Sunday, July 31, 2016

It’s time for PSTA property tax increase

It is time to give all of hard working people out at PSTA not only a little more revenue but a vote of confidence.

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin
The PSTA board is considering raising their Pinellas county millage rate from .7305 to .7500. You can get the details in Janell Irwin’s Tampa Bay Business Journal  article PSTA takes first step in raising property tax rate.
The average home owner would see a tax increase of less than $3.00 on their property ta bill. The tax increase would produce about $1 million in additional revenues for PSTA.
Regular readers of my Posts know that I have been highly critical of PSTA in the past but my more recent posts following the transit agencies approach to their mission have been positive.
The PSTA Board’s leadership and Brad Millers execution and innovative thinking have produced some impressive results.
This tax increase will have several positive effects. In addition to producing some much needed revenue it will add a shock absorber to the inevitable drop in property values and it will also take off the table the excuse in the pursuit of new revenues that there is still room in the millage rate since this increase puts PSTA at the max millage rate allowed by state law.
Any further increase in the millage rate will require action by the state legislature.
According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal article there seems to some reluctance among the PSTA Board members regarding a tax increase.
I don’t think this one will be a problem if PSTA tells the story of the last year or so.
You will see the tax increase as it applies to you in your upcoming TRIM notice from the Pinellas County Tax appraiser.
It is time to give all of hard working people out at PSTA not only a little more revenue but a vote of confidence for all they are doing to provide our communities with efficient an effective public transportation.
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.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.
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.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.


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Friday, July 29, 2016

Trump the Russians and the new media

Did Trump go too far? If recent past history is any indicator probably not.

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

You just have to wonder how all of these political directors, talking heads who portray themselves as political pundits or experts and media professionals continue to fall prey to the Trump media exploitation.

Right in the middle of the Democratic Convention Trumps drops the bombshell he, “Hopes the Russians get the 33,000 Hillary emails."

What happens?

Every pundit commentator former political official and anyone with a microphone or computer jumps on the story.

“Treason, encouraging espionage,” They scream!

The veins in Wolf Blitzer’s head are bulging.

Even Trump’s own VP is backing away.

Careful Mike, you could get yourself fired! If this kind of stuff was going to affect your sensitive id, then you should have passed on the VP offer.

Classic Trump.

Did he go too far? If recent past history is any indicator probably not.

Trump is Trump and this is just the beginning.

With Paul Ryan and every other Republican insider looking for any reason to dis Trump, maybe it is time they all pull out of the Trump campaign and declare the Republican Party does not have a presidential candidate this cycle.

Disavow him completely once and for all and let him run his own political show.

Then you and all the rest of the Republican political elites can crawl back into your safe comfortable shell of political correctness, ignore the media and hope for better days.

At the very worst it will only be 8 years.

Besides, all of those sheepish, uncomfortable looks make you guys look like idiots.

Trump is not embarrassing you.

He could care less about the Republican elite. He may be embarrassing himself, but for now it is the best reality show on TV, available on every channel, the ratings are through the roof and for the most part it is commercial free.

Donald has gotcha and you just can seem to get away.

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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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Commissioners Must Act Now To Fund our Roads

Tampa, Fl
From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert

Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay

Not only did the county commissioners vote last month at the second sales tax hike public hearing against any sales tax hike referendum, they also voted to pursue Commissioner Sandy Murman's proposal to fund our roads and transportation needs within our growing existing budget. 

We are now in the FY2017 budget cycle and there is concern that county staff is not doing that nor putting forth a budget following the strategic direction they were told. In addition, the county was not providing ample opportunity for the public to weigh in with public comment on the FY2017 budget. That would be wrong at this critical juncture where the county must start appropriately funding our roads and transportation.

Below is the public comment I made at last weeks BOCC meeting:
I am Sharon Calvert and I live in Lutz, FL. I am concerned with the 2017 budget. After two public hearings, a majority of this Board said that transportation will be a top priority in our budget.  
Five weeks later I am concerned that the recommended budget does not do that. The Board voted, you gave direction, County staff must work to do that.
For your vote to be meaningful, this Board needs to follow through and do what you said you would do, fund our roads and transportation now, starting with our FY2017 within the growth of our existing budget.
 
