Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sport Analytics: MLB, Sternberg Using Extortion to Build Taxpayer Subsidized Stadium

Tampa, Fl

Posted From: Tampa Bay Beat

By Jim Bleyer

Hillsborough County taxpayers, take a look around.  If you can’t find the sucker, it’s you.
Anyone favoring a new taxpayer-funded stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays is either in the cabal of grifters that will share in the $600M+ windfall or baseball aficianados that have bought into the sport’s bribery/blackmail playbook.
Major League Baseball’s script has been tried, true, and transparent: identify the markets for new stadiums, assert that those markets must address the stadium issue, and list cities that are candidates for league expansion. This is tantamount to a not-so-veiled threat from the MLB gods to cities that their teams are relocation candidates unless they fund a bright, shiny new stadium for billionaires who will toss in a pittance to defray the cost.
Tampa Bay and Oakland are currently in MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s crosshairs.
It’s a game plan designed to enrich team owners, local real estate interests, bond attorneys, and public officials who expedite the travesty.  In Tampa, that public official is Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan who negotiated with landowners and the Rays in secret, then last week presented his fellow commissioners with what amounted to a fait accompli as to the new Rays site in Ybor City.
In 16 years as Hillsborough County Commissioner, Hagan has done more than his share of wheeling and dealing on behalf of special interests.  He did not mention how the ballpark will be paid for, parking issues on a 14-acre site, or why attendance would be considerably higher in Ybor than it is at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
It only took Rays owner Stu Sternberg a couple of days to bless the questionable site adding he would chip in $150 million to help pay for land acquisition and stadium construction.  Laughable.  Projected costs range from $600-$800 million excluding the required surrounding infrastructure.
The taxpayers (fans) are the ones kicked to the curb. Hagan, by promoting the proven MLB model that fleeces communities, is Sternberg’s accomplice in this scenario.
An examination of the facts reveals the fallacious reasoning behind the new stadium gimmick.  Miami struck out with the gorgeous stadium that was supposed to ignite Marlins attendance.  After six seasons, the Miami team only outdrew Tampa Bay, Oakland, and the Chicago White Sox.
A midweek afternoon game between the Marlins and Phillies this year drew 1,590 fans, according to the press covering the game.  That marks the lowest attendance for any MLB game since 1989.  Major league baseball teams are known for inflating their attendance figures but, incredibly, the team claimed there were 10 times as many fans in the stands.
Former Marlins owner Jeffrey Luria (he recently sold the team for $1.2 billion to a syndicate that includes Derek Jeter) and Sternberg share a similar modus operandi: they both refused to spend money to improve the team on the field.  Luria actually sued his own season ticket holders in 2016.  Sternberg hasn’t taken that step–yet.
The city of Miami was bilked for nearly $500 million up front to finance Marlins Park.  Residents are on the hook for another $2 billion earmarked for bond repayments over the next 30 years.  Furious voters elected Tomas Regalado, leading opponent of the financial plan, as mayor over stadium supporter Joe Sanchez. County Mayor Carlos Alvarez, who backed the ballpark boondoggle, was booted from office in a special recall election.
Luria, who purchased the Marlins for $158 million in 2002, walked away from the Marlins with a 760 percent profit.  The modern, empty stadium contributed to the extravagant sales price.  Meanwhile, Miami-Dade residents are saddled with those billions in bond repayments.
Now take Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. As iconic as they are,  those stadiums are archaic with obstructed sight lines, makeshift parking, and cramped seating.  But they are packed night after night.  In Florida the quality of the stadiums isn’t the issue; it’s the fact that no one is from here.
We haven’t heard Sternberg threaten to move the club to Orlando, the largest metropolitan area without a baseball team that would not encroach on an existing franchise–though one can make a case for San Antonio.  Instead he has mentioned Charlotte and Montreal.
At the July All-Star break, Manfred issued his customary warning that a couple of his impoverished billionaire owners require an enormous public subsidy:
“Let me go back to a conversation we’ve had already. I think for us to expand we need to be resolved in Tampa and Oakland in terms of their stadium situations. As much as I hope that both Oakland and Tampa will get stadiums, I think it would be difficult for the owners to go forward with an expansion until those situations are resolved.
“Once they’re done, I think we have some great candidates. I know the mayor of Montreal has been very vocal about bringing baseball back to Montreal. It was not great when the Expos left. The fact of the matter was baseball was successful in Montreal for a very long time. Charlotte is a possibility. And I would like to think that Mexico City or some place in Mexico would be another possibility.”
Sadly for fellow extortionists Manfred and Tampa Bay Rays owner Stu Sternberg, the Montreal threat is no longer in play.
Newly-elected Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante campaigned against giving a prospective baseball team carte blanche from the city. She favors allowing the public to decide if it wants another baseball team: a referendum on whether taxpayers would support using public funds to invest in that purpose or not.
“So far we know that Montrealers want to have a baseball team, they think it’s a great idea. I do too. But when it’s about spending the money, it’s not that clear,” said Plante.
She accused incumbent Mayor Denis Coderre of wanting to write a blank check to Major League Baseball without consulting taxpayers.  He lost the election.  Miami redux.
How much more evidence needs to surface for the public to realize it is being played by MLB and local special interests?Posted by: Jim Blyer, Tampa Bay Beat  

