Friday, October 23, 2020

Looking Forward to the 2020 Vote

 Florida West Coast

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD

We're just a little over one week away From Election Day. The last debate is over, from here on out you pretty much have to rely on the newspapers', social media, and your best friends for election information.

Below is a summary of blog posts related to the election from BayPost Internet, you can click on the links for these posts.

You might have noticed the number of commercials regarding the minimum wage amendment to the Florida state constitution. There is an effort underway to convince you that raising the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour over about a five-year period will be devastating to small business.

When you're considering your votes on the amendments, you might want to take all of those small-business people's projections of their demise with a grain of salt.

If the amendment passes, and it requires a 60% majority to become law, the minimum wage rises in steps over the next few years ultimately reaching the $15 level.

I still think the $15 minimum wage amendment deserves your yes vote.

Whose Driving the Presidential Train????

Down Ballot Republicans - Will They Stick with Trump or Will the Party Fracture?

School Board Elections One of The Most Important Votes You'll Cast

School Boards Pushing for New Property Taxes - Beware

Florida Democratic and Republican Parties Attempt to Remove Amendment 3 from the November Ballot

Janet Long breaks Florida’s campaign financing law for 2nd time this year

Florida 2020 Ballot Referendums – What Do They Do

Voter Decision Tables

For State, County and local races check out FLOIDA POLITICS

Corruption claims rock final presidential debate

Be sure to vote.

Please remember every vote counts.

Up above you'll find a post related to down ballot voting. Your votes for US Congress and US Senate are extremely important in an election for the presidency which is sure to be as close as this one is going to be.


Also don't forget those County and city elections that are down on the ballot as well as the amendments which appear on the back.

Each of these people desiring to serve you as an elected public official deserves your consideration and your vote if they are the one you think can do the best job for you.

And while you're thinking about that remember this: the politicians that affect you the most directly are the local ones. Your City councils, County commissions State House and Senate Representatives so be sure to look at those choices and vote all the offices that appear down ballot.

As of today you can still drop off your ballot, and you could still put it in the Mail but just remember as we move out deeper into next week you may want to take advantage of that drop-off  sites, since the rules in Florida are: the ballot has to be in the hands of the Supervisor of Elections before the close of the poles on voting day, which is 7 PM.

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.

 

 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Voter Turnout Initiatives Target Black, Jewish Communities

 Tampa, Fl

Tampa Bay Beat
By: Jim Bleyer


October 16, 2020 - 8:15 am

High-profile billionaires Tyler Perry and Michael Bloomberg are bankrolling a final push in Florida to ensure two reliable Democratic constituencies cast their ballots Nov. 3.

Their respective efforts are to motivate blacks and Jews to vote in what both men view as the most pivotal election in the history of the republic. Both groups traditionally vote for Democrats  overwhelmingly.

Perry and the Equal Ground Education Fund, which is the Black led non-partisan non-profit working on building Black political power in Florida, are teaming up to launch a massive socially-distanced “Souls to the Polls” effort to educate and turnout Black voters across the state. 

The Perry initiative is billed as “nonpartisan” but it’s no secret that the voter suppression effort in Florida aimed primarily at people of color is a strategy of the Republican party led by Gov. Ron DeSantis.  Acclaimed actor/writer/producer/director Perry chipped in to bolster the $500,000 drive.

The Bloomberg-related effort is unequivocally partisan.  The founder of the world’s leading financial data service donated $250,000 to the Jewish Democratic Council of America’s super political action committee to support digital outreach efforts targeting Jewish voters in Florida in support of Joe Biden.

Pundits view Florida, with 29 prized electoral votes, as the key to Donald Trump’s re-election.  Without lassoing a victory in the Sunshine State, Trump’s chances for a second term are rated universally as next to nil.

“A national pandemic, racial tensions, blatant disregard for black bodies and a presidential election that can’t be won without the votes of Black folks have shaped the way we connect with voters,” said Jasmine Burney-Clark founder of the Equal Ground Education Fund.

“Despite Florida’s historical disenfranchisement of Black voters our voices will be heard whether we vote by mail or early,” Burney-Clark went on.  “Our work to provide robust voter education and ensure that accurate information reaches our communities is the highest priority and is what this partnership with Tyler Perry is going to do.” 

For the last two weekends of early voting, Equal Ground will host “Park & Praise” events targeting 250,000 voters in 25 counties where ballots can be dropped off amid live music and speeches.