This is a critical budget cycle. Yet there are no budget public hearings until September, way too late for the public to weigh in on changes to be made for this budget cycle. 
A budget workshop is scheduled for next week. I ask that the Board open that workshop to public comment. Otherwise, it appears there is lack of transparency and our critical budget process cannot be orchestrated and manipulated outside of Sunshine.  
The Administrator’s budget must stop growing by double digits. It is absurd that tens of millions of dollars of impact fee buybacks benefiting developers are somehow considered transportation funding. That is simply not being honest. 
Stop funding pet pork projects, stop funding those questionable and nebulous economic development projects, stop handing our tax dollars to special interests, or adding more parks to maintain, no more money to filmmakers and stop subsidizing the millionaires and billionaires - but start funding our highest priority - roads and transportation needs that have been neglected for way too long.  
For over three years, the county spent untold resources, time, effort and over $1.3 million telling the public that transportation is a priority.  
Now is the time for the Board to act and prove it. 
This budget cycle will confirm whether this Board has the fiscal discipline to reign in unnecessary spending and start appropriately funding our roads.  
The time is now to start enacting Commissioner Murman’s proposal to use the growth of our existing budget to fund our roads and transportation. 
Because continuing to hold our road funding hostage must stop now. 
Thank you.
Checking the BOCC calendar, we now find that the Budget Workshop scheduled for Tuesday afternoon and the Transportation Workshop scheduled for Wednesday afternoon have been cancelled. A Budget Workshop is now scheduled for Thursday, July 28, at 9am.

BOCC Calendar
The agenda and presentation for this meeting can be found here. From the agenda, it appears the county has opened this meeting up for public comment. 

Why is the county giving non-union county employees a 3.5% raise? That is a pay raise unheard of today in the private sector. Many of the county commissioners own constituents, who were negatively impacted by the last recession, are still playing catch up and are not receiving such pay raises. 

Our existing revenues have been growing at a rate of well over 6% per year the last few years, yet the county has refused to fund our roads. In FY2016 the county had over $100 million of new revenues, including over $40 million of new recurring revenues and the county refused to fund our roads. 

A previous budget workshop held earlier this year, County Administrator Mike Merrill presented:

Where is the almost $23 million of BP oil spill settlement money going? Those funds have no restrictions on their use and can be used for transportation that has been neglected for almost a decade. The BP oil spill settlement money and
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Sunday, July 24, 2016

PSTA and Uber

Is PSTA closing in on a viable solution to the public transportation last mile problem?

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

Pinellas County's PSTA has reached an agreement with ridesharing company Uber for a new early-morning/ late-night service named TD Late Shift.

You can get more details from Janelle Irwin Reporter for Tampa Bay Business Journal in her article Pinellas transit expands one partnership with Uber, launches another.

There is more info from PSTA at TD Late Shift.

From the PSTA Web site: "PSTA first publicized its relationship with Uber earlier this year when the two transportation providers launched Direct Connect, a six-month pilot program that connects people to bus stops for a subsidized rate. Now, PSTA is expanding that program to span across the entire county offering unlimited, on-demand Uber and Taxi rides for approximately $1."

If you have not been to the PSTA WEB site, PSTA.net check it out. Note the Google Transit trip planner, which I have used, and it is really great.

These new initiatives are part of PSTA's ongoing efforts to resolve one of public transportation's major problems: the last mile connection, or more commonly stated as, "how do I get from my front door to the bus stop?"

PSTA will also use United Taxi and Care Ride for disable customers of the TD Late Shift Program.

I think these programs are great, and we should share the news so the people who need them know about them.

The growing connections between Uber and PSTA come at a time when Uber is continuing to struggle with local regulations, especially in Hillsborough County.  

How well will the PSTA and Uber connections work out? Who knows but that is what these trials are all about.

PSTA has done a remarkable job since the GreenLight initiative failed. They have been innovative and forward-looking and there are probably more programs like the Uber effort under consideration.

I for one hope the PSTA/Uber team is an outstanding success for both organizations and public transportation users.

What I would like to see is an end-to-end application where I can order a complete trip.

Pick up at my door, drop off at the bus connection, pickup at my bus destination and a ride to my final destination. All ordered, paid for and ticketed on one app, and a return initiated when I call for pick up when I am ready to return home.

The hardware is all in place. No infrastructure needed just some creative thinking and a little software.

