let’s get it out of the way I am not a big college football fan. So, we’re straight I think these multi-million dollar sports operations masquerading as appendages of major universities are complete waste of time and money.
At a time when students are encouraged to take non-marketable career paths to pad student enrollment and student debt continues to pile up football is just another expensive diversion.
Here is where you give me all those high fives about school spirit, comradery, sportsmanship and all that other BS.
I don’t buy it for a minute.
Show me one store where you can buy a loaf of bread for a gallon of school spirit, and we can talk.
Comes the hiring of Charlie Strong as USF’s new head coach, see Joey Knight Tampa Bay Times staff writer Charlie Strong hired as USF's coach (UPDATED)
If you read far enough in Joey’ piece, you will find that the Texas Long Horns recently fired Strong as their head coach after three years on a 5-year contract. They still owe Strong $10 million for the last two years on his contract, and they get half of everything Strong makes for the next two years.
USF should pay Strong $10 Bucks a year for 2 year contact with three 1 year renewable options. Strong would still be making $5 million a year and subsequent contracts should compensate him appropriately without tying up USF like the Long Horns.
After all it’s not about the money is it Charlie? It’s all about the game.
Add to that the fact he will probably make two or three times what highest paid academic scholar at USF makes and my argument is complete.
Spare me the arguments that the excessive salaries for coaching staffs, facilities and athletic directors are paid for by the revenues generated by the team.
A few years ago, when in a mad panic, USF decided to launch football, my thought was what a shame a good university is slowly going down the toilet for a no-good reason.
Collegiate sports spurned on by the money powered NCAA has all but taken over the athletic operations at major universities.
If college sports were about providing examples, there would be rules that the team and the recruiting effort should reflect the racial makeup of the university or at least the community.
There should be a cap on how much the coaching prima donnas can make if necessary set by the state legislature.
Do you really think these college football coaches ae worth the salaries they make?
I know, a lot of sour grapes, but I would really like to see us get back to graduating students with degrees that prepare them to go and compete in a world economy and not be saddled with a mountain of debt.
I do not think football, and its big price tag contribute much to that goal.
Sitting there three years after graduation in your now five-year-old team jersey, because you cannot afford to buy a new one, after filling out 24th resume for the week trying to peddle your degree in some abstract field of art, I suspect team spirit is not all that comforting.
So, for now as the camera pans the stadium revealing all those blurry eyed underclass men trying to see the game and slowly descends to show the perfectly manicured field with this odd-looking guy walking up and down the field with a big grin on his face, rest assured he knows who he has screwed out of all that money.
Your student-loan dollars at work.
Enjoy the game.
e-mail Doc at mail to:dr.gwebb@yahoo.com send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend Request, and be sure to Like of Share on Facebook.
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Disclosures:
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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Soccer in St. Pete is Getting Bigger

St. Pete’s Bill Edwards has some big plans for his USL soccer team. 


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

St. Pete’s Bill Edwards has some big plans for his USL soccer team.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies have yet to play a single game in the USL, and they’re already courting MLS for one of the league’s coveted expansion slots.

See Jake Nutting, Empire of Soccer Tampa Bay Rowdies Enter the MLS Expansion Race

There are a lot of hurdles to overcome but the one looming largest at the moment is the future of Al Lange stadium.

The City charter limits' leases on waterfront and parkland property to three years and Edwards will need a longer lease to satisfy lenders and MLS.

Edwards already has a big say on what goes on in downtown St. Pete and his recent announcement about the Rowdies, and a new or revised stadium is already raising a few eyebrows.

No doubt, Edwards will do a first class job the with Al Lang renovations.

The biggest issue will be more political than practical.

If he wants to start on the stadium issue now he will dealing with the Kriseman administration who may not be all that friendly, and you can rest assured that all the waterfront protectors and preservationists will come out of the woodwork with demands and requirements.

Parking and the Beach Drive whiners are sure to be an issue.

A host of problems that just will not seem to go away already beleaguers Kriseman and adding a battle of little political value to him at this point may be something he would like to avoid.

Soccer may be popular but the soccer fans probably do not represent enough votes in St. Pete to make a difference in what is shaping up to be a contentious mayoral race.

If he waits, the stadium and the charter changes necessary to support the improvements are sure to become a major issue in the next municipal election for the mayoral and city council candidates.

So Bill Edwards is faced with some big decisions and major challenges.

If the City does decide to make some charter changes that will allow Edwards long term access to the Al Lang property, those changes should be carefully crafted to avoid unintended consequences, and the safest way is to take the whole issue of any long-term agreement for Al Lang to the voters is as a cautiously crafted referendum.

A long and arduous task.

As a final thought, if you believe in climate change and sea-level rise, Edwards may want to think carefully about the Al Lang site. His high-priced soccer players could be sloshing around in a couple of feet of seawater in the not too distant future.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, be sure to Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY

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Friday, December 16, 2016

The New Pier a Project out of control

According to public records,  the City spent $4.8 million on "vendors and miscellaneous" from October of 2015 through Sept of 2016 on the Pier project.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

It is time to admit that the New Pier project is completely out of control.

