Monday, October 30, 2017

Rick Kriseman and Kevin King - a sorted affair

Kriseman is no political dummy. He knows King is a political liability. The real question is why does Kriseman keep King so close for so long? 

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

In an effort to help you sort through the Rick Kriseman Kevin King issue, I am posting the Releases from the Baker Campaign and Political Action Committee (Seamless Florida) in the order I received them.

First, here is the deep background:

MIKE BRASSFIELD, St. Petersburg Times, published February 2, 2001: Substitute tried for sex contact, authorities say

From the Rick Baker PAC Seamless Florida:

October 24, 2017 Brigitta Shouppe Seamless Florida spokesperson:

Below is a link to download the recently released commercial, “Sunshine,” which is paid for by Seamless Florida. Please find attached two newspaper articles supporting the commercial, as well as, the City of St. Pete’s organizational chart.

This race has always been about competency and judgement. Kriseman knowingly hired a former substitute teacher to oversee his education policy who was arrested, charged and immediately fired by the Pinellas school district after police said he asked a 14-year-old girl to perform a sex act - how could anyone be okay with that?” said Brigitta Shouppe, Seamless Florida spokesperson.

Link to download/view Rick Baker’s campaign ad "Sunshine" commercial:


October 25, 2017 Brigitta Shouppe Seamless Florida spokesperson:

“Release the Records, Mr. Kriseman”

In 2013 Rick Kriseman said he “never asked to see any records” about his Chief of Staff’s prior arrest before putting him over education policy of the City. The records have been sealed.
Why is Kriseman looking the other way?  What doesn’t he want
parents to know?
St. Petersburg, FL (October 25, 2017) - The Kriseman campaign made light of Rick Kriseman’s decision to put a man in charge of his education policy despite Tampa Bay Times reporting in 2001: “Investigators say he recently sent e-mails or instant messages to two female students, ages 14 and 15, trying to get them to skip school and drink beer with him. Police say King also asked the 14-year old to perform a sex act on him.”

Yesterday, Kriseman’s campaign manager called it a “case that didn’t go anywhere” and “had zero to do with Rick Kriseman.” (Florida Politics, October 24, 2017). 

Zero?  Are you serious?  Kriseman hired him as his Chief of Staff.  Kriseman put him in charge of education policy and the staff responsible for recruiting volunteers to mentor students in our schools.

“Running the city has everything to do with judgment and competency,” said Brigitta Shouppe, Baker campaign spokeswoman. “If Rick Kriseman is going to stand by his decision to put this controversial hire in charge of the Mayor’s education programs which are designed to actually put people into our children’s schools then he should tell his Chief of Staff to release the records.”

We know Rick Kriseman’s hand-picked chief of staff, a former substitute teacher was charged, arrested and immediately fired by the school board after the Tampa Bay Times reported in 2001: “Investigators say he recently sent e-mails or instant messages to two female students, ages 14 and 15, trying to get them to skip school and drink beer with him. Police say King also asked the 14-year old to perform a sex act on him.” (Tampa Bay Times, Feb. 2, 2001)

In 2006 the Tampa Bay Times reported, “he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, adjudication was withheld and the records were sealed.” (Tampa Bay Times, October 24, 2006)

In 2013 when the Tampa Bay Times asked Kriseman about having this man on staff he said he was, “very comfortable with [him]” and that he never asked to see any records about the case. (Tampa Bay Times, December 19, 2013)

In 2015 PolitiFact reported on Kriseman’s schools initiatives, which this employee oversees, Kriseman’s spokesman reported the Kriseman administration put 96 new volunteers in our children’s schools. (Politifact, September 24, 2015)


October 26, 2017 Brigitta Shouppe Seamless Florida spokesperson:

Is Rick Kriseman’s Chief of Staff even eligible to volunteer in the education program he oversees for the Kriseman Administration?

 St. Petersburg, FL (October 26, 2017) – Two years ago, the Kriseman Administration proclaimed they had recruited city employees to serve as volunteer mentors in local schools. (Politifact, September 24, 2015) To enter our schools, volunteers are required to fill out a form sharing their criminal past and submitting to a level 2 background screening. (Pinellas County Schools Registration Form see – page. 2  

Can Kriseman’s Chief of Staff, who was arrested and charged in 2001 with “lewd and lascivious” behavior toward two students while he was a substitute teacher, volunteer for the Mayor’s office mentor program he oversees?

 Prior criminal charges do not automatically disqualify a volunteer from entering our schools, however, as long as Kriseman’s Chief of Staff allows the records to remain sealed there is not enough information to know.  

