Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Warehouse Arts District's proposed outdoor performing arts venue should concern area residents!

St. Petersburg Fl
Public Opinion by author: Robert Neff

 "The Warehouse Arts District is one step closer to gaining an outdoor performing arts center, after the St. Petersburg City Council approved a zoning change Thursday that would allow outdoor performing arts venues in underutilized industrial areas throughout the city." St. Pete Catalyst on February 22, 2019 By Megan Holmes

Area residents should be concerned and ask both Mayor Kriseman and City Council for clarification on exactly how the noise ordinance applies, what distance applies to the venue per the noise ordinance, exactly what is allowed under the special "Outdoor Performing Arts Venue", and how complaints and enforcement will be addressed AND RESOLVED. Especially if the outdoor performing arts center impacts nearby residential areas, because: 

(1) The City has not clarified which noise ordinance paragraph and subparagraph applies. The City and Police need to be up front with nearby residents. In the past, City Legal, Police Legal and Police's guidance has not been clear, and the police officers enforcing the noise ordinance. 

From October 2015 to February 2016, City and Police Legal generated a total three emails and letters for police, residents and businesses. They each stated the minimum distance from the bar to the residence — 1000'. While my residence was beyond that distance, the residents across the street from the business' outdoor music were not so lucky. They were too close. However, the police responding never cited the Flamingo Resort. They stated the noise was not “Plainly audible,” yet; the noise was plainly audible to senior citizens who were standing next to or near the police officer.

Legal also stated the police officers could deem the noise to be inadvertent. The Joint City and Police Legal email to me stated, the officer can ask the business to turn down the music. The police never cited the Flamingo Resort, just kept asking them to turn down the noise or gave them stern comments.

The police have no means to track police "warnings" for noise. This is public information that must be posted on the city web site. This is another item Council Members need to ensure is in place.  

(2) City Police have a history of not enforcing the noise ordinance and not issuing citations. For residents trying to read the noise ordinance, the language can be confusion and ambiguous. Even when provided direction from City and or Police Legal Advisors, the officers ignored the letter's guidance on the distance. Sec. 11-53. - Loud, raucous and unnecessary noises enumerated covers the distance and times in subparagraphs 
  • (a) privately-owned outdoor place in a nonresidential zoning district; 100 feet or more from the source of the sound between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.,      
  • (b) nonresidential use, when making sound is not the principal use of the property (e.g., the outdoor deck of a restaurant); 1,000 feet or more from the source of the sound between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. (12:00 midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and the days before a national holiday, this is an exception to subsection (4)a of this section), 
  • (c) privately-owned outdoor place, when making sound is the primary, lawful permitted use of that portion of the property (e.g., a performance venue); 3,000 feet or more from the source of the sound between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. (12:00 midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and the days before a national holiday, this is an exception to subsection (4)a of this section).
  • If you feel confused by reading that, so have the police officers when they responded. 

I have encountered police officers who ignored the Legal's emails and letters, and refused to look at them. Two officers promised to contact legal and get back. Never did. One stated the distance was 3000', and another said the distance was 5000'. The City Legal and Police Legal email stated 1000'. 

So be prepared for City Legal, Police Legal, and Police Supervision and officers to keep changing the distance.  

(3) The proposed noise ordinance revision is not changing because Option 3 Decibel Standard was not selected. Plainly audible will continue to be the standard.  Every neighborhood board and its residents need to read this to understand how new businesses or venues with performance venues' noise may impact them. 

The Warehouse Arts District is located within District 7. Council Member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman represents the area bounded by District 8 and Council Member Amy Foster. The two Council Members should take the lead to reach out to area neighborhoods and residents to ensure they understand exactly what the special permit states for the outdoor performing arts venues.

