Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Did Hillsborough MPO Director Cross An Ethical Line?

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

We posted here and here about the credibility of the Hillsborough MPO is on a downward spiral. The Hillsborough MPO has gone rogue but has the MPO Director now crossed an ethical line?

On August 27th we asked Hillsborough MPO Director Beth Alden if the massive 30 year 14% transit tax hike was funding the MPO's 2040 long range transportation plan (LRTP). That claim was reported numerous times by local media. Alden seemed flustered with the question and tried to respond that she had not taken much time looking at the transit tax hike petition.

However, after more questions were asked, Alden admitted she had spoken to two All for Transportation (AFT) PAC activists and spokespersons. Alden spoke to Kevin Thurman and Christina Barker when the petition drive began in mid June and they also met on July 2nd. Alden indicated she met with Thurman and Barker the same day she said Thurman and Barker were meeting with county commissioners. **

There is no record in the county lobbyist registry of Thurman or Barker meeting with county commissioners at County Center so they met with commissioners under the radar elsewhere.

Alden is quoted in a Times article of June 15 about the transit tax hike funding the outdated long range transportation plan from 4 years ago. When contacted, the Times reporter said it was someone from both the MPO and AFT PAC who told him the tax hike was funding the MPO's 2040 LRTP.
Obviously, it was Alden from the MPO.

Later during the week of August 27, we found out Alden had presented at the August 23 Tampa City Council meeting. The agenda item for that meeting states Alden would be presenting what would be funded in the transit tax ballot initiative.
Agenda item at 8/23/2018
Tampa City Council meeting
(click to enlarge)
Alden's feigned ignorance on August 27 that she had not taken the time to know what was in the transit tax was not true. She had presented on August 23rd about the tax hike.

When Tampa City Councilman Louis Viera, who sits on the MPO Board, was contacted, he confirmed that Alden was invited to tell the Tampa City Council what the transit tax hike referendum would be funding. When Viera was asked if the City Council was going to invite someone to speak from the All for Transportation PAC who wrote the transit tax hike and got it on the ballot, he said that would be a "waste of time".

That statement is astounding and raises a big question. Was taxpayer funded MPO Staff involved in this tax hike effort? Did MPO staff collaborate to any extent with the transit advocates who wrote the charter amendment five pages of fine print?

Are there ethical issues with the Director of the MPO, who is paid by taxpayers, being the "go to" person to tout what the AFT transit tax hike is funding?

Alden's presentation to the Tampa City Council on 8/23/2018 can be found here.

At that public meeting, Alden merged information from the 2040 LRTP with the transit tax hike - as if they are one and the same. The name of Alden's presentation is titled "2040 Plan and All for Trans".

We asked Alden who authorized her to make such presentation and her response was the Tampa City Council requested it. Alden does not work for the Tampa City Council. She works for the MPO Board. From what we can determine, the MPO Board never authorized her presentation. A number of board members we spoke to had no idea she made the 8/23 presentation.

There are problems with Alden's August 23rd presentation. She presented misleading and wrong information.

AFT's 5 page charter amendment is here

Alden states that new roads and adding new road capacity on existing roads (except for intersection improvements) may be eligible under Any/Other  and Bike/Ped".

That is false.

There is no Any/Other funding category in the charter amendment language or the MPO's 2040 plan. Alden made that up.

In the AFT tax hike there is a funding category called "Remaining" which does not exist in the MPO's plan. A "Remaining" funding category is in the General Purpose (which includes maintenance, safety, intersection improvements and bike paths/sidewalks) funding portion. There is also a "Remaining" funding category Transit restricted funding portion of the charter amendment tax hike.

AFT's tax hike mandates that 85% of the General Purpose funding portion be spent on maintenance, safety, intersection improvements and bike path/sidewalks. The "Remaining" funding category in the General Purpose funding is 15% what is remaining after funding the other three categories.

Dig a bit deeper. The "Remaining" funding category in the General Purpose allows those funds to be used on anyproject to improve transportation which includes transit. However the charter amendment specifically states those "Remaining" funds can only be used on projects permitted by BOTH Florida Statute 212.055 (1)AND the charter amendment.

Use of the word "and" is important because that requires all criteria listed be met. The charter amendment tax hike provides no dedicated funding for new road capacity, it only specifically prohibits and limits new roads.

