Wednesday, September 29, 2021

To Much Football


Sunday, September 26, 2021

Tampa Centric 5 Decide to Put AFT 2.0 Rail Tax on 2022 Ballot Before Any Public Meetings Held or Unlawful AFT Dollars Refunded, Kemp Falsely Claims County Has No Money for Transportation

Tampa, Fl

 Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert

The gaslighting on Hillsborough County's transportation issue continues with Hillsborough County commission Chair Pat Kemp. She publicly stated "there is no money" to fund transportation in Hillsborough County.

That is gaslighting rhetoric and NOT true. We're left wondering whether Kemp understands the County's budget, understands basic math or just prefers throwing tax dollars out the window.

Challenged about her statement, Kemp scurried away and refused to engage.

Kemp is a transit activist, a Sierra Club (who want to FORCE people out of their cars) activist and part of the anti-car brigade who want to tear down 10 miles of I-275 from downtown to Bearss Ave. Kemp spoke at Cafe Con Tampa last Friday.

The video of Kemp speaking at Cafe Con Tampa can be found on their FaceBook page here or click the videos on the FB page. Go to about 4:50 in her speech where Kemp begins speaking about the illegal All For Transportation Transit rail tax. Speakers at Cafe Con Tampa only speak about 15-20 minutes but Cafe Con Tampa cuts out from their video the entire Q & A with the speaker which is the vast majority of their meeting. Hmmm.....

Kemp is a lawyer who should know Florida law and was forewarned in 2018 about AFT's numerous legal issues. But she frames the unlawful AFT rail tax she supported as 57% voted for the illegal tax but it was that Florida Supreme Court who threw it out. Kemp failed to mention the lower court judge, Rex Barbas, threw out almost everything in the referendum except the rail tax itself. Barbas's lower court ruling stated voters just voted for $16B tax hike and they did not care where those dollars would be spent. His ruling was so illogical because that scenario has never occurred before EVER. No one should be surprised why the entire tax was thrown out as unlawful but somehow Kemp, a lawyer, was surprised.  

Read the entire post here at Eye on Tampa Bay

 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 BayPost Internet.

 Cross Posted with permission from: Eye On Tampa Bay  

Friday, September 24, 2021

Ken Welch - Why Does He Want to Be Mayor of Saint Petersburg?

WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD

There is no doubt, that Ken Welch is a dedicated politician and public servant. He spent 20 years or so serving as a member of the Pinellas County Board of County commissioners and has been active in Pinellas County politics for every one of those 20-years.

In fact, the hardest problem in dealing with Ken Welch was to get him to honor Pinellas County's term limits, which went into effect years ago, and he has continued to ignore like several of his County Commission contemporaries.

So, it's tough to argue that Ken Welch is not the consummate politician, he does what is best for Ken Welch.

The question is, can Ken Welch shed the professional politician role and turn into the leader/manager of a 2500 employee public business serving over 250,000 citizens?

Here is an example of Ken Welch pandering for votes; From Florida Politics by Janelle Irwin Taylor: Kathleen Peters objects to Ken Welch’s Black Lives Matter virtual background.

St. Pete has had a mayor for the last eight years that struggles to look past 34th Street to the West and North across 18th Avenue to see the rest of the city and its needs.

Ken Welch wants to be mayor of Saint Petersburg first, simply because he wants to be mayor. Welch has always enjoyed the political limelight and there will be no place where the limelight shines brighter in Pinellas County for the next four years than in Saint Petersburg as it goes through the issue of redeveloping downtown and dealing with the Tampa Bay Rays and their stadium issues.

The real questions are:
What will Ken Welch do in the old northeast, as climate change and sea-level rise begin to take a bigger and bigger toll on this longstanding Saint Petersburg neighborhood?

What will Ken Welch do with the deteriorating Tyrone shopping mall and the likelihood of its economic collapse sometime in the next four years?

What will Ken Welch do with Saint Petersburg’s continuing infrastructure problems related to wastewater?

What will Ken Welch do with the continuing COVID problem?

How will Ken Welch deal with the University of South Florida?

What will Ken Welch do for the Black Lives Matter organization?  Now that he has hung them on his wall, if he supports them, St. Petersburg will become even more divided, and if he ignores them, the city may erupt.