Council Members Wheeler-Bowman and Foster, and area residents should be concerned, because:

1. "The proposed property is three blocks from the nearest residentially zoned property..." Whoever made that statement does not understand how noise works, and is an empty promise. The City should require sound monitoring at the property perimeter and at the three-block mark for both the types of decibel readings, dBA and dBC.  A-weighted discriminates against bass but C-weighted meter measures the low frequency, commonly referred to as bass. What is the difference between "A weighting" and "C weighting"? 

Residents near Skyway Marina District have reported noise from the Flamingo Resort at 2000' and four blocks. In Nashville, noise at outdoor amphitheater was heard a mile away.

2. Residents should not trust a business when the resident faces a loss of enjoyment of their home.
"and the applicants have promised to utilize sound dampening materials such as bamboo or other methods, including a sound dampening roof."
If the business does not engage an acoustical engineer, how can they demonstrate that they working with the City and community to understand how their business model will impact the area? 

Because the City did not select Option Decibel Standard, where the noise level can be measured by a decibel meter, the selected noise ordinance uses the current standard "Plainly audible." This noise ordinance definition is the issue and has two main clauses.

First sentence: 
Plainly audible means any sound produced by a source, which can be heard by any reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities using his or her unaided hearing faculties. 
While this can be heard by anyone, the officer has to "hear it" to issue a citation. This is the problem. An officer's hearing is not standard across every responding officer. Plus this is relative to the officer's hearing, not yours. 
While the officer will be in uniform, their hearing is anything but uniform. 
The officer is there for a minute or very short time. Listening for a minute may seem OK to them, but you may have to listen to this over your television for hours and hours. Or you may not be able to sleep!

Second sentence:
Words or phrases need not be discernible and low frequency sound reverberations are included.
Low frequency or bass is the least understood and not likely to be enforced. While police officers listen for audible, but they will more than likely state the bass is OK. Because police officers are not trained on how bass works, this is not well understand.

If you are inside your home, that police officer outside may say the bass is "OK" to them. But your walls may be vibrating, windows shaking, or have a thumping pulse inside all afternoon and night. Residents, who are two doors down, may not experience the bass or thumping. Neighbors across the street can be blocked by another building, and not be affected. 

Many residents in this City have tried to work with bars or venues but the efforts were in vain. Some residents have been labeled to be the problem because they keep calling. Bar have filed civil lawsuits against several residents. 

The current and proposed noise ordinance will not be a resident's friend. Instead, it will be the business' best friend! The business and supporters (and neighbors) may ask you to move. How neighborly of them! 

District 6 and 8 residents need to work with their respective Council Members, and request the business applicant provide an acoustical noise study that WILL be reviewed by the City’s acoustic consultant.

Again, this is where the proposed noise ordinance is lacking. If there was a decibel standard, the City could cite compliance to the decibel standard and measure it with a decibel meter. Residents could request to see the police decibel meter readings. Not so with "plainly audible."
From May 2017 to April 2018, the City paid $5,700 for four acoustical studies — one mechanical, three for noise.
Yet, the City WILL NOT pay for a medical expert to study the noise's impact on resident's health for both adults and kids.
How can the City ask a business to promise… when the noise ordinance is based on “plainly audible?” Police Chief Holloway does not offer training on noise? 
One resident at the Detroit had multiple calls to report the noise at The Landing at Jannus. Police confirmed the walls were vibrating. However, the police researched the noise ordinance and found there is a minimum distance. The  resident lived too close. The decibel standard would have found this to be in violation.
How can the city even think about how the noise will impact residents when the City has not hired a medical expert to educate them on noise’s impact on adult and kids’ health. City must run this application by a nationally recognized noise expert. 
But at least District 6 residents seem to be in better hands than I was. They should not expect their Council Member to work with the police and bar owner to develop a strategy to deal with them, like City Council Member Kornell did with me. (Jack Dougherty is the Flamingo Resort owner and President of the Board for the Skyway Marina District. Officer Kelly was the Community Service Officer.)

There are five Police Reports for noise that should concern District 6 residents. 