Since the MPO's plan includes four Tampa rail projects, the 15% "Remaining" funds in General Purpose could become the slush fund to cover major cost overruns that almost always occurs with costly rail projects.

The "Remaining" funding category of the Transit Restricted portion is 20%. That is what is left after the other 80% of the transit funding is spent on the mandated transit and train projects. None of the remaining funds in the transit restricted portion can be used for roads. It must be used for transit - another slush fund to cover rail projects cost overruns.

Alden knows new road funding is excluded in the AFT transit tax hike. Her organization wrote the MPO plan that does include funding new road capacity. She was specifically engaged with the AFT transit activists who wrote the language.

Alden did not want to say there's no new road funding in AFT's tax hike so she carefully couched her wording. She covered herself by stating new road capacity "may be eligible" which also means new roads may not be eligible" to have it both ways.

None of the regulations in the 5 pages of the AFT tax hike charter amendment are in the MPO plan. Alden knows that too. The MPO plan uses dollars and has specific projects with associated costs.  Alden's presentation creates a false impression that the MPO plan and the AFT rail tax hike are one and the same.

Alden is also wrong about being able to reallocate bike/pedestrian funding which is massively overfunded in the AFT tax hike.

Reallocation of any funding is only allowable in the General Purpose funding categories for maintenance, intersection improvements and safety (sections 11.07(1), (2) and (3). And then it requires a 75% super super majority to reallocate any of those funds.

The tax hike language specifically prohibits reallocating any funds dedicated to bike paths/sidewalks (Section 11.07(4).
Included in the Transit Tax Hike
 charter amendment ballot language
(click to enlarge)
No reallocation of any funds in the Transit Restriction portion is allowed. None of the $7-8 Billion MANDATED to be spent on transit and city of Tampa rail projects can be reallocated to anything else - for 30 years. It would require passing another charter amendment to repeal this tax or change it. Alden conspicuously left out that information

Alden misrepresented the proportion of the total tax that will be spent in the city of Tampa.

AFT's rail tax will fully fund the three of the four rail corridors (exception is the Streetcar) listed in the MPO plan. The MPO plan states the three Tampa rail corridors will be financed 100% by a one percent sales tax hike - which will be paid for mostly by taxpayers in unincorporated Hillsborough.

The population of the city of Tampa is currently about 27% of the total population of Hillsborough County. When the Tampa rail projects are included, about 50% of the total $16 Billion tax hike will be spent in the city of Tampa over the 30 years.

Alden ignored the rail/transit funding in the MPO plan that would be spent in Tampa. If she did, everyone would know AFT's transit tax is a Rail tax. Alden knows "rail" is a four letter word that has become toxic in Tampa Bay.

AFT does not want the word rail mentioned and Alden complied. AFT has spent millions and millions on expensive misleading glossy mailers covering for their rail tax.

Alden is a known transit enthusiast. She has the audacity to include proposing tearing down 10 miles of I-275 from downtown to Bearss Avenue in the MPO's current 2045 planning process.

Big problem is Alden was not truthful in her August 23 presentation. Alden is a taxpayer funded bureaucrat who does not represent AFT.  She should not have taken it upon herself to act as one.

The MPO Board must address this issue because Alden works for them. MPO staff cannot be misinforming or misleading the public or anyone else about what AFT's 30 year $16 Billion tax hike is funding.

The MPO must clearly distance themselves from AFT and their tax hike.

The credibility of the Hillsborough MPO will continue spiraling downward unless the MPO Board takes actions to reign in its own bureaucracy.

Point of reference: Christina Barker works directly for Jeff Vinik who has handed over $480K to AFT, the tax hike PAC and is the PAC's biggest financial backer. Kevin Thurman was the Executive Director of the now defunct transit lobbyist nonprofit Connect Tampa Bay. Thurman's wife Ali Glisson also works directly for Jeff Vinik. Barker and Glisson both previously worked for Mayor Buckhorn.
Posted by Sharon Calvert at 2:26 PM 

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

Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

DUNKIN - AKA DUNKIN DONUTS – can they make it on coffee?

Is it just me or have the donuts at Dunkin Donuts gotten smaller?

