Sunday, October 30, 2016

St. Pete City Council drowning in a torrent of sewage and a flood of consultants

We know where the sewage comes from but why all the consultants?

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

St. Pete's sewage mess got deeper this week (pun intended) as the City's public works administrator Claude Tankersley; seem to renege on his desire to reopen the city's Albert Whitted Waste Water treatment plant.

The plant's closing has been at the heart of the discussions, reasons and excuses for the recent wastewater dumping into bay area waters.

Tankersley said it might not be feasible to reopen the plant, no specifics just not "feasible."

Feasibility like beauty is often in the eye of the beholder, and it just may be that Kriseman's desires for the land the Albert Whitted plant sits on may have caught up with Tankersley's comments.

Claude might want to consider some whistle blower protection.

In response to a comment by Counsel member Kornell, City Administrator Gary Cornwell interrupted: "Thursday, we will bring a plan on what the administration wants to do."

What the administration appears to want is to make sure the Albert Whitted plant is not restarted and becomes a permanent part of the downtown waterfront.

Remember the fish farm?

Add to all of this Assistant City Attorney Kim Streeter confirmed a federal agent along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has questioned an unnamed City  worker.

City Council is having a hard time untangling the maze of studies, opinions and consultants. See Charlie Frago Times Staff Writer, Consultant: St. Petersburg has too many consultants working on its 900-mile sewer system.

Why all the consultants?

The City Engineering department has a long history of farming out public works projects to consultants. There are a number of reasons but principal among the reasons is it gives the Engineering department many places to point when things go bad, like now.

Often the consultants hire other consultants and the line of true responsibility for everything from system failures to cost overruns become so blurred it is impossible to place responsibility.

It is not by accident it is by design.

The City engineering department's first objective is to make sure they have someone to blame when things go bad. The second objective is to hire the consultant they want see my post; St. St.Petersburg's use of the "Consultants Competitive Negotiation Act" or CCNA is deeply flawed, and the third objective is to get the project done.

In the Mark Puente Times article:
Council member Ed Montanari said to Claude Tankersley, "You were adamant to open it back up," "We've been waiting for the plan. We seem to be going all over the place."

Council Member Steve Kornell said, "I'm getting tired of pulling up the truth over and over again."

For another view see Tampa Bay Times Columnist John Romano, Romano: Here's my mea culpa on St. Petersburg's water problems. Where is theirs?

For now, Mike Connors, Tom Gibson and Steve Leavitt are going on the offensive see Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer Charlie Frago,  Former sewer officials finally speak out, defending themselves in St. Petersburg’s sewage crisis.

The best way to get to the truth is for an empowered agency to file some criminal charges and let's get the boys talking to cover their own backsides.

Short of that, City Council may just want to stop wasting time trying to get to the bottom of the sewage spill and the unraveling of the well-designed consultant camouflage and get on with fixing the problem.

The Albert Whitted wastewater plant is an existing facility that can and should be restarted. Even if it has to be torn down to the ground, the infrastructure is in place.

City council also needs to be very wary of ultra-high cost estimates that place the Albert Whitted startup out of reach.  

Another often used ploy.

Restarting Albert Whitted  may not be Kriseman's vision, but unless City Council wants to be in the hot seat next rainy season for some half-baked plan by the dream team to buy barges, trucks or whatever to deal with the problem; they need a serious solution to deal with Albert Whitted and the South West treatment plants.

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Friday, October 28, 2016

Are there enough closet Trump supporters to carry the day for the Donald?

If you have been to a Trump rally, have you ever been polled and more importantly how did you respond?

As we move ever closer to Election Day, it would seem with all the early voting the election may already be decided.

The pundits and the mainstream media are talking as if it is all over accept the Clinton victory lap.

Clinton is moving on seemingly assuming that the polls are correct she is spending time trying to firm up support for down ballot Democrats.
Could it be Trump may actually be correct in his assumptions the polls are off base?

I am not buying into the fact the polls are phony I just think they may be missing a significant share of the new voters Trump has drawn to the election process.

Look at these pictures and ask yourself what you think the odds are these people have been polled.

If you have been to a Trump rally, or watched one have you ever been polled and more importantly how did you respond.