“As a former Pinellas County school teacher, I know this background check is imperative to protecting our children from any possible danger,” said Nick Hansen, Campaign Director.  

Rick Kriseman has known about the charges for 16 years, but made him Chief of Staff anyway, and put him over education policy.  

16 years is too long, especially when it involves the safety and security of our children.

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board has asked Kriseman’s Chief of Staff to release the records so voters can evaluate the situation and reach their own conclusions.  

Today, we are all asking for the same thing


October 26, 2017 Nick Hanssen Rick Baker Campaign Manager:

Rick Kriseman put a man in charge of his education policies and programs who
the Tampa Bay Times reported in 2001:

Rick Kriseman has known about these charges for 16-years, but he put him in charge of his education policies anyway. 

How can anyone be OK with this? 

Today, we all are. 

Will you call Rick Kriesman today and ask him to release the records? 


16-years is enough. If Kriseman is going to stand by his decision to put this man in charge of his education policies and programs, voters deserve to know the truth.

Nick Hansen
Campaign Director

Kriseman is no political dummy. He knows King is a political liability. The real question is why does Kriseman keep King so close for so long?

E-mail Doc at mail to: or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Be sure to follow me on Pintrest (Doc Webb),  Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Has the Florida Aquifer become Kriseman’s toilet?

Does the Kriseman Administration see Florida’s aquifer as a toilet to flush the City’s waste into?

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

Following Hurricane IRMA the City of St. Petersburg quietly flushed 15.5 million gallons of partially treated sewage down injection wells at the City’s Northeast wastewater treatment plant.

More details in  this article by Charlie Frago, Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer: St. Pete comes clean on sewage flushed underground after Irma

Kriseman indicated he “did not know until recently” that the partially treated sewage had been flushed into Florida’s aquifer. No definition of recently.

Steve Kornell brought the situation to light in a Facebook post:

YOU BE THE JUDGE: Bill Logan, the PR person hired for our Water Resources Department issued a statement that included the following:

"Hurricane Irma brought even more rain in September, and even though the system was pushed again, there were no major issues."

While there were not discharges into the bay, we did discharge 20 million gallons of less than full treated water into our injection wells, on 9-11-2017. This is a violation of FDEP regulations and requires a report to be filed with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

In addition, there was a discharge of 423,000 gallons reject effluent from the Northeast Sewer plant on 9-11-2017. Report # 2107-7224

I'll let you be the judge of whether or not these were "major issues" and in all fairness it did happen during a hurricane. I just want you to have full and complete information.

Kornell also said, "I understand that during a hurricane, these kinds of things can happen. But we should always be completely and 100 percent honest with the public," he said Wednesday. "Saying there were no major problems and then having this one and not telling people? I don't see why we continue to do that sort of thing. It's ludicrous."

District 69 House of Representatives Kathleen Peters who cosponsored Senate Bill 1018, which requires reporting pollution releases within  24 hours to the State was livid with the Kriseman Administration. See more in: Mitch Perry, Florida Politics: Kathleen Peters blasts Rick Kriseman administration after most recent sewage spill

Acting Water Resources Director John Palenchar stepped up like a good soldier and took the blame for not following the law and notifying the public saying, “We should have circled back and closed the loop on that, it’s my fault.

Once again, we see the complete lack of common sense in the Kriseman administration.

Somebody blew the whistle and Kriseman, and all his “spokespeople” got caught with their collective pants down.

This whole issue brings up an even bigger point.

The City is adding more injection wells at its wastewater treatment plants, and the public is at the complete whims of the administration as to what is pumped down them. Flip a couple of switches, turn a couple of valves and all that bad stuff just disappears.

Unless integrity and responsibility are demanded from the top (Mayor’s Office) all the way to the injection well the public as no assurance that any administrative staff member will do the right thing.

From the very outset of his administration, Kriseman has taken the alley cat approach to the integrity and responsibility of the Mayor’s office. From his questionable cronies to his lies, and failure to respect the public views and input, it seems obvious that he has created an atmosphere that encourages his subordinates to make their decisions in the Mayor’s interest in contrast to the public’s interest.

It is time to return integrity and common sense to City Hall. To have a leader who leads and motivates his administration to do what is right.

E-mail Doc at mail to: or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Be sure to follow me on Pintrest (Doc Webb),  Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign

Please comment below.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Kriseman VS Baker What could this election cost you?

Please do not pass this election up. Mail your Ballot today, vote early next week, or go to the polls on November 7, 2017 and vote.

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.  

In case you missed it, you should take a look at this Tampa Bay Times Editorial:
Tampa Bay Times Editorial: October 20, 20176 Editorial: The unknown price tags in the mayor's race.