My only word of caution is PSTA under Brad Miller's leadership has had a tendency to get carried away when they get excited about an effort or opportunity.

When you are playing with the likes of Uber, you are playing in the big time and PSTA, and the PSTA Board needs to follow these developments and agreements closely along with the relationships between staff and Uber.

Transparency is the key to success.

These are good ideas. It would be a real shame to have them fall victim to or become tainted by some poor judgment.  

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.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

The Republican Convention ABC to NPR, the Media and Roger Ailes

The media never got what they predicted and longed for: a complete Trump melt down and rejection by Republican voters.

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

I watched the Republican Presidential convention on a variety of media outlets this week. In all honesty, by the end of Trump’s speech on Thursday I had  enough.

The media disbelief that Trump could actually secure the nomination that permeated the primary continued through the week.

The news media hates to be wrong and Trump, while playing them like a fine violin, used their fascination with his persona to propel himself to presidential nomination.

Nowhere was the media discomfort with Trump more apparent than on the NPR News Hour where both anchors looked uncomfortable just being in the same building with Trump and his family.

A few years ago the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a Taxpayer-funded program came under a funding attack from Congress for being a bit too liberal. Funding was reduced but not shut off. Too bad the effort failed.

NPR is to the liberals as FOX news is to the conservative right.

NPR figured out the Trump media approach, it seemed early on tried to limit their coverage of Trump.

It was a tough week for the NPR folks as their pundits struggled for words and continued in their disbelief that all that was unfolding before them was not just a bad dream.

Everyone at FOX News was too busy looking over their collective shoulders waiting to see what the fallout from the Roger Ailes sexual harassment scandal and resignation would be and how it might affect them.

Ailes is the Chairman and CEO of Fox News and the Fox Television Stations Group. You can catch up  on the Ailes dilemma in the  New York Times article by John Koblin and Jim Rutenberg: Accused of Sexual Harassment, Roger Ailes Is Negotiating Exit From Fox

The media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his family actually own 21st Century FOX and FOX News. It just may be that the Murdochs have grown tired of their news operation being used as a shill for the far right. If so, look for major changes at FOX News. Everyone at FOX seemed to be on edge.

The CNN desk of reporters, pundits, partisans and some I had no idea why they were there was more like a three-ring circus than serious news work and silver-haired ring leaders and panic stricken floor reporters didn’t help much.

Finally, I can imagine George Will, the conservative pundit that left the Republican Party, sitting in his apartment throwing his shoes at his big-screen TV.
The rest of the networks were so busy looking for dirt on Trump and his family, the convention and the RNC that the whole week resembled desperate version of TMC.

The media never got what they predicted and longed for: a complete Trump melt down and rejection by Republican voters.

They don’t like to be wrong, and it shows.

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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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Has the Republican Party establishment left you?

The Republican elite establishment is isolating themselves from their electorate

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin
  
I have watched with great interest as the Republican establishment isolated itself from the choice of Republican primary voters.

They say we hear the message. The people are angry. They feel disenfranchised. They are fed up with Washington, and they say we get it; however, their actions tell a different story.

The Bushes in mass are boycotting the Republican National convention as it nominates Donald Trump. Probably because Trump called out the younger Bush, made him look like the political lightweight he is and trounced him in his home state.

Romney who has always fashioned himself as something special, denounced Trump right upfront almost crossing his own moral line. Senators and members of the House had “other things” to do instead of showing up at their party’s convention to nominate their candidate for president.

Trump they say is a phony, too dangerous to be president, too unpredictable, too brash and the list goes on. Like the kid on the playground, the Republican old guard is taking their ball and going home.

They are staying away from the convention, saying they cannot support Trump, and that he doesn’t represent the values of the Republican Party. Are there any real Republican values left?

The problem is the Republican establishment wants to maintain the status quo and Trump does not fit in the mold.

Are you put off by Trump and his campaign, or are you put off by the Republican establishment?

As Republicans we will have some really big decisions to make.

Do we support the political establishment or do we recognize that the Republican Party must change?
  