I have met people who have told the pollsters they are voting for Clinton to avoid the follow-up questions about Trump.

Then there are the closet Trumpers.

I have lost count of the number of people that have told me that they are voting for Trump but have no bumper sticker; no yard sign, no make America great again hat just a vote.

If they are asked in a group who they are voting for the response is, "I haven't decided yet." You can put most of those folks in the Trump column simply because they do not want to spend the rest of the evening defending some of Donald's off-the-wall  comments and positions.

They are, however, ready for a change in Washington.

All conventional wisdom and history would indicate Clinton has this election in the bag. Everybody I know whose business is politics think Clinton is a shoe in.

Maybe, but if my recent trip through the middle of the state is any indication election night will be a nail biter.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

PSTA ridership collapses, will redefine “ridership”

Tampa, Fl
From: Tampa Bay Guardian
Posted by: Editor Tom Rask
Posted by TBG2016 on OCTOBER 24, 2016

Only after a query from the Guardian did PSTA post its full-year ridership data on its website Monday. The data showed a decline of 10.2% in total passenger trips compared to its last fiscal year. This comes at a time when PSTA seeks to convince the City of St. Pete Beach to more than double its spending with PSTA to fund a new bus line.
PSTA CEO Brad Miller also said in an e-mail that the PSTA board of directors wants future ridership reports “to include the numbers from our various partnership programs (Direct Connect Pilot with Uber/cabs, TD LateShift).”
success_just_ahead_squareThe redefinition of ridership is reminiscent of the redefinition of readership and circulation in the dying newspaper industry, a move which began a few years ago. While the act of redefining almost doubled circulation numbers, newspapers continue to struggle with profitability as “blue sky” circulation numbers fail to impress advertisers.
In reporting their ridership numbers to the Federal Transit Administration, PSTA must follow strict guidelines. Whatever new definition of ridership PSTA or its board comes up with cannot be  used in those federal reports.
PSTA staff and board members are seeking to convince the St. Pete Beach city commission that it should sharply increase its payments to PSTA. Rising from the present $500,00 per year to over $1.2 million, PSTA wants funds in order to fund a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line from downtown St. Petersburg to St. Pete Beach. There would also be a one-tiome capital cost of $320,000.
However, St. Pete Beach is in somewhat of a financial pinch and its commissioner may have a limited appetite for the proposal. The city fought and lost two lawsuits involving Sunshine law violations over the last few years, and had to pay the legal fees of the plaintiffs. Total cost: over $3 million dollars.
hello_im_suing_youIn September, after about a year thinking about it, the city decided to sue its former law firm Bryant Miller Oliver (BMO) for malpractice over the debacle.  BMO claims that it did nothing wrong. Ironically, PSTA’s General Counsel Alan Zimmet also works for BMO. The legal conflicts of interest, or the appearance thereof, could be an issue.
In addition, the main BMO attorney who allegedly committed malpractice is Susan Churuti, the former county attorney (the top legal official) for Pinellas County. The world of municipal law is apparently a small one.
The BRT issue was first discussed in an open meeting before St. Pete Beach commissioners at a100 minute long city workshop on October 11th. Citizens objected to the BRT plan on several grounds, including that a regular bus route already exists from downtown St. Petersburg to St. Pete Beach.

Robert Czyszczon,
owner of Plaza Beach Resort

“Most of you know that I’m all about change” said Robert Czyszczon, owner of Plaza Beach Resort, during public comment at the workshop. “I love change, I’m big into technology, big into everything that is beneficial to our city. I don’t think this is going to be beneficial to our city”.
Czyszczon said that he sees “very few” tourists using transit. Most of the tourists who don’t have their own cars use Free Beach Rides or Bat’s Taxi. Of his 14 employees, only one rides the bus, and that person arrives from the south, not from downtown St. Petersburg.
“We really are broke, the city has a lot of other issues”, said Czyszczon, who pointed to $11 million dollars in sewer repairs, pending lawsuits and the undergrounding of power lines as being more important priorities.