Cross Posted with permission from: Tampa Bay Beat
This post is contributed by Tampa Bay Beat. The views and opinions expressed in this post are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Bay Post Internet or the publishe

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Day Hagan Became Candidate Hagan, R - District Rays

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

Commissioner Ken Hagan is now Candidate Hagan, R-District Rays. How did that happen? Thru a baseball stadium escapade that began years ago. 

Candidate Ken Hagan, R-District Rays
Commissioner Hagan, a Hillsborough county commissioner since 2002, has spent at least half his time in office pursuing a new Rays baseball stadium. 

ABC (A Baseball Community) Coalition was formed in 2008 to study new sites for a new Rays stadium and according to this August 2009 article:
People can drive quickly to downtown Tampa or to the West Shore area. And Tampa's business base could support luxury suites, season tickets and corporate sponsorships. Hillsborough might explore the Rays moving to Tampa if the area is at risk of losing them to another city, County Commissioner Ken Hagan says.
The ABC Coalition provided a report and recommendation in January 2010.
It was assumed that any potential site would have a major public transportation hub when and if the system is constructed. The impact that changes in mass transportation could have on the evaluation of potential sites could be very significant.
Generally, and as a rule, private contributions to stadium construction have averaged 20 to 30% of construction costs, though wide variations exist from virtually all costs financed publicly to virtually all costs financed privately. To the extent that private funding is limited, the remaining funds must be identified through federal, state or local sources
Suddenly in February 2010, Hagan signed a letter as BOCC Chair, without informing his board colleagues, asking the ABC Coalition to present at a BOCC meeting. Some board members were not happy Hagan unilaterally did that without informing them.

This was the same time Hillsborough county commissioners were considering putting the 1% rail tax on the 2010 ballot. It was the Transportation Task Force, then led by Ken Hagan, that recommended putting the rail tax referendum on the ballot. On May 13, 2010, Hagan voted with 4 other commissioners at a public hearing to put the tax on the ballot.

