Sunday, May 16, 2021

You Are Going to Need A New Excuse


Since COVID was defined as a pandemic, it has been used as the excuse for everything.

WEST COAST        
Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD 

Well, here we are. The vaccinations for COVID-19 are going well. A growing and significant number of people in the United States have been inoculated, in many area's hospitalizations and deaths are way down.

All of this presents a real problem for those who are consistent excuse makers.

Since COVID was defined as a pandemic, it has been used as the excuse for everything.

COVID is the excuse for: long lines, for poor or no customer service, the reason your car doesn't get repaired on time, and just about everything else that's gone wrong with business and commerce for the last year.

Even my bank got into the act. They reduced hours, reduced the number of people in the lobby, and it didn't matter what it was when I called the bank to ask what had happened in one of my accounts, the excuse was always the same, “Well you know the COVID thing...”

First it was comical, then it got annoying. Appointments were canceled; appointment times were moved without notifications; packages were delayed; products were not available on the shelf, and even as things begin to open up, every time, there's a problem the excuse is “oh it's the COVID-19 virus.”

There is some truth to the argument, that the COVID-19 virus had a profound effect on all of us and pretty much all that we do.

However, it also became the easiest excuse to use for not providing service, not going places, not holding up your end of responsibilities, at church, school, the social club or even at work.

However, all that is about to end as we get the COVID-19 virus more or less under control.

So, it's time to start looking for some new excuses about why as a society we don't perform.

So, here are some suggestions:

I don't have enough time
The Internet is down
I'm afraid of failure
We can't hire anybody
I'm not inspired
I need to find balance in my work and home life
It's not my fault; it's their fault
I can't overcome the inertia,
Not my job man
It's not original enough
I'm afraid of the competition
I got my expectations too high just thinking about it.

You can probably add a few of your own to the list. All you must do is just think for a few moments about your experiences over the past year or so.

We are all guilty, me included, for coming up with a convenient excuse about why we didn't do something.

We are just going to have to work a little harder at it in the next weeks and months because the easy out of not performing, not providing good service, not meeting deadlines, and generally not doing the job you are supposed to be doing is going away one vaccination at a time.

If you are really hard pressed, you can always fall back on some version of the old classic, “The dog ate my homework.”

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Friday, May 14, 2021

Scott Hopes as The New Manatee County Commissioner – Seriously?


Florida West Coast 
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD

Once again, the Manatee County Commission has shown its gross negligence in managing a County government.

Tuesday May 11th, 2021, in a surprise vote, the Manatee County Commission authorized board chair Vanessa Baugh, who is currently under investigation for an ethics violation, to negotiate a resolution and an agreement appointing Dr. Scott Hopes as the permanent County administrator.

I fully believe that Dr. Hopes is a competent administrator and his dedication to public service, including the Manatee County school board indicates his interest and commitment to the community.

However, he hardly has the credentials to manage a rapidly growing Florida County, or a county in any state. And absolutely no experience in dealing with the complex technical issues, governmental policy issues and the influence and control of large, powerful, wealthy, developers.

For some Background check out: The Bradenton Times Staff Report Article: County Commission Moves to Make Hopes Permanent Administrator.

The Manatee County Commission had previously committed to the public that they would perform a nationwide search, evaluate those candidates, and select a competent and qualified County administrator. Of course, they have made that promise before and did not follow through, and we saw how that worked out with Cheri Coryea.

 I'm not sure what the motivation is in this case. Maybe there are those on the County Commission who just don't want a professional County administrator who might get in the way of what their developer/supporters want done in Manatee County.

 Here is a quote from the Bradenton Times article, commission member George Kruse said, “That while he supported Hopes and agreed with the board's assessment of his performance thus far, it had only been a matter of weeks since Hopes had been put in the role, and that he could see "absolutely no advantage" in moving hastily while also breaking a commitment to the public.”

Given the high probability that the Manatee County administrator’s position is a career-ending job opportunity, based on the results of the last several people who have held the position, it will be interesting to see if Dr. Hopes is really interested in the job. The Manatee County school board is a much safer political position.

Somebody out in eastern Manatee County, is probably pulling the strings on this one and Dr. Hopes needs to be extremely careful that he does not become the next political pawn in the gold rush to develop Manatee County.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Leaders of No Tax For Tracks, Save Our Streets Pinellas, and Fix Our Roads First Request Gov DeSantis Veto TBARTA Funding

 Tampa, Fl 

From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert

Tampa Bay Leaders of No Tax For Tracks, Save Our Streets Pinellas, and Fix Our Roads First sent a request to Gov DeSantis requesting the Governor veto the annual $1.5 million TBARTA funding.