The City's plainly audible standard applied to these calls, where police did not issue a citation. While the calls before midnight on weekends were in compliance with the noise ordinance, the residents should have waited until after midnight to call. Then the noise would be in violation, but only if the police officer found it to be plainly audible.  

All report "Location of the incident" are the Flamingo Resort, located in the Skyway Marina District, and are included at the end of the article.

None of these calls were made by me.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

1:15 AM - Call For Service Report 2009302184 - Noise Nuisance - Flamingo Resort
Kelly says COMPL needs to be seen to show officers noise problem.. Or we should cancel these calls. The Caller left their name but Kelly said is was Resident Refused.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

11-24 PM - Call For Service Report 2011086987 - Noise Nuisance - Flamingo Resort
LOUD MUSIC COMING FROM THIS X20 KEEPING CMPL AWAKE. DENNIS C. KELLY on terminal: $131B SPOKE WITH THE COMPLAIANT WHO ADVISED THE MUSIC WAS NO LONGER LOUD AND THAT SHE WAS GOING TO SLEEP. Spoke with Front Desk Manager who they are having a pink party and that he will turn down the music.

Sunday, April 24, 2011 

2:13 AM - Officer Kelly - Call For Service Report 2011087096.jpg

Kelly explained to security that this is second time police have been out for noise situation. I was advised by security that he would take care of the situation

Saturday, April 23, 2016

1:02 AM - Call For Service Report 2016088386 - Noise Nuisance - Flamingo Resort
2000' away. For last hour been listening I have been trying to sleep. New to area. Is this the whole deal. Spent last hour reading through the noise ordinance and they are in violation.

Saturday, July 16, 2016 

11-22 PM - Call For Service Report 2016153144 - Noise Nuisance - Flamingo Resort
There were multiple calls after 1 AM
Called twice, once at 6, once after 9. Noise is back up.  I just want to go to bed. COMPLAINTANT IS 4 blocks away. CONCERT WILL BE STARTING FROM MIDNIGHT UNTIL APPROXIMATELY 0130 HRS. MUSIC WAS NOT IN VIOLATION

The opinions here are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bay Post Internet or the Blog Publishers where it appears.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

2019 on track to be St. Petersburg's noisiest year since 2016

St. Petersburg Fl
Public Opinion by author: Robert Neff

January 2019 noise calls have increased, and have returned to 2016 levels. Mayor Kriseman may want to have Planning and Zoning run the data to figure out where the noise increase is, and how many citations were issued. Then share this with residents and bars, because 2019 is on track to be the noisiest year since 2016 with estimated 3,900 calls.

January comparison for noise and loud calls from 2013-2018
NOTE: Three bars with high repeat calls for noise closed in 2017
  • 1/2019 — 360 calls
  • 1/2018 — 223 calls
  • 1/2017 — 297 calls
  • 1/2016 — 424 calls
  • 1/2015 — 398 calls
  • 1/2014 — 355 calls
  • 1/2013 — 393 calls

Don't forget, on April 11, 2017, Mayor Kriseman asked Police Chief Holloway,
Chief, just to follow up on our conversation this morning, while there is a revised noise ordinance in the works, I need your officers to begin enforcing the existing ordinance now. Specifically, if they were to engage in an intense operation over the period of a few weeks, and announce that this operation would be forthcoming, it could have a deterrent effect going forward and would go a long way to making the public feel like the City was engaged in this issue.
Some of the locations where we are receiving the greatest number of complaints 34th are Tryst, Caddy’s, the Landings at Janis, and the Flamingo on Street.
Mayor Kriseman added, 
If you can get your officers to buy into the fact that their actions in enforcing this ordinance (just like the vehicles parking in the street or on lawns) impacts quality of life and fits in with the broken window theory, they’ll do a better job with enforcement and not give you the same amount of pushback.
Did anyone tell the Mayor that his order the Police Chief didn't work? 

The January 2019 spike comes as City Council's Public Services & Infrastructure (PS&I) Committee is set to recommend the noise ordinance revision.

PS&I is responsible for the noise ordinance revision. The City is responsible for gathering information and data to present to PS&I.