John Michael
John Michael

“They want their pension funded”, said John Michael, resident on Bay Street in St. Pete Beach. “The majority of the people that ride the [existing] trolley do it at a specific time, coming and going, because they’re employees from the major hotels that are paid so little money that they can’t afford to buy a car. Even if they could, they couldn’t find a place on the beach to park it.”
Michael called the project “bloated government crap”, and called PSTA’s transit hub on 34th Street in St. Pete a “trash dump” and said “nobody wants that in St. Pete Beach.” Michael said that muggings occur at that location.
“Our infrastructure is crumbling. We have roads literally sinking, crumbling and cracking from just the wight we are already dealing with”, said Michael.

Eileen Gunther

“I don’t know how PSTA can come here and quote dollars and put a proposal in front of our commission and our city manager and not actually produce current ridership numbers”, said Eileen Gunther, another city resident. “The reason they are not producing them is because they are down”.
Gunther lives on Pass-a-Grille and said she watches the buses and claimed that no one rides the bus. Because the buses are empty, the buses speed through their narrow streets, Gunther said. She expressed concern that one day a child might get hit. “Somebody’s going to get run over. I’m serious.”
No citizen spoke in favor of the BRT proposal, and the Tampa Bay Times’ coverage of the workshop had the headline “St. Pete Beach commissioners cool to PSTA bus route proposal”. The commission is scheduled to vote on October 25th. Thank goodness they finally have ridership numbers to look at while making their decision.
As always, the Guardian reports and the readers decide. Please like our Facebook page to find out when we publish new stories.
Cross Posted with permission from: Tampa Bay Guardian
This post is contributed by the Tampa Bay Guardian. The views expressed in this post are the author's.

Opponents of Largo Zip Line Want Objections Addressed

Tampa, Fl

Posted by: Sharon Calvert

We posted here previously about the proposed zip line in Largo that residents nearby opposed. The next step was the September 6th 2nd pubic hearing.

What happened?

Residents who lived nearby and who were impacted the most showed up again on September 6th to voice their opposition and request the commission reject the "tree adventure" proposal.

To their dismay, the Largo city commission voted 5-2 to pass Ordinance 2016-82 authorizing the city to lease city property at Highlands Recreation Complex for a tree adventure course (aka zip line) to vendor Treeumph.  A copy of the ordinance can be found here.

Zip line approved by Largo city commission at
Highlands Recreation Center
The video of the September 6th city county meeting is here. At 18:35 of the video Recreation Center Director Joan Byrne made her introductory remarks stating, somewhat defensively, about what steps the city had taken over the last couple of months on the issues.

The big question that seems to still loom large is how did this proposed project get so far along, to the point where the city was being asked to sign a contract with Treeumph, before the neighboring residents were actively engaged?

Public comment on the ordinance began at 31.11 of the video and most who spoke were opposed.

The reasons stated by those who spoke in opposition were many, including noise, traffic, parking issues, liability issues, reduction of the quality of life to those most impacted, were all the appropriate studies done, is the "tree adventure" actually an amusement park, questions about the contract and numerous other reasons. Again, a big concern regarded the process used by the city to propose the project and continue moving it along. The opposition felt the process was not transparent, many did not know a "tree adventure" included a zip line so close to their private property and that those most impacted were not appropriately notified and engaged early in the process.

There were several who spoke in support of the zip line and thought it would be good for property values in the area, be good for business, be a positive revenue generator for the city and be an asset to the city.

We understand there are no restrictions on where the revenue from this project can be spent or any requirements that a portion of the revenue be spent on the Highlands

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Oldsmar throws the first pitch in the Rays “Third Season”

Look for some high and outside pitches from across the Bay just to keep things interesting

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb, PhD

For the last few years, the Tampa Bay Rays have been playing four seasons in St. Petersburg.

There is spring training, the regular season, the fall politics season and the winter negotiating season.

You are probably familiar with spring training and the regular season, the fall political season and the winter negotiating season maybe not so much.

The fall political season is that period where the St. Pete City Council, the Pinellas County Commission, Tampa and Hillsborough County try to get their various stadium proposals, positions, money and ducks in a row.

Typically, there are a lot of pitches, mostly softballs, a few strikes and a lot of outs.
However, in the 2016 third season Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis has thrown, the first pitch see the Tampa Bay Times article by Christopher O'Donnell Rays stadium in Oldsmar? The mayor sure thinks so

The third season will actually kick off later this month.