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

I admit it; I am a donut fan, and I am especially attracted to the powdered sugar coated; vanilla cream filled Dunkin delight. Or at least, I was.
I have noticed over the last few months my favorite donut seems to have gotten smaller and the amount of filling, which once was quite generous now seems to be administered with an eye dropper.
The other distressing change is that after about 1:00PM there are almost no donuts in the mid Pinellas County Dunkin stores.
There are a lot of changes at Dunkin Donuts as reveled in CNN Money by Danielle Wiener-Bronner: Dunkin' Donuts is officially dropping 'Donuts'
On a recent afternoon when things had been going exceptionally bad I decided a sugar-coated vanilla cream filled pick-me-up, and an iced coffee would set all things right.
I headed to my favorite DD in Pinellas Park, only to be greeted by a small nearly empty donut shelf. Determined, I headed for a DD in Kenneth City. The somewhat talkative donista assured me they had my desired confection and quickly produced a powdered sugar-coated treat and a cup of ice coffee.
I slipped into the somewhat industrial looking booth took a sip of coffee and a big bite of the donut UGH!!!!!..... Jelly filled.
You just can’t trust anyone these days.
You may notice that the donut case and number of varieties of donuts has also been reduced at your favorite DD, or I guess it is just plain “D."
The Dunkin folks have long lusted after the Starbucks business model of expensive coffees and a loyal well heeled following, and these latest moves seem to be a tack in that direction.
The Dunkin moves away from their core business in search of the elusive high-end coffee drinker seems risky at best to me.
I suspect there will still be long lines around the drive through early in the morning for coffee, but I bet the number of people picking up a box to take work will diminish as the quality and size of Dunkin’s actual donuts continues to decline.
You would think that people who run a business as big as Dunkin would watch the news and at least be aware of what happened at SEARS when a bad business plan really went south.
As for me, I think I am through with Dunkin or Dunkin Donuts for now.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am writing this from my favorite Starbucks where I am drinking an iced coffee, trying figure out which of their sweet treats I will substitute for long timed loved powdered sugar coated vanilla cream filled donut.
E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
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Thursday, October 18, 2018

All For Transportation Will Be A Transit Failure

Tampa, Fl

From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert

As we discussed here, the All For Transportation Hillsborough County Charter Amendment cloaks itself around transportation and safety improvements, while deceptively and intentionally constraining road capacity and thus increasing congestion. They are intentionally downplaying their true advocacy for transit, specifically fixed guideway or rail solutions. Yet those will be an even bigger failure than their so called transportation improvements.
Train wreck
First, the transit related sections from the plan.

Section 11.08. Uses of Transit Restricted Portion. The Transit Restricted Portion, and any Agency Distribution received by HART, shall be spent by HART for the planning, development, construction, operation, and maintenance of public transportation projects located solely in Hillsborough County, which are consistent with the HART Transit Development Plan, as adopted and amended from time to time by the HART board of directors, to the extent permitted by F.S. § 212.055(1), and include expenditures in the following categories:
Cited directly from the plan, this section allocates over $7 billion, or 45% of the estimated $16 billion in total funds raised over 30 years, directly to HART.
(1) Enhancing Bus Services. No less than forty-five percent (45%) of the Transit Restricted Portion shall be spent on bus services, including express, neighborhood, circulator, paratransit, and all other types of transit now or hereafter operated by HART. HART shall consider the following factors in determining the projects included in its Project Plan for this purpose: existing transit ridership; increasing existing service; expanding service to more residents; existing and future land use; and the availability and feasibility of obtaining third party funding sources to fund any portions of the Project Plan.
Cited directly from the plan, this increases funding for expanding HART bus related services. That is, what it does today, to nearly $3.2 billion, or 20% of the total tax over 3 years. Note what appears to be a scope expansion for HART or "existing and future land use", which is not explained elsewhere. Is that for right of way acquisition, or is that for transit oriented development?
(2) Expanding Public Transit Options. No less than thirty-five percent (35%) of the Transit Restricted Portion shall be spent on transit services that utilize exclusive transit right-of-way for at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the length of the applicable service. HART shall consider the following factors in determining the projects included in its Project Plan for this purpose: existing transit ridership; utilizing or extending existing fixed guideways and rights-of-way; increasing existing service; expanding service to more residents; existing and future land use; and the availability and feasibility of obtaining third party funding sources to fund any portions of the Project Plan.
Cited directly from the plan, this is nearly $2.5 billion, or nearly 16% of the total taxes over thirty years. "Utilize exclusive transit right-of-way" specifically will require rail and/or dedicated transit lanes.
(3) Remaining Funds. Any remaining portions of the Transit Restricted Portion shall be spent on any project to improve public transportation permitted by F.S. § 212.055(1) or this Charter.