It details some of the key issues that are at stake in the St. Petersburg Mayoral election.

The Times Editorial deals with the big financial questions but there are more areas of concern with the Kriseman Administration.

Kriseman and his spokespersons have consistently skirted around the truth when it comes to critical issues like dumped wastewater quality and the timing of these issues. Even with a fist full of high-paid  spokespeople Kriseman can’t keep his stories straight.

South St. Pete
A grocery store gone, drug store gone, schools left to fail with no direct effort by the Kriseman administration. Next major concern is the south side TIF. Right now, funds are flowing to a Tax Increment Fund for use in improving South St. Pete. So far, about all the Kriseman, administration has done is pretty up 34th St South, making the dividing line between south St. Pete and southwest St. Pete brighter.

As the Times Editorial points out Kriseman is going to be looking for money to fund HIS projects like the Pier and Pier Park. So, can Midtown and South St. Pete's residents trust Kriseman with the TIF Funds? You know what he did on the Pier selection.

Kriseman has stopped tracking and reporting crime in midtown. Failure to track and report midtown crime has not made it go away. Kriseman disbanded the Street Crimes and Auto Theft units of the St. Petersburg Police Department. No real way to tell if crime is up but auto thefts were. The auto theft unit is back, but for how long if Kriseman is re-elected?

Neighborhoods and their associations have been relegated to a significantly lower position regarding dealing with the Kriseman Administration. It is time once again to build a strong neighborhood association system that has direct access to the Mayor’s office. This is an effort that takes time and patience but yields significant results.

Kriseman likes to talk about St. Petersburg being a great City, but he promotes it as a sanctuary city. A city status that has been declared illegal. He has been quiet on this subject for a while, but it will come back if he is re-elected.

Kriseman likes to talk about the politics of climate change, but he is spending millions of your taxpayer dollars to build a park and playground at sea level and expanding the Southwest wastewater treatment plant which sets at sea level. See my Post Climate Change – How Serious is Rick Kriseman?

Kriseman likes to tie Baker to Trump but in reality, Kriseman’s itchy Twitter Trigger finger, his penchant for spokespeople and out right fabrications and lies are a lot more Trump like than Rick Baker ever has been or will be.

What could this election cost you?

If you live in south St. Pete pretty much everything; continuing failing schools, more crime, drugs and heartache, no convenient shopping and worst of all a betrayal of your trust in the promised redevelopment.

If you live in the rest of St. Pete, wasted tax dollars, a pier and park that are nonfunctional and expensive to maintain. A deal with the Rays that was bought and paid for with campaign contributions, a growing list of Kriseman political cronies populating high-paid City positions and more lies and half-truths about almost everything.

This election is the big one.

If we go Kriseman’s way, then St. Pete continues down the road of many other Florida Cities running on favoritism, political cronyism, sleight of hand and ultimately corruption.

With Rick Baker, you have a chance to reverse this path. You can help clean up City Hall, get the cronies out, improve the caliber of people running your City and spending your tax dollars, improve all schools in St. Petersburg and when you speak your preferences know your Mayor will heed your will.

Please do not pass this election up. Your vote counts more now than ever before.
Mail your Ballot today, vote early next week, or go to the polls on November 7, 2017 and vote.

E-mail Doc at mail to: or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Be sure to follow me on Pintrest (Doc Webb),  Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign

Please comment below.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Taxpayers, Transit Campaigns, TBARTA and Special Interests - Oh My!

Hold on to your wallets because funding TBARTA is a multi-year effort.

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

Special interests wanted to ensure a regional transit entity would be tied to the $1.5 million regional premium transit campaign that began last year. Senator Latvala obliged by using his powerful position as Senate Appropriations Chair to ram thru legislation this year creating an unnecessary 5 county regional transit agency TBARTA (Tampa Bay Area Regional TRANSIT Agency).

Taxpayers in Tampa Bay should be on the watch for what is coming next.


Because the bill that created TBARTA did not fund it or provide for any funding mechanism for this new transit agency. 

But it did provide a way for games to be played. The half-baked bill enabled the legislative analysis to disingenuously state: "The bill does not appear to have a significant fiscal impact on state or local government".
What? Google regional transit entities to find out how "significant" a fiscal impact they actually have on state and local governments. Google Tri-Rail and SunRail. The analysis left off an important word at the end "yet".

Hold on to your wallets because funding TBARTA is a multi-year effort. According to this May 4 Times article
The Tampa Bay Partnership, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft all lobbied for the [TBARTA] bill, which is the first of several steps the local business community has planned to address regional transit issues.
"This just scratches the surface," said Tampa Bay Partnership president Rick Homans. "There's a lot more to be done."