In fact, it is time to admit that the Kriseman administration cannot control or manage any large-scale City project or problem.

The Pier Cost overrun problem began to become public about two months ago. See Mark Puente Tampa Bay Times Staff writer, Mayor Rick Kriseman may seek more Pinellas County dollars for St. Petersburg Pier.

According to public records obtained by Bay Post Internet The City spent $4,873,917.39 on "vendors and miscellaneous" from October of 2015 through Sept of 2016.

The money from the Pier Account went to:

ACSTAR Insurance Company
Associated Space Design Florida Inc
Bayside Building Services Inc
George F Young Inc
Greenfield Environmental Inc
Janus Research Inc
Landon Moree & Associates Inc
Lighthouse Advisors Inc
Moffatt & Nichol Inc
Pannier Graphics
P-CARD CLEARING SUPPLIER
Ringwald, Edward D
Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc
Skanska USA Building Inc
Southwest Florida Water Management District
Stantec Consulting Services Inc
Times Publishing Co

Many of these vendors and consultants received multiple payments throughout the fiscal year.

That is almost $5 million dollars with little physical progress beyond tearing down the old Pier.


"I'm looking at, if we invest some more money, we can have a world-class  Pier," Kriseman said. "It's more taking the elements that would exist in the current budget and taking them up another notch."

From $50 million to $80 million is a pretty big notch.

What Kriseman is really saying is this whole project is poorly planned and completely out of control.

Millions spent on consultants and promotion only to get to the point where the City cannot begin to build what was promised.

The County Commission needs to put a stop on any more public funds going into what is becoming a consultant's enrichment project.

This not the end.

Once construction starts, if it ever does, there will be change orders, scope creep and "undiscovered problems" that will continue to drive the cost up.

Just the fact that City Engineering department is managing the project should be cause for significant concern.

Kriseman and his team just do not have the ability to manage these large-scale projects. 

They spend way to much time painting a pretty picture,  We Are Going To Build a Pier, and not enough time with their nose in the details.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, be sure to Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY

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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Janet long - A Regional Council of Governments to Manage Bay Area Public Transit

Long is using a mandate from the federal government to propose a regional transportation governing board that would have taxing authority.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

Janet Long, Chairperson of the Pinellas County Commission, has been struggling with the dysfunctional nature of public transit governance for some time.

Here is some background from local-area print and social media:





Long has been frustrated with the political players in public transit in the bay area such as: the Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties; the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority and the Pinellas Suncoast Regional Transit Authority; the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority and the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.

However, Long's real frustration has been with the public's ability to control the public transportation process by denying property and sales tax referendums that support ideas like Pinellas GreenLight and Go Hillsborough.

I have personally seen Ms. Long's ire raised at those who opposed these poorly designed special interest driven initiatives at PSTA Board meetings.

Long's latest attempt to go around the taxpayers is supported by the federal government's insistence on one regional set of transportation priorities to secure federal funding.

The federal government wants one regional plan that would cover 20 years of expected growth in overlapping metro areas such as the bay area. Local leaders would have two years to devise a plan once the federal rules are finalized.

Long is seizing on this mandate from the federal government to propose a regional transportation governing authority or commission that would have taxing authority.

Read that again: would have taxing authority.

Should Long's plan come to fruition the public could lose the ability to control the purse strings through referendum, and you can look for light rail and every other inefficient form of transportation promoted by the big public transportation players to show up with all of us footing the bill.

Putting together a political shift of this magnitude will take a while but local City and
 County officials weary of dealing with the transportation problem may be more willing to turn control over to this super commission than you might think.

Everyone who fought Pinellas GreenLight, Go Hillsborough and the other taxing referendums for public transportation need to go on high alert.

Waiting until Long and her political partners have this on the agenda in the State legislature will be way too late.

The Federal mandate is real, and it needs to be addressed, but doing it in the backrooms of county and local governments is a big mistake. The public needs to be involved in every jurisdiction, and every elected official needs to be held accountable for his or her decisions in this process.

Unless you want a new and potentially quite large line item for "Transportation" showing up on your bill from the property appraiser sometime  in the next two years you better keep an eye on Pinellas County Commission Chairperson Janet Long and her "Regional Council of Governments" idea.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, be sure to Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY

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Friday, December 9, 2016

St.Pete's sewage problem is becoming a political football.


Kriseman seems to be hiding on the 2nd floor of City hall and somewhat indiscriminately lobbing grenades at the wastewater problem.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

It just seems the Kriseman administration only stops shooting itself in the foot long enough to reload.

The latest debacle or at least potential debacle comes from the application by a Florida Department of Environmental Protection employee for a job in the City Water Resources department she was investigating.

You can get the details in Charlie Frago's Tampa Bay Times article Sewage crisis' latest twist: State official investigating St. Petersburg applies for city sewage job.

There are a couple of ways to look at this. First, there is certainly a need in the Water Resources Department for some talented people.

On the other hand, this points out the Kriseman administrations' complete and total lack of sensitivity for the City's water treatment problems. Why create another controversy to add to the already complex mess?