Cited directly from the plan, this is about $1.4 billion, or 9% of the total revenues, which can only be reallocated to "public transportation" parts of the plan, i.e., sections (1) and (2) above. The Tampa transit advocates who authored the plan were careful to ensure monies from the "General Purpose" section of the plan could flow to transit, but that monies allocated for transit were locked into transit.

The plan is a hail mary to dying transit. Transit ridership is falling throughout the US. Reports are common throughout the mainstream media as well as urbanisttransit advocate and libertarian sources. All modes - commuter rail, light rail, bus are affected. Legacy transit cities are as affected as are newer ones. There are several reasons - ride sharing, improved economy, lower gas prices, more telecommuting. It does not really matter that much. Transit nationally has never had a major share of commuting outside of New York City, and cities such as Tampa, without a large central business district, are not conducive to transit. Regardless, when people have a choice, most chose not to use transit. Even during the great recession, when transit ridership reached its recent high ridership, it was not that great.

Hillsborough is no exception. From FY 2016 to 2017, HART''s weekday ridership to date had decreased 7.7%. This is on top of the decrease in ridership of 6.5% from FY 2015 to 2016. That adds up to an average daily loss of 6831 riders in Hillsborough County, which grew an estimated 100,000 new residents during those years. The residents in Hillsborough have not been choosing HART. They have been choosing to drive their cars.

Even if we had a more developed transit infrastructure as AFT is proposing, it will not get you to where you want to go faster than driving. According to Governing magazine, riding transit takes nearly twice as long as driving. That holds true even in New York and Los Angeles and other transit heavy municipalities nationally. Despite all the transit investment, driving is still faster. Twice as fast. To believe that the AFT will do any better with Hillsborough any time soon is a foolish game.

Regardless, Hillsborough, we are told, is the definition of sprawl. Who am I to argue? Well, the best way to get around, and get to a job, has been, and will be, by car. Studies show that car commuters have about 30 times more job accessibility than those who take public transit. Spending billions on transit will be of little to no help for those who need improved access to their jobs, and the choice of better jobs.

Then there is just the fact of the large numbers of 700,000 new residents moving into Hillsborough in the next 30 years. Hillsborough population will grow from 1.4 million to 2.1 million. Even if AFT was wildly successful and more than quadrupled HARTs ridership to 8% of commuters (which has not happened in any transit agency over the last 30 years), there will still be over 1.9 million people in Hillsborough driving cars daily, or an increase in over 500,000 more people in cars. Transit is unable to respond to this demand especially when HART is currently averaging less than 43,000 riders per weekday. We must anticipate the need for new road capacity, which current residents clearly prefer and future residents will as well, which this plan explicitly underfunds (if at all).

In fact, HART has NO PLANS to spend this kind of money. This plan funds HART at over $126 million in 2018 equivalent, or about 4 times what they are funded today with Ad Valorem taxes. They have little in the way of vetted plans or designs for the type of transit corridors planned by AFT. Sure, HART has it's Ten Year Development Plans (TDP)
 and aspirational plans, but those are nowhere near "shovel ready", and much more modest than AFTs vision. It will take years for HART to study, design, plan, assess environmental impacts, perform economic studies, comply with land use, acquire right of way, etc. before a single track is laid. Don't believe me? It took 7 years for Sunrail in Central Florida to become operational after the counties approved the project, and which required little new rail development as they acquired the rail from CSX. The result, of course, was paltry ridership, around 3400 per week day through June 2018. In the mean time, those 700,000 new residents will keep piling in with their cars.

