Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Opposition Grows Against Bus Rapid Transit Project as Its Cost Increases to $44 million

Tampa, Fl

From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert

Pinellas County Transit Agency PSTA seeks over $21 million from the Federal Transit Administration and additional funds from the Florida Department of Transportation for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

But opposition is growing against the BRT project. Two (S Pasadena and St Pete Beach) of the three municipalities along the BRT route formally oppose the project as opposition grows in the city of St. Petersburg.

The BRT project PSTA called Central Avenue BRT (CA BRT) does not run along Central Avenue but along 1st Avenues North and South in St. Petersburg. It duplicates existing PSTA service that does run on Central Avenue.

The costs of this BRT has increased $2 million to $44 million since PSTA submitted their federal grant request less than 2 years ago. The project is such a mess that the design costs have doubled. PSTA estimates this project will gain about 1500 new riders. At a cost of $44 million, that is about $30K per new rider.

When the project started, it was estimated to cost $16.5 million and now the cost has exploded to $44 million.

PSTA's CA BRT removes valuable lanes of vehicle traffic and valuable parking for bus only lanes along 1st Avenues North and South and S Pasadena Avenue. PSTA is removing general lanes of traffic as Florida Department of Transportation is requiring PSTA to go through their lane elimination process - that PSTA tried to weasel out of doing.

In 2017, PSTA only approved a route from downtown St. Petersburg to 75th Avenue in St. Pete Beach. However, PSTA submitted a federal grant request for a route from downtown St. Petersburg to the Don Cesar on St. Pete Beach that put a 60 foot bus on narrow, congested Gulf Blvd.

When St. Pete Beach residents found out about this project, they showed up en masse at their city commission meetings vehemently opposing. St. Pete Beach commissioners respected the voice of their constituents and passed a formal resolution in opposition to the project, stating it must end at 75th Avenue and not go down Gulf Blvd and requested the FTA to stop further action on the project.

PSTA never told St. Pete Beach they submitted their federal grant request in August 2017 that included the BRT route down Gulf Blvd ending at the Don Cesar using a monster 60 foot bus. PSTA also did not tell St. Pete Beach their grant request had falsely included St. Pete Beach as a funding partner when St. Pete Beach never agreed to fund the CA BRT.

When S Pasadena residents found out the CA BRT project was removing a lane of vehicle traffic along congested S Pasadena, they also requested their city commission to oppose. S Pasadena commission also passed a resolution opposing the CA BRT.

Numerous condo associations and homeowners associations in St. Pete Beach and S Pasadena have passed resolutions opposing PSTA's CA BRT project.

Gulf Blvd is a State road and PSTA continues ignore St. Pete Beach residents and their elected representatives. PSTA is now trying to end the CA BRT route at a congested beach access parking lot Pinellas County owns on Gulf Blvd in St. Pete Beach.
Latest CA BRT route from downtown St. Petersburg
 to a County owned beach access parking lot in St. Pete Beach

Here is a 15 minute podcast about this latest PSTA mess.

Time for some adults in the room to step up and stop PSTA's costly, congestion creating CA BRT project that uses road diets to take away valuable lanes of vehicle traffic.

Posted by Sharon Calvert at 10:21 AM 

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

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sea-Level Rise A Fact, A Political Foot Ball, a Growing Business Part 2

Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
If you want to get a hint as to how we are actually approaching sea-level rise simply Google: sea level rise what are we doing.
This should be an eye-opener for you. Note the links presented by Google. Try to find one link that provides any detailed information on a practical scale for what we are or should be doing.
Lots of so-called scientific facts, links about making money (Carbon credits), facts about the sea-level rise but no links to plans or serious suggestions about what citizens, local
governments or state governments should be doing right now.
The problem is the two groups most interested in this issue are the politicians who like to bash each other about their opponent's position for or against, believing in climate change or being a “denier” and the group looking to exploit the climate change/sea rise level rise for the maximum about of money they can literally steal.
From solar panels to carbon credits, this latter group is much more interested in your money than the security of your waterfront property.
When the public gets in trouble the first place, they usually look is to their local government for help. When that fails, they may look to their county or parish, and then to the state and ultimately to the federal government.
The problem is none of these entities are taking any practical steps to mitigate what will be a sociological and economic catastrophe.
In fact, the two levels of government best positioned to begin to mitigate the impact of sea-level rise, cities and counties, are, generally, doing more to deepen the actual crisis than they are helping to prevent it.
By continuing to allow massive development of coastal and low-lying areas these local governments are stoking the flames of their own destruction.
Cities and counties along the coastal portions of the united states continue to let development of coastal and low-lying areas happen at a frightening pace.
When the sea-level rise becomes an obvious reality, the developers will be long gone but those owning the soon to be flooded property will come to their local government demanding the problem be fixed. Quite likely there will be no fix since nothing is currently being planned and chaos will ensue.
Property values will tank; property tax revenue will take a major hit, and the very resources needed to even think about mitigation of the flooding will no longer exist.
Is it time to begin limiting coastal and low-lying area development? Time to begin to move people back away from the areas now indicated by sound science that will flood as sea levels rise. Time to stop building massive high-rise developments at the water’s edge.
You may be reading this thinking: not my problem. I don’t own any of that property, and I simply won’t buy any. The problem with that kind of thinking is the magnitude of this problem will be so great that it will impact government revenue from educating your kids to providing basic public services.
No matter who you are your property tax will go up, because unless we take some preventative steps now the cost of resolving this problem in real time could crush the system of government as we now know it.
E-mail Doc at mail to: 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.  

Please comment below.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Who's Paying All for Transportation's Legal Bills?

Tampa, Fl

From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert

There are two appeals that have been made to the Florida Supreme Court related to the All for Transportation $16 Billion transit tax so who is paying for All for Transportation's mounting legal costs?

Judge Barbas final ruling on July 9th threw out all of All for Transportation's mandated spending allocations and spending constraints as illegal and unlawful. The judge also threw out the unconstitutional authority All for Transportation gave to their Independent Oversight  Committee.

While Barbas threw out most of the All for Transportation (AFT) transit tax charter amendment, he left the tax itself standing. Barbas left the tax standing by apparently claiming voters just voted for the tax regardless of what it was to fund.

In his ruling, Barbas corrected a number of legal defects with All for Transportation's transit tax. However, there still may be defects that need resolving.

Barbas final ruling allowed any appeals to proceed.

The lawyers for the All for Transportation (AFT) class action lawsuit appealed Judge Barbas's ruling to the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday.

And Commissioner White filed an appeal yesterday morning.

All for Transportation (AFT) immediately released this statement after the first appeal was filed. AFT says they will fight the appeal all the way to the Florida Supreme Court and are considering their own appeal.

All for Transportation responds
to appeal 
As we posted here, AFT hired a couple of big gun lawyers, Barry Richard and Ben Hill, last December after White filed his lawsuit. AFT hired these lawyers to represent both the AFT PAC and AFT's connected nonprofit Keep Hillsborough Moving, Inc. Richard concentrates on appellate law and we can reasonably assume he will be representing AFT in the appeal process.

The statement released above was from the All for Transportation PAC not their Keep Hillsborough Moving, Inc. nonprofit.

So who is paying AFT's legal expenses? AFT does not list any expenditures for legal services in their campaign filing reports.

According to All for Transportation's campaign filings on the Supervisor of Elections website**, the last contribution to the AFT PAC was $85K from Jeff Vinik's investment firm, American Investment Holdings. That contribution was made on December 18, 2018 right after White filed his lawsuit.

Since Vinik's $85K contribution, the AFT PAC has not received any further contributions.

Is AFT's connected nonprofit Keep Hillsborough Moving, inc. paying the high priced lawyers? The nonprofit is dark money and we do not know who its donors are or what their expenditures are. A nonprofit is not required to disclose their donors or expenditures as PAC's are required to do.

Is AFT's largest donor Jeff Vinik, whose associated entities sunk over $800K into AFT's campaign coffers, paying their legal expenses? Are any of the other AFT wealthy special interests donors paying AFT's legal expenses?

We do know that White is receiving pro bono services. Is AFT receiving pro bono legal services?

The public does not know who's paying AFT's legal expenses and AFT is not required to disclose such information.

But AFT's legal costs could be very substantial fighting two appeals, and even more costly if they file their own appeal.

It is ironic that whoever is now funding AFT's legal expenses must not have thought AFT needed to pay for any legal services or legal vetting from the start.

It is astounding to think that whoever is now funding AFT's legal expenses did not ensure AFT crafted a 30 year $16 Billion transit tax charter amendment that was legally and lawfully sound.

Whoever is now funding AFT's legal services must have some serious skin in the game regarding the AFT transit tax.

Because whoever is now paying AFT's legal expenses must have the resources to pay mounting legal costs.

**All For Transportation's campaign filings are found on the Supervisor of Elections website by selecting Political Committees from the drop down box and then selecting All for Transportation.

Posted by Sharon Calvert at 8:21 AM 

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

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Rewarding the Big Mess Makers

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

A judge threw out most of the All for Transportation (AFT) transit tax as illegal and unlawful.

Rewarding All For Transportation who subjected voters to a legally flawed 30 year $16 Billion transit tax last year is unacceptable. 
But Hillsborough County Democrat commissioners Les Miller and his 3 Democrat colleagues decided to reward those who ran amok of State Statutes to get their $16 Billion transit tax passed. 

As we posted before, AFT and their media allies and special interests donors are demanding the commissioners reinstate AFT's spending mandates and constraints that Judge Barbas threw out as illegal and unlawful. 

Miller complied by placing Agenda Item F-4
 on yesterday's BOCC meeting agenda requesting the County Attorney draft an ordinance to reinstate ALL of AFT's pre-defined spending allocations and mandates through a county ordinance.

The four Democrat commissioners who supported AFT must know time is not on their side. More and more people are understanding how deceitful AFTs legally flawed transit tax is.

And the commissioners know that all the legal issues are not resolved. That should not be considered trivial by any county commissioner, especially by Miller who is a former state legislator.

But Miller knew he already had the 4 Democrat votes to pass his agenda item. It passed 4-3, with all 4 Democrats voting yes and all 3 Republicans voting No.

We understand AFT had all their yes votes lined up by Tuesday.

Both sides did show up to speak during public comment.

AFT's mandated spending allocations forces billions be spent on costly rail/transit in Tampa and overwhelmingly benefits the city of Tampa.

Almost all those who spoke in support of the AFT agenda item live in the city of Tampa. They included Kevin Thurman who initiated AFT's legally flawed transit tax and he led off speaking for AFT yesterday.

Kevin Thurman, who initiated
the AFT transit tax
Only one woman, AFT spokesperson Christina Barker, showed up to speak in support. Barker is a paid employee of AFT's biggest donor Jeff Vinik. She is legally connected to the All for Transportation PAC as a Director of AFT's connected nonprofit Keep Hillsborough Moving, Inc.

Others who spoke in support of Miller's AFT agenda item were also directly associated with the All for Transportation PAC. They included Kevin O'Hare (who is being paid by AFT according to their campaign filing reports) and AFT's Chair Tyler Hudson.

The Tampa Chamber and Westshore Alliance, who also represent Tampa, showed up to support Miller's AFT agenda item.

The transit dependent did not show up to speak in support of AFT. Perhaps because they are the most vulnerable to AFT's 14% tax hike and they were working.

AFT supporters told the commissioners they had to honor their defined spending constraints. That is totally false because Barbas severed AFT's spending allocations and threw them out as unlawful and illegal.

Barbas left the tax standing by somehow claiming the tax itself was the only intent expressed by voters and was independent of AFT's spending mandates.  AFT did not include any spending allocations in their ballot summary language, the only thing every voter was guaranteed to have had the opportunity to read before voting.

Those who spoke opposing Miller's AFT agenda item were a much more diverse group.

The opposition represented various parts of Hillsborough county including unincorporated areas of Northdale/Carrolwood, Apollo Beach, Valrico, Sun City Center, Dover, Brandon as well as the city of Tampa. This group was a varied mixture of men and women. The only paid person who spoke in opposition was a policy director who works for Americans for Prosperity.

For transparency, myself and Karen Jaroch, who are associated with No Tax For Tracks PAC who opposed AFT last year, did speak in opposition to this agenda item.

Those who use roads and support funding new road capacity did show up to speak.

During discussion of the AFT agenda item, Commissioner Hagan called out what he termed AFT's "false narrative" that the county commissioners were obligated to reinstate AFT's spending allocations the judge threw out. He and Commissioner Murman emphasized the vast need to fund new road capacity, especially in growing parts of unincorporated Hillsborough.

AFT's pre-defined spending mandates they included in their $16 Billion transit tax, created by no transportation expert or governing entity, constrains funding much needed new road capacity for 30 long years.

Hagan and Murman reiterated what Barbas said in his ruling that most voters never read all the regulatory spending allocations and constraints AFT included in the 5 pages of small print of their transit tax charter amendment.

Commissioner White made astounding comments about his office getting Robo-called from elderly people who did not know why they were being automatically transferred to White's office number. White gave three examples of what his office was experiencing.

It appears that AFT was Robo-calling elderly people in White's district trying to get the call transferred to White's office to tell him they supported Miller's AFT agenda item.

First of all that is a horrible tactic to use and as White stated, borders on "elder abuse. But it also reflects AFT's desperation and that they continue to say and will do anything trying to save their transit tax spending mandates.

The meeting video can be found here.

Public comment begins at about 39:10.

Discussion on the agenda item begins at about 1:56 in the video.

Miller and all three countywide commissioners, Kimberly Overman, Pat Kemp and Mariella Smith, now have a voting record on this issue. Overman, Kemp and Smith are on record wanting to force their constituents in unincorporated Hillsborough, who will pay 74% of the tax proceeds, to pay billions for costly trains and transit in the city of Tampa where only 27% of the county's population resides.

These countywide commissioners are also on record wanting constituents in unincorporated to pay the vast majority of AFT's $16 Billion tax for 30 years while NOT receiving the new road capacity they need and want.

Both Commissioner Miller and Kemp are running in countywide races next year. Both of them decided to reward AFT yesterday, the very people who created such a big legal mess.

Voters can take note of that at the ballot box in 2020.
Posted by Sharon Calvert at 1:03 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

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Sea-Level Rise A Fact, A Political Foot Ball, a Growing Business

If you’re looking for someone to solve the climate-change  problem as it relates to you, you might want to look in the mirror.

This is the first in a random series of Posts that look at the issues of climate change and especially sea-level rise.
There is no doubt in my mind that climate change is real, that the earth is warming, that sea levels are rising and that the next three decades could reveal catastrophic results in Florida from the impact of these factors.
Everywhere you look Climate change, and sea-level rise are issues being trumpeted by many, for example: The Union of Concerned Scientists: Under Water: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate(2018).
Quoting from the UCSS Report: “States with the most homes at risk by the end of the century are Florida, with about 1 million homes (more than 10% of the state's current residential properties); New Jersey, with 250,000 homes; and New York with 143,000 homes."
This is just one of the growing numbers of scientifically based reports that indicate that more than any state, Florida may be more at risk for major coastal property loss if the climatic change and sea level predictions are even close to being accurate.
Here is a link to a number of Florida sea level change maps: Florida Sea Level changes maps.
Recently, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made a substantial increase to the budget line item that studies sea level impacts, but the question is what can we do now to begin to prepare for this almost certain change?
At the moment, development in the most likely affected areas is continuing at a feverish pace. More homes, towns are cities are being developed directly in the path what appears to be an impending disaster.
As the water level rises in these areas near the coast, residents will look to local and state government for an answer. Never mind the fact that making the decision to move to one these areas were of their own making.
 Already we are hearing talk of building levees and other systems to protect these currently low-lying areas, but one only has to look across the Gulf to New Orleans to see the futility of trying to hold back the effects of sea and wind.
The politicians who deny Climate Change are chastised as being unrealistic, while those embracing the concept of climate change and rising sea levels offer no serious solutions to the problem. They want carbon taxes, and fines on contributors to the climate-change  problem but offer few if any real applications for those additional dollars.
The real solution to the massive impact may lie more at the state and local levels with their ability to control and limit growth in highly vulnerable areas.
At some point, the property insurance industry will begin to assess this risk as it relates to the vulnerability of coastal properties and begin adjusting rates accordingly. While this may slow growth, it will not solve the problem.
Elected Officials will have to make the decision to protect lives and mitigate losses realizing certain areas are no long suitable for development or redevelopment and act accordingly. 

The hue and cry from all sides will be all but unbearable.
The Bay Area finds itself in cross hairs of the discussions and the reality of a sea-level rise.
The real question may not be what will the politicians do but what will you do?
Will you sit it out and wait until your property asset value is virtually gone and the water is lapping at your door, or will you quietly take your equity and move to a place where the likelihood of that equity floating away is significantly less?
If you’re looking for someone to solve the climate-change  problem as it relates to you, you might want to look in the mirror.
E-mail Doc at mail to: 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.  

Please comment below.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

AFT's "Bad Tax" Con Was Planned To Surprise Public and Prevent Public Scrutiny

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

As a recent Circuit Court ruling confirmed, All for Transportation (AFT) put an illegal and unlawful transit tax charter amendment referendum on the ballot in Hillsborough County last year.

If such a big mess was about an issue local media did not agree with, we would see daily headlines shouting out those who were involved with it. But local media refuses to do that with AFT and prefers to filter out information about those who pushed an illegal transit tax onto unsuspecting voters in 2018.

The public deserves to know more.

An informed electorate can decide for themselves who they want to trust (or not). An informed public can help prevent such mess from happening again. 

As US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis stated in 1913, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant".

Thus we begin the Eye's "Sunlight" series to bring Sunshine into the public arena about the All for Transportation transit tax and those who were involved.

The AFT illegally flawed transit tax could be one of the most dishonest scams ever perpetrated on Hillsborough County voters.

How did it happen?
·                     By crafting a massive $16 Billion transit tax in the dark 
·                     By launching a last minute transit tax "surprise" petition initiative on unsuspecting voters, taxpayers and anyone AFT considered their opposition
·                     By preventing public debate and public scrutiny
·                     By using millions of dollars from wealthy special interests on a deceptive marketing campaign 
·                     By using pro transit tax media accomplices to cheerlead support, drown out opposition and filter out and ignore serious issues raised about the tax
·                     By masquerading their transit tax that benefits the city of Tampa behind a facade that it was a tax to fix roads and reduce traffic congestion in Hillsborough County
AFT may be the Theranos fraud of Hillsborough County (read the book "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup" written by the WSJ investigative reporter John Carreyrou who broke the Theranos story of deceit and fraud).

Perhaps All For Transportation should be known as the "Bad Tax" con that AFT perpetrated on the voters of Hillsborough County.

AFT rammed a 30 year $16 Billion transit tax onto the ballot by exploiting a very shortened petition initiative and short campaign cycle. They used millions of dollars from wealthy special interests donors to do it.

Remember, AFT refused to debate NoTaxForTracks, who was AFT's formal opposition, or anyone who opposed their transit tax last year. AFT refused to go head to head with anyone from the other side.

Public debate and public scrutiny during the campaign would have highlighted AFT's legal issues that Commissioner Stacy White, NoTaxForTracks and others raised last year. It would have been much harder for local media to avoid those issues if they were brought up publicly in a debate.

AFT could not afford to risk such scrutiny. The pro transit tax local media willingly complied by ignoring the issues and never reporting about them.

AFT was like a "fake news" story - fraudulent.

AFT falsely claimed they were "grassroots". AFT used millennials as their public face and window dressing to front the older wealthy special interests donors who funded them. AFT was emboldened to make exaggerated claims with no evidence to back them up by shielding their illegal transit tax from all public scrutiny.

Reality is AFT was crafted, in the dark and with no transparency, through political insiders, influential power players, and wealthy special interests donors who stood to benefit from the transit tax.

How did it all begin?

The All for Transportation "Bad Tax" charter amendment was written by transit advocates, including Kevin Thurman and Brian Willis, who were previously associated with the now defunct local transit advocacy group Connect Tampa Bay (CTB).

CTB had previously publicly announced their proposed one cent rail/transit tax hike proposal in 2014 they named "Go Hillsborough".

Ironically, "Go Hillsborough" later became the name that a local crony PR firm, who was paid gobs of taxpayer dollars, branded Hillsborough County's 2016 "Go Hillsborough" tax hike debacle. We have no idea whether CTB was paid by that PR firm to use plagiarize that name but there appears to be some connection.

Connect Tampa Bay was abruptly dissolved in April 2016 after it was reported by the Tampa Bay Guardian that Connect Tampa Bay never filed any federally required tax returns.

When "Go Hillsborough" failed to get on the ballot in 2016, Thurman stated that crafting a citizen led referendum was the only way to move "transit" forward in Hillsborough County.

In this April 2016 article, the Times reported Thurman was "keeping open the option to amend the county charter by petition" and that if a progressive business community would fund it, he would do it.

Transit advocate Thurman began crafting how to put a petition initiated transit tax on the ballot.

Kevin Thurman, community organizer
From public records received, it appears Thurman began shopping his "how to get a transit tax on the ballot in 2018" political strategy to select inside power players in 2017. 

Ali Glisson, Vinik VP
Thurman had access to power players through his wife Ali Glisson. Glisson, formerly Mayor Buckhorn's spokesperson, was hired by Jeff Vinik in 2015. Glisson is currently Vinik's VP, Marketing and Communications for his real estate development company.

Vinik became AFT's largest donor who sunk over $800K into AFT's coffers according to AFT campaign filing reports.

Thurman's 62 page presentation outlines his political strategy for using a very shortened citizen petition cycle to put a transit tax hike referendum on the ballot in 2018. He proclaims that putting a transit tax in 2018 was a "once in a lifetime opportunity". Thurman sold his narrative the voting demographics were on their side in 2018

Thurman subsequently reduced his 62 page document to a 42 page transit tax proposal he called "The People's Plan".

The intent of the "People's Plan" was to fund costly rail and transit projects through a sales tax hike. Roads were nowhere to be found.

Not one road project is mentioned in the "Peoples Plan". "Roads" are only mentioned in the context they must somehow be used (like in a marketing campaign) to gain support for his proposed transit tax.

On page 38 of his "People's Plan", Thurman states his strategy - a last minute petition effort will "surprise" the opposition. 

Thurman was shopping a transit tax political strategy not a transportation plan because he is not a transportation expert.

According to LinkedIn, Thurman has a degree in film and communications and most of his work experience is PR and community organizing for political campaigns.

By scheming in the dark with influential power players, Thurman prevented public scrutiny of the illegal mess that was being crafted.

Obviously, the scheming failed to include ensuring AFT's transit tax charter amendment was legal and lawful. We don't know if that is a result of AFT's incompetence, sloppiness or they thought they could get away with what they were doing without any legal scrutiny.

Thurman's CTB transit advocate sidekick Brian Willis, who helped write AFT's illegal transit tax charter amendment and became one of AFT's public spokespersons, is a real estate and business attorney.

Bria Wills, Real Estate Attorney

Willis told 
Florida Politics last December after Commissioner White filed his lawsuit:

“We don’t think he has a case,” said Tampa attorney and All For Transportation volunteer Brian Willis. “I’m a lawyer. We’ve had attorneys at Holland & Knight vet this. Constitutional law professors. Nobody had any issues with it."
But according to AFT Chair Tyler Hudson's Deposition (more to come about it) that was taken on April 1, 2019, AFT did not have any constitutional lawyers or any lawyers render an opinion about their proposed transit tax.

Tyler Hudson is also a real estate attorney who previously worked for Holland and Knight.
Tyler Hudson, Real Estate Attorney

When questioned under oath about Brian Willis statement that lawyers vetted the AFT transit tax, Hudson admitted Holland and Knight had nothing to do with the AFT transit tax. Hudson also stated under oath that AFT did not solicit any formal written legal opinion about it.

Basically Willis lied. If Willis would lie about Holland and Knight and constitutional lawyers vetting AFT's transit tax, what else was he and others associated with AFT lying about?

Circuit Court Judge Rex Barbas has now confirmed AFT's haphazardly written transit tax is unlawful. He threw out all of AFT's illegal and unlawful pre-determined spending mandates, constraints, prohibitions and unlawful Independent Oversight Committee authority as unconstitutional.

Over 80 years ago, Justice Brandeis was thinking about 'people who shield wrongdoers and pass them off (or at least allow them to pass themselves off) as honest men' when he proposed his Sunlight remedy. Brandeis call the private the citizen the most important political office.

The arena of public opinion may be the only place to hold people accountable for AFT's "Bad Tax" con.
Next up in our "Sunlight" series on the AFT "Bad Tax":  Thurman shops his proposed transit tax to power players at Tampa International Airport.

Posted by Sharon Calvert at 8:47 AM 

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