In years past, Souls to The Polls was held in the urban centers of the state. However, this time, this strategy has been extended to not only include these urban centers, but also more rural counties during a presidential year where there are pockets of black folks who are often ignored.

So besides the usual suspects—Miami-Dade, Duval, Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Orange—this election cycle’s focus includes such counties as Wakulla, Gadsden, Madison, Taylor, Calhoun, and Gulf.

The Bloomberg-backed initiative seeks to shepherd a group that registers and votes in percentages greater than its raw numbers.

“Jewish voters can and will make the difference in Florida in support of Joe Biden,” said former U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, chairman of the Jewish Democratic Council of America. The council estimated there are 722,000 eligible Jewish voters in Florida, which is 4.2 percent of the electorate.

Florida’s Jewish population is estimated at 3.2 percent.

“Every vote will matter in Florida, and Jewish voters in Florida have the chance to vote for a president who will unite us, not divide us,”  according to a Bloomberg statement  published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “Joe Biden will be that president, and I’m glad to support the Jewish Democratic Council of America PAC as they reach Jewish voters online throughout the state of Florida and encourage them to vote for Joe and Kamala.”

Cross Posted with permission from: Tampa Bay Beat

 This post is contributed by Tampa Bay Beat. The views and opinions expressed in this post are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Bay Post Internet or the publisher.

 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Voter Decision Tables

Florida West Coast
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD


Need some help organizing your thoughts about who to vote for? 

Check out the BayPost Voter Decision Tables Below. 

Below is a universal VOTER DECISION TABLE.

Simply put the candidates names under the Candidate column. There are a couple  of blank spots in the criteria column so you can add some of your specific issues for each race. 


Once you have completed the tables, add up the check marks and vote for the candidate 
with the largest total.

Remember you can also access this post with your smart phone.

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.


 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Tampa Bay Anti-Car Brigade Candidates on November Ballot - Voters Take Note!


From: Eye On Tampa Bay

Posted by: Sharon Calvert




Tampa Bay Anti-Car Brigade Candidates
on November Ballot


Voters take note of the Anti-Car Brigade in Tampa Bay because four of them, Pat Kemp, Harry Cohen, Janet Long and Charlie Justice, are on the November ballot. The Anti-Car Brigade agenda is to force us out of the security of our individual vehicles that keep us healthier and safer. Their agenda requires large tax increases to pay for costly rail and transit few will ever use and road diets to make car travel more painful and traffic congestion worse.

Transit ridership was always anemic in Tampa Bay where 2% or less rode transit. The pandemic has devastated transit ridership across the country and reduced ridership even more in Tampa Bay. No one who can avoid it wants to ride a bus or a train with strangers. 

Transit ridership may be gone forever as the pandemic is causing paradigm shifts in numerous areas including transportation and telecommuting that may hasten urban decentralization. More people telecommuting reduces the need for more costly transit. 

More telecommuting, online retail activity and virtual entertainment is making the dense development model around transit stations aka transit oriented development (TOD) irrelevant. The stack and pack TOD development is the model the Anti-Car Brigade keep trying to force on us with their efforts to get us out of our individual vehicles.

Below are four county commission candidates who are members of the Tampa Bay Anti-Car Brigade on the November ballot. All four are Democrats endorsed by another member of the Tampa Bay Anti-Car Brigade - the Tampa Bay Times.

Hillsborough County commissioner Pat Kemp            

Kemp is a leader of the Tampa Bay Anti-Car Brigade in Hillsborough County and running again for her countywide District 6 seat. She is an activist commissioner who has served in leadership roles for many years with the Sierra Club of Tampa Bay who want to eliminate fossil fuels (stay tuned). Kemp currently is a member of the Sierra Club of Tampa Bay's Executive Committee. The Sierra Club supports AOC's Green New Deal to eliminate fossil fuels that would devastate our economy and cost $93 TRILLION.

 Kemp resides in Seminole Heights in Tampa and has been an active supporter of the Seminole Heights focused StopTBX and Sunshine Citizens urbanist groups who want to tear down 10 miles of I-275 from downtown Tampa to Bearss Avenue. That transportation corridor is an important evacuation route for Tampa Bay. The interstate is a strategic transportation asset of Florida that hundreds of thousands of commuters, businesses, tourists, USF students, patients at Moffitt, the VA or the Byrd Alzheimer Institute and trucks use everyday. 

Kemp and the Tampa centric urbanists wants to replace the elevated interstate with a costly street level rail boulevard that would create congestion chaos in Hillsborough County. Kemp supports street level rail including buying the CSX lines for another commuter rail line like the costly, accident prone (many with fatalities) SunRail. All the street level rail crossings would cause congestion havoc and be extremely dangerous. 