Days later the ABC Coalition presented to the BOCC on May 19, 2010, the transcript is found here. Some takeaways from the presentation about a new stadium:
  • Air conditioned with a retractable roof, seating capacity of 37-40K, large suites, satisfy corporate needs, need a parking ratio of 2.7 or better - about 13,000 parking spaces for capacity of 37K.
  • Create an entertainment center for "fan experience" for before and after game. Entertainment experience like being at an amusement park that happens to have a baseball game going on.
  • Cost estimates $500-600 million (2010 costs), Rays pay 30%, need to somehow finance $400-450 million [Costs today will approach a BILLION dollars]
  • Best sites were Carillon in St. Pete, Westshore and Downtown Tampa because it is nearer to wealthier, better educated, younger people (yes that's what was said)
  • Critically important is the number of people within a 30 minute drive
  • Need Corporate support, throughout league 2/3 of tickets are purchased by businesses and corporations and 1/3 by individuals
  • "public transportation, whenever it comes, will serve wherever the stadium is" (Remember the rail tax put on the ballot just days before conveniently identified USF to downtown and downtown to Westshore as the two rail corridors)
  • TBARTA said "where ever the stadium is, we'll have a stop..."
  • When Hagan asked about size needed for an urban/downtown stadium, the answer was just the stadium footprint is about 12 acres but a fully functioning stadium with parking requires from 75-90 acres.
  • Commissioners were supportive as long as it does not include public financing
Hagan clearly stated at that meeting: "Well, I want to say I appreciate the comments from all the commissioners, especially those regarding not using taxpayer dollars, I've said that repeatedly, but it bears - it bears being stated again, so I appreciate that."

Hagan then proceeded to get a motion passed that "when the Rays make their long term intentions known, this Board is open and interested in having a seat at the table and being part of the discussion in an effort to ensure that the Rays remain in the Tampa Bay region."

The rail tax was overwhelmingly defeated, 58-42% in November 2010.

In 2012, it was reported in this article Hillsborough leader willing to play "boyfriend" in Rays-St. Petersburg divorce:
Hagan said he wants a more active role in moving the discussion forward, including by courting the Rays, if necessary. He even volunteered to be the boyfriend in January when he saw team president Matt Silverman at a Rays charity event in Tampa.
Hagan was again BOCC Chair in 2013.

In February 2013, these interesting reports were made:
Who owns season tickets? 
Scouring Tampa Bay for Rays season ticket holders

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Post-Election - Kriseman shows his stripes

It did not take Kriseman long to lop off a head to show everyone who is boss.

Anyone who though they were voting for a kinder, more focused, rational and caring version of Rick Kriseman can throw those ideas out with what’s left of your Thanksgiving turkey.

Steven Marshall, who's Linked in Profile describes him as an Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Manager, CEM, LEED AP BD+C, CAC 1819103, CEA, CBCP and ENV SP was fired by Kriseman just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

See some detail and comment here: 

Watch for Kriseman to tighten his grip on control through these same tactics and continue to dim transparency as we move into his second term.

By the time we get to the January swearing in, it probably be more like a coronation than a swearing in.

For now, Kriseman has the ax sharpened up so don’t be too surprised if a few more heads roll.

Oh, and just in case you thought all the lying from the Kriseman administration would slow down there is this from the Charlie Frago Article, “Kriseman’s spokesman Ben Kirby said the mayor didn’t know in advance about Marshall’s termination.”

Do you believe that?

The only way Kriseman, who has no management skills, can get the staff under control is through intimidation and threats implemented by a growing team of henchmen.

This is a first for the City Management team and the rank and file. While everyone on the professional staff understood we served at the “will and pleasure” of the Mayor vindictiveness rarely played a role.

As the list of dark knights sitting at King to be Richard’s round table grows, professional staff may want to consider some representation and contractual protection to provide some insulation from what could well become a growing irrational administration.

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Incompetence and Deception With Trying to Sue Their Constituents

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

As reported by WTSP and Florida Politics, Hillsborough county commissioners chillingly voted 4-3 on Commissioner Hagan's request at the November 15, 2017 BOCC meeting to use taxpayer money to seek reimbursement from those who filed ethics complaints against Hagan.

There may be some issues and definitely some questions with what exactly the commissioners were approving regarding Agenda item A-69. 

Hagan inserted his retribution agenda item
on the Consent Agenda
(Click to enlarge)
The Eye has obtained a copy of a recent email sent to all Hillsborough county commissioners and the county attorney from citizen activist Tom Rask.

