Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Manatee County and Nursing Homes and the COVID-19 Virus

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

The Florida nursing home Covid-19 crisis is a shameful disaster.
Herald-Tribune By Zac Anderson Political Editor: Coronavirus Florida: 23 deaths at 2 Manatee County nursing homes.
Even as nursing-home  residents continue to die, the nursing home industry is flexing its political mussel to get liability protection extended.
From the Herald-Tribune By Melanie Payne and Ryan Mills, Fort Myers News-Press: A showdown is brewing at Florida’s long-term care facilities just as coronavirus cases are ramping up.
From the article above: “J. Emmett Reed, Florida Health Care’s executive director, said in his organization’s letter that the ability to treat patients during the COVID-19 crisis is a “vital state concern. Brian Lee, former head of Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman program and a frequent critic of the long-term care industry, called the request “short-sighted” and a “repugnant stunt.” It shows the nursing home industry is more worried about its financial interest than patients’ health, he said.”
To get some idea of how the Florida Department of Health pays attention to the Nursing Home industry  Go to the Board of Nursing  Administrators and note every listed member’s term has expired.
Much like the people who get dumped in them, these Nursing Homes are on their own.
The industry failed to heed early warnings and continued to shuffle employees from location to location creating a traveling stream of Covid-19 infections.
There needs to be vastly improved State and maybe County oversight of these facilities. Somewhere around 9% of the nursing homes, mostly larger ones, have not yet installed the generators mandated in 2018. Too costly they say. How much is a life worth?
The legislature and the Governor should turn a deaf ear to requests for liability relief and should, in fact, remove what is there. A couple of good stiff liability settlements would probably do more to get the industry’s attention than anything else.
The Florida Department of Health should be mandated to protect those housed in these facilities and be funded to be able to accomplish that mandate.
As Manatee county became the epicenter for Nursing-Home  deaths, the lack luster approach of the County Commission certainly did not help those housed in Nursing-Home  facilities.
As this industry takes billions in federal and state funds nationwide, it is past time that more stringent controls be applied to the industry. And here in Florida, if you don’t have a generator, your nursing-home  license should be pulled immediately no matter whose campaign you contribute to.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

County commish violates campaign finance law six times during pandemic, effort to self-promote?

Tampa, Fl
From: Tampa Bay Guardian
Edited by: Tom Rask

Posted by TBG2016 on APRIL 23, 2020

A review of the mass e-mails sent out by the political campaign of Pinellas County commissioner Janet Long found that she committed six Florida campaign finance law violations during the county pandemic declared state of emergency. The violations consist of not including the “paid political advertisement” disclaimer required by law, to wit Florida Statute 106.143(1)(a).

 After sending four e-mails with the required “paid political advertisement” disclaimer in them in the five months before the pandemic, Long dropped that disclaimer in her March 13th e-mail. That e-mail announced that the county commission had declared a Local State of Emergency that same day.
Long  sent out four more campaign e-mails without disclaimers during March, all dealing with the emergency created by the coronavirus. After her sixth such e-mail on April 3rd, we wrote an article pointing out the campaign law violations they constitute.

Since our article, Long has sent out two more campaign e-mails, and now with the required disclaimer, but in tiny text at the bottom. Shown immediately below is the bottom of her e-mail sent just yesterday on April 22nd

Long’s latest e-mails may still be a campaign law violation. FS 106.143(1)(a) doesn’t just require that the disclaimer be displayed, but that it be “prominently” displayed. We’ll let the reader decide the prominence of the above disclaimer.

Long did not respond to our questions and repeated requests for comment about her actual and potential campaign law violations. Her April 22nd e-mail was sent on Earth Day, a day Long celebrated last year
The first Earth Day was celebrated on the 100-year anniversary of the birth of the founder of the Soviet Union Vladimir Lenin, a murderous communist. Coincidence? We think not. That’s why me don’t celebrate Murderous Communism Day on April 22nd here at The Guardian.

Did Janet Long deliberately drop the paid political advertisement disclaimer required by law showing readers that her e-mail was an advertisement for her political campaign? Did she cynically use the pandemic for political campaign purposes?

As always….the Guardian reports and our readers decide. Like our Facebook page to find out when we publish articles. 

READ THIS POST AT: Tampa Bay Guardian

This post is contributed by the Tampa Bay Guardian. The views expressed in this post are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher of Bay Post Internet or any publications, blogs or social media pages where it may appear.

Cross Posted with permission from: Tampa Bay Guardian

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Who is calling the Shots in Manatee County?