Saint Petersburg is a cosmopolitan city. It has growing Hispanic and Asian communities along with the traditional white communities and African-American communities. Don’t they all, deserve a fair shake and maybe a banner on the wall?

Can Ken Welch really be a mayor for all of Saint Petersburg?

Before you simply pick up that mail in ballot and check Ken Welch for mayor ask yourself these questions and then ask yourself this one: what has Rick Kriseman done for me in the last eight years? Whatever your answer to that question is you can bet Ken Welch will do less.

If you really look at Ken Welch’s political rhetoric in this mayoral campaign, what you see is a careful pandering to the needs of select and oftentimes very loud groups in Saint Petersburg, but with no clear eye to serving those who sit quietly by year after year in northeast, northwest and southwest Saint Petersburg paying their property taxes and waiting for the city to recognize that they exist.

Saint Petersburg needs a mayor, who can see all the way across town, from Tampa Bay to the gulf beaches. I think Robert Blackman is the right man for the job.

From the Blackmon Campaign Web site:” I’m Robert Blackmon, and I think St. Petersburg needs a fresh start and a new face leading our city as mayor. I’m a small-business owner, and I’ve served as a City Council member. With experience both in the private sector and as an elected official, I know we can make local government work to better serve our community. I’m not a career politician, and I want to make St. Pete a shining city on a hill.”

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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Stop the Gaslighting! NO SalesTax Hike Is Needed to Fund Road Maintenance in Hillsborough County

 Tampa, Fl

From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert

Guest Contributor: Dr. Jim Davison


In Dr. Davison's last post we showed how the Hillsborough County Public Works department knowingly watched our road infrastructure deteriorate to the deplorable and unsafe condition we find them in today. The county administration has known through the computer modeling equipment they have had since 2009 what was happening. They refused to tell the public, and to some extent the elected officials, where we were headed or provide funding to avoid it.

 Now the County begins to officially pursue another $16 billion dollar sales tax hike boondoggle through another proposed 30 year sales tax referendum....before one cent of the unlawfully collected $512 Million unlawful All for Transportation rail tax boondoggle has been refunded. 

 The County is attempting again to falsely create hysteria that 20% of our existing roads will be in poor or worse condition unless taxpayers fork over more of their hard earned dollars. THE ONLY PLAN THE CURRENT COUNTY ADMINISTRATION HAS FOR IMPROVING TRANSPORTATION IN THE COUNTY MEANS YOU MUST PAY $16 BILLION MORE IN TAXES. 

 Or do you? 

 Although the group All For Transportation (AFT) was given credit as the architect of the Unconstitutional and illegal sales tax it was the Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization, now known as the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO), who laid out the spending allocations found in the sales tax. It was the TPO’s spending allocations AND their calculations that All For Transportation used in selling the plan to the public. Calculations on road and bridge maintenance, congestion, commute time and safety were used to sell the plan to the people, to give them hope that transportation in the county would get better.

There was no greater champion for the sales tax and the infrastructure plan than TPO director Beth Alden. We reported in 2018 that Alden may have crossed an ethical line with her actions of support for the massive AFT rail tax boondoggle. 

 Since the sales tax was declared illegal and unconstitutional in February, Alden is on record telling the public and the media that road conditions will deteriorate. She claims if new revenues are not allocated the backlog in road and bridge maintenance will grow from $80 million to $1 billion. Alden is a Central Planner, not a Transportation or Engineering expert. Does her planning live up to what she is telling the media and public? 

 Alden never spoke up or said one word when the Tampa Centric Five Hillsborough county commissioners ended the $832 million County Transportation Policy this year. That Transportation policy funded County infrastructure at levels suggested in the MPO 2040 LRTP. Such dereliction of duty should cause someone who is a Director of the Transportation Planning Commission to be fired. 

The TPO is not being honest with the residents and taxpayers of Hillsborough County who fund the transportation planning organization and their jobs. They use a method called Key Messaging "to control what the public thinks and does". First, one must be aware of the official communication policy the TPO in Hillsborough County uses. As stated in the meeting minutes of the now defunct Independent Oversight Committee they use a method called Key Messaging “to control what the public thinks and does”. Sound familiar? Gaslighting!

 The County tried to create hysteria in 2015-2016 when they launched the proposed half cent Go Hillsborough rail tax hike. Ironically, right before the Hillsborough County public hearing where the county commissioners voted down placing the rail tax boondoggle on the 2016 ballot, the County Administrator REMOVED Maintenance from being funded by the proposed tax hike. 