You can look for some preliminary public talks with the St. Pete Mayor and someone from the Rays probably in a month or so. The Mayor's office would like everyone to think some talks have been ongoing, but I think that is not likely.

St. Pete City Council may weigh in if they can get their collective heads above the rising sewage crisis.

The other players, the Pinellas County Commission and the Pinellas County Tourist Development Council will be stepping up to the plate soon.

Most curious has been the lack of any serious major-league baseball interest from Hillsborough County or Mayor Kriseman's buddy Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Since Jeff Vinik indicated that baseball was not the "best and highest" use of his downtown development property a major-league baseball stadium has not been a hot topic across the Bay.

The Rays continuing poor performance at the box office, last in attendance for five years in a row, has deep-pocketed investors giving a bit more credence to Mr. Vinik's views.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has a raft of problems on his own plate and a protracted battle over baseball may just be one distraction he would like to avoid.

Oldsmar's Mayor Doug Bevis is pitching 20 acres of undeveloped land owned by Tampa Bay Downs (The horse-racing track people). The land is just west of Race Track Road, which is the County line separating Pinellas, and Hillsborough Counties.

The pitch is financing from both Counties.

Look for some high and outside pitches from across the Bay just to keep things interesting.

Unless a really deep pocked angel shows up or MLB becomes so disgusted with St. Pete and Pinellas County, they are willing to pony up some serious money and/or concessions, the pickens for a new stadium in Hillsborough may be a bit slim.

Just given the Rays trepidation and speed at which baseball approaches problems like the Ray's stadium dilemma, do not look for much to happen. It could be January before any substantive talks result in a new proposal.

Meanwhile, Oldsmar is the only City aggressively pushing the stadium issue and St. Petersburg appears to hope for a win by default.

I like the Oldsmar idea.

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Contributor: Bob Gualtieri for Pinellas County Sheriff  Patrick Murphy for US Senate, Charlie Crist for Congress

Friday, October 21, 2016

When the chips are down can Clinton handle the real job?

If we get to the doorstep of Armageddon, the person in the oval office must be capable of making the decision to launch a nuclear strike.

St. Petersburg Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
In Search of Robin
As election day draws nearer the campaign becomes more frantic every day.
One of the recent Clinton campaign TV ads caught my eye.
It is the one where a former launch controller for our nuclear defense system questions the suitability of Donald Trump to be President, to be in command of the nuclear codes.
The implication that Trump is too irrational for the responsibility.
Very powerful ad…..
It led me to the question would I want Hillary Clinton in command of the nuclear codes?
Let’s be clear, if we ever get to that point, the doorstep of Armageddon, the person in command must be capable of making the decision to launch a nuclear strike maybe in an instant or our society and way of life may disappear in the next instant.
And they have to be able to convey that willingness to an ever more hostile and aggressive world.
Is Clinton capable of making that kind of decision?  
Can she project the confidence and resolve that will hold our nuclear-armed enemies at bay?
If Bengasi, Iraq, Libya and the Clinton foreign policy are any indication, the answer is no.
Clinton is in the Obama style of diplomacy and crisis management based on the let’s talk, wait and see approach. Maybe if we wait long enough the problem at hand will go away. It is a foreign policy approach that has not worked.
Kerry, Clinton, Obama what do we have to show?
ISIS on the rise, Iraq in shambles, Libya in turmoil, North Korea a growing nuclear threat along with Russia, China, India, Pakistan and an Iran that will soon have nuclear weapons if they do not already have them.
Now with North Korea emerging as an irrational but focused threat, Russia pressing as a tactile and cyber combatant and the complete unknown regarding Iran and their nuclear capability the only thing stands between the US, and a nuclear holocaust is our ability and willingness to retaliate.
What if in an instant, Iran makes good on its declared objective to wipe Israel off the face of the earth?
Could Clinton do it? Would she? Would she make good on our commitments to Israel?
Could she or would she take the ultimate action to protect us and the rest of the world from the ultimate threat or would she hesitate, worrying more about diplomacy, political correctness, the next election or her legacy?
Would she wait, talk or act?
History has an odd way of repeating itself, and Clinton’s history is one of more self-interest than pragmatic action.
I am not proposing the nuclear option at the drop of a hat but that the person sitting in the oval office needs to have the courage and the fortitude to act should the world order become unglued, and by her own actions that person is not Hillary Clinton.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Jeeptoberfest – Belleview, Florida

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

Jeeptoberfest – Belleview, Florida

Jeeptoberfest is a great family event with lots of Jeeps, vendors, family and Kids.