The "plans" that do exist are from the Hillsborough MPO 2040 LRTP. Specifically, Figure 3-29 identifies several rail projects:
1.            USF to Downtown Tampa, with a DMU (diesel!) on existing (CSX) track
2.            Tampa Downtown to Tampa Westshore, modern tram
3.            Tampa Westshore to Tampa airport, automated people mover
4.            Ybor City to Downtown Tampa, streetcar
Which, of course, are all in city of Tampa. The most expensive forms of transit is serving less than 30% of Hillsborough population, while being paid for by the other 70% who live, work and play in the county. Not only that, these rail corridors -- downtown, Westshore, airport, USF -- serve the wealthiest neighborhoods with the shortest commutes in Hillsborough. Even if these 4 rail lines regularly served an unreasonably optimistic 10% of the population of Tampa, that is only 37,000 people out of a county of nearly 1.4 million. This is a bad investment in mobility. Not to mention the regular commuters and visitors from nearby Pinellas, Pasco, and Polk counties will see no benefit. Pasco in particular is growing at an even faster rate than Hillsborough, further pressuring Hillsborough's transportation infrastructure, which this plan does nothing to relieve.

Do you not believe this plan forces mal-investment in rail? Let's get it from the Chair of All for Transportation, Tyler Hudson:

Tyler Hudson, Chair, AFT, confirming their plan enshrines
fixed guideway transit. AFT Facebook Live chat October 4, 2018

AFT already restricted me from commenting on their Facebook page after I cited clauses in their plan and the implications. Now I expect they will block me completely.

When more Americans telecommute than take transit, perhaps we've reached the event horizon on the black hole of transit.

The AFT plan attempts to bail out dying transit and HART with ill conceived plans for a relative few in Tampa, that will take years to develop, and will result in commutes twice as long than driving.

Time to stop the wishful thinking, and deal with the reality we live in Tampa Bay.
This post is contributed by EYE ON TAMPA BAY. The views expressed in this post are the blog publisher's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of Bay Post Internet.

Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Ballot Amendments and Questions– How will you vote?

Election Day is November 6, 2018 are you ready to vote?

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

Here are few useful links as you form your opinion and try to better understand what each proposed Constitutional amendment will do!

The League of Women Voters and this pdf from Florida Tax Watch give great insight on each amendment, along with their recommendation on how to vote on each. They also explain the implications for voting for or against each amendment.

Florida Association of Counties offers a quick explanation for each proposal, along with analysis of how some of the amendments will impact county governments if they’re approved. Click on each amendment to learn more and to read editorials on the topic from the state’s largest papers.

Below is a handy table with recommended votes based on my research of various political sites, newspapers and Blogs.

There is a column to record your vote and you can print it and take it with you to speed up your voting process at the polls.

Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption
Limitations on Property Tax Assessments
Voter Control of Gambling in Florida
Voting Restoration Amendment
Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees
Rights of Crime Victims; Judges
First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities
Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces
State and Local Government Structure and Operation
Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes
Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers
Ends Dog Racing

Below is the official description of the proposed constitutional Amendments  

Proposed Constitutional Amendments
No. 1 Constitutional Amendment - Affects: Article VII, Section 6 Article XII, Section 37 
Increased Homestead Property Tax Exemption - Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to increase the homestead exemption by exempting the assessed valuation of homestead property greater than $100,000 and up to $125,000 for all levies other than school district levies. The amendment shall take effect January 1, 2019.

No. 2 Constitutional Amendment - Affects: Article XII, Section 27 
Limitations on Property Tax Assessments - Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to permanently retain provisions currently in effect, which limit property tax assessment increases on specified non-homestead real property, except for school district taxes, to 10 percent each year. If approved, the amendment removes the scheduled repeal of such provisions in 2019 and shall take effect January 1, 2019.

No. 3 Constitutional Amendment - Affects: Article X, Section 29
Voter Control of Gambling in Florida - This amendment ensures that Florida voters shall have the exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling by requiring that in order for casino gambling to be authorized under Florida law, it must be approved by Florida voters pursuant to Article XI, Section 3 of the Florida Constitution. Affects articles X and XI. Defines casino gambling and clarifies that this amendment does not conflict with federal law regarding state/tribal compacts.
The amendment’s impact on state and local government revenues and costs, if any, cannot be determined at this time because of its unknown effect on gambling operations that have not been approved by voters through a constitutional amendment proposed by a citizens’ initiative petition process.

