Thursday, July 16, 2020

Florida’s Most Dysfunctional Elected Body – School Boards



Tampa Bay, Fl  
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb
 PhD   Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.   
You may have watched a County Commission meeting, or a City Council meeting online or in person and come away thinking wow these people do not have a clue.
If you want to see the ultimate in political and practical dysfunction you have to check out your local school board.
Here is a list of the 74 districts in the state of Florida each County has its own individual school board.  List of Florida School Districts - Wikipedia
There are 74 districts in the state: one for each of the 67 counties, one each for the four research schools, one for the school for the deaf and blind, one for the virtual school, and one for the youth development center.
All Florida school board elections are non-partisan. In 43 school districts, school board members are elected by a district-wide vote of electors (at-large election). In 21 school districts, school board members are elected by a vote of the electors within their residence area (single member district election). In 4 school districts, some school board members are elected by a vote of the electors within their residence area, and others are elected by a district-wide vote (combination of single member district and at-large election).
So, who runs for the school board?
People who have fought with every principal in every school their child ever attended and think they have all the answers.
Retired teachers who think all their experience in 3rd grade education somehow qualifies them to be an instructive voice on the school board.
People who look at their Florida property tax bill as it goes up every year and get more and more incensed at the amount of money spent on public education.
Social reformers who think public education is too conservative.
Social reformers who think public education is too liberal.  
Social reformers who think public education Is too racist.
The list goes on and on and on, but the consistent theme is most people who run for the school board, at least for the first time, are one-trick ponies.
The recent debacle over whether to open schools in the face of the Corona pandemic has shown the total incompetence of local school boards.
Notice the news clips and newspaper articles reporting on your local school boards approach to masks, personal protective equipment, school buses, online learning, and pay special attention to some of the really stupid comments that these elected officials are making.
Notwithstanding the fact that Governor Ron DeSantis has totally bungled handling the whole-school opening issue his idea of passing this decision to local school boards shows a distinct lack understanding regarding how the school boards function.
Very few if any school board members in Florida are prepared to deal with decisions as significant as opening or closing schools in the face of a pandemic. When the governor tossed this ball to the school boards, he may have as well had simply thrown the ball out of the window.
As of the writing of this post, a number of districts have now pushed back school opening a whopping two or three weeks. Health care professionals are telling us we may not see a peak in new cases and positive cases until near the end of the year.
Why would we even consider opening up schools, which are not even mildly prepared to deal with children in an infectious disease environment let alone the fact that teachers with a few exceptions have no training or experience or desire to teach or baby sit in that environment?
Everybody is still to focus on getting people back to work and the school babysitting service cranked up with little or no regard to the massive public health crisis they are creating putting these kids in what by all measures of common sense is a hostile environment from a medical perspective.
What DeSantis should have learned by now if he never learns anything else is you can't abdicate your authority and pass it to a group of elected officials who have no conceptual grasp of the order, magnitude, importance or impact of the decisions they're being asked to make.
Florida can't afford to have a patchwork quilt of some counties with students in school some counties with some students in schools some counties with no students in schools and everybody online how will parents and teachers figure out what to do.
It's time to man up Governor Ron.
You need to take this ball back and make the decision that is in the best interest of the human beings in this state. Shut the schools down until next year and let's get this thing under control.
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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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Progressive Politics Drives Pat Kemp


Tampa, Fl

From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert

Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp
Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp is not a member of the Hillsborough Emergency Policy Group currently addressing the coronavirus pandemic in the County. Kemp, a Progressive Democrat who thinks she knows best, decided to insert herself into the issue and display her hypocrisy.

The First Amendment to our US Constitution states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School:  "The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices. It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.

Governor DeSantis stated churches were an "essential business" in his "Stay at Home" order because he did not believe the State had the authority to force churches to shut down. Immediately after that on April 2, 2020, Commissioner Kemp sent this letter on her official county letterhead to DeSantis.
Kemp letter to DeSantis
(click to enlarge)

Kemp claims in her letter she is speaking on behalf of all 1.4 million residents of Hillsborough County in asking DeSantis to reverse his "glaring and dangerous" exemption. Kemp provides no evidence that all 1.4 million residents of Hillsborough County agree with her demand letter.