The entire email with its attachments can be found here.

An excerpt of this email is below:

To: Hillsborough County Commission 
Cc: County attorney Chip Fletcher, General Counsel Mary Helen Farris 
Bcc: interested citizens
The write-up for last week's agenda item A-69 says that "three ethics complaints were filed against Commissioner Hagan." This claim that there were three (3) is factually incorrect. There were in fact four complaints, not three [1]. 
Out of this misstatement of fact arises the critical question: which three complainants out of the four did the BoCC authorize to seek to recover costs and attorney fees from? No one is named in the write-up, and comm. Hagan only named George Niemann in his verbal remarks [2]. 
It is thus impossible to determine exactly who the BoCC authorized action to be taken against.

Therefore, the item must be brought before the commission again, and either voted on again or simply voided.
1] Having made a public records request for those complaints from the Florida Commission on Ethics after your vote, I attach those four complaints for your convenience. I have also attached the final public report in which those four complaints are specifically referenced by their tracking numbers.

[2] Comm. Hagan's added to the confusion by verbally stating the following during the board's discussion before the vote:

"Now that its been shown that the genesis of this current complaint was less than honorable, the Complainant should make the county taxpayers whole". 

Note that comm. Hagan spoke in the singular, not the plural. Hagan was speaking of George Neimann. But who else did Hagan want to seek redress against? He did not say.
As always, thank you for your time. 
Tom Rask
Hagan deceptively inserted his retribution request in the Consent Agenda of the November 15, 2017 BOCC meeting trying to ensure there would be no public discussion. Hagan did not even attach copies of the complaints to the agenda item as background information for the commissioners.

Thanks to Commissioner White who pulled Agenda item A-69 from the Consent Agenda to force discussion and to vote separately.

The Consent Agenda is supposed to be used for approval of regular or routine issues that come before the board, or matters where no debate is anticipated. Consent Agenda's are an efficiency tool to be used for non-controversial routine items that can be approved with one action, instead of separately filed motions for each item.

Hagan's request was not routine and certainly not without controversy. This item obviously did not belong on the Consent Agenda. But it does add fuel to our criticism that the Consent Agenda is being abused to ram thru non-routine items that should be transparently discussed and voted on separately.

All four complainants names were in the media reporting of the commission vote. 

The commissioners must answer the question what specifically they thought they were approving and who were they pursuing. Is Hagan and his commission colleagues pursuing reimbursements from 3 complainants, 4 complainants or just one complainant?

Yet another mess down at County Center.
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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 - Are you in a thankful state of mind?

Consider not only what you are thankful for, but also what you are thankful for not having.

I hope your year has been a good one so far.

Like many Americans, we are traveling this year to be with family, this is likely the last Thanksgiving we will all be together, so it will be a very special time. 2017 has been a year of last things, and Christmas will likely be another.

This has been an odd fall, no football and that will continue over Thanksgiving. I just can’t see wasting a celebratory holiday on a sport whose players, managers and owners don’t respect what our country and Thanksgiving are all about.

If you're planning on watching football this weekend, be sure you catch the opening ceremonies, if the networks and the NFL have the courage to show them. See how all that sets with your Turkey dinner.

We will be the taking a long walk on a beautiful beach on the east coast after Thanksgiving dinner.

Charles Spurgeon said, “We are in a wrong state of mind if we are not in a thankful state of mind.” Consider not only what you are thankful for, but also what you are thankful for not having.”

And finally, let me thank you for the time you take to read my Blog Posts. I know your time is precious and I am deeply grateful for the few moments of your time you spend with me.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.... 

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

The 2018-2019 Baseball Third Season has officially begun

There is plenty of money available in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties to do this deal.

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

I have defined the Tampa Bay Baseball "Third Season" as that time between the last world series game and the start of the spring training media hype or roughly late October to late February.