From July to December 2017, there were seven stakeholder meetings with the Jannus Block,  Beach Drive, Ale and Witch, Flamingo, Caddy’s ownership group (Yard of Ale, McDintons), Mayor, Chamber of Commerce, Police department reps, and Resident Group.

Mayor Kriseman has been asked to hire a medical expert to educate Council, City, and Police AND to assess noise's medical impact on resident’s health, but he has refused. Both Noise Ordinance Project Directors Goodwin and Abernethy also declined. Abernethy stated, the noise ordinance is not changing, just the fines.
This is the lamest excuse for not having a medical expert review the acoustic noise studies, and to both present to and educate PS&I, Police and the City. 
From May 2017 to April 2018, the City paid for four acoustical studies. Total cost was $5,700, yet the City will not pay for a medical expert to study the noise's impact on resident's health for both adults and kids.

The City has ignored the acoustical expert and the studies, and chosen to not use the decibel standard. Yet, the Mayor Kriseman and City Council can quickly vote to ban plastic straws and protect the environment.
Wish Mayor Kriseman and City Council were just as concerned about our health as they were with the environment!   
The Noise Ordinance will continue to use the plainly audible standard, which helps bars and harms residents.

The revision does not change the minimum distance. As the downtown and areas outside downtown become more dense, this will create a bigger problem for residences.

If you live across the street from a bar, the police cannot enforce the noise ordinance. This has already occurred when a resident at the Detroit called the police for noise at the The Landing at Jannus.

The police have no training on noise ordinance or noise. Nor do the police have a system in place to manage the proposed warnings when they are issued.

To date, Mayor Kriseman and City Council, and Police Chief Holloway have not addressed how the warnings will be tracked and measured. This should be posted to the web site for all to see. This is called transparency.

Mayor Kriseman and City Council are making a grave mistake by refusing to have a nationally recognized medical expert on noise present to PS&I. The medical expert can educate the City Council, Mayor, Police, bar owners, and residents on how noise impacts adults and kids' health.

The noise ordinance was last revised with a cosmetic change to point speakers inward and close doors. Mayor Kriseman and City Council need to stop kicking the can down the road and  make an informed decision to protect resident’s health and hire a medical expert!

Here are Noise Ordinance's next steps.

Data Source for both the chart and heat map is StatMap.

The opinions here are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bay Post Internet or the Blog Publishers where it appears.

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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Should Nurse Practitioners be allowed to practice independently in Florida?

Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
 In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
Once again, this Session the Florida Legislature will take a look at the issue of expanding nurse practitioners’ authority in Florida.
For some additional insight check out this article: Florida Politics, from the News Service of Florida, Nurse practitioner debate re-emerges in House
Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners, The Advanced Practice Nurse Solution indicates that over 1 million Floridians lack access to basic health care.
From the FLANP article, “Nurse Practitioners (NP) provide primary and acute health care services by diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medications and treating diseases. They also provide inpatient hospital care, emergency and urgent care, and provide psychiatric care. NPs must earn  Masters and Doctoral degrees and pass national certification examinations to qualify for a license to practice and care for patients in Florida.”
Properly trained and licensed nurse practitioners are required to practice under the supervision of a doctor but are not allowed to practice independently.
It seems that most of the arguments against changes to the laws to allow nurse practitioners to practice independently to the “extent of their training” revolve around the delivery of care and come from doctors.
On the surface, the argument is about patient care, but the real issue is money.
If you go, see a nurse practitioner about your cold and he/she recommends some over the counter remedy you may never go see your Primary care provider. Same is true for flu shots and other basic medical services.
Primary-care physician loses revenue.
The other major pitch from the FLANP is the issue of medical care in rural areas.
They say nurse practitioners in states where they can practice independently, are more likely to go to an under served area to practice. That statement is refuted by Manning Hanline, a Pensacola-based internist, said that allowing ARNPs to practice independently wouldn’t increase access to care. (Quote from News Service of Florida Article).
The Florida legislature has been wrestling with this issue for some time now and there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed. However, a well-crafted Bill that would provide for control over third-party payers, protections for the public and maybe a requirement for service in under served areas should be workable solution.
For now, there seems to more concern about whose ox will be gored than concern over providing adequate health care in under served areas and lowering the cost of medical services.
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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Unmagnificent Seven Shooting Blanks in Tampa Mayoral Campaign