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 12, 2020

Schools Open for Business Not Necessarily Education




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

         
Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida ramped up pressure on local school boards to reopen this week even as the coronavirus reached new epic proportions.
For some insight check out this article from the Tampa Bay Times  by Mary Ellen Klas: Gov. Ron DeSantis doubles down on schools reopening full-time in August.
DeSantis, who's likely legacy from his stint as Florida’s governor maybe that he oversaw the state's largest infection by a virus in the history of Florida. And he handled it poorly.
In a quote from the Times article, the governor said,” We spent months saying that there are certain things that were essential that included fast-food restaurants, it included Walmart and Home Depot and Lowe's. If all that is essential, then educating our kids is absolutely essential, and they've been put to the back of the line in some respects.”
That may be true but now DeSantis wants to put them in the Corona cross hairs.
There is general agreement between the experts that Florida opened too soon and too fast, with too little planning and insufficient leadership. Now the governor continues to put all of us at risk by attempting to mandate that public schools will open only to become an incubating bowl for an exploding coronavirus.
No matter how many times he says it, no matter how convincing the governor tries to make the argument for opening these schools; it is not nearly as much about education or protecting our children as it is getting people back to work so the economy will be booming in November for the general election.
As Governor DeSantis and the rest of the local and County politicians and school board members pitch this thing around like a soccer ball, the growing facts indicate reopening the schools without adequate protection, a declining caseload and  declining positivity rate will be an absolute recipe for another major spike in the Corona virus pandemic.
All of this push from the governor's office and a growing host of other up for election politicians to put kids back in school so people can get back to their hospitality jobs or whatever they're doing are supposed to be doing seems to me to be just a little self-serving at best.
If we haven't learned anything from this pandemic, we need to recognize that politicians are the last people that need to be in command of determining what is done in a public health crisis.
I don't know what your plans are for your kids. I don't have any public school-age children anymore, but I can tell you this, if I did the last place, they would be going to get their education this fall is a public school system populated with reluctant teachers, inadequate equipment, insufficient protection, poor planning and insufficient leadership.
While you're making the decision about what you're going to do with your school-age children come fall, keep this in mind: this will be the most aggressive and ugly political season most of us have experienced in our lifetimes. The health and safety of your children, you, your parents and your kid’s grandparents is way down on the list of concerns by Trump, DeSantis and most of the other major politicians in both parties this year.
Don't listen to what they say, watch what they are doing.
They are more than willing to stuff your kids into what by almost any judgement will be a situation destined to encourage the spread of the virus all for a few votes.
Remember, we do not really know what the long-range implications of the coronavirus are on young children. What they tell us is, “Oh it's OK… they don't get as sick, they recover more quickly. 
What we don't know is what legacy this virus is leaving behind, and we may not know that for a number of years.
The whole concept of putting kids back in school so one political party or the other can benefit from people getting back to work, the stock market going up and the economy roaring along is just insane.
E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.  
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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The new St. Pete Pier. Are the wheels coming off this project yet again?

For some prospective on how the Pier project unfolded here is a Post from March 23, 2015


Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog .

After a poorly planned final review meeting, lack of willing participation by the Committee members and a mini rant by Mike Connors, City Public Works Administrator and chair of the Pier Selection Committee resulted in a "no decision", the public is starting to respond to the process.

Here are some posts you might want to check out:




Here are just a few of reader's comments. Why don't you log in to one of these sites and post your thoughts or send them to me at dr.gwebb@yahoo.com and I'll be happy to share them.

Jay - We need to get rid of the pyramid and move on.

Nick - Too bad that's not what the majority of citizens want.

Jay - A vocal minority does not make a majority, but they usually get what they want.

Nick - Jay we collected 24,000 petitions from registered voters who wanted to have a vote in the fate of that building, not too shabby…the people at the first task force survey in 2010 chose a refurb plan, but pushed aside by the city(mahaffey theater vote). Now we have poll after poll saying the same thing….reuse the architecture. If you don't like the architecture, that's your right.

David - Destination St Pete Pier is just as described in the editorial. And there is nothing out there to determine what the clear choice of residents is. Both polls were worthless, so get off of that horse.