There is already talk of putting together legislation for next year that would address how to fund TBARTA, which currently does not have a budget or taxing authority that would allow it to build or operate any future transit projects.

The repurposing of TBARTA over the next year or two coincides with an ongoing regional transit study that the Florida Department of Transportation paid for to identify whether rail, express bus or other types of transit will work in Tampa Bay. That study is expected to wrap-up next year, by which time Homans and others are hoping the reshaped TBARTA will be in place to oversee the development of any resulting regional projects. 
It's no coincidence. Repurposing TBARTA is directly tied to the current transit campaigns and FDOT's Tampa Bay Next initiative. We suspect the special interests helped orchestrate them too.

The special interests led by the Tampa Bay Partnership kept losing at the local level so they took their transit agenda to Tallahassee. That makes it much more difficult, basically impossible, for local citizens to engage, weigh in or even keep up with all the political machinations going on in Tallahassee. Joe and Jane citizen taxpayer do not have the ability much less the access and influence to continuously roam the halls of Tallahassee during session.

On July 14, 2017, ironically the same day Jeff Vinik announced he helped to financially bail out the Tampa Bay Times, the Times published Jeff Vinik: Politicians are holding back Tampa Bay's transit future 

Jeff Vinik said Friday that it's local politicians, not the business community, who are holding Tampa Bay back when it comes to transit. 
It's up to the business community and the public to help politicians understand how critical an issue transit is for Tampa Bay, Vinik said.
Vinik on Friday announced that he belongs to a group of local investors who loaned $12 million to the Times as part of its refinancing.
That sounds quite different from the December 2014 interview with CNN Money  when Vinik, who moved from Boston to Tampa, said this:
"The quality of life down here is absolutely fantastic," he says. "How nice it is to live in good weather and live in an area without too much traffic," 
We can only speculate......Vinik is now on the Board of the Tampa Bay Partnership, a special interest organization who has been the largest supporter of tax hikes for transit boondoggles in Tampa Bay. He is now financially propping up the Tampa Bay Times who is probably the second largest supporter of tax hikes for transit boondoggles in Tampa Bay.

To rehash reality - four transit tax hike referendums in Tampa Bay since 2010 (Hillsborough, Pinellas and two in Polk County) were overwhelmingly defeated by voters. There were county commissioners in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties who roamed all over the county as public champions for the tax hikes. Local politicians are not the problem. Continuing to push huge tax hikes for costly and unnecessary transit projects with basic math problems is the problem.

Several TBARTA board members and it's Executive Director Ray Chiarmonte met last week with Senator Galvano at his Manatee office. The TBARTA board members who attended were the Chair, Jim Holton, Policy Committee Chair Melanie Griffin and Board member Manatee County Commissioner Betsy Benac.

The Eye attended. As we speculated the meeting was about money. TBARTA has a funding issue because the half-baked TBARTA bill passed and Governor Scott veto'd their $250K appropriation. The key request was TBARTA asking the state next year for a million dollars of operating money to "achieve their goals".

While the goals were not all specified, TBARTA is statutorily required to produce a regional transit development plan (TDP). They need money to do that as a result of the half-baked bill.

TBARTA Board members told Galvano that the Tampa Bay Partnershp and their group were identified as the "stakeholders" who are all lined up in support. [There was no mention of taxpayers lined up to support - they must not be considered "stakeholders".]

TBARTA will be asking for policy changes, not just the million dollars of operational funding. It's the policy changes that taxpayers should watch closely.

Chiarmonte told Galvano that TBARTA will be the recipient at the end of 2018 of the recommended project(s) resulting from Jacobs Engineering taxpayer funded $1.5 million Regional Premium Transit Campaign.
But here we go again. TBARTA is asking for a million dollars from the state to produce a regional transit development plan at the same time FDOT handed $1.5 million to Jacobs Engineering to create a "Regional Transit Feasibility Plan". 

Who's on First? Who's minding the taxpayer till?

How many times will taxpayers pay to duplicate work over and over and over again? A million bucks here and a million bucks there.

Since TBARTA has little staff, they will hire a consultant to create their TDP.  Perhaps Jacobs, who proposed Greenlight Pinellas and was a subcontractor on Go Hillsborough - will be recycled through again......they keep throwing out the same thing.....Here's the latest from their regional transit campaign. Surprise! Rail, rail and more outdated costly rail!  

Jacobs Engineering transit campaign top transit projects
Taxpayers are paying $1.6 million to do another study about expanding the nearly bankrupted Tampa Streetcar. It's only the third Streetcar study since 2014. [A streetcar  along Florida Avenue in downtown - where's the traffic impact analysis?]