Tampa Bay, Fl Opinion by: 
E. Eugene Webb PhD
From the Tampa Bay Times by Christopher O'Donnell and Allison Ross:15th in population, Manatee ranks fourth in Florida for COVID-19 deaths
From the Times article, “But even as fatalities and positive cases continue to rise in Manatee, its Republican-controlled Board of County Commissioners has responded to increasing pressure from the public to loosen emergency orders on social distancing and staying at home.
Commissioners recently reopened boat ramps. And on Tuesday — even as the number of positive cases jumped by 70 percent in a week — the board voted 4-3 to repeal a countywide curfew.”
From the Hearld-Tribune By Michael Moore Jr. Staff Writer Manatee County Commission Chair, Betsy Benac, announces she will not seek re-election.
From the Hearld-Tribune article, “Immediately following Benac’s announcement, former Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker sent out a statement saying he would run for Benac’s at-large District 7 position instead of the District 5 seat against Commissioner Vanessa Baugh, as he originally filed to do.
“My experience, especially during these unprecedented times, is best suited to represent the entire county,” Hunzeker said. “I served Manatee County (as administrator) for over 10 years (2007-2019) and helped lead us through the great recession. We can and will get through this together.”
The major problem in Manatee County is it is one of Florida’s fasting growing counties, and it still being managed like Mayberry.
One only needs to drive through Manatee County on the narrow two-lane roads connecting rapidly expanding developments to get a feel for how little control there really is in Manatee County.
In a classic case of political inbreeding, in 2019 County Commissioners confirmed Sherri Coryea County Administrator. Ms. Coryea has 30 years of experience in Manatee County government, with 28 of them in management with Manatee County primarily in the area of Neighborhood Services.
At the time of her confirmation as County Administrator, Mrs. Coryea did not meet the educational requirements nor the experience requirements that were posted when the County did a nationwide search for a new administrator.
This weakness in leadership coupled with a County Commission that is still living in the late 80s at best has significantly contributed to a lackluster approach to the COVID-19 problem.
Still too focused on mom and pop hotels, small businesses and the cries of HOAs and condo association presidents, this County Commission and administration are just woefully in adequate to deal with serious issues on a real-time basis.
Former County Administrator Ed Hunzeker has stepped up to run for the District 7 at-large County commission seat. Mr. Hunzeker was the county administrator for 10 years and was largely responsible for the current conditions in Manatee County.
There is an election coming soon for Manatee County commissioners. It’s time for some changes. Reelecting the same people is simply going to produce the same results.
The County commission needs members who represent the changing nature of Manatee County and the changing demographics.
It’s just simply not Mayberry anymore.
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Thursday, April 23, 2020

Can You trust Your Banker When You Apply for an SBA Bailout Loan? Can You Trust Yourself???

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

You may want to think twice about that SBA bail out loan. Check out Tampa Bay Times By Graham Brink: Fraud, bad actors are inevitable with $350 billion federal loan program.  
If you passed on clicking that link go back and click it right now and read the whole article!!!
Graham Brink makes a number of good points, but the key among them is the fact that the federal government is not going to investigate these loans. They will incentivize outside lawyers and others to do the work for percentage of recovery or a fixed fee. And you can bet the media print and electronic will be all over this one.
What that means is an army of people will be looking at every PPP loan large or small for any hint of fraud or even accidental misuse of the funds.
Don’t think for a minute you can skate because you are mom and pop operation with a couple of employees.
You are the one they are looking for.
The big guys have a gang of lawyers to get them off. You don’t.
Don’t look to your banker to keep you out of trouble. When was the last time you saw a banker take responsibility for anything?
If you decide to play some games with any of this money, you could be in very serious trouble.
As Brink points out, even accidental misuse may not get you off, because in this case stupid will not be an excuse.
This second round of loans will be similar to the first, with probably a little more attention paid to who gets how much and with an emphasis on getting money smaller businesses. Don’t get all teary eyed, this is serious business.
If you take the money and misuse it the loan will be recalled in full and there may be interest and criminal penalties depending on the circumstances.
If you are going to play in this game, ignore everything the banker tells you, get a good lawyer and/or a CPA and document every penny of this money.
It would be good idea to ask banker/lender him/her for a letter on the lending institution letterhead that states this loan (reference loan number) is one of those PPP forgivable loans. If your banker/lender won’t do that I would a) RUN and b) report them to the SBA.
Here is another chilling thought.
Every one of your employees will be watching where the money goes. My guess is whistle blowers will be encouraged and well compensated.
That thought alone should keep you up at night.
For reference, the original post follows.