No. 4 Constitutional Amendment - Affects: Article VI, Section 4
Voting Restoration Amendment - This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation. The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis.
The precise effect of this amendment on state and local government costs cannot be determined, but the operation of current voter registration laws, combined with an increased number of felons registering to vote, will produce higher overall costs relative to the processes in place today. The impact, if any, on state and local government revenues cannot be determined. The fiscal impact of any future legislation that implements a different process cannot be reasonably determined.

No. 5 Constitutional Amendment - Affects: Article VII, Section 19
Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees - Prohibits the legislature from imposing, authorizing, or raising a state tax or fee except through legislation approved by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature in a bill containing no other subject. This proposal does not authorize a state tax or fee otherwise prohibited by the Constitution and does not apply to fees or taxes imposed or authorized to be imposed by a county, municipality, school board, or special district.

No. 6 Constitutional Revision - Affects: Article I, Section 16, Article V, Sections 8 and 21, Article XII, New Section
Rights of Crime Victims; Judges - Creates constitutional rights for victims of crime; requires courts to facilitate victims’ rights; authorizes victims to enforce their rights throughout criminal and juvenile justice processes. Requires judges and hearing officers to independently interpret statutes and rules rather than deferring to government agency’s interpretation. Raises mandatory retirement age of state justices and judges from seventy to seventy-five years; deletes authorization to complete judicial term if one-half of term has been served by retirement age.

No. 7 Constitutional Revision - Affects: Article IX, Sections 7 and 8, Article X, New Section
First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities - Grants mandatory payment of death benefits and waiver of certain educational expenses to qualifying survivors of certain first responders and military members who die performing official duties. Requires supermajority votes by university trustees and state university system board of governors to raise or impose all legislatively authorized fees if law requires approval by those bodies. Establishes existing state college system as constitutional entity; provides governance structure.

No. 8 Removed

No. 9 Constitutional Revision - Affects: Article II, Section 7, Article X, Section 20
Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces - Prohibits drilling for the exploration or extraction of oil and natural gas beneath all state-owned waters between the mean high water line and the state’s outermost territorial boundaries. Adds use of vapor-generating electronic devices to current prohibition of tobacco smoking in enclosed indoor workplaces with exceptions; permits more restrictive local vapor ordinances.

No. 10 Constitutional Revision - Affects: Article III, Section 3, Article IV, Sections 4 and 11, Article VIII, Sections 1 and 6
State and Local Government Structure and Operation -Requires legislature to retain department of veterans’ affairs. Ensures election of sheriffs, property appraisers, supervisors of elections, tax collectors, and clerks of court in all counties; removes county charters’ ability to abolish, change term, transfer duties, or eliminate election of these offices. Changes annual legislative session commencement date in even-numbered years from March to January; removes legislature’s authorization to fix another date. Creates office of domestic security and counter terrorism within department of law enforcement.

No. 11 Constitutional Revision - Affects: Article I, Section 2, Article X, Sections 9 and 19
Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes - Removes discriminatory language related to real property rights. Removes obsolete language repealed by voters. Deletes provision that amendment of a criminal statute will not affect prosecution or penalties for a crime committed before the amendment; retains current provision allowing prosecution of a crime committed before the repeal of a criminal statute.

No. 12 Constitutional Revision - Affects: Article II, Section 8, Article V, Section 13, Article XII, New Section
Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers - Expands current restrictions on lobbying for compensation by former public officers; creates restrictions on lobbying for compensation by serving public officers and former justices and judges; provides exceptions; prohibits abuse of a public position by public officers and employees to obtain a personal benefit.

No. 13 Constitutional Revision - Affects: Article X, New Section, Article XII, New Section
Ends Dog Racing - Phases out commercial dog racing in connection with wagering by 2020. Other gaming activities are not affected.

For City and County Ballot initiatives and Referendums check your local County Supervisor Elections web site

Pinellas County Located at the bottom of the page
City of Clearwater, City of Madeira Beach, City of St. Petersburg, City of St. Pete Beach, Town of Redington Beach, City of Tarpon Springs
Hillsborough County Amendments and Referendums at the bottom of the Page
Manatee County  You will need to fill out some voter information
Sarasota County  Sample Ballots are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. Acrobat Reader is available by clicking a link on the site.  

This election is extremely important. These Ballot questions are key to Florida and your local jurisdictions future. Be sure to vote on all of the state and local ballot initiatives. 
E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.  

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