But the timing of this round of taxpayer funded transit campaigns could not be worse as traditional transit is being disrupted with new technology and ridership is tanking.

The transit campaigns, no matter how untimely, had to be orchestrated. They enabled the special interests to demand a new regional transit authority be created conveniently an arms length away from local voters and taxpayers. Taking away local control empowers special interests to advance their regional agenda. According to the Tampa Bay Partnership's Regional Policy Agenda (emphasis mine):
Just as the Tampa Bay Partnership played a key role in passing legislation to repurpose TBARTA, we intend to monitor and influence its actions going forward.In the immediate future, TBARTA will require:
• a strong governing board with private and public sector advocates for regional transit;• a recurring source of funding to support the ongoing operation of regional transit service;• and the implementation of additional statutory reforms, as necessary, to further refine the organizational structure and its authority over regional transit planning.
Yep - Tampa Bay Partnership is "the stakeholder" of influence over TBARTA.

Taxpayers beware!

Since no funding exists today for TBARTA or any proposed new transit projects, a new revenue source would have to be found to proceed. That is why it is important to watch for policy changes for how TBARTA would be funded long term. Of course, watch for more rounds of transit tax hike referendums in 2020.

South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) and TBARTA are the only regional transportation entities that are TRANSIT ONLY transportation entities created by Florida Statute 343 Regional Transportation. Each county served by SFRTA and the State of Florida must ante up money to SFRTA every year.

How has that worked out in South Florida?

After South Florida has spent billions on transit, the Sun Sentinel reported in April:
Planners may be pushing for more buses and trains, but South Florida’s commuters are no longer on board.

Even as the region’s traffic congestion worsens, significantly fewer people are taking public transportation. The reasons include lower gas prices, new ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, and an improved economy that makes it easier to afford car payments, insurance and parking costs.

The ridership decline is not what planners anticipated when they began supporting dense, high-rise housing projects. And future technology, such as riderless cars, may pull away even more commuters. 
Greg Stuart, executive director of the organization that coordinates transportation projects in Broward, said planners need to find other creative ways to solve gridlock instead of focusing only on alternatives to cars.

"We’re going to have to work on roadway capacity improvements, (emphasis mine)" he said.
Sun Sentinel reported in June:
An average of 79 percent of South Florida’s commuters drive alone, the census shows. About 3 percent use public transportation. And recent attempts to sway commuters have been ineffective. 
Tri-Rail’s average daily ridership hovers around 15,000 people. 
The population of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties is now over 6.1 million and they have spent wasted gobs of taxpayer money on failed transit projects. Tri-Rail's ridership is .24%, less than a quarter of one percent of the population in South Florida. South Florida taxpayers are stuck paying for costly transit fewer and fewer are using while they continue to grow.

Learn from their mistakes. Taxpayers in Tampa Bay don't want to end up like South Florida, especially when traditional transit is being disrupted. No one should be trying to take Tampa Bay down such costly path. We cannot afford to keep funding failures.

Taxpayers should also beware that costly fixed guideways is about using taxpayer money for coercive land use and development. In 2013, the Obama Administration made a rule change to integrate affordable housing criteria as part of the evaluation for federal transit grant money. The TBARTA statute states:

The authority shall coordinate and consult with local governments on transit or commuter rail station area plans that provide for compact, mixed-use, transit-oriented development that will support transit investments and provide a variety of workforce housing choices, recognizing the need for housing alternatives for a variety of income ranges [aka subsidized affordable housing]
Gentrification along costly fixed guideway transit corridors requiring subsidized affordable housing is rarely mentioned or part of the discussion when pushing costly fixed guideways. In addition, transit-oriented development that forces high density development around transit stations is also often subsidized and is used to "encourage" transit ridership. Probably most taxpayers are totally unaware but the politicos and those with vested interests and those who will benefit certainly know.

The same special interests stakeholders will be back in Tallahassee next year lobbying for more TBARTA funding and policy changes to create some new long term funding source for TBARTA.

Will Tallahassee heed the reality that transit is being disrupted?

Will Tallahassee help prevent costly and outdated transit projects or encourage them?Taxpayers should always be considered a stakeholder by those who provide accountability and oversight of the use of taxpayer money.

Or will Tallahassee again oblige the special interests lobbyists?

The future of transportation in Tampa Bay does not need TBARTA. Technology is dispersing innovation not centralizing it.

2018 is election year providing an opportunity to ask all candidates running where they stand on TBARTA.

And tell the state legislators - instead of funding TBARTA,

This post is contributed by EYE ON TAMPA BAY. The views expressed in this post are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of Bay Post Internet.

Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Over 100,000 Reasons not to vote for Rick Kriseman

It is kind of like putting in your high-paid relief pitcher at the critical moment.

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

Stu Sternberg is not one to throw money around casually, especially large sums of money.

Sternberg and the Rays have contributed heavily to the Rick Kriseman re-election campaign.

Charlie Frago, Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer, Rays give $50,000 to Rick Kriseman's campaign

The Rays, both as a team and through individual donations by owner Stu Sternberg and executives, have donated at least $81,500 to Kriseman.”

The Rays have also donated $50,000 to the Kriseman Political Action Committee, Sunrise Pac.

Sternberg is not making this kind of investment in Rick Kriseman out deep sense of civic pride.

Kriseman wrangled the deal to let the Rays look for a stadium site outside of St. Petersburg and as those efforts lead to a new site, the negotiations with St. Petersburg for the Ray’s exit will fall in the next mayor’s term.

If they didn’t “prefer” to negotiate with Kriseman, then they would likely be contributing to the Baker campaign. However, they have had experience with Rick Baker whose background as a merger and acquisition's attorney is all about negotiations.

Baker is the last person they want to see across the negotiation table because he will not owe the Rays anything and will be working strictly for St. Petersburg.

This seems to be a blatant attempt to buy some strong influence up on the second floor of City Hall.

It is kind of like putting in your high-paid relief pitcher at the critical moment.

In case you are naive enough to think Kriseman does not pay back those who support him just look at his list of cronies currently languishing in City Hall. And if you think, he does not retaliate against those who don’t support him consider this: Charlie Frago, Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer, Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker.

Ask yourself this question, who do you want to negotiate the fate of the largest and most desirable piece of redevelopment property in St. Petersburg?

Who do you want to look after your interests? The guy who the Rays just paid almost $200,000 to get reelected, Rick Kriseman, or the guy with real negotiating skills and no debt to pay back, Rick Baker.

The City and the taxpayers of St. Petersburg can get really screwed over on the stadium deal and the Tropicana field property.

We saw what Kriseman did on the Pier.

We experienced his lies on the sewage crisis.

We saw him pay off his cronies with high-paying jobs.

Do you really want him selling you out on the stadium?

Rick Baker is by far the better choice.

E-mail Doc at mail to: or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Be sure to follow me on Pintrest (Doc Webb),  Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign 

Please comment below.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Have you sent in Your Mail in Ballot?

Help set the direction of your City for the next 4 years by casting votes for the candidates of your choice

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

Are You Election Ready? To find out click the link and get the answer at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Web site.

Need to Find Your Precinct? To find where you should go to vote click the link and the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Web site will get you to the right spot.

Forgot to mail in your mail in ballot? To late…..They are due back six days before the election.

Solution? Find your Precinct as indicated above, Take the Ballot and your voter's ID card and head to your precinct. They should be able to help you there.

Mail in ballot damaged or destroyed? Take the remains if any and head to your precinct. Don’t forget to take your Voter ID Card.

All City Council Elections in all districts and the Mayor's Race are on the St. Petersburg Ballot along with the ballot initiatives. Ballots vary in other jurisdictions be sure to check with your county supervisor of elections

Help set the direction of your City for the next four years by casting votes for the candidates of your choice.

E-mail Doc at mail to: or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Be sure to follow me on Pintrest (Doc Webb),  Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign

Please comment below.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

My football Boycott

No Watch No Buy - send the NFL a message

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

I am five weeks or so into my personal NFL boycott, no football, no NFL network, no ESPN, no products from companies that support the NFL.

So far, so good. I have been keeping a rough running estimate of the products and money I have redirected and so far; it is somewhere between $400 and $500.

Interestingly, I have tried a few new brands, and it looks like I will be permanently switching to several of them, not do so much to the NFL and the player protest, they are either cheaper or better.

Last week, Roger Goodell sent a letter to the NFL's 32 teams, here’s a quote. 

"Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.

"We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players."

Roger is clearly doing a tap dance see: Goodell Hails ‘Unprecedented’ Talks as NFL Players, Owners Meet

Goodell said, "We just had two days of conversation with our owners. Our clubs all see this the same way. We all want our players to stand," Goodell said at a news conference, adding that he understood why some people were upset that some players weren't standing for the anthem.

But he said the league wouldn't force players to stand during the national anthem — instead, he said, the league and the owners continue to listen to the athletes and discuss the issues they are concerned about.

Talk about gutless and wishy washy. Maybe Goodell and his big dollar buddies need to take a second look at ratings and attendance. If this thing gets away from them, it could spell disaster for the NFL.