Saturday October 15, 2016 Theresa loaded up the Jeep and headed to Jeeptoberfest an annual event sponsored by the Ocala Jeep Club.

The event is held at Market of Marion 12888 SE US Hwy 441, Belleview, FL 34420 just about a two-hour ride up Interstate 75.

Jeeptoberfest is one of the largest Jeep Only events in the Southeast. The annual fundraiser event of the Ocala Jeep Club was held October 15th and 16th at the Market of Marion, 12888 SE U.S. 441, Belleview. This year will celebrate 19 years! Over the past 17 years, Jeeptoberfest has raised more than $100,000 for local deserving charities.

This is the second year we have attended the event.

Jeeptoberfest is a great family event with lots of Jeeps, vendors, family and kids.

The Market of Marion is a giant flea market similar to the Wagon Wheel Flea Market in Pinellas Park and the Oldsmar Flea Market.

The big difference is there is a major off-road obstacle track at the back of the Market of Marion, and that is the highlight of Jeeptoberfest.

Jeeptoberfest is very well run event suitable for families and kids. If you don't want to take your jeep on the off-road track, spectator entry fee is just $5.00 per person.

I have posted on Jeep events before, and the story is best told in pictures. You can see my Gallery of over 200 pictures, including some action sequences at Jeeptoberfest 2016.

I have been driving jeeps for over 30 years, and it is a ton of fun. So if you're looking for a car consider a new or used Jeep. Not only do you get a great way to get around and Jeeping is a great family hobby.

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Does the Kriseman administration have its head in the sand?

Does the Kriseman administration have its head in the sand?

St. Petersburg, Fl

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

Kriseman continues to pump out all the glitzy social media stuff while failing to assure his employees that they are safe from retaliation.

Things continue to spiral out of control in the Kriseman administration as another official from the Water Resources department goes public about fearing retaliation from the Mayor's office.

Steven Marshall manager of Energy and sustainability contacted the City HR Department to put his concern on the record.

Details in the Tampa Bay Times article by Charlie Frago Another St. Petersburg official says he fears 'retaliation' for sewage crisis.

The sewer issue may get a serious airing since City Council has hired a forensic auditor to look into the now infamous 2014 Brown and Caldwell report that predicted a sewage crisis if the Albert Whitted waste water plant was shut down.

The bigger question is can Kriseman, King and Kirby govern effectively amid an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty?

The Wastewater mess is all out in the open, but what about the drinking water, the Fire department, Parks and Recreation the Pier Project, the Police Department and their new building and the dozens of other City departments where things may be going wrong and people are afraid to come forward.

Kriseman and his office of the Mayor seem isolated and detached from the rest of the City organization.

Kriseman continues to pump out all the glitzy social media stuff while failing to attend critical council meetings and assuring his employees that they are safe from retaliation.

City Council almost did the right thing when they hired independent forensic auditor Laura Brock, but they opted to go to the cheap. Just $25,000 that is barely enough to crack open all the records the auditor will need to get to the bottom of all of this.

Too little money to get at the issues.

With St. Petersburg now fully into the "strong mayor" form of government with its political cronyism, retaliatory management style, secrecy and willingness to blame and pass the buck it should clear that those who represent the public need their own investigative arm to keep things to keep things in check.

An on the cheap forensic audit is not going to answer any questions, and a more robust effort should begin on the Pier before it gets completely out of control.

St. Pete has its first problematic strong Mayor. Making the situation worse the Mayor has surrounded himself with inexperienced political cronies that are more interested in the politics than the City.

When I was with the City, it always amazed me how quickly the management team saw through the real phonies on the team or in the administration.

Now when I ask my former contemporaries about the administration, even when I promise "no quotes" they simply roll their eyes and change the subject.

It is no surprise people fear for the jobs, and that may be just the atmosphere, the Mayor and his dream team wants to foster.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

It is now a three-party race for President

Trump’s support may be wider and deeper than the Party, and the Pollsters believe.

St. Petersburg Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
In Search of Robin
The Republican basket of “Easily Offendables” has finally got the ammunition to do what they have wanted to do all along. In a fit of self-righteousness, the Republican establishment led by Paul Ryan and the party stalwart have bailed out on the Party’s presidential nominee.
This is the crowd with the 12% favor ability rating.
They will focus on the down ballot races or more appropriately put they are trying desperately to hold on to their jobs.
Makes you wonder if it were to come to light that you had made these or similar "offensive" comments would these fine public servants still represent you?
Could you get a meeting with them?
Would they abandon you?
Can you count on them?
Or are they really better than you are?
One thing you can be sure of, they would take your campaign contributions.
Trump’s support may be wider and deeper than the Party, and the Pollsters believe.
Out in the rural parts of Florida the feelings for Trump are strong. I suspect that is true all over the country.
I get several robo calls a day many are surveys, but I’ll bet the guy that owns this pickup truck has never gotten a polling call.
The message on the rear window is harsh, but it reflects a feeling
where the polling may not reach.
How big is this group? We won’t really know until November 9, 2016.
I for one am more offended by the gutless, elitist, Republican political establishment than any of Trump’s comments. Their reaction to controversy run, hide, cover your a**.
I will be voting for the Republican at the top of the ballot, but the RNC candidates down the ballot – no chance.
I can handle some past brash language. What I cannot stomach is being talked down to by bunch of political elitists whose only claim to fame is they never got caught.
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Sunday, October 9, 2016

St. Petersburg's use of the "Consultants Competitive Negotiation Act" or CCNA is deeply flawed

The State Statue that allows the City to bypass the competitive bidding process is not working for St. Petersburg.

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

So far, it has gone unnoticed that the engineering contractor/consultant selection process that resulted in the current St. Pete sewage mess was the same flawed process used to select the New Pier over the public's choice. See my Post The Pier Park Decision  An Epilog.

Once the Kriseman Administration put forth the process in Title XIX Chapter 287.055  and Council agreed to letting the Administration set up the selection committee the die was cast. The head of the committee was preset by the Statute and the outcome was almost completely assured; the  inverted pyramid was coming down.

Then Public Works Administrator, Mike Connors, who by statute was in charge during the process and knew it well drove the selection committee to his, and the Kriseman administrations desired out come for the New Pier.

This Statute when properly administered and executed is designed to reduce time, cost, and produce desired outcomes.

It is also subject to significant abuse as we saw in the Pier selection process and now in the ongoing St. Petersburg sewage crisis. The process is easily manipulated to favor certain contractors and consultants and places an inordinate amount of unchecked power at the hands of the administrator of the statute.

As the demolition of the Pier has dragged on for almost eight months beyond schedule, and the actual plans for the new Pier Park shrink, flaws of the process that got the City to this point will begin to show up.

The Kriseman administration is sending some muted signals that things are in trouble as they begin casting about looking for sources of revenue to provide amenities that were in the original design.

Daniel Ruth has an interesting opinion piece in The Tampa Bay Times: Daniel Ruth: Imagining a Trump for St. Petersburg's Pier.

Amy Foster, City Council Chairperson, and the rest of City Council would be well advised to cast the net of their independent review to include the total application of Title XIX Chapter 287.055  since that is the process that will be used for the Police Complex, subsequent Pier contractors and equipment selections and all contracts related to the sewage crisis.

While the official title of the Statute is "Procurement of Personal Property and Services" in Section 1, the short title is "Consultants Competitive Negotiation Act" or CCNA, which is very misleading as the process is used for many things other than picking consultants.

In fact, City Council should begin by asking in the last five years what Services and Personal Property have been acquired using Chapter 287 Procurement of Personal Property and Services, who made the decisions, what contractor and vendors were selected.