Tampa, Fl
Tampa Bay Beat
By: Jim Bleyer

Jane Castor speaks at Arts and Culture Forum

By Jim Bleyer
Tampa’s uninspiring mayoral race enters its final month with a clear leader, no spark from the seven suits seeking to succeed Bob Buckhorn, and a questionable process in reaching the average voter.

The Big Yawn began in earnest Nov. 7, the day following the 2018 midterms.  After three months, the needle hasn’t moved in any of the private polls: former police chief Jane Castor leads the Titans of Tedium by a healthy margin.

The low caliber slate and lack of campaign intensity is shocking for a city with 385,000 residents, beset by mounting urban challenges, and a negative national image fomented by Buckhorn.

The never-ending neighborhood and special interest forums tell the story: all but one held in South Tampa were not well attended.  I witnessed the “Arts and Culture Forum” which claimed to sell out with 500 confirmed reservations.  If one includes the custodial help, security, and actors onstage, there may have been 300 in the Blake High School auditorium.
They could have squeezed into the band room.

Castor, the only female candidate, garners a solid 32-35 percent in most internal polls.  Her closest pursuer with 15 percent is billionaire David Straz.  The remaining five candidates hover at ten percent and lower.

The irony: Castor and Straz are clearly the poorest speakers/debaters. The rest—businessman Topher Morrison, former County Commissioner Ed Turanchik, attorney Dick Greco Jr., and City Councilmen Harry Cohen and Mike Suarez—are far more articulate.

Topher Morrison rallies supporters in South Tampa

With the poorest communicators seemingly headed for the April 23 runoff, the role of the so-called media and the entire campaign process should be brought into sharper focus.

A second irony: Castor and Straz were both registered Republicans until they decided to vie for the “non-partisan” mayor’s seat.  There’s more: both connect to Donald Trump.

Castor’s partner, Ana Cruz, was named managing partner for the Tampa office of Ballard Partners, a prominent lobbying firm with close ties to the President.

After announcing he would run for mayor, Straz did a mea culpa by admitting he voted for Trump. “I made a mistake,” he said to a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 5 to 3 ratio.  This epiphany occured  three months after Trump was elected but quickly following Straz’ announcement that he was running.

One must wonder what information Straz procured about Trump in those three months to cause a 180 in his thinking.   No one at the plethora of bland candidate forums has asked him that and you can bet none will.  Those moderators, fellow candidates, and the moribund local media have been throwing more softballs than the local beer league.

It also has been rumored but not confirmed that Straz attended Trump’s private, $25,000-a-plate fundraiser at Tampa’s exclusive Centre Club in July, 2016.  That tariff equates to a tip to his pedicurist for someone of  Straz’ means.

In fact, the most notable aspect of Straz’ campaign is his willingness to spread his wealth among influential individuals and groups for their comity if not outright endorsements. This includes the Hillsborough County Democratic Party and, most sadly, the Muslims for Democracy and Fairness.
Payoffs to party hacks are one thing; a Trumpite bribing a group claiming to represent an oppressed minority is beyond belief.  It’s worthy of national news coverage.

Through January, Straz had raised $1,932,610, mostly self-funded.  That’s more than double the combined opposition’s total.   Castor follows with $293,846.  Turanchik has rasied $212,000 and the rest trail by even more.

With no public record to run on, no articulation or apparent understanding of the issues, and an empty chair at a few of the forums, Straz and his circle are hoping an avalanche of paid media spots and an expected negative attack against Castor will override his abundant flaws.

From what I am hearing, the Straz camp’s “March surprise” ain’t all that much not already in the public domain.  Castor’s “biking while black” initiative received negative national publicity and a rebuke from the U.S. Department of Justice.  She was slow to admit the program was faulty or to apologize.

In addition, Castor allegedly has not met the requirements of a consulting contract she has with Miami-Dade.  Tampanians could care less about Miami’s problem, if there even is one.
Castor would feast on Straz, the easiest opponent for her to beat in the runoff.
Then there’s the rest of the pack with termed-out councilmen Mike Suarez and Harry Cohen sharing the chutzpah award.  Their rhetoric, depending on the neighborhood group they are addressing, doesn’t match their eight-year record.

Ask the folks with road issues in New Tampa.

Greco’s father was a popular mayor decades ago but he couldn’t make the runoff in a 2010 comeback stab.  Junior’s name means nothing to new residents and many of the older ones passed on.  No chance.

Morrison and Turanchik have issued white papers on important issues such as transit and housing,  Both wear the mantle of “visionary” with Morrison appealing to younger voters and Turanchik relying on the establishment.

Turanchik made the rookie mistake of attacking Castor instead of Straz who holds the second runoff spot.  If he is in it to win it and not help Straz, Turanchik embraced a terrible strategy.
The optics of six men ganging up on Castor will only boost her in the polls.  Straz hasn’t done much but spend his millions and sits in second place.  The other five need to set their sights on him in the primary if they hope to move into the runoff mix.

Biggest disappointment of the campaign was the withdrawal of LaVaughn King who couldn’t gain enough signatures to qualify.  King, who participated in forums until the final qualifying day, provided fresh, original ideas.  His answers, and those of Morrison, stood in stark contrast to the canned answers from the career politicians on the panel.

The biggest question for Tampanians that witnessed any of the candidate get togethers: which one is Dopey and which one is Doc?

Now these Seven were Magnificent

 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 publisher.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Confusion Reigns with All for Transportation's Transit Tax Hike

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

The All for Transportation (AFT) 30 year $16 Billion transit tax hike charter amendment is one big mess. It is 5 pages of misleading spending regulations confusing to all.

Commissioner White's lawsuit is beginning to unravel the big mess AFT created. The unraveling continues as White sheds more light on the big mess at the January 24th BOCC meeting.

Local media, AFT, county commissioners and others were falsely accusing White that his lawsuit was delaying spending of the tax proceeds But White informed his peer board members and the public what AFT's charter amendment actually states about when AFT's sales tax proceeds can be spent.

The video and captioning of the January 24th meeting on the county's website is found here. In the video, White's comments begin at about 22:34 or about 4 minutes from the end. A copy of White's comments from the closed caption transcript can be found here.

White cited Section 11.06 of AFT's charter amendment below. Entire AFT charter amendment can be found here.
Section 11.06 of AFT tax hike
Charter Amendment
(click to enlarge)
No AFT sales tax proceeds collected in 2019 can be expended until January 2020. All of the agencies receiving the tax proceeds must submit their spending plans to unelected bureaucrats appointed to the Independent Oversight Committee (IOC), for their approval before the agency can spend the proceeds in the following calendar year.

The language in the AFT charter amendment debunks the #FakeNews narrative advanced by the Times and others that White's lawsuit was delaying spending the tax proceeds in 2019.

In addition, White discovered that Section 11.06 was somehow missing in the official County Charter updated with the AFT tax hike charter amendment language after the election. This is a critical section of the amendment that dictates what must occur to spend the tax funds and when they can be spent.

Below is the County Charter with the AFT charter amendment that was on the county's website January 24, 2019 missing Section 11.06 of the charter amendment.
County Charter missing Section 11.06
The County has since inserted the missing Section 11.06 into the official County Charter.

Lots of questions need to be answered and we're seeking answers. How did this happen? Were there multiple version of the charter amendment floating around the county? Were there versions floating around that had excluded Section 11.06 or excluded any other section?