For some insight check out; New York Times, by Stacy Cowley and Emily Flitter:  Frenzy and Desperation as Small Businesses Grab for Government Aid
From the Intelligencer, by Eric Levitz: The Small-Business Loan Program Is Already Hitting 4 Big Snags
Levitz details four major concerns the banks are having with the program:
1. For many banks, the program looks high-risk, low-reward.
2. The bailout fund is too damn small.
3. The most vulnerable mom-and-pops will likely come away empty-handed.
4. A (well-intended) last-minute rule change makes the program a worse deal for a lot of businesses.
It works like this. To get cash into business owners’ hands fast: small-business owners would simply walk into their friendly neighborhood bank branches; the banks would lend them money quickly, and the government would make sure everyone was whole later.
Bankers as a group do not like to be told what to do. Especially when it comes to lending.
If you’re a small businessperson, you have probably had the experience of dealing with your banker as he/she sits smugly behind a very expensive desk and looks at you with distrust as you make your pitch for a loan.
Bankers are going to tell the Borrower what they will do and being put in the position of moving quickly and with limited time to get information about the borrower, they are to say the least uncomfortable. There are very few requirements on issuing the loan, and that takes away one of a bankers’ great glees in life, which is the opportunity to refuse your loan with that I am better than you grin on their face.
Since these loans only pay the bank one percent (1%), they are not going to be falling all over themselves to make the loans happen.
Before you go screaming down the road breaking every speed limit in town to get to the bank, stop and think about the old adage: If something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.
You might also want to look at this article from the U.S. Small Business Administration: What Your Lender Wants You to Know about Applying for an SBA Guaranteed Loan.
Remember the line from above: Bankers as a group do not like to be told what to do. 
On television, in interviews they are all smiles and grins about this program, but my guess just under the surface they are about as pissed off as they have been in a while.
So, borrower beware…..
This is very defined program with very specific guidelines, and your banker may try to steer you into a different loan, a non SBA loan or one that looks like or sounds like the SBA Guaranteed Loan program but is not.
Check out the link above, make sure the paperwork clearly states you are applying for and receiving a loan from the SBA Guaranteed Loan program. If you have an attorney, it would be a good idea to have them look over the Loan Application to make sure everything is on the up and up.
You don’t want to end up with a $100,000 loan that in a few months when the loan forgiveness program kicks in your “friendly” banker has the gleeful opportunity to tell you YOUR loan was not one of THOSE loans.
You may be desperate for the money but do your homework. I am sure there are a lot of banks and bankers out there that genuinely want to help and will play by the rules. I am equally sure that banks, all of them, put their interests ahead of yours.
This is a business deal, not a chest bump be careful.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

One Decade Ago Bay Post Internet Posted for the First Time

Tampa Bay, Fl
By: E. Eugene Webb PhD 

Ten years ago, today, April 22, 2010 I put up the first post on this Blog Site. It was during the Florida Governor's Race.

Since then I posted about everything from Bay Area Transportation to our world- famous Grand Prix and Pride Festival along with the Bucs the Rays and countless politicians. 

I had a lot of help in this endeavor. I especially appreciate your comments both positive and critical. 

I am most appreciative of the guy I consider my blogging mentor, Peter Schorsch, now Publisher of Extensive Enterprises Media and Florida's most popular political Blog Florida Politics.  Peter was just getting his media empire started, but he always had time for questions and some real good advice.

Finally, I would like to thank you the reader for your time. 

Whether you just found us on one of the Facebook pages or are a long-time reader/follower, I know your time is valuable and I want to thank you for sharing some of it with me. 

Gene (Doc)

April 22, 2010
Republicans Should Be Cautious
Marko….Pollo Marco…Rubio Marco…Maybe Marco… Maybe not 

The Florida Governors’ race is almost always interesting. The Crist/Rubio race has proven that things are never dull in Florida politics. I’ll admit it, I like Charlie Crist. I liked him the first time we met at a Rays game, and I was at the Vinoy when he won the Governorship. I’ll also admit that Charlie may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer. But Charlie seems inherently honest for a politician. Charlie has more than his share of detractors, and I guess when you have been in politics as long as he has and been as successful as he has that may be par for the course. The Republicans have put poor old Charlie in a bit of a quandary. All this fawning over Rubio has tilted the polls and Charlie is a bit nervous. He is actually seriously considering the independent thing.

Republicans should be careful. Behind those pouting lips, sultry eyes and bouncing kids in the TV ad, Marko has some issues. The Party sees him as the next Republican Saint and there is even already talk about a presidential bid. Are you kidding me? But it appears that Marko may have trouble keeping his hand out of the public’s cookie jar and given the rarified air in Washington he could well have difficulties with other appendages. Putting Rubio in Washington could easily set up the GOP and Florida for a scandal that would make the Foley thing look like a kid’s picnic. Marco is probably better suited for Chicago or New York politics where they expect their politicians to be slopping it up at the public’s expense. There are too many people including the Feds poking around in Marko’s past. Where there is smoke there is always fire. Maybe not an inferno, but a fire none the less. The party players who may be looking at Marco as someone they can put a coat with long tails on better check the pockets. If I were them, I would put Marco on a cash only basis, no credit cards and a very short leash. Marco could use a handler, trainer and a full-time auditor.

Me, I still like Charlie, Republican or Independent. I think he still uses his own credit card to pay for his stuff and most importantly he will spend his time and energy looking out for Florida first and Charlie second…maybe.

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.
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