Sunday, January 31, 2021

Manatee County Commission - Sex, Lies, and Blackmail

BayPost Media 2021
FLORIDA  
WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD 

This past week the Manatee County Commission appears to have come totally off the rails.

Like something, you might read in a paperback novel, George Kruse, Manatee County commissioner at large, openly admitted to an extramarital affair and accused the county's other at-large Commissioner Carol Whitmore of using that information to blackmail him.

Get the details in this post By Tiffany Razzano, Patch Staff Kruse Accuses Whitmore Of Blackmail, Renews Bid To Fire Coryea.

Things have been slowly unraveling in the Manatee County government since Cheri Coryea was appointed County administrator. Coryea’s lack of management skills and experience in managing a large organization is detailed in my post Manatee County Administrator – Time for a Change.

As you read the Tiffany Razzano Patch article, you will note that there was a lot of discussion about the nature of the meeting, the legality of the meeting, how the meeting was scheduled, and that sort of political speech that surrounds the Manatee County commission's total inability to conduct the people's business.

The toxicity of the Coryea administration extends throughout the organization and commissioner at large Kruse’s proposal to revisit Coryea’s termination, which was approved by a four to three vote, is a good move.

There are massive issues facing Manatee County given its rapid development, inability to manage infrastructure, and a growing lack of public-safety performance.

Political infighting and the struggle to maintain power or manipulate members of the County Commission is certainly counter opposed to what Manatee County needs.

Then there is also the question of the blackmail charge.

Even though it's just an accusation, I think it's time for an investigation of the operation and function of the County administration and the County Commission either by the Florida Ethics Commission or the State Department of Law Enforcement. And before anybody even suggests it, the Manatee County Sheriff's Department is totally incapable of conducting an unbiased investigation into these matters.

The humor and intrigue of a series of events such as this may entertain you for just a moment, but then look around. Manatee County is in a serious mess, and we just got a very good look at why.

If County Commissioner Whitmore’s quick dash to blackmail is any indication one can only guess at what else may be going on under the surface at the Manatee County Commission given the number of powerful players trying to quickly develop eastern Manatee County.

Regardless of his dalliances, Commissioner Kruse is right. It is time for a house cleaning in the Manatee County administration, and it needs to start right at the top with the County administrator. She needs to go, and she needs to go right now.

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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Disclosures:

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Friday, January 29, 2021

Battle Royale or Tempest in a Tea Pot - Kriseman, Sternberg, the Rays and the Trop

FLORIDA
WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD 

The battle over the redevelopment of Tropicana Field and the surrounding property is just beginning to heat up.

There have been since the start of redevelopment talks an open rift between the Rays and the Kriseman administration almost since the first-day  Rick Kriseman took office.

The Rays are seeking control of 50 acres east of Booker Creek and want 100 percent of the development rights for that portion of the parcel, according to Kriseman. The team would still be entitled to 50 percent of the development rights on the rest of the property.

While the Rays try to keep all their options open, mayor Kriseman is trying to figure out how to get his own personal stamp on the Trop property redevelopment.

City Council finds themselves in a unique position. However, they need to reign in Kriseman and his minions in before the Trop redevelopment gets out of hand like the Pier project did.

In case you are not up to all the recent goings on, below are some links to recent articles in the Tampa Bay Times they are well worth the read.

By Jay Cridlin and Josh Solomon Tampa Bay Times Here are the 7 proposals to redevelop Tropicana Field site in St. Petersburg

By John Romano Tampa Bay Times, Mayor says Tampa Bay Rays want too much to build a stadium at Tropicana site

Just in case your memory needs a little refreshing, here are a couple of posts from 2016 as Mayor Rick Kriseman manipulated the selection of the new pier design.

E. Eugene Webb PhD Wednesday, March 30, 2016 The New St. Pete Pier is starting to look like a financial train wreck

E. Eugene Webb PhD, BayPost Internet December 30, 2016:The Pier – who got us here

What resulted was a pier design that most people didn't want and an Upland park that will ultimately be underwater if mayor Kriseman's own climate change predictions come true .

Mayor Kriseman has long had his eye on the Trop property as a potential redevelopment site. But I think it's more about his long-term legacy then it is about the redevelopment.

The contentious relationship with Ray's owner Stu Sternberg has been almost deliberately cultivated by the Kriseman administration. However, to allow Kriseman the opportunity to put his fingerprints all over the redevelopment of the Trop site, regardless of the outcome with the Rays, is something City Council needs to be very careful about allowing.

Kriseman and his team, have an uncanny way of making up the rules as they go along and then bending the rules they make as it serves their purpose.

City Council should be wary of a review of the seven proposals that were submitted by the Kriseman team and any recommendation from them regarding proceeding forward with one of those proposals.

My view of the Trop property is simple.