I like the lady who asked for her 2018 ticket deposit money back and the guy who paid to fly the protest banner. I agree with her statement; the players can protest all they want but in that stadium, they are on my dime, and I don’t appreciate it.

Maybe a national ticket refund effort and if the NFL balks (I know wrong sport) maybe a high-profile class-action lawsuit for refunds along with pulling those sweetheart tax and stadium deals.

Perhaps the solution is to let the players in uniform, kneel, jump up and down, roll around on the ground carry signs outside the stadium, and then go inside the stadium and respect the country, the flag and those who gave all for their right to protest.

Do not underestimate the power of your individual no watch, no buy protest. I changed grocery stores for large purchases from the local one that is the Buccaneer’s “official grocery store” and if enough people quietly do things like that the people paying the big bucks for advertising may just have some second thoughts.

That could leave Mr. Goodell with a decaying heap of nothing.

For now, we are doing great without the NFL. I plan on spending Sunday afternoon at the beach.

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Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Fast Track HB13 to Stop Subsidizing Stadiums and the Pay to Play

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

According to this article, House Bill 13, that bans Florida sports franchises from constructing or renovating facilities on leased public land, is heading to the House floor. It does have a companion bill in the Senate SB352. House Bill 13 is identical to one that passed the House last year but died in the Senate.

The bill will pass the House but will it pass the Senate this time? With all the recent brouhaha going on over wealthy players protesting on their wealthy employers time and dime most often in stadiums paid for by taxpayers, will subsidizing wealthy sports team owners, franchises and players finally become toxic in Florida?

The bill went nowhere last year most probably because Senator Latvala, as the powerful Senate Appropriations Chair, did not want it to. According to Noah Pransky's latest post at his Shadow of the Stadium blog, which we highly recommend you follow, the wealthy sports team franchises love Latvala:
Why do pro teams love Latvala? In addition to his attempts to provide them stadium subsidies, he's also the biggest thing standing in the way of a House push to ban public land giveaways for new stadiums in Florida.
Senator Latvala's PAC is Florida Leadership Committee. As reported by Pransky, the Rays and the Dolphins have handed tens of thousands of dollars to his PAC. From the PAC's last campaign finance reporting the Rays and South Florida Stadium who operates the stadium the Dolphins play in handed Latvala's PAC $10K each on 9/29 and 9/30.
Rays, Dolphins big donors to Latvala
A real eye opener is Latvala's PAC received its largest amount of contributions of any campaign filing period ever this past February. With Latvala in his powerful role as Senate Appropriations Chair, his PAC received over $1 million (the most ever in a single filing period) in February 2017 right before session started. Go here and click the campaign finance activity and select the filing period to review the contributions for that period.

Follow the money….and follow the electeds who are beholden to that money and not you the taxpayer. The special interests give the big bucks to the PACs where there are no limits on their contributions. The special interests are giving the big bucks for a reason - they want something in return. The PACs then contribute to candidates they agree with who will help further their agenda. It's a big circle of money.

Pransky also reported that locally the Rays just gave $50K to Kriseman's Sunrise PAC raising the total to $81,500 that the Rays, the Rays owner Sternberg and Rays' executives have handed St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman. Kriseman faces off with Rick Baker in the St. Pete mayor's general election on November 7th.

What about over in Hillsborough County? Commissioner Hagan, the commission King of County Center who is selfishly refusing to abide by the spirit of term limits in the county charter, is also on the receiving end from the sports team franchisees.

Hagan has raised a special interests war chest of over $400K dollars for a SINGLE MEMBER District seat. A quick review of donors to his campaign include a thousand dollars each from:
  • Stuart Sternberg, Rays owner
  • Strategic Property Partnership, Vinik
  • Amalie Arena, where Vinik's Lightning and Storm play
  • Tampa Bay Lightning, Vinik
  • Tampa Bay Storm, Vinik
  • Yankee Global Enterprises
  • Robert Dupuy- attorney in NY firm Foley and Lardner, recently was president and COO of Major League Baseball
  • Latvala's Florida Leadership PAC
Those donations are just the tip of the iceberg of Hagan's special interests donor war chest. After 16 years of being a county commissioner and being term limited out of his county seat next year, Hagan thinks he is entitled to 8 more years. Hagan is leap frogging back to a District 2 seat he has already held.