Joe - Except that the scientific poll taken by St Pete Polls essentially corroborated the same public sentiment. http://stpetepolls.org/files/StPetePolls_2015_Pier_March_19_H9RL.pdf

 Tom -     I like the idea about doing the phone survey, but they should do the Internet survey again. First they should let everyone know what happened, which they should have done immediately after the meeting on Friday the 20th. I would have prevented much frustration among the public. Now much of the public believe the committee is incapable of doing the job.

The phone survey should also identify the "Destination" pier design as the one that got the most votes by the public. I had to chose undecided on the phone survey because I wasn't sure what one it was.

Nancy - It is outrageous that the residents of St. Petersburg who are paying for the Pier with the tax dollars do not get to chose the design as promised.  No one likes the Alma but it is in the running.  Just who is get kick backs?

Roger - Let's not mince words. This entire "process" has been a political sideshow, pre-planned and orchestrated with the desired outcome known for over a year. Parading Casey Gonzmart out to speak publicly, with his ridiculous pleas, was the final straw, and a really stupid move by those pulling the strings in this city. There is no other explanation as to why a useless, disliked by most concept that does not follow the Pier Advisory Task force is sitting at #1. It was planned that way all along. The survey was nothing more than a feel-good exercise to placate the public, but it backfired on them. The real truth is coming out now. Mike Connors should be fired immediately if not brought up on charges for conspiracy, IMO. The City's only hope of tearing down the Inverted Pyramid lies with their final strategy that the public is worn out with Pier fatigue and will not participate in another protracted petition drive/battle. What they DIDN'T consider is that the previous opposing forces in Concerned Citizens, VOTP and most of the Lens fans have joined forces, and quite a few are either Attorneys or have very deep pockets (or both) and will not stand by and let Mike Connors and Rick Kriseman pull another stunt like Bill Foster tried. You can take that to the bank.

And Connors temper tantrum on video just proves it even more. Oh and by the way, here's more: Perhaps someone should ask Mr. Connors why the City filed a demolition permit request on September 11th, 2014 to demolish the entire Pier to the seawall, including the Pyramid, even though 11 of the 16 teams planned a renovation? Keep peeling the onion back, kids.

T - Why ask the citizens of St Petersburg which Pier design they would prefer, if 1 person on the Mayor's Committee picks HIS choice?
This is an insult to everyone who was asked to vote!
A majority of citizens selected "Destination St Petersburg" & that is the design that should be used!
Mr. Mayor, is this how your city government works?

Bill - Was all the voting just a big sham??? 

E-mail Doc at mail to:dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

UGLY MUST CERTAINLY BE IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

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

Which one of these looks the most inviting to you?






It doesn't really matter much at this point. 

What this does show is what you get when the artsy and the politicians get in room with a large bag full of your money and little or no input from the general public.

If you are thinking about dropping by here are the details:

The new St. Pete Pier and Pier District will open Monday, July 6 at 5:00 P.M.

The wait is over. It’s time to exPIERience the new St. Pete Pier

In order to facilitate social distancing and open ‘The St. Pete Way’, reservations are required for opening week.

Tickets will be issued for Monday, July 6 at 5:00 PM through Sunday, July 12 at 8:00 PM. To reserve your complimentary tickets, visit the City of St. Petersburg Pier website at StPetePier.org, navigate to the events page, and follow the directions listed. There,you can select the day and time you would like to have your exPIERience.

It is the City of St. Petersburg's goal to provide a safe and entertaining exPIERience for all. We have limited reservations daily, so planning ahead is encouraged. Proof of a complimentary reservation by either phone or a printed document is required. The reservation will be processed through a touch-less scanning upon entry.

Parking Information:
On Monday, July 6th only, parking at the Dolphin and Pelican parking lots via 2nd Avenue/ Marina Way will be closed to the general public. Recommended parking for the pier's opening day is the Sundial Garage located at 117 2nd Street North. The St. Peterburg Looper Trolley (LooperTrolley.com) will also be in operation with a convenient stop near the St. Pete Pier. Drop-offs and rideshare will be at Beach Drive and 2nd Ave. NE, while those with handicap placards will be allowed through the Bayshore Drive closure checkpoint.