I think the city and the Mayor, and the City Council should say thanks to the Rays and Sternberg for all they have done for this community and then politely send them on their way.

The Tropicana site would be better off developed as a unique urban center while supporting the continuing redevelopment of Saint Petersburg into one of the finest cities in the southeast.

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, January 28, 2021

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Is Manatee County Becoming a Defacto Metro?


FLORIDA 
WEST COAST         

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD

A Metro or a Metro government is formed when one or more cities, and their surrounding County merge into a unified jurisdiction. As such it has the government powers of both a Municipal Corporation and an administrative division of the state. (Definition from Wikipedia.)

As development continues to grow unabated in Manatee County, the unincorporated areas of the County look like a patchwork quilt of residential development. Many of the nation's leading home builders are establishing both small and large pockets of development in these unincorporated areas. 

For some historical information:

Wikipedia: Manatee County, Florida

Here are some links to the Manatee County Planning Process:

Manatee County Comprehensive Plan

LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS

PLANNING MAPS

Manatee County Urban Corridors 2013

As we approach the release of the 2020 census data, all estimates indicate that there will be significantly more people living in the unincorporated area of Manatee County than there are in the incorporated cities.

If you are new to the area or relatively new, say within the last couple of years or so, you probably get the feeling at times that you are living in the Wild West. That is especially true if you live in the unincorporated areas and in a community, that is controlled or managed buy a Homeowners Association.

You may have also noticed that some services are fragmented between County government and the Cities in Manatee County. Most notable is law enforcement.

As the County continues to grow, especially to the East, the County will find itself looking more and more like a large city with pockets of development managed my homeowners associations.

There seems to be no appetite among the cities for annexation of large or small developments as they occur, or after they are completed. It would seem that the cities in Manatee County are not interested in expanding their footprint and most particularly not interested in assuming the functional problems, infrastructure and public-safety responsibilities that go along with annexing these large developments.

If you look at the links above, you will notice that there were some significant development decisions made in the 2006 timeframe when the housing bubble burst. There were decisions made to stop preparing for development in the eastern portion of the County and wait until the economy improved, and the development became more probable to occur.

The problem is the County, through the County Commission, has not been able to develop a growth plan for infrastructure, roads and public safety as fast as they can approve development and the developers can build houses.

Since there does not seem to be an alternative with city annexation and the establishment of city responsibilities for services, the County now finds itself in an out-of-control growth mode with no workable plan to deal with the infrastructure and public-safety issues that are rapidly growing.

In fact, it would appear Manatee County is by default be coming either a large city unto itself or a Metro government that must work with not only the unincorporated population, but also with pocketed developments, the developers and the existing cities to come up with a governance plan that supports a quality of life that will continue to make the County a desirable place to live.

Want to check out crime in Manatee County look here. Manatee County Sheriff - Crime Mapping for Manatee County

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.

 

 

Friday, January 22, 2021

DeSantis and Biden How Will It Go?

FLORIDA

WEST COAST

Opinion by:
E. Eugene Webb PhD


As we move into the new political year with a new president, things are going to change dramatically in Florida’s relationship with the White House.

Governor Ron DeSantis has had an outstanding relationship with the Trump administration and was a staunch supporter of President Trump until the very end.

This close relationship with former President Trump produced unparalleled access for the Florida Governor to the White House and its many resources. Now things have changed.

The question now becomes, how will DeSantis govern as it relates to the new Biden administration?

Check out News Channel 8 by Mahsa Saeidi ‘Big mistake’: DeSantis criticizes Biden’s plan for vaccine distribution but can he stop it?

And in Patch by Skyla Luckey Gov. DeSantis Bucks President Joe Biden's COVID-19 Vaccine Plan.

The Oval Office is no longer a phone call away for the Florida Governor, and DeSantis, who can be pointedly blunt and often controversial, has had his eye on a run for the presidency since the day he was elected governor.

I'm pretty sure none of that is lost on President Biden and his advisors.

 If Governor DeSantis continues to take a negative approach to the Biden recovery plan, it will just simply not serve Floridians well.

DeSantis also has some homegrown issues primarily with Attorney General Ashley Moody, the current leading Democrat in Florida. Never bashful, look for Moody to get some additional support for challenges to the DeSantis’s agenda from the Biden administration.

The Florida governor may also find himself in a little more difficulty with The Florida Legislature. The question at hand is: if you're a member of the House or the Florida Senate, now that DeSantis doesn't have a hand in hand relationship with the White House does the legislature take a more independent view of their relationship with the governor's office and the governor's plans and policies?

And then there's the final question of what is Donald Trump going to do? With the former president parked in DeSantis' backyard, and Trump's unconventional approach to politics the Florida Governor could find himself in the middle of a major controversy should former President Trump decide to mount a significant political campaign hinting at a run in 2024.