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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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Developing the St. Pete Pier Uplands - a big mistake

 The Kriseman Administration's plans to develop the uplands around the "New" St. Pete Pier never seemed like a good concept.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author:
 In Search of Robin
Packing more stuff into an area that is more noted for its inherent beauty and peacefulness than the hustle and bustle of a theme park is more shortsighted than practical.
The headlong rush by the Kriseman administration to create a $20 million millennial play ground to entice more downtown development is questionable in light of the aging and insufficient downtown infrastructure to support that development.
Pause on development
Virtually anyone you talk with in town or read about in the Times is against developing the uplands area of the pier. The president of the Waterfront Parks Foundation put it so well in his letter. The intention of our ancestors who established the public waterfront is clear: Keep it open and public. What part of this does the Rick Kriseman administration and City Council not understand? I am a native of St. Petersburg and try my best to help people get past their anger about how the sewage overflow problem is not front and center. If it were, a pause would be in place on any development on the waterfront.
Having participated in the numerous pier envisioning sessions, it was clear then as now that development of the uplands is not wanted. As it stands, only a relative handful of people will benefit from the present plan. The rest of us will have to look at a bunch of big structures and even a parking garage, all the while avoiding the whole area because of a stressed and dated sewage system.
Ivylyn Harrell, St. Petersburg
The whole concept of City-owned commercial space, especially for restaurants is a mistake. Check out Sylvia's in Charlie Frago's Tampa Bay Times piece; Sylvia's in Midtown St. Petersburg struggles to avoid eviction.
I have to agree. I have yet to meet anyone in favor of the uplands development that doesn't have a financial interest in the project,
If Kriseman was interested in creating a vital and vibrant downtown, he would slow down development and invest the taxpayer's money in a major overhaul of downtown water, sewer and streets along with a reconditioning of the south east water treatment plant.
While not all bright and shiny, it would be a legacy that would be remembered.
The big driver in all of this is the $20 million that unexpectedly showed up from the County. Being a good Democrat Kriseman could not resist the temptation to enhance his weak and controversial Pier decision by expanding the concept all the way to Beach Drive. Somehow this extra $20 million would make all things Pier better.
"The whole idea should be to protect and expand our water front Parks," former St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker recently told me.
I do not see how the uplands development comes close to meeting that objective.
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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Friday, July 8, 2016

Carlos Beruff should stay in the US Senate race.

Florida Republicans are desperate to get a name on the down ballot that will draw voter's eyes past the Presidential Race.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin
  
With the flip-flop of Marco Rubio and his decision to reenter politics by running for reelection to the US Senate, the nature of the Florida US Senate seat race changed in a heartbeat. All the Republican establishment contenders quickly bowed to Rubio and exited the race leaving only Carlos Beruff.

The early polls put Beruff at a significant disadvantage. See Josh Solomon Tampa Bay Times Staff writer: Senate candidate Carlos Beruff remains optimistic despite odds.

Florida Republicans are desperate to get a name on the down ballot that will draw voter's eyes past the Presidential Race.

Rubio is their best hope. With Marco on the Ballot, down ballot candidates can at least hope voters will look down the page and vote for a few of the Republicans running for office.

All of which points out just how desperate the Republican Party is and how worried they are about the Trump effect on local and regional races.

Very few Republicans think Rubio is a good Senator, and far fewer Independents and Democrats share a favorable view of Florida's professional politician.

When compared to Democrat Patrick Murphy Beruff trails Murphy 40% to 42% see: Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster,  saintpetersblog; Carlos Beruff campaign says new poll shows ‘statistical dead heat’ with Patrick Murphy.

Beruff needs to hang in there and challenge Rubio at every opportunity. Florida voters deserve to hear the other side of Rubio's political approach to the Senate and there is always the possibility that Rubio will make a misstep.

It is unclear to me whether Rubio is really running for the Senate or keeping his name in front of the public just in case the Republican establishment changes the convention rules and denies Trump the nomination.

One thing voters can be sure of, and Beruff should emphasize; Rubio will be no different in the upcoming term in the Senate than he has been up to now.

Rubio has been running for President of the United States for the last five years, and if he should  be re-elected to the Senate; he will run for president for six more years to the detriment of Floridians, and all taxpayers will foot the bill.