Kemp has repeatedly voted against planned and proposed Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) improvements to the dangerous malfunction junction and adding needed capacity to I-275 north of downtown. Kemp supported the legally challenged All for Transportation (AFT) transit tax in 2018. She is a lawyer who has tooted her "I am a lawyer" numerous times while discussing county issues on the dais. As a lawyer, she should have known that the AFT transit tax charter amendment language had potential legal issues as all it took was reading Florida State Statute 212.055 to understand thatAfter a lower Court judge threw out all the AFT unlawful regulations and spending appropriations, we await the Florida Supreme Court ruling whether the AFT tax is thrown out in its entirety or not.

 Hillsborough County voters deserve an answer for why Kemp, a lawyer, supported an unlawful transit tax referendum. If the transit tax is thrown out, Kemp will immediately begin an effort to put another massive transit tax on the 2022 ballot. If the transit tax is kept in place, Kemp wants to spend those Billions on rail projects in the city of Tampa that will be paid for by taxpayers in unincorporated Hillsborough. Kemp does not want to use any of the AFT billions on much needed new road capacity in Hillsborough County - for 30 long years.

When the pandemic hit earlier this year as many began suffering and losing their jobs, transit activist commissioners Kemp, Smith and Overman, with pressure from the Sierra Club, unsuccessfully pursued putting another 30 year 1% AFT 2.0 transit tax on the November ballot as a "backup" plan if the Court threw out AFT 1.0 tax. Kemp, Smith and Overman, incompassionately, tried to exploit a time of crisis when the public was totally focused on the coronavirus pandemic to put another $16 Billion sales tax referendum on the ballot. 

Kemp sits on the Board of the local transit agency HART that is financially reeling from low ridership and internal scandals. At the same time Kemp advocates for tearing down I-275 from downtown to Bearss Avenue, HART is considering using road diets for more transit along Florida and Nebraska Avenues that run parallel to the interstate and Fowler Avenue. The HART Board has become dysfunctional as the vast majority of its members reside in Tampa but the vast majority of HART's tax revenues come from residents in unincorporated Hillsborough. With HART in fiscal distress, Kemp still wants to use billions of taxpayer dollars for transit few will ever use - ironically including her. In 2017 when the Tampa Bay Times asked HART Board members if they ride the bus, this was Kemp's response:

I would like to ride transit more if I wasn't so busy working on the transit issue. ... It's not very amenable to my kind of schedule. I'm not an 8-to-5 in one place type of person.

Kemp also sits on the Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) desperately in need of new leadership, new staff and a new Board. This transportation planning organization has failed to plan and fund new road capacity needed for 38 new schools planned in Hillsborough County. A Hillsborough County School Board member was added to the MPO in 2015 but that person was ignored. Instead of focusing on needed road improvements in Hillsborough County, Kemp and the dysfunctional Hillsborough MPO have spent their time pushing costly trains and transit. 

 Remove Kemp in November to help stop the Anti-Car Brigade agenda, save our interstates that we already fund thru our state and federal gas taxes and give Hillsborough County taxpayers a fighting chance to get their roads improved and fund new road capacity.  Sandy Murman, who previously proposed the 10 year $812 million road funding plan approved by the commissioners in 2016 that required NO tax hike, is running against Kemp.  

Hillsborough County Commission candidate Harry Cohen 

Cohen is running for the District 1 commission seat currently held by Sandy Murman who is term limited in that seat. District 1 runs along the western edge of Hillsborough County from the southern border of Apollo Beach through S. Tampa and Westchase up to the northern border of Odessa. 

Cohen lives in S. Tampa and is a former Tampa City councilman (2011-2019) who unsuccessfully ran for Tampa Mayor last year. Cohen also sat on the dysfunctional Hillsborough MPO as the MPO irrationally focused on pushing rail and transit rather than the much needed road improvements - including those for planned new schools. Cohen is a lawyer in private practice who also is General Counsel to Hillsborough County Clerk of the Court. The Clerk of the Court is a defendant in the AFT transit tax lawsuit so Cohen has been directly involved with the lawsuit.