When I was with the City, the Engineering Department would constantly push this Statue as the way to acquire services, contractors and equipment. The objective was to take the procurement away from purchasing and the competitive bid process. If as a department manager or director, you agreed, which I rarely did, the internal engineering fees ate up any savings and the project was usually over budget and behind schedule.

City Council has taken a good step in reducing the level of required approvals by City Council from $100,000 to $50,000, but it will not help because consulting contacts will simply come in at $49,995, and the scopes will become smaller resulting in more but smaller awards and lots of change orders.

Without stringent controls and over site, the CCNA process as it is will morph into a different form.

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Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday Politics - The headlong dash to November 8, 2016

When your ballot shows up be sure to read the instructions, vote and mail it back

St. Petersburg Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
In Search of Robin
You may have already received your mail in Ballot. Mine showed up in the mail Wednesday.
Ballots are Precinct Specific. If you are not voting by mail and want to get a look at your ballot, go to Pinellas County Supervisor of election's Precinct Finder and enter the information.
Mail ballots were sent out on October 4, 2015.
Early Voting: Click for locations and more info.
         October 24 – November 6
          Mon.-Sun. 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
Check the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections web site if you have any questions, great site with answers to most of your election questions.
When your ballot shows up be sure to read the instructions, vote and mail it back.
State Senator Jack Latvala, who has had a good time taking potshots at various initiatives since his unopposed reelection, came out against medical marijuana last week.
It seems the good Senator is using some of his reelection campaign funds to pay for the TV ad you may have seen. Wonder if his contributors share his view on medical marijuana.
I think his kids and pot argument is lame at best, but this does give him some media coverage something the good senator likes very much.
Marco looks a little more worried each day. Doc Webb Bay Post Internet Rubio – why would Florida send Rubio back to the US Senate?
Why any Floridian would want to send, Rubio back to the Senate to run for president for the next six years is beyond me. The current TV ad, "It's even worse when he shows up" is a parody on Rubio's attendance record, but the ad makes a good point.
Floridians need someone in the Senate who will show up, focus on Florida issues and represent our state.
Trump seems to do everything he can to generate negative press. I am still not convinced that Trump really wants to win.
The idea of being president stills fascinates Trump, but it seems that every time his poll numbers rise, Trump does something deliberately to make them drop. It just may be that the thought of the office and the grand stage is what draws Trump but the idea of the responsibility scares him.
Clinton continues to build her campaign on complaining about Trump and his idiosyncrasies, while dodging most of the key issues.
The liberal media is doing all they can to push Hillary over the finish line. If Clinton had a serious politically perceptive challenger, she would be in real trouble.
If you would like to make a tax-deductable contribution to the Clinton campaign, just send a contribution to your local NPR station. If the folks at NPR lean any more left, they are going to fall into Hillary's shadow.
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Monday, October 3, 2016

St. Petersburg ranks near the bottom in a list of Safest Cities for Women

How safe do you feel in St. Pete?

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

From an article in American City and County by Derek Paul The 25 worst cities for women

From the report prepared by ValuePenguin:

"Women face many unique challenges and dangers their male counterparts may not deal with in America's cities. These factors can influence residency decisions, economic development outcomes and public safety policy, among others.

This list, compiled by personal finance site ValuePenguin, used 31 metrics across policy and representation, education and wealth, crime and healthcare to rank 261 cities as the best and worst cities for women to reside. The metrics were collected from federal agencies like the CDC, FBI and Census Bureau, as well as nonprofit groups like the Parents for Megan's Law and the Violence Policy Center."

St. Petersburg ranked 241 out of 261 ahead of Ft. Lauderdale and Miami who ranked last.

Interestingly Orlando, Pompano Beach, Hollywood, Miami Gardens, Clearwater, West Palm Beach, Hialeah, Tampa, Palm Bay, Gainesville, Pembroke Pines, Coral Springs, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Cape Coral all ranked above St. Petersburg.

There were no Florida Cities in the top 50 and highest ranked Florida City was Cape Coral at 74 out of 261.

The report features a range of information regarding crime, public policy and representation, health care along with education and wealth.

The report is an interesting read and indicates that St. Pete has some work to do.

Be sure to scroll to the end of the report from some comments by experts and a review of the study's methodology.

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