Starting on Tuesday, July 7th, parking will be available at the Dolphin and Pelican parking lots until full, with overflow parking at the Sundial Garage. Parking can be paid at any of the 13 “Pay Stations” located throughout the parking lots for $2/hr for the first 4 hours and then a graduated rate for the next 2 hours. There is a 6-hour max parking available in the lots. Credit cards, cash and the ParkMobile platform can be used to pay for parking. To pay for parking along Marina Way, visitors can pay the smart meters with a credit card or coins. ParkMobile is also accepted by selecting Zone 2005 on the ParkMobile App via a smartphone. The rate is $2/hr for the first 3 hours and then a graduated rate for the 4th hour. Alternative modes of transportation include the trolley and the Bike Share located throughout downtown St. Petersburg.

Safety Measures:
The Center for Disease Control and the City of St. Petersburg recommend wearing a mask or cloth face covering when social distancing is not possible. We encourage visitors to the pier to wear a mask whether indoors or outdoors; however, local directives require masks to be worn when inside places of public assembly, such as restaurants. This will be enforced within the St. Pete Pier District.

For latest Pier news and tickets for opening week, visit stpetepier,org

E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.  
Disclosures:
Please comment below.


Monday, July 6, 2020

New Pier – Old Pier In Case You Forgot About The Old Pier Here is a Look Back


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







 For more click here: Saying Good by to the Pier






For more click here: See More at Pier Demolition








Not really. 
E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.  
Disclosures:
Please comment below.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

It is Time for a Societal Reboot



16% of The US population Is now driving 90% of societal change.

Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author:  In Search of Robin
, So You Want to Blog.     
The recent events documenting police brutality and overstep are without question.
Cities have elected or appointed African American police Chiefs, counties have elected or appointed African American Sheriff’s, and most have been less than effective.
It has nothing to do with their race and in a lot of cases nothing to do with their ability it's just the overriding ingrained racial bias among white law enforcement personnel and the unions that protect them is overwhelming.
All of this has led to the riots, the looting, the protesting resulting in both hostile and positive calls for everything from defunding police departments to tearing down monuments to threats of “burning” it down. If we, and I'm assuming we is the white people, don't seed to the demands of the protesters.
There is one thing new about these protests, if you look at the makeup of the crowds at least the crowds that are shown by the media, there is a more homogeneous mix of minorities and white younger people attending if not supporting the protest.
Since most of the national media, and local media, for that matter, never met a protest they did not embrace regardless of the cause or its demands, the momentum generated by these unconscionable acts of police brutality has taken on a life of its own.
This society cannot function without governance; governance cannot function without rule of law; rule of law cannot function without enforcement, and enforcement requires some degree of policing.
The current social narrative of throw everything out including the police and everything else that provides order is being driven by a minority of the population. But, there's a significant portion of that minority that simply does not want law enforcement to go away because they know what the result  will be.
I am all about free speech you don't have to read very far in my blogs to see that. I am all about people being able to express their views. I do so regularly.  What I'm not all about, and neither should you be is allowing a left-leaning liberal media to adopt the cause of a minority of a minority and attempt to drive unconscionable social change into a culture that is a proven model for the world.
Not perfect, not always just, not always well run, not always well governed but still the model for the world.
It's time for a reboot; it's time that more emphasis is put on what needs to be changed and how it needs to be changed than we do on the sign waving crowd screaming obscenities at the top of their lungs demanding that we defund law enforcement.
So, here is a suggestion.
If you're a little uncomfortable with all the sign waving protesters and millennials that would rather run around in their shorts and T-shirts with signs than get a job, actually go to work and pay off their student loans, but you still have strong feelings about the brutality that you see from the policing we have established to maintain order in our society, then do something.
Get on Facebook. Get on Twitter. Get on your favorite social media platform, and let your feelings be known; but you will not, and do you know why you won't?
Because you are afraid.
You are afraid of what might happen to you. You are afraid of the mob mentality; you are afraid that they might show up at your door.
And now you have some good reason to be afraid if they did because, if you call for help, the police might not show up at all and if the police did show up, you might end up being the one blamed for whatever happened. For that you have the media to thank.
That is exactly what the people running these media circuses of protests want.
They want you afraid; they want you scared to death because when you are afraid to speak up, when you're afraid of standing up, they win. And if we cower in the face of this type of social pressure, the very fabric of our society will be completely ripped to shreds.
E-mail Doc at mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.  
Disclosures:
Please comment below.