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.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures:
Contributor: Bob Gualtieri for Pinellas County Sheriff, Carlos Beruff for US Senate
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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Reader's thoughts on Mass Transit and light rail

We as a community need to think not only about one year from now but 5, 10, 20 years from now! – CV


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

 We as a community need to think not only about one year from now but 5, 10, 20 years from now! – CV

Transportation continues to be a major issue in the Tampa Bay Area. There have been multiple failed efforts to convince the public to tax itself for the development of transportation initiatives.

Here is an e-mail from a reader with a different view:

    Read your post on the "Patch." My thought is that I would be willing to pay an extra 1% in sales tax to bring another form of mass transit to the area. I believe that it would benefit the local citizens by creating jobs, eventually relieving vehicle traffic, helping seniors get around (which provides a better mental health for the aging), it would create media attention to the area
which can be a boost to local marketing and advertising therefore stimulating the economy, and finally providing tourists with a way to see areas that they may not have if they just took a taxi from the airport to their final destination (again, a possible benefit to local businesses!

    Let's say I spend $100 a week in purchases that are taxable. That means that i would be paying an extra $1 to help the local economy in a big way. Is that really that big of a burden for me?.... Absolutely not and I think that if the "Train" initiative was presented as only costing a $1 a week, (which is probably double what most people spend in taxable purchases, remember "real" food isn't taxed) that the vote would be to pass an increase in county tax!

    All that people such as yourself seem to blog about is how these things are going to cost YOU and your like minded individuals. I ask that you take the time to think about and write about both sides of the argument. Think about how your $1 could actually help others! We as a community need to think not only about 1 year from now but 5, 10, 20 years from now! The last I heard, more people are moving into Florida than out of it. 

Thanks for taking the time to read my opinion!
CV - Clearwater

You make a very good point.

The problem all along has been the bay area people behind light rail are mostly developers and real estate people. Their principal objective has been to use publicly funded light rail to start transit-oriented redevelopment of Pinellas County.

You only have to look at the meandering route of the failed GreenLight Pinellas effort to see this approach at work. The entire GreenLight effort focused on creating new centers of development and not on improving public transportation.

There was also no significant GreenLight effort to resolve the "last mile" issue.

This approach rarely works in the US.

If we had a serious transit plan that solved the "last mile" problem and put light rail where it would be effective I agree that the public would support it.

The CSX tracks offer a significant opportunity, but the "last mile" problem is huge in the CSX scenario.

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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Monday, July 4, 2016

Enjoy your Fourth of July

Nowhere in the world is presented a government of so much liberty and equality.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin
  
As we look about it sometimes seems everything is coming apart and all we long for and strive for is at risk. And yet, as Abraham Lincoln stated August 31, 1864 in a Speech to 148th Ohio Regiment:

"Nowhere in the world is presented a government of so much liberty and equality. To the humblest and poorest amongst us are held out the highest privileges and positions. The present moment finds me at the White House, yet there is as good a chance for your children as there was for my father's.Abraham Lincoln -- August 31, 1864 Speech to 148th Ohio Regiment.

Through our faith, our hope, our efforts and our votes, we must do all we can to preserve the freedom we enjoy.

Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July

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, and be sure to Like or share on Facebook.

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

St. Pete Preservation cashes in on downtown preservation

It would seem that St. Pete Preservation has put a very real approach and price tag on dealing with preservation issues in St. Petersburg.


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

It was announced recently that The City of St. Petersburg, First State Investments and St. Pete Preservation, the City's Historical watchdog had reached an "Agreement" regarding the demolition of the Phiel Hotel.

St. Pete Preservation had made a big issue of preserving the old hotel turned bank building in downtown St. Pete and ultimately filed a lawsuit to block the demolition.


In my Post Old VS New: The Battle over the Pheil Hotel I felt the battle to preserve the city's heritage would continue, but this is one where it is much more practical to let the downtown core continue to build out while the opportunity is there.

St. Pete Preservation, the City and First States Investments have reached an interesting and perhaps precedent setting agreement.