Here is the request they sent Gov DeSantis:

 Tampa Bay Transportation Leaders Call for Gov DeSantis to Veto TBARTA Funding

WHEREAS, TBARTA was created in 2007 by the Legislature at the request of Special Interests seeking a Regional Rail System that was subsequently rejected by voters both in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties,

WHEREAS, TBARTA's purpose is to "Plan, develop, fund, implement, and operate a regional transit system in the Tampa Bay region" but in 14 years of existence has little to no accomplishments other than create impractical and costly Master Plans inadequate for our region,

WHEREAS, the 2021 TBARTA Appropriation Project Request is for a recurring annual subsidy of $1.5M of which 0% will be spent on passenger transit service, 85% is for staff salaries, less than 1/10th of 1% will be spent on transportation planning, and the remaining funds will be spent on Rent/Phones/Travel/Meetings/Legal/State and Federal Lobbyists, etc,

WHEREAS, the TBARTA Executive Director will earn $275,000 which is more than the Governor of Florida,

WHEREAS, TBARTA board members have failed to prioritize attendance at monthly TBARTA business meetings as evidenced by recent lack of quorum for six months in a row,

WHEREAS, TBARTA's mission is duplicative and overlaps existing planning, transit and transportation authorities including PSTA, HART, FDOT, Forward Pinellas, Hillsborough MPO, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority, MPOs from surrounding counties, etc.,

WHEREAS, the only transit service operated by TBARTA is a vanpool that could easily be returned back to HART where the service was initiated or to the private sector,

WHEREAS, Transit ridership was already on a multi-year decline since 2014, and was further devastated by COVID-19 and may never return to pre-pandemic levels,

WHEREAS, costly Premium Transit projects advanced by TBARTA prioritize affluent "choice" riders at the expense of "transit dependent" riders and taxpayers who would never use it,

WHEREAS, COVID-19 has increased work-at-home and decimated prior commute patterns that funnel employees to a central business district,

WHEREAS, Technology and Innovation continues to offer private-sector alternatives to traditional Transit,

Therefore we request Governor Ron DeSantis veto the entire $1.5M TBARTA “Life Support” appropriation from the 2022 state budget.


Tampa Bay Leaders of No Tax For Tracks, Save Our Streets Pinellas, and Fix Our Roads First

Barb Haselden, St. Petersburg, FL

Sharon Calvert, Tierre Verde, FL 

Karen Jaroch, Tampa, FL

Tom Gaitens, Apollo Beach, FL

Jim Davison, New Tampa, FL

Posted by Sharon Calvert at 7:00 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


Sunday, May 9, 2021

Run Charlie Run

It may be Charlie Crist is what Florida needs to get us back on track.

WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD 

This past week Charlie Crist, Florida’s 13th Congressional District member of the House of Representatives, announced his intention to run for Florida Governor opposing current Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Congressman Crist will run on the ballot as a Democrat.

From the Crist Facebook page, “Florida should be a place where hard work is rewarded, justice is equal, and opportunity is right in front of you. That's a Florida for all — and that's why I'm running for Governor.”

You can read all of that and sort it out for yourself.

The one thing that has not changed much over all this time has been Charlie's approach to serving the people. It would be tough to find someone anymore dedicated to the art of public service than Congressman Crist.

We have had three and a half years of Ron DeSantis.

He has approached the governor's office like the middle school bully approaches the playground.

If you do not like what I am doing, I will push you around and if you continue to dislike what I am doing, I will take my ball and go home. Classic example: after the Lakewood Ranch Manatee County vaccine debacle, the typical DeSantis comment, “If you don't want the vaccine here, I'll take it somewhere else.”

DeSantis views himself kind of in the Trump model, the problem with that is you never know when DeSantis the bully is going to show up and then the nice guy will make an appearance.

As we approach the Governor's race and look at 2022 and beyond, I am not sure we need a bully in the Governor's mansion. Florida faces a lot of problems: environmental change, racial issues, law enforcement, equity, and the list goes on.

Charlie Crist is a peacemaker. He is a moderate in almost everything. He knows how to be compassionate and how to bring people together. It may be Charlie Crist is just what Florida needs for four years or so to get us back on track.

Charlie is sure to draw a lot of competition in the primary run up to the governor's race. He makes a rather good political target with his changing of political parties, some of his moderate stances and his overall general political philosophy.

But Charlie's the real deal.

What you see is what you get. He left the Republican Party because he could not get the support of the rain makers in the then tea party and was deeply concerned about how far to the right the Republican Party had shifted.

Is Charlie comfortable in the blue coat of the Democrats? I am not sure, but I am sure that he is not comfortable in the histrionic far right of what is currently the Republican Party, and in Florida that whole movement is led by current governor Ron DeSantis.

In the meantime, do not pay too much attention to the political primary rhetoric.

Just listen to what Charlie says and compare that to what the Democratic primary candidates are saying, and especially to the drum beating coming from the DeSantis campaign.