Since the county charter was enacted 34 years ago, no one else has ever done what Hagan is arrogantly and selfishly doing - violating the spirit of the county term limits in the county charter by abusing a loophole. And his donors know it…

For WTSP, Pransky reported on August 23rd about Hagan's idea of handing the Rays the HCSO property in Ybor:
"In his search to find the Rays a new place to play in Tampa's urban core, Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan has toyed with the idea of relocating the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office headquarters out of Ybor City to make room for a new stadium."
Providing public land for stadium development could be another possible avenue for taxpayers to subsidize the project. Hagan, who once advocated "no public dollars" be spent on a Rays stadium, has recently said he thought taxpayers should help with the "infrastructure" side of a new stadium.
And voila! More money goes pouring into Hagan's Pay to Play war chest. As Pransky posted on his stadium blog on September 18
"Companies controlled by Darryl Shaw, who has been dubbed "Ybor's big new (development) player," gave $5,000 to Hillsborough Commissioner Ken Hagan last month, according to campaign finance reports. Shaw's wife and a company she controls also each chipped in $1,000, the maximum-allowable donation for the 2018 election.
H/T Noah Pransky
Hagan's Ybor Pay to Play donors

Nothing about how taxpayers would be on the hook for paying for a brand new HCSO HQ facility somewhere - can't let those silly little details get in the way….

Not only is Hagan a leap frogger from one county commission seat to another and back, he's also a flip flopper on the issue of public funding for a stadium.

We posted this expose of Hagan and his tactics back in January 2016 during the Go Hillsborough tax hike debacle.

At the October 1, 2014 county commission meeting, Hagan stated
At the next BOCC meeting on October 15, 2014, the county commission "quietly" hired the major league baseball law firm Foley and Lardner. They did it egregiously through the use of the Consent Agenda where there is no discussion - just a rubber stamped approval. See above - Foley and Lardner is now one of Hagan's Pay to Play donors.

No wonder Pransky reported for WTSP in August that the county was eyeing federal transit dollars to help pay for a stadium aka Hagan's quest for costly trains and stadiums.

Hagan and his baseball attorney took the baseball meetings secret and behind closed doors. Hagan likes the Atlanta model for how the Atlanta Braves got a new stadium because all their negotiations were behind closed doors too.

That new stadium effort was led and shepherded by Cobb County commissioner Tim Lee.

According to this article in May last year:
Lee cut a deal in secret to give nearly $400 million in tax money to multibillion-dollar conglomerate Liberty Media (AKA the Braves) to get the team to load its gear into moving vans and head north on I-75 to the Smyrna area. Lee even had a code name for the clandestine negotiations with the team — Operation Intrepid — which kind of gives it that Invasion of Normandy feel. 
What summarized the process was a May 2014 meeting where commissioners approved a series of legal agreements with the Braves without serious debate. The bond documents weren’t even made available until one business day before the meeting. 
As an exclamation point — or slap in the face — the 12 slots for public comment at the meeting were gobbled up hours earlier by sneaky pro-deal forces. Complainers were sent packing. The image of citizens getting shut down and marched out of a public meeting by cops doesn’t say Open Government. 
But this is what eventually happened to Tim Lee according to a July 2016 Atlanta Journal Constitution article (emphasis mine):
By the time the first pitch is hurled from the mound of SunTrust Park stadium next spring, the man who lured the Atlanta Braves to Cobb County will be out of office. 
Incumbent Chairman Tim Lee lost his reelection bid Tuesday to challenger Mike Boyce, a retired marine colonel, in a runoff seen by many as a litmus test for support of the deal to bring the Atlanta Braves to Cobb.
Boyce beat Lee, winning 64 percent of the vote, with all precincts reporting.

Once these deals are made, it never ends for taxpayers.

Hagan liked the Atlanta "speedy" process done in secret. Why? Because it enables electeds  to make deals behind closed doors to commit hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to a baseball stadium while prohibiting citizens and voters from appropriately weighing in. 

We bet that Hagan's Pay to Play donors likes the arrogant Atlanta quick and dirty process too but it should scare taxpayers in Hillsborough County. Hagan is being paid to deliver for his special interests - why their bucks are pouring into his Pay to Play campaign.

Beware Hillsborough County taxpayers and stay aware! Who knows what Hagan's going to hit them with when the St. Pete Mayor's race is decided next month.

Hagan does have a challenger who has filed, Chris Paradies, who is a West Point graduate.

So voters in Hillsborough County could do to Hagan next year what Cobb County voters did to Lee and toss him out.

The continuing pursuit of a new taxpayer subsidized baseball stadium in Tampa Bay is why HB13 needs to be fast tracked and quickly passed by our state legislature next year.

All the Pay to Play to put taxpayers on the hook to subsidize wealthy sports team owners in Florida must stop. 
This post is contributed by EYE ON TAMPA BAY. The views expressed in this post are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of Bay Post Internet. 

Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay