Thursday, August 29, 2019

St. Pete Mayor Kriseman Said to Be Eyeing Governorship


Tampa, Fl
Tampa Bay Beat
By: Jim Bleyer

August 25, 2019 - 7:31 am


By Jim Bleyer
 St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman is a man with ambitions that could reach as far as the Florida Governor Mansion or the U.S. Capitol building.
The whispers by insiders on both sides of Tampa Bay are screaming “Governor.”  Kriseman and his team, however, can assess the political landscape at the end of his second term in 2021, a year before both Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio will be up for re-election.
The only other name floated on the Democratic side as a potential challenger for the governor is Andrew Gillum, the former Tallahassee mayor who came up 35,000 votes short against DeSantis in 2018.
Kriseman, donning a finely-tailored suit and sporting perfectly-groomed facial hair, on Thursday addressed the Tampa Bay Mobility Alliance as keynote speaker.  The audience of about 125 included most key transit advocates in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties who for 20 years have relentlessly promoted the spending of billions of tax dollars for regional mass transit.
He didn’t waste any time playing to the crowd and reviewing his accomplishments in the transit realm.
Kriseman kneecapped Florida Sen. Rick Scott, excoriating him for not accepting billions in federal funds for high speed rail that would connect Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Miami.
“It’s surreal that a politician would have turned down funding that would have solved the state’s transportation woes,” Kriseman asserted without mentioning Scott by name.  The spend-at-any-cost pro-transit crowd lapped it up.

High-speed rail has boosted connectivity in other countries, especially China, he noted, adding that such service would mean a 45-minute commute between St. Petersburg and Disney World.
Lauding the Cross-Bay Ferry, Kriseman said that the service should become a permanent fixture.  He made sure to mention that St. Petersburg has done due diligence on e-scooters in order to avoid the safety, liability, and clutter issues that are plaguing other cities.  The mayor spotlighted his city’s bus rapid transit system as a good example of what can be accomplished on the local level.
After the 90-minute session concluded, Tampa Bay Beat asked Kriseman about his future political plans.  The mayor adhered to the template universally employed by every politician thirsting for higher office.
”I’ve got two more years as mayor of St. Petersburg and we’ve got important issues facing the city,” Kriseman smiled. “I’m not thinking beyond that.”
He didn’t call the chorus of whispers “ridiculous,” or dismiss them out of hand.
When 2022 rolls around, Kriseman will have had 8 years overseeing the fifth most populous city in Florida. He also served three terms in the Florida House from 2006-2012 and was a member of the St. Petersburg City Council from 2000 to 2006.
There are two factors that will weigh heavily on the mayor’s decision—and any other Democrat infected with the bug to run statewide: how Florida votes in the 2020 election and their party’s much ballyhooed effort to register one million new voters by 2020.   

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.

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Sunday, August 25, 2019

A Tale of Two Cities and Sea-Level Rise - Tampa


Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
I wrap up my sea-level rise series for now with a look at two bay area cities and their view and approach to sea-level rise. Now a look at Tampa
You can get some additional information in this Post from Florida Politics (FLPOL) By Janelle Irwin Taylor: Jane Castor wants Tampa to go 100% clean energy by 2045.
You can see more from Mayor Castor’s campaign Sustainability and Resilience Plan by clicking this link.
Here is the Section dealing with Sea-Level rise:
“Tackling Stormwater Management and Sea Level Rise – While the City has
taken meaningful steps to increase stormwater funding, many projects
remain in the pipeline. As Mayor, I will work with City Council to prioritize
funding for stormwater upgrades. I also recognize that flooding and sea
level rise threaten many properties in Tampa. Our new City of Tampa
Climate Action and Resilience Plan will address the impacts of sea level rise
and recommend solutions for coastal resilience, such as the
implementation of living shorelines and utilizing green infrastructure where
appropriate.”

 From Mayor Castor’s 2020 Budget Presentation here are her Strategic Goals for Tampa:
STRATEGIC GOALS

NEIGHBORHOOD EMPOWERMENT

TRANSPORTATION FOR TAMPA’S FUTURE
HOUSING TAMPA CAN AFFORD
SUSTAINABILITY AND RESILIENCE FOR TAMPA’S FUTURE
ENSURING TAMPA’S FINANCIAL STABILITY
|

If you scroll down to page 35 of the Budget presentation you get to the Section on “Sustainability and Resilience for Tampa’s Future.” What follows are five pages of what is essentially Climate-change political jargon.
Castor would establish an “Office of Sustainability” which will simply produce more reports, hire more consultants and next year everything will be pretty much the same except; high tide flooding will be worse in Tampa’s low-lying areas.
Here again, climate change works as a campaign banner but the reality of sea-level rise and its effect on the City of Tampa practically and financially has no mention by the Mayor.
In less than two decades the map in the graphic above will begin to become a serious reality. If Castor could accomplish her goal of reducing Tampa’s Carbon footprint as she states, there is every reason to believe that the sea level in 10 years will be exactly as it would have been without that effort.
The massive impact of low-lying property flooding and the subsequent reduction in property value and ad valorem tax revenue on Tampa’s economy and the City’s financial viability should be the number-one focus of this office of sustainability and a principal concern of the Mayor.
Granted, it won’t happen on her watch, but the failure to accept the fact and plan for the effects of the sea-level rise could well define Mayor Castor’s legacy.
Castor needs to be careful to not be misled by developers wanting to build seawalls and consultants proposing massive public works plans to hold back the waters of Tampa Bay with dams and dykes for two very simple reasons. 1)They are way to expensive to build and maintain even with help from the federal government and 2) they simply will not work in the long run.
Castor needs to step up and make sure her administration is not just investing in things that look good on a campaign flyer while the sea level continues to rise.
The Mayor should immediately begin to develop and fund an effort to acquire low lying property, demolish the structures and replace them with green space.
Governor DeSantis has already set aside state funds to help in this effort, and Tampa should take a lead in lobbying for more state and federal funds for low lying property acquisition.
Castor also needs the courage to stop all development in areas defined as sea level endangered immediately. It is political dangerous and could well cost her re election but stopping the continued development and redevelopment of endangered land is an absolute necessity.
Castor like all other mayors of coastal communities needs to stop being influenced by the climate-change rhetoric of renewable energy and carbon footprint and start looking into the reality of how they will deal with a slow rising disaster that will wreck her City’s economy and bankrupt Tampa's government.
Let the power companies worry about renewable energy, and if you really want to deal with the carbon footprint, replace every 5th parking meter with a charging station and let economics solve the carbon footprint problem.
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, August 22, 2019

Time for Sunshine to Get Rid of the Transit Tax Storm Cloud



Did voters know this last year when they voted?




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


The All for Transportation (AFT) transit tax is a storm cloud of dishonesty and deception hovering over Hillsborough County.

Hillsborough County must get out from under the AFT storm clouds for the county to begin honestly and transparently addressing its transportation issues.


AFT created a myth in their $4 million marketing campaign last year about their 30 year $16 Billion transit tax. AFT claimed their massive tax hike will "fix roads" and reduce traffic congestion.

But the reality of AFT's pre-determined spending mandates proves otherwise.

The Hillsborough County Commission held a Transportation Budget Workshop on April 9, 2019. The county estimated they would receive, in the first year of the tax, at least $110 million of the total first year $300 million AFT tax proceeds collected.

County staff presented a breakdown for how those tax proceeds would be spent if forced to be spent according to AFT's mandated allocations and pre-defined spending buckets.

AFT's mandated spending buckets
(click to enlarge)
Missing is an AFT mandated spending bucket to fund new roads and road widening.

The county will receive $1.4 Billion or more of AFT tax proceeds over the first 10 years of the tax. The actual impact of being forced to spend those tax proceeds according to AFT's pre-determined spending allocations was presented at the Workshop:
·                     Bridge replacements - 350% funding increase
·                     Repaving - 30% funding increase
·                     Sidewalk repairs - 250% funding increase
·                     School safety - 600% funding increase
·                     Complete streets (most expensive streets that often narrows roads and/or eliminates lanes of vehicle traffic) - 800% funding increase
·                     Intersection improvements - 200% funding increase
·                     Traffic signal technology upgrades - 800% funding increase
·                     New sidewalks - 600% funding increase (160 miles of new sidewalks)
·                     Trails and bike paths - 1,400% funding increase (122 miles of new trails)
Is this what voters thought they were funding with the massive AFT tax hike?


AFT spending mandates include a 1,400% spending increase
highlighted in red for new Trails
(click to enlarge)
There is no funding increase for new roads and road widening because AFT excluded and specifically prohibited funding for new road capacity in their $16 Billion tax - for 30 long years.

After the AFT spending mandates related to any road purposed projects are funded, there is only $16.5 million remaining that can be used for any transportation project - including transit.

(Note: none of these funds relate to AFT's mandate that 45% of all tax proceeds must go to transit agency HART and be spent on transit. HART expects to receive at least $124 million in the first year of the tax).

But if every penny of the remaining road purposed funds was spent on new road capacity, there is a huge funding deficit for new roads/road widening. Below is the reality of the new road capacity funding deficit over the first 10 years with the AFT $16 Billion transit tax
.
AFT does not fund road widening needs highlighted in red
Basically, the only new road purposed infrastructure the county can fund with AFT's mandated spending allocations are new sidewalks, new trails and new bike paths.

Did voters know this last year when they voted?

Of course not, because voters were not provided this important information before they voted.

This is not the picture AFT painted in their $4 million marketing campaign and the gobs of mailers they bombarded voters with last year.

It is also not the picture AFT painted in their ballot summary language. AFT excluded all reference to any of their spending mandates in a referendum they titled "Funding for Countywide Transportation and Road Improvementsby County Charter Amendment"

All for Transportation ballot language excluded
their spending mandates
The ballot summary is the only information all voters are guaranteed an opportunity to read before voting. AFT knew voters would reasonably assume "Road Improvements" meant funding new roads.

The damaging evidence presented by the county proves otherwise.

The county has confirmed what a transportation funding disaster AFT's road purposed spending allocations are for Hillsborough County. They will increase traffic congestion and create gridlock.

All for Transportation was not truthful with voters last year.

The county confirmed in April that All for Transportation's spending mandates are totally unbalanced with no funding for new road capacity that is much needed in unincorporated Hillsborough.

AFT's spending allocations are unfair to those residing in unincorporated who will pay 74% of the total tax, but get little to no benefit and no congestion relief, for the billions they will pay.

Tyler Hudson is Chair of All For Transportation and Director of their nonprofit Keep Hillsborough Moving. Hudson was asked at his Deposition on 4/1/2019 numerous questions about how AFT calculated and created their spending allocations and percentages. Hudson's attorney replied for him that information is "protected by the First Amendment, it's political speech, free speech, it's not relevant".

AFT admits their spending allocations is a political strategy, exactly what we posted here.

All for Transportation has little regard for transparency. They created their $16 Billion tax and spend policy in the dark with no transparency and refuses to disclose critical information necessary for evaluating their massive tax hike policy.

County commissioners cannot govern in the dark like that. They must govern under our state Sunshine laws requiring open records and transparent deliberation of public policy. They must make available to the public information, communication and documentation about those policies.

That is why county commissioners are clearly given the appropriations and spending authority of the tax proceeds pursuant to State Statute 212.055.

The county's transportation spending policy cannot be bootlegged from AFT's spending allocations created in the dark.

A circuit court judge has confirmed AFT had no authority to create their spending allocations, ruled them illegal and unlawful and threw them out.

But as we reported here, AFT wants to be rewarded for their wrong doing. They want the county commission to reinstate their disastrous spending allocations that would create traffic havoc.

AFT wants to keep the storm clouds of dishonesty and deception hovering over Hillsborough County.

That should be roundly rejected. All efforts to reinstate AFT's damaging transportation spending allocations must stop.

Condoning the creation of tax and spend policies in the dark is unacceptable and could create more legal issues.

The big legal mess All for Transportation created is now headed to the Florida Supreme Court.

The All for Transportation transit tax may be catastrophically flawed. The entire AFT transit tax may be thrown out on appeal.

We hope truth and transparency prevails over deception and dishonesty so bad precedence is not established.

Time for Sunshine in Hillsborough County to replace the storm clouds created by a legally flawed transit tax crafted in the dark.

Time to send the All for Transportation transit tax and their damaging transportation spending mandates to the ash heap.

Posted by Sharon Calvert at 8:19 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



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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Mayor Kriseman and Police use non-action and play on resident's fear

St. Petersburg Fl
Opinion
By author: Robert Neff


A Tampa Bay Times story dated August 14, 2010 a Pasco man told the jury he killed his neighbor (over noise). While it is unfortunate and all the facts of the case are not known, this should concern City Mayors, Managers, Council Members and police. But more so, for cities that support noisy bars over residents, like St. Petersburg, Florida and Mayor Kriseman, City Council Member Kornell.  Mayor Kriseman and Police use non-action and play on resident's fear to get them to stop calling. Plus, the noise ordinance's "plainly audible" is way to deter residents. 

New Port Richey Noise Ordinance (66-Article IV) is a decibel-based system, unlike St. Petersburg, Florida, which is based on "plainly audible." 

The problem St Pete residents face is, if you live too close to a noise source such as a bar's outdoor amplified music, the police cannot enforce the ordinance, even if the your walls are shaking. 

Ask the residents near No Vacancy, located at 937 Central Avenue. The bar opened this spring. There is a pattern of repeat calls and the police and City are not monitoring the noise repeat calls. Since January 1, the 900 Block of Central has had 25 noise calls. 

Overall, the Central Avenue corridor has 78 noise calls and Beach Drive Corridor has 34 noise calls.

Residents near the now closed Flamingo Resort in the Skyway Marina District experienced a repeat call pattern with no citations, where the owner was also President of the Board for the Skyway Marina District.

No wonder residents are worried when they call, as stated by several callers. Fear from retribution or being called a trouble maker is a contributing factor why residents do not leave their name. Or the resident must live in fear of being sued by the bar. There have three residents sued. The Flamingo Resort filed a civil lawsuit against me for defamation. Judge dismissed this case. Then Edge Partners d/b/a as Flamingo Resort amended for noise nuisance and a Declaratory Act for LGBT discrimination.

The City and City Council Members have not educated residents. That is why the noise ordinance is the best-kept secret! Police Dispatch does not always tell you the noise ordinance can only be enforced if you leave you name and the officer confirms it from your apartment. 

This is contrary to a car boom box citation. Police are the witness and the distances are different for each outdoor amplified music, cars, and even resident on resident calls. 

However, the City does not understand that sound does not discriminate. Does not matter if the minimum distance is 100', 500', 1000' or more. Sound doesn't care! Nor does Mayor Kriseman and City Council Member Kornell— the noise is not in their home!

Residents are calling before 11 p.m. weekdays and midnight on Friday and Saturdays. On Central Ave, I have listened to audio of the calls and one resident said (paraphrased) the bar should not be allowed to play it that loud! But, according to the noise ordinance, the dispatch operator told the young person, that the code can’t be enforced at this time.

In May 2019, the City revised the noise ordinance, but kept the old ordinance with a few modifications to include boats, cafes, and penalties. 
The City did not change to the decibel standard. 

The City ignored the acoustic studies, which showed how bad the noise was! Worse, the City refused to have a medical expert on audible noise and low frequency (bass) noise review the acoustic studies and noise ordinance. Even though I had asked and quoted the medical reports and the World Health Organization reports that found low frequency noise had a negative impact on adult and kids health. 

The noise ordinance included a clause to reward the bars. “WHEREAS, the City intends to treat the commercial establishments who have helped the City prosper fairly and recognizes the right to free speech enjoyed by those establishments and their need to utilize amplified sound as a means of continuing their successful commercial endeavors; and” several clauses supporting noise medical impact. The City leadership has demonstrated a lack of concern for the medical impact to resident's health.  

From January 1 to August 27, 2019, there have been 2,286 calls for noise. In 2018, there were only 2,517 calls. 

Since the new noise ordinance was signed on May 23, 2019, there have been 728 calls in 97 days. Under the old noise ordinance from January 1 to May 22, there were 1,558 calls made in 142 days. 



St. Petersburg, the data and emails show Police and the City are not enforcing the noise ordinance. The Mayor and City Council Member Kornell are the City’s most ardent protector of the bar noise.

Mayor Kriseman won’t tell us why he asked the Police Chief to enforce the noise ordinance for two weeks because there is a revised noise issue and this would make the public feel like the City was engaged. See April 11, 2017 email below.

Kornell was Committee Chair for the PS&I responsible for the noise ordinance joked about the noise at a PS&I meeting when he whispered to to poke fun at the noise ordinance. Here is Kornell supporting the bars, https://youtu.be/xtf8fzU3O4M

Council Member Kornell worked with Flamingo Owner and Skyway Marina Board President Jack Dougherty, and Community Service Officer Kelly to develop a strategy to deal with a resident who complained about the noise. I am that constituent and resident, see the email below.

In the City's defense (sort of), there has been at least one citation for a bar in the 1100 Central Ave area. One caller, said Tyrst had an infringement. A Public Request has been submitted to the City to confirm the noise warnings and citations to residents and bars.

Why is the Media silent?

The media is not investigating the noise issue! They are only publishing sensational articles to support the downtown bars. The noise issue outside downtown has been ignored. The Tampa Bay Times and news media are notably absent. The media feeds the City's myth that the noise issue is a downtown issue, when it is a city-wide issue.


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, August 18, 2019

A Tale of Two Cities and Sea-Level Rise - St. Petersburg

First - St. Petersburg, Florida



Tampa Bay, Fl   
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD                                  Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
Now  a look at two bay area cities and their view and approach to sea-level rise. First St. Petersburg...
St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman has made a big issue out of Climate change.
Unfortunately, most of his concerns are more political than practical.
What is important is the fact that Kriseman’s efforts have been more politically grandiose than effective and in reality, his actions would indicate a complete lack of understanding of the primary impact of climate change on Florida: sea-level rise and storm surge due to tropical storms.
Here is a quote from a Kriseman Campaign Flyer: “Because of the dangers climate change poses to our city, I pledged to transition St. Pete to a 100% clean energy city. We are preparing for rising seas, volatile weather, and increases in the number of powerful storms.”
If Kriseman and his administration were actually capable of reaching that goal, which they are not, it is unlikely that it would stop the water rising in Tampa Bay.
High tide flooding is already prevalent along the downtown coast line of St. Petersburg and will continue to get worse.
Clean energy and “carbon footprint” are two of the key buzz words in the climate-change  argument. These two terms are invoked by politicians because they are the mechanisms' whereby massive amounts of money can be made by prospective large campaign contributors.
Let’s look at two of the most glaring examples of Kriseman's real sea-level rise position.
If you really believe in climate change, then you must accept the fact that the sea level is going to rise.
When you are the Mayor of a low-lying coastal City, your climate-change concerns should be how do I protect my City practically and financially. And how do I make development decisions that are not compromised by the impending results of climate change over the next two decades.
Downtown development – Pier Park
Kriseman has pushed the $20+ million development of Pier Park, which essentially sets at sea level. Was that a wise utilization of public funds?
Thinking in the climate change/sea rise level rise community says that Beach Drive will likely be somewhere between 2nd and 3rd Avenue if the sea-level rise predictions are even close to being accurate.
Maybe a better expenditure of those funds would have been to begin to set aside funds to buy back coastal lands to eliminate the impending disaster.
Renewable energy, green buildings and all the rest of the climate-change hoopla make great political fodder, but a Mayor, who believes that the climate is actually changing will not waste his taxpayer’s money on things the results of climate change and sea-level rise may swallow well before the end of their useful life.
Wastewater treatment – The South West Wastewater Plant
Kriseman must not bother to read his own press clippings.
The South West Wastewater treatment plant literally sets at sea level. However, he is pouring millions into this sea level endangered facility and making plans for it to become the major wastewater treatment facility for the entire City.
What happened to his climate-change argument in this scenario?
More importantly what will St. Pete do when the water level starts to rise at the South West plant, or a major storm surge makes it inoperable?
That’s a climate change/sea rise level rise question that deserves an answer.
These are just two of the sea level rise issues Rick Kriseman has created while he “worries” about climate change.
Climate change with Rick Kriseman is the same as it is with all Democrat politicians. It is a great stump speech issue, but when it comes down to applying the climate-change problem to real-life decisions, Rick Kriseman simply does not have the will.
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 
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