While the outlook for Florida under the Biden administration doesn't look particularly grim, things are certainly going to change. Managing that change and dealing with the new Biden administration will be Governor DeSantis major challenge in 2021 and 2022.

How he approaches it will significantly affect all Floridians.   

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, January 21, 2021

Republican Rope-A-Dope - Are the Democrats in Big Trouble?



FLORIDA 
WEST COAST         

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD         

With the inauguration of President Biden, complete attention now turns to the first 100 days of the Biden presidency and the implementation of the Biden Recovery Plan For America.

In the Congress, things are anything but stable. The Democratic Party far left needs to begin immediately pushing their agenda while more conservative Democrats are going to struggle to find a way too efficient management of the congressional agenda.

Over in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has some plans of his own. Some wonder about The Republicans approach to managing the Senate trial for the impeachment of now former President Donald J. Trump.

The Senate is faced with two pathways that they must pursue. The first and the one managed by the constitution is the impeachment trial of the former president. The second, is the pressing necessity to move forward with Biden’s Recovery Plan for America and the rest of the Biden agenda.

If you allow me a sports metaphor, I think McConnell is going to use the impeachment trial like a good quarterback uses a great blocker. The now Minority Leader of the Senate, is going to do everything possible to drag out the impeachment trial, to deflect and stall the Democrats agenda in order to slow the process of the Biden presidency.

It's the old Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope all over again. McConnell will be more than happy to allow the Democrats to call endless witnesses in the impeachment trial of former president Trump, call his own witnesses and allow for lengthy periods of discussion while the Biden administration tries to move forward.

Since McConnell has the constitution on his side regarding the precedence of the impeachment trial, and no particular issue to be in a hurry, one way or the other, the Republicans in the Senate and in the house, for that matter, are going to be perfectly comfortable standing by and watch the Democrats twist in the wind as they try again to get a conviction of former president Trump.

The Republicans do have an issue in the outcome of the impeachment trial. There are many in the Republican Party who see this as an opportunity to permanently sideline Donald Trump from Republican politics. It's a dangerous ruse given the almost fanatical loyalty of Trump supporters and the party's inability to convince those supporters that Trump is a bigger political liability than he is a leader of the party.

It would be hey classic victory for McConnell and the Republican Party if the ultimate outcome of the Senate trial is all the Democrats voting to impeach Trump and should there be a tie, Vice President Harris casting the deciding vote to seal the impeachment.

At that point Republican Party leadership can simply blame the Democrats for taking those fervent Trump supporters’ iconic leader away from them.

It will be classic congressional politics at its best, and it is certain to be a riveting television spectacular played on everything from PBS to YouTube.

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:

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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Fanning the Flames of Anarchy Who's Really Guilty?

FLORIDA 
WEST COAST         

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD         

As evidence keeps mounting that the attack on the capital was at least partially planned by white right-wing extremists, concern grows that these radical offshoots of our society may be planning even more attacks on government infrastructure.

It's interesting that the social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, and others have moved to remove far right hate rhetoric from their platforms and limit the ability of these organizations to use these valuable platforms as mediums to distribute their propaganda and hate speech.


Contrast that with national and local media.

Virtually every major newscast leads with stories related to the attack on the Capitol, future attacks on state capitals, and constant detailing of the far-right agenda.

Almost all the electronic media networks: NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News, and even good old standby PBS continued to harp and harp and harp on the attack on the Capitol, future planning for attacks on state capitals, and a rehash of the far-right agenda.

The front page of virtually every newspaper is ablaze with images from the Capitol attack and reporting and commentary on the far-right agenda.

While they appear to be denigrating President Trump for the capital attack, they are doing all they can to stoke future attacks.

So, the question is: is all of this dramatic reporting of these efforts of the far right to affect an influence our democracy really reporting, or are these so-called 5th estate bastions of the democracy really encouraging the actions of these splinter groups?

There is no doubt, that the mainline media absolutely hate Donald Trump. He is the 1st president in history to openly call them out for their biased reporting, and as he likes to put it fake news. I do not necessarily agree with Trump's view of the press, but one thing's for certain his continuing stinging comments regarding the press, especially the electronic press has resonated with many people in the country.

As much as the print media and the electronic media in this country revere themselves as protectors of the democracy, their reporting on the Trump presidency, and these attacks on our Democratic society are a bigger attempt at selling newspapers and gaining ratings, then they are reporting the news.

Maybe it is time that our friends running the major media outlets take a cue from the people running the social media platforms. It may be time to dial down the reporting and let the alt right find somebody else to promote its agenda.

There have been some concerns about social media censoring free speech, but I believe common sense tells us that providing free an unfettered opportunity to spread hate fear and anger is not beneficial for the preservation of our society as we enjoy 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.