 Cohen, a transit advocate, supported the AFT transit tax and is on record stating this year he would have voted - in the middle of a pandemic - to put the AFT 2.0 transit tax on the November ballot. As a lawyer, Cohen should also have known that the AFT transit tax charter amendment included unlawful language. Cohen supports rail boondoggles including expanding the bankrupted Tampa Streetcar, buying the CSX tracks for another failed SunRail and the outdated TOD development model. WUSF reported last year when Cohen was running for Tampa mayor his expensive transportation vision included buying the CSX tracks for passenger rail all over the city of Tampa, massive extensions of the Tampa streetcar, greatly expanding bus service in Tampa and encouraging the outdated transit-oriented development so that housing, jobs, and retail shops are closer to transit stops.

While Cohen is not rabid about tearing down I-275 like Kemp, Cohen publicly stated before the 2020 Primary he was "leery" of widening I-275 and then added “We must reduce congestion by getting single occupancy vehicles off the road." 

Voters in District 1, especially those outside of S. Tampa, should take note of Cohen's urbanist attitude and support for massive sales tax hikes for costly trains and transit when transit ridership continues tanking. Taxpayers and residents across Hillsborough county may be better served by having more members on the county commission who understand how to run a business and have more practical experience than adding more lawyers to the commission. Small businessman Scott Levinson is running against Cohen.

Kemp and Cohen are lawyers, who in 2018 either intentionally or ignorantly, refused to acknowledge the AFT transit tax charter amendment included unlawful language. Defeating Kemp and Cohen on November 3rd will provide Hillsborough County taxpayers, residents and businesses a fighting chance to stop another AFT rail/transit tax 2.0 being on the ballot if the Florida Supreme Court throws out AFT 1.0, will help force new road capacity funding if the AFT tax is allowed to stand and help stop the Anti-Car Brigade agenda in Hillsborough County.  

Pinellas County commissioner Janet Long 

Long is the leader of the Anti-Car Brigade in Pinellas County. Long is running again for her at-large seat in District 1. She believes it is the role of government to force us out of the safety and security of our individual vehicles. Long sits on the Board of the local transit agency PSTA that is also financially reeling from disastrously low transit ridership. PSTA has been financially mismanaged for years but Long wants to hand more taxpayer dollars to a transit agency going insolvent. PSTA was caught illegally using federal transit security funds on advertising for their failed 2014 Greenlight Pinellas rail tax.

 Long supported the rail tax boondoggle and PSTA's CEO Brad Miller has never been held accountable for his illegal actions. Instead Long keeps giving Miller pay raises that will be baked in every year even as PSTA's financial position continues declining. Long has been the chief cheerleader and champion pushing PSTA's costly Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (CABRT), newly named the "SunRunner, that few will ever ride. Two of the three municipalities along its route, St. Pete Beach and S. Pasadena, passed formal Resolutions last year opposing the CABRT project. Road diets are part of the Anti-Car Brigade's agenda and the CABRT removes valuable lanes of vehicle traffic along First Avenues North and South in St. Petersburg and on Pasadena Avenue that will create more traffic congestion . PSTA has clearly stated they require a new funding source to operate the CABRT boondoggle. 

Up until the pandemic in March, Long was pursuing putting a transit tax on the November ballot. The PSTA Board is not supposed to display partisanship but at a May 2020 PSTA Legislative Committee meeting, Long publicly violated that ethic. Long has a history of lashing out at those who do not support her transit agenda and those who want accountability from PSTA. Long supports road diets, higher taxes, bigger government, regionalism and bigger bureaucracies that will dictate our lives but are never held accountable. Poor to no oversight of a public transit agency going insolvent should dictate removal from office.

Remove Long in November and Pinellas taxpayers will have a fighting chance to save and fix their roads instead of removing road capacity causing more traffic congestion and paying higher taxes for costly PSTA transit boondoggles. Larry Ahern, a small business owner who supports low taxes, limited government that is held accountable, free markets over bureaucracies and term limits for Pinellas County commissioners (there currently are no commissioner term limits even though over 72% of Pinellas voters voted for it on a 1996 referendum that was then overturned in court on a legal technicality), is running against Long. 

Pinellas County commissioner Charlie Justice   

Justice is running again for his District 3 seat. He is a 20 year career politician who has spent almost his entire adult working life in public office. Justice is also a member of the financially ailing PSTA transit agency Board and supports the costly CABRT knowing that higher taxes are needed to operate it. Justice supported the egregious 1% Greenlight Pinellas rail tax boondoggle overwhelmingly defeated in 2014. Justice, a transit advocate, refused to respond to the Tampa Bay Times request in 2017 when they asked the PSTA Board members whether they ever road the bus. Justice knows PSTA is depleting its reserves and will not be able to operate without a new funding source. Justice will support Long's effort to place another transit tax on the 2022 ballot to bail out PSTA. And poor to no oversight of a public transit agency going insolvent should dictate removal from office.