Kriseman's track record on hiring is less than stellar. One only has to look at his office of the mayor to see that common sense does not pervade the administration's hiring practices.

This may be a good technical hire, but it is a terrible move from a confidence perspective.

Kriseman seems to be hiding on the 2nd floor of City hall and somewhat indiscriminately lobbing grenades at the wastewater problem.

One must wonder do they ever set down and seriously look at the decisions they are making and the possible ramifications.

Are there any potential unintended consequences?

How will the Florida Department of Environmental Protection view this hire and more importantly? How will the other FDEP employees investigating St. Petersburg react?

If this is an effort to get "inside' the FDEP process and find ways to beat the system, then a serious disservice to the citizens of St. Petersburg is being done.

If this hire is to get the best possible technical talent for the job, then a thorough vetting of Ms. Duggan's technical credentials is very much in order.

 From the Frago/Tampa Bay Times article:
City Council member Darden Rice, however, said she was shocked that St. Petersburg allowed Duggan to apply and interview for a job while the DEP official was taking part in a state investigation of the city.

"To say this is clearly inappropriate is an understatement," Rice said. "It's very troubling that the investigator involved in putting together the consent order is interviewing with the city at the same time. That boggles the mind."

She said it doesn't look good for city sewer officials to interview someone investigating their own performance issues.

"The appearances are terrible," Rice said.

I Could not have said it better myself.

First, the Hogan hire and now this, the Mayor needs to refocus on the problem and the issues.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, be sure to Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Is it time for a building moratorium in downtown St. Pete?

More sewage from development just adds to the problem when the rain events occur.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

As the confusion and misdirection about St. Petersburg's wastewater problem continue, is it time for a building moratorium in downtown St. Pete?

Multi story construction in downtown St. Pete continues at a break-neck pace. With the Albert Whitted treatment plant off line, there has yet to be any serious discussion of taking steps to slow down growth and reign in the increasing population east of 16th Street.

Think of the "Animal House exploding toilets"

While much is made of rain events and leaky pipes, little has been said about how much high-density development in the downtown core may be contributing to the long-run  wastewater pollution problem.

I am sure the immediate reaction will be a raft of numbers from the City indicating that the "events" of the recent past are all related to rain events, and the wastewater system is completely capable of handling all the current and planned future development.

What else would you expect from a City administration and water department that has as of yet failed to come up with a coherent plan to resolve the City's wastewater problems.

However, more sewage from development just adds to the problem when the rain events occur.

Is a building moratorium a bit harsh?

Maybe.

However, one thing is for sure if City Council even brings the subject up the Mayor's phone will be ringing off the hook with developers, realtors and bankers who are all future campaign contributors pushing the Mayor to come up with a solution.

So far, the all City Council's pushing on the Mayor has produced is a lot of rhetoric, excuses and apparently contracts with very ineffective consultants who can't seem to get anything accomplished and a cute little twitter site.

Maybe some leverage like a proposed downtown building moratorium would be enough to get his honor it a bit more engaged.

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, be sure to Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

The St. Pete Sewer Problem Soft Shoe

Tankersly’s own employees are so hesitant to speak that it seems they are operating more from fear than reason and professionalism.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

Once again, the bow tied festooned Claude Tankersly did a phenomenal soft shoe dance around the solutions to St. Pete's current and future sewage problems.

All that was missing was the accompanying music.

You can see the whole show at St. Pete City Council meetings Item 5 on the agenda. You can speed up your access by clicking on the 5th small dot on the video time line.

Carefully chosen words and sentences with few facts and little meaning flowed like the crap at the height of the recent hurricane.

Various council members attempted at sorting through the fog, but Tankersly managed a gentle soft shoe slide at every turn.

His wastewater manager stumbled through a litany of poorly constructed answers to council questions leaving council members looking a little confused and a lot frustrated.

About all one could take away from this sewage circus was that there may be a plan that is still not complete with lots of information being supplied by a number of sources that don’t seem to be coordinating with each other.

Tankersly’s own employees are so hesitant to speak that it seems they are operating more from fear than reason and professionalism.

Notably missing during the whole discussion was Mayor Kriseman whose political fate is uncertain if we get a sewage debacle repeat of this year during the next hurricane season.

The Mayor has turned the whole mess over to Tankersly, who is almost sure to be the Mayor’s scapegoat when all of this goes south.  Classic example is the appointing of a "communications officer Bill Hogan" taking the pressure off the mayor's office and Ben Kirby the Mayor's spokesperson.

It seems that Kriseman is isolating this whole problem from his office and establishing a collective group of people he can blame for any failures come election time.
Nothing was ready for the meeting. Information was missing; a report on the interns was not available, the map of the sewer and radial relining “needed some tweaks” most of it was blamed on unnamed consultants.

At this point, the question for St. Pete seems to be how much longer Council will put up with these sideshows from the Kriseman administration.  

Kriseman is providing little or no obvious leadership in this effort, and eventually it is going to catch up with him.

If you want to follow the wastewater saga, you can follow it on Twitter @stpetepw this little show is costing you over $90,000 a year.

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.

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