This is the time when the Rays usually beat the drum loudly complaining about poor attendance blaming it on Tropicana Field and lack luster appreciation of the sport by the local population.

With the dawn of 2018, the Rays have just nine years left on their lease agreement with the City of St. Petersburg. That may sound like a long time but when it comes to new stadiums, the time window from start to first pitch could consume most of that time.

Tampa and the Baseball interest group, more or less headed by Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagen, has been busily looking for sites for a new stadium, and it looks like they have settled on a site at the edge of Ybor City.

Stu Sternberg and the Rays played coy at the initial announcement offering: “This is another step in the site selection process, and we are grateful for the time and attention that went into making it an option, along with those in Pinellas County, including the Tropicana Field site as a potential future home for Rays Baseball in Tampa Bay for generations to come."

Here is a peek at a concept drawing for the new Rays home from the Tampa Bay Times by Adam Sanford: This is what the new Rays Ybor stadium could look like.

Now that a Tampa site appears to be firmed up the next big issue is money

Sternberg, after waiting to see if the $100,000 contribution to the Kriseman campaign in the St. Pete Mayoral race would pay off, threw Tampa the first pitch of the Third Season, a low and outside slider offering to pony up about $150 million.

That leaves Tampa and Hillsborough County with about $600 to $700 million to find. For some details see: Marc Tompkin, Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer: Sternberg: Tampa Bay Rays' share of new ballpark could be $150 million.

There is plenty of money available in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties to do this deal. And yes, there are some big players in Pinellas County that would gladly “help” the Rays exit the Trop site.

I think the key in all of this is Major League Baseball. The league and the owners do not want the Rays in St. Pete. That has long been clear.

MLB could remove a lot of the fog around this deal if they simply said we will not support a new stadium in St. Pete regardless of the deal – the Rays are moving. That would clear the deck for Hillsborough County and Tampa, but it might be taking away a bargaining chip for Sternberg, so such a pronouncement is unlikely.

Kriseman could also put an end to what will be a messy negotiation, by simply saying there is a better use for the 80 plus acers on the Tropicana Field site than Baseball, so Rays/MLB if you want to build and completely pay for a new smaller stadium on the site, we will hold a parcel for that project as we prepare our redevelopment plans.

Also, unlikely - but just for the moment.
There will be a lot of pressure on Kriseman to put together a competitive bid, offering to put up some money from the City and Pinellas County so Sternberg has some leverage, but that is just smoke and mirrors because MLB, and the owners will never go along with a St. Pete deal.

Time is wasting. This Third Season only lasts until Spring Training starts ramping up in late February, so all parties need to get moving.

Commissioner Hagen and his group need to take a cautious look at Sternberg’s first pitch. Take it as a ball or better yet foul it off. There are better pitches coming.

I seriously doubt much will happen in this Third Season. It will be a lot like watching two Great Blue Herons mate. A lot of wings flapping, some careful dancing, a few coy looks but not much action.

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Kriseman VS Baker an Epilog

Ignored by both campaigns were the Hispanic voters and the growing Asian population.

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

Most of the post mortems on this race are in, and I think they all have it about right.

Here are two that capture the essence of the race.

Tampa Bay Times Adam C. Smith: 8 takeaways from the St. Pete mayor’s race

Florida Politics, Peter Schorsch, Would five words have save Rick Baker’s campaign?

I would only add a few of things.

I have known and worked for Rick Baker for a long time. You can go to my Blog Bay Post Internet put Rick Baker in the search box and see a number of posts.

What struck me most from the beginning was Rick Baker did not seem to be as excited about this race as two previous ones. He said all the right words, even worked up some emotion, but it seemed to me the real fire was just not there.

To capture it in a sentence it felt like it was more about getting Kriseman out of the Mayor’s office than Baker getting the job.

Second, I think the Baker campaign was strategically misfocused. Baker’s campaign put high emphasis in South St. Pete, I guess the assumption was the rest of the City’s Republicans would just come along. There were almost no rallies in West St. Pete and same for the Northeast.