See more here:



From the St. Petersburg Preservation web site The Settlement: 
While continuing in its efforts to build public support, SPP was seeing the options to save the buildings dwindle. City council denied a request to stay the demolition permit, the city's preservation commission recommended to city council not to grant landmark status to the buildings and the newspaper editorials continued to criticize SPP and call for demolition and block redevelopment. SPP entered into separate negotiations with Mayor Kriseman and with First States, one of the block owners. These negotiations culminated on June 16 in a settlement being reached. SPP agreed to end further efforts to save the buildings and to dismiss its legal action challenging the demolition permit. The agreement with Mayor Kriseman, among other things, called for him to seek city council approval of amending the city code so the demolition permit exemption used in the 400 block case could no longer be used to advance demolition of other historic buildings; to further city landmark designation efforts, and to begin efforts to create a downtown heritage walking trail. The settlement with First States included, among other things, a $100,000 donation to SPP, documentation of the historic buildings, reuse of the historic bank clock, and creation of an exhibit on the history of the bank and hotel buildings.

A statement on the articles St. Preservation web site "Settlement" caught my eye. "First States Investments has pledged to work with St. Petersburg Preservation and will donate $100,000 to the group's cause."

If you GOOGLE First States Investments you get pages of LLCs and subsidiaries, it looks like these people don't want you to have any easy trail to follow.

A little more digging turned up a First States Investors 3300LLC v. Pheil Not sure if this is the First Sates Investors who "donated" the $100,000 to St. Pete Preservation or not.

To me, this whole deal smells like a dead rat.

It would appear that St. Pete Preservation has put a very real approach and price tag on dealing with preservation issues in St. Petersburg.

All it seems to take is few vague meaningless commitments and the right amount of money, and the issue of preservation will go away.

Sounds like a cross between blackmail and a bribe.

It would be interesting to know how much influence the Mayor or his dream team had to do with this "Settlement," and who suggested the $100,000 pay off. (Donation)

Up to this point, St. Pete Preservations' integrity was pretty much above reproach. If the folks at St. Pete Preservation felt they had no chance in the lawsuit, then why not just agree to walk away and not even consider what looks like a payoff.

This sets a dangerous precedent when a City advisory group can leverage their position for financial gain.  A couple of more big hits like this one, and St. Pete Preservation could have the resources to become a major player in St. Pete's redevelopment.

The folks at St. Pete Preservation should do some deep soul-searching and seriously consider sending the check back or telling those nice folks at First State Investments to keep their money.

Mayor Kriseman and his administration should have put the brakes on this unless of course it was their idea to grease the skids at St. Pete Preservation.

Historic preservation is not about extracting "donations" for developer friendly decisions. I am also sure that this type of history is not what all those who work hard to preserve St. Pete's history had in mind.

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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Friday, July 1, 2016

Rubio – Why would Florida send Rubio back to the US Senate?

Most of his peers think he is a combination of a boy politician, opportunist and a political hack or worse.


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

What is so surprising to me is the lack of comment critical or otherwise about Marko Rubio's flip-flop on running for reelection. If you follow my blogs, you know I am not a fan of Rubio's.

From Bay Post Internet:

I have always viewed Rubio as more self-serving than a public servant. What is also so disturbing is the number of political elite and members of Congress who were urging the lack luster Senator to run.

Translation - Rubio is easy to manipulate and/or you don't have to worry about him voting against one of your Bills he is never there.

Maybe Rubio's pitch to return to the private sector did not turn up any job offers like Charlie Crist has where someone will pay you big bucks not to show up.

The other problem Rubio has is that unlike Charlie Crist, who actually has accomplished something in his political career, Rubio has no votes, no major accomplishments or bills to brag about. Most of his peers think he is a combination of a boy politician, opportunist and a political hack or worse.

So his name on the door of a lobbying or law firm would probably not produce much traffic. No one cares what he thinks or says.

The other possibility is that after shaking off the pummeling from Donald Trump in Florida the reality of actually getting up every day, working for a living and being accountable for results was more than Rubio could handle.

So why would anyone vote for Rubio?
He doesn't show up and vote.
He does not represent Florida or any of its constituents.
He won't commit to serving his full-time as a Senator.
He has no viable record of accomplishment on the national stage.
He is fixated on running for President.

All Floridians would accomplish by sending Rubio back to the Senate is paying him $174,000 a year to run around the country promoting his next run for President while Florida twists in the wind longing for support in the US Senate assuming he could beat his Democratic opponent.

Watch the big Republican money line up behind Rubio. They all know that an investment in Marco will pay real dividends, and he won't forget all those big check writers because he will need them when runs again for President.

Florida Republicans can cut this one off in the Primary by sending the boy politician back to south Florida to look for a real job.

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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