Remove Justice in November and Pinellas taxpayers will have a fighting chance to stop a massive tax hike for costly transit, help stop the anti-car agenda and stop efforts to impose road diets all over Pinellas County that will cause more congestion. Tammy Vasquez, also a small business owner who supports term limits for Pinellas County commissioners, is running against Justice.

Use of road diets throughout Pinellas County for more transit are being considered including removing a lane of vehicle traffic on 34th Street from 22nd Avenue South to 54th Avenue South. Three large apartment complexes are being built there and most residents will be bringing their cars. With Long and Justice, road diets for more unnecessary transit in Pinellas will continue.

Sitting on the PSTA Board for years, Long and Justice have refused to provide proper oversight contributing to PSTA's declining fiscal distress. Long and Justice did nothing when PSTA misled lied to the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) that St. Pete Beach supported and was a funding partner of the CABRT project. Even their Tampa Bay Anti-Car Brigade ally Tampa Bay Times could not ignore that PSTA misled the Feds. PSTA is also in desperate need of new leadership, new staff and new Board members.

The pandemic has devastated transit. It also has made the dense stack and pack mixed use transit oriented development model irrelevant, stale and outdated. The transit choice rider is gone. More people are telecommuting who may never go back into the office towers making transit more outdated. Traditional centralized transit is dying as innovation and technology decentralizes transportation options just as technology has and is decentralizing other industries. People are fleeing the stack and pack densities of big Blue cities with transit agencies drowning in huge deficits.

 Roads are one of our most highly utilized assets having broad uses, benefiting many and are the most multi-modal form of transportation. But the Tampa Bay Anti-Car Brigade wants to tear our interstates down, raise taxes to pay for costly transit few will ever use, use road diets to eliminate valuable vehicle lanes while ignoring funding for needed new road capacity.

 Early voting is starting and the case has been made.  

Voters in Hillsborough and Pinellas can push back against the Tampa Bay Anti-Car Brigade at the ballot box by defeating Kemp, Cohen, Long and Justice.

Posted by Sharon Calvert at 1:07 PM 

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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, October 18, 2020

Florida Universities Staging for Massive Budget Cuts

 Florida West Coast

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD

It will be interesting to see how the academic elite, and these massive educational organizations face the reality of downsizing.

During the past decade, Colleges and universities of all stripes have enjoyed massive enrollment increases and massive revenue increases from rising tuition and easily available student loans.

As the money increased the level of administrative overlay increased, tenured positions increased, colleges and schools of specific liberal education have grown and expanded as the University system became, irrelevant, overblown and over bloated.

Recently, I noted that the president of the University of South Florida earns right at or just over $600,000 a year. While some of the State University presidents have agreed to take minor salary cuts, the massive amount of money spent on administration and tenured professor salaries is difficult to justify.

For some insight check out this article from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune by Ryan McKinnon: University of South Florida closing College of Education regarding the University of South Florida closing the College of Education.

If you look through this article and take note of how this decision was arrived at and how it was announced you just have to ask yourself if the people that are running this show are really worth the money they are being paid.

Typically, the approach to declining revenues in the academic world is to throw academic work on the chopping block that everybody, other than the administration, sees as highly valuable and threaten to eliminate it. It's almost a form of educational ransom: we're going to kill this program unless you give us more money.

The State and the Board of Regents seem to be and should be taking a hard line.

It's time to bring the University system back to reality.

It's also time for the academic elite to shed their self-righteousness and get back to the business of educating students for the real world.

So, during all this budget cutting, colleges and universities should start not at the program level but at the administrative level.

It's time for a complete retooling of a higher education as we see it.

If they want to raise more money and drop programs, then let's raise the tuition on the non-job producing programs. Those programs that feed the egos of the academic elite and produce useless degrees, and unemployable graduates.

The faculty in the College of Education at the University of South Florida in Sarasota Manatee are to some degree the visible victims of the lack of management skill rampant in Florida’s University system.

So, what is the purpose of all this?

Well, I suspect that the president of USF is hoping some wealthy benefactor will step in an open up his gigantic pocketbook and say oh no; no let me pay for all of that, or there will be such a hue and cry from the public regarding Florida’s increasing inability to educate the teachers for our children, that the state will cave in and throw more money at the University system.

For the benefit of education let us hope neither happens and the people who perpetrated this travesty are held to account for it.

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.