When I spoke with the Baker campaign about this the response was “We don’t see a problem.” Perhaps they do now.

Also ignored by both campaigns were the Hispanic voters and the growing Asian population. Both of these groups have a strong entrepreneurial focus, and many are small-business owners in St. Petersburg. They have an interest in their communities, neighborhoods and schools.

Hispanics represent about 6.7% of the St. Petersburg population, and Asians represent about 3.3% of the population. A strong multi lingual message to both groups along with a voter-registration effort might just have turned the election.

Then, there is the issue of money. Every mailer, ad, phone call was an impassioned plea for donations even as the media reported massive amounts of money flowing into both campaigns from the outside.

I think the constant bleating for donations was major turn off too many voters and especially the millennials that may be registered voters but might not have the money to make a donation.

If they did not donate or vote, everyone lost.

Finally, there is the issue of Trump. A lot of people, especially Republicans, would like to hang this totally around Trump’s neck.

No doubt there is a cause and effect from the Trump Presidency, but I think there may be a bigger issue with the Republican Party and the elected Republicans in the US House and Senate that spend more time fighting with Trump in the media, and in Congress than they do working to solve the problems they so easily define.

We will know the answer to that issue in the 2018 midterms. I am not betting any money on Republican incumbents.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ferry Flounders Kriseman promises return

Water transportation in the Bay area will remain more of curiosity than a serious transportation option for the foreseeable future.

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

The Cross Bay Ferry will not be returning to the waters of Tampa Bay this season. See the details in a Tampa Bay Times article by Caitlin Johnston The Cross Bay Ferry won’t come back this fall. What about 2018?

The group promoting the ferry could not shore up the funding for the upcoming 2017 season. The notable holdout was the City of Tampa.

It seems Mayor Buckhorn did not share Mayor Kriseman’s fascination with the ferry and felt it should be funded by private dollars. That was enough to sink the project for this year.

The Johnston article points a number of other concerns, including the ongoing construction at the new St. Pete Pier, which may have forced a different docking location for the ferry.

While the Cross Bay Ferry had good weekend and evening, occupancy rates the daily ridership remained weak. It turns out the ferry was more of a pleasure ride service than a commuter service.

Buckhorn is right. If it turns out the Cross Bay Ferry is a tourist attraction, then it would be better funded by private dollars.

St. Petersburg has applied for a one-time grant from The Florida Department of Transportation for the 2018-2019 season and has been awarded just over $400,000 to help pay for the proposed season. That should help ease the burden on everyone involved.

Water transportation in the Bay area will remain more of curiosity than a serious transportation option for the foreseeable future.

Public funds like the FDOT $400,000 grant would be much better directed at transportation options that are more than pleasure boat rides. There is a lot of effort going on in the Tampa Bay area from driverless cars to self-driving buses.

This is a classic example of why public transportation is so disorganized in the Tampa Bay region. Every fiefdom has its own idea and charges off to get it funded.

All these pet transportation projects do is muddy the water and slow down serious progress.

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Puppy Stores – there should be a law

Sometimes when he sits and looks at me, I still have to choke back tears.

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

Max is my now 10-year-old toy poodle. If you have followed this Blog for a while, you have read about Max’s struggles in life.

Max was a puppy store puppy purchased from All about Puppies in Largo. He was born May 25, 2007, and came home with me on October 6, 2007.

After a couple of visits to my Vet, he indicated Max had what appeared to be some physical genetic defects, nothing serious and even a serious canine observer would have had a hard time detecting them. Max seemed fine and adjusted with no issues.

About age five, very early for a poodle, Max’s eyes started to cloud, and you can read about our journey together in these Posts.

Following these posts in 2016, a routine visit to Blue Pearl revealed the retina in his worst eye had begun detaching, we decided to wait a bit and in a follow up the retina had seriously detached. It was too late to save the eye, and he lost his vision in the left eye.