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Friday, May 7, 2021

Hillsborough County contradicts itself in separate court filings involving $500 million


Tampa, Fl     
From: Tampa Bay Guardian

Edited by: Tom Rask          

Posted by TBG2016 on MAY 2, 2021

What is to be done with the over $500 million that Hillsborough County unlawfully collected to fund transit? In two separate lawsuits, the county is making contradictory and mutually exclusive arguments.

In the lawsuit brought by County Commissioner Stacy White, the Florida Supreme Court struck down the transit tax because it was unconstitutional and also violated Florida Statutes. That lawsuit continues because the county wants the court to determine what is to be done with the funds collected until the tax was struck down.

In that lawsuit, the county asked the court to establish an extrajudicial “refund procedure” in this court filing last week. Such a position presumes that the funds collected belong to the “local governments” mentioned in the lawsuit and who shared in the revenue.

However, also last week and in response to a different lawsuit involving the same tax, the county wrote in this court filing that “section 213.756(1), Florida Statutes provides in relevant part, ‘Funds collected from a purchaser under the representation that they are taxes provided for under the state revenue laws are state funds from the moment of collection….’” (page 10, paragraph 38). The county even italicized and bold-faced the words “state funds” in its filing.

Which is it: do the unlawfully collected funds at this point belong to the county and other local governments? Or do they belong to the State of Florida?

The two court filings were written by different lawyers (outside counsel), but those lawyers still represent the official position of the county. The legal position of the county is established by the county attorney and must be consistent in all legal action in order to have any chance of prevailing.

These two contradictory court filings along with the county’s past failings in this matter raise questions about the quality of the legal work done by the county attorney’s office. How much more in legal fees paid to outside lawyers will this continued bumbling cost the taxpayers?

It is a fundamental principle of law that a person or entity may not reap the rewards of an unlawful act they performed. That principle also applies to government agencies. The fact that the county didn’t first ask if the tax was lawful before collecting it, that mistake created the mess it now finds itself in. It’s time for the county to stop wasting taxpayer money digging itself in to an even deeper hole.

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




Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Transgender Conundrum


WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD 

Let's face it, no doubt the coaching world, especially in female athletics, is salivating at the possibility of being able to create, acquire and promote transgender females into competitive sports.

Just the thought of finding some 150-pound male athlete with transgender leanings who could be converted into a 140 pound female basketball player has to have a lot of these high school and college basketball coaches absolutely ecstatic in the privacy of their own offices.

Given the competitiveness of high school athletics and continuing on through college and even into the pro ranks, we've seen repeatedly the real motivation, regardless of what they say about promoting intellectual growth and creating well rounded people, is all just about gaining advantage and figuring out some way to win.

Governor DeSantis says he is doing this for his daughters and all the other young women who desire to compete openly and fairly in women's athletic sports. You can't really argue with this motivation.

Equality and fairness of competitive athletes have never really been a big mantra of organized sports regardless of the level.

Once again, if you can recruit the biggest boy in the school to your football team, if he has any skill set at all, he can be taught to be a football player. Few middle school or high school coaches spend a lot of time looking around the most-recent 8th grade class for the wimpiest kid to invite to football tryouts.

The same is true in women's athletics. When looking at the available prospects, prowess along with skill set and ability are key factors in determining who gets picked to play for the team.

Now you add the wrinkle that there are a couple or so male students who are going through the transgender process and maybe the women's basketball coach has a few prospects that would not have been there before.

Add to this the almost unconscionable possibility that collegiate women's basketball recruitment programs may begin to search around in the grade school and middle school levels for transgender youth whom they could sponsor, pay for medical procedures in return for guaranteed attendance at their college or university. Sound like something out of this world, just do some research on collegiate athletic recruiting and see what you find. They call it “scouting.”

The NCAA and the women's athletic equivalent cannot be counted on to regulate in this environment. They have no power, no authority, and no ability to significantly reduce the abuse that can come if transgendered females are allowed to openly an unrestrictedly compete in female high school and collegiate sports.

Before you dash to the comment section with all those posts about what a sexist, I am, let me add this, I have a deep and abiding understanding of the issue of sexual identity, and I absolutely yearn for those caught up in this most difficult of life's problems. I passionately believe that all transgendered people should have every opportunity that is afforded to the general population.

This is a difficult set of circumstances. I'm not sure whether or not this legislation will stand the test of the court system in regard to discrimination, but I do believe there is as much to do with this issue about money and winning as there is about providing athletic opportunity.

In the pro sports world, I think the whole issue of transgendered athletes is irrelevant.

If the pro sports franchises want to engage in the employment and presentation of transgendered athletes as part of their professional sports teams, whatever those teams may be, I think that is their business, their business alone and their decision to make based on the sports markets that they serve.

In the middle school, high school, and in the collegiate athletic world, I think loading the deck with physically or genetically modified humans is just a step too far.

If the real objective of high school and collegiate athletics is to help further develop well rounded people to participate in society and enterprise, then there needs to be some control over our ability to create humans for that competition.

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