The local media buzz (see links below) over the last few weeks claimed White's lawsuit was delaying HART from ordering 30 buses to be delivered by December and delaying the ordering of 8 electric buses at a cost of $10 million (over a million dollars each).

Democrat county commissioners Kimberly Overman and Pat Kemp both supported the AFT tax hike and were concerned about the lawsuit delaying transit spending by HART. Kemp even wanted the county to hand HART half of the county's Community Investment Tax (CIT) reserves, $10 million, to buy the 8 costly electric buses - for the 2% who use transit in Hillsborough County.

Apparently these commissioners were not concerned about much needed road projects on roads that 98% in Hillsborough County use everyday. None of the 2019 tax proceeds being collected now can be spent on any road purposed projects until 2020. Did voters know?

I spoke to Jeff Seward, the interim CEO of HART, to ask him about claims that the lawsuit was delaying HART from using the tax proceeds that are already being collected. He said HART's attorney David Smith recently informed him and the HART Board, via a memo, of AFT's timing considerations related to the spending of the tax proceeds.

Smith sent his memo to HART on January 24, 2019, apparently right after Commissioner White informed the public and his peer commissioners at the January 24 BOCC meeting of the actual language in Section 11.06 of AFT's charter amendment.

Smith's memo states:
Memo from HART's attorney to HART Board
January 24, 2019
(click to enlarge)
This confirms some of the powers AFT specifically gave to the IOC, unelected bureaucrats accountable to no one. The IOC can approve or disapprove plans and they can delay any changes to a plan that an agency requests.

Seward said he nor members of the HART Board were aware of Section 11.06 and the timing considerations. We confirmed with a HART Board member they were not aware of Section 11.06 until they received Smith's memo on January 24.

HART has been in a recruitment process for a new CEO since right after the election and candidates applying knew the transit tax had passed. Regardless of White's lawsuit, no candidate who applied was told about Section 11.06 - that HART cannot spend any of the almost $140 million they will receive in 2019 until 2020.

In addition, AFT wrote their charter amendment based on the calendar year that non-governmental entities use. AFT neglected the fiscal year of the government agencies receiving AFT's tax proceeds that runs from October 1 through September 30. That is a reflection of AFT incompetence or willful neglect.

If county commissioners and others from the agencies receiving AFT's tax proceeds were misled, misinformed or simply unaware of Section 11.06, we can bet voters were too.

This is just one section of AFT's charter amendment no one understood in a charter amendment that includes 5 pages of regulatory appropriations. There are certainly other sections of AFT's charter amendment that are misunderstood, are misleading or that voters, taxpayers and others are totally unaware of.

And it appears that AFT did not understand their own charter amendment.

After Seward found out about Section 11.06, he found it odd that when he met right after the election with Christina Barker, AFT spokesperson and employee of Jeff Vinik, she wanted to know how quickly HART could put new services on the street. Of course those new services requires the tax proceeds.

AFT spokesperson Brian Willis told Tampa Bay Business Journal “Commissioner White’s lawsuit is costing taxpayers more money while delaying the improvements needed to save lives and prevent accidents throughout our community.”

Willis should read his own charter amendment.

The 16 member IOC has not been created, no agency has a plan to deliver to the IOC and no tax proceeds collected in 2019 can be spent until 2020.

If AFT does not understand their charter amendment, we can bet voters did not either.

But as AFT spokesperson Christina Barker publicly stated just days before the election:
Our story is one of a few people who got together. We were writing a charter amendment over drinks. 
Just as drinking while driving is dangerous, drinking while law making can create a big mess - for all of us.

Unfortunately, AFT's big mess is unfolding after the election.

Related links:

All for Transportation asks court to dismiss lawsuit against Hillsborough sales tax

Uncertainty over lawsuit puts Hillsborough’s transportation plans on ice

Voter-approved transportation sales tax referendum gets questioned, could delay funding projects

Posted by 
Sharon Calvert at 12:58 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