A slight detachment of the retina in the right eye had begun. The folks at Blue Pearl referred me to Animal Eye Care Specialty Clinic in Deerfield Beach and Dr.Susan Carasto who specializes in canine retinal surgery.

Since we had a home in Delray Beach just up the road from Deerfield, the logistics were easy, and Max came through the surgery in flying colors.

These folks are nothing short of true miracle workers.

It is approaching two years, and Max is still a happy-go-lucky character enjoying life.

What prompted this Post is a story in the Tampa Bay Times by Sara :Largo woman: My dog almost died even though Petland said it was healthy

There were two poodles in the cage that day, brothers they told me. I almost bought both, but since I already had a dog at home I just picked the more active one.

I often wonder what happened to Max’s brother.

Theresa and I are thankful and fortunate enough to have the resources to deal with problems like these; they are costly. In many case's dogs like Max are put down or just discarded.

Sometimes when he sits and looks at me, I still have to choke back tears. He is my best friend.

Franchised puppy stores support the puppy mill business, and the product should always be suspect.

Never believe the claims or the certificates or the warrantees.

Don’t know a breeder? Check with a local veterinarian or adopt.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Kriseman won – St. Petersburg lost its innocence

It is interesting to note that none of the former strong St. Petersburg Mayors has gone on to a stellar political career.

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

The results of the St. Petersburg Mayoral race were disappointing, but not unexpected. Smarter political observers than me were quietly projecting that Kriseman would win by a narrow margin, and win he did.

This election brings the switch of St. Petersburg governance full circle.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s as the then power brokers of the day rewrote the City Charter, they tried to prepare the way for those who wanted to run for Mayor to do so in a nonpartisan way. The thinking was if the election was nonpartisan, strong candidates who were not career politicians would come forward to run.

The nonpartisan approach was to eliminate political party control over the City government, prevent cronyism and allow participation for those who might not have access to political party financial support. Political Action Committees (PACS) were not even on the radar.

The Charter did not and probably could not contain in enforcement or penalty mechanisms to enforce the nonpartisan requirements, and if it had they would have likely been struck down by the courts.

It was a grand idea, and it worked in sort of/kind of way up until Rick Kriseman was elected the first time.

Those of us, who were there when the transition occurred from council/manager to the strong mayor were absolutely sure that the nonpartisan requirement would not last forever, and prediction of the nonpartisan election ranged from 10 to 20 tears. They were not far off.

There will be a lot of postmortems for this election, I may even write one, but the fact is this election was destined to happen.

You can blame Trump, Obama, the RNC, The DNC, the PACS, voter lethargy or whatever, but we live in an ever-politicizing society.

The real looser here was St. Petersburg.

 St. Pete has enjoyed a robust political history since the strong mayor was instituted. Good Mayors, for the most part, all ethical and honest, all hard working for St. Petersburg not so much for their political careers or the Party. Little or no corruption, modest if any cronyism, no one charged or incarcerated.

It is interesting to note that none of the former strong St. Petersburg Mayors has gone on to a stellar political career. They are still in St. Pete working to make their City a better place.

That’s all over now.

It will be difficult to get the non-politician to run for Mayor in St. Pete because of the threat of Political Party involvement and the amount of money it will take to mount a campaign.

St. Petersburg will drift politically toward Tampa, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and the corruption ridden Cities on Florida’s gold coast.

With all the money that flowed into this race, Kriseman will be hard-pressed to pay off all those favors in just four years.

St. Pete has enjoyed a good reputation among governments up to now. Vendors and suppliers could trust in a fair bidding process, and fair treatment in the market place.

If your name is not on the Kriseman donors list things will likely get a lot tougher.

Honesty was a main part of the City’s approach to citizens, businesses and the Governments around the State.

It is time to take off the rose-colored glasses and realize that St. Pete has a government pretty much like all the rest, self-serving and not all that honest.

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Disclosures: Contributor to Rick Baker for Mayor Campaign 

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