 Now Alden is out trying to create hysteria that without a $16B new sales tax hike, the County cannot maintain its roads. However, in analyzing the Hillsborough TPO's own 20 year 2045 and 2040 Long Range Transportation plans, we find her claims to be untrue. 

 According to Alden's own documents, the difference between Current Trend funding WITH OR WITHOUT the 1% $16 Billion sales tax hike for Road and Bridge Maintenance is only $8.6 million a year or about $172 million over 20 years. The difference of $8.6 million can easily be solved with current growing ad valorem property tax revenues and proper budgeting priorities with NO tax increase needed. 

 Alden is not just bending the truth, she is lying to the public. Perhaps Alden is trying to lay the groundwork as the Tampa Centric Five begin to officially push for AFT 2.0 rail tax boondoggle to be placed on the 2022 ballot. The County has scheduled these Four so-called Transportation Town Hall meetings:


Hillsborough County Transportation Town Hall Meetings
for AFT 2.0 rail tax boondoggle 

Alden is a Tampa Centric transit activist. Alden's TPO Organization Policy Committee, which only includes elected officials who are transit activists, spend entire meetings, like they did on Tuesday September 14, pushing costly rail/transit and outdated stack and pack Transit Oriented Development. Especially post-pandemic, they are totally out of touch with reality.

The level of incompetence regarding the transportation issue and disregard for reality in Hillsborough County is astounding.

 But the level of deceit and gaslighting is unforgivable.


Posted by Sharon Calvert 

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


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Bill to Ban Critical Race Theory Sparks Call for African American History

 Florida News Connection

Originally Posted: September 17, 2021


Trimmel Gomes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - State Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, is lashing out against the idea of Critical Race Theory, filing a bill to ban its use in all government institutions, including universities.

Critical Race Theory is described as an upper-level academic framework that examines whether and how systems and policies perpetuate racism. The topic has become a lightning rod for conservatives across the country, who claim it's being taught in grade schools.

Fine, who is white, has said the topic is inherently racist. However, state Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, who is Black, said that in grade school, she was taught European history.

"Not any focus at all on the free labor that our people gave that made the American economy a superpower that it became," she said. "And is it racist, then, that I only got European history? I think so."

Gov. Ron DeSantis already had issued a ban on discussing Critical Race Theory in public schools in June, in the racial unrest following the killing of George Floyd. Thompson said she believes African American history - which is separate from Critical Race Theory - should be taught because it's part of American history.

Thompson has filed bills advocating teaching African American history in schools. She noted that since 1994, Florida law has required African American history be taught in all 67 counties. However, she said, research by the Florida Department of Education's African American History Task Force has shown the law is being ignored.

"They have found that only 11 of the 67 counties are actually providing acceptable instruction in African American history," she said.

Thompson said what she considers "acceptable" is instruction beyond Black History Month. Fine's bill includes a 10-point list of what it calls "divisive concepts" to be banned. They include topics around sexism and "race or sex scapegoating." The proposal also bans teaching that one race or sex is inherently superior to another, that the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist, or that individuals are inherently racist, sexist or oppressive based on their own race or gender.

Content for this Post is provided by Florida News Connection, a bureau of Public News Service.  Public News Service is a member of the The Trust Project.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Is Jeopardy in jeopardy? Or the Killing of a Franchise


Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD
AuthorIn Search of Robin  

I, like millions of Americans am a longtime fan and viewer of the game show Jeopardy.

If you are a regular or even part time viewer of Jeopardy, you've probably had some degree of interest in the boiling controversy regarding replacing the show’s long time host Alex Trebek.

For a very detailed and somewhat lengthy read on the subject of the recent controversy regarding Jeopardy executive producer Mike Richards and his seamy ascension to the host role, check out From VOC By Aja Romano: The Jeopardy hosting saga has become a cautionary morality tale.

As most of the fans of Jeopardy did, I watched with interest the parade of guest hosts as there was an attempt made at a wide-ranging search for somebody that could match the role that Alex Trebek played in the production of the program.

The process seemed to be well planned, the variety of people that appeared as guest hosts, we're interesting with broad backgrounds. Some seemed actually interested in the role as a career move, others just seemed to enjoy the opportunity to stand on the stage in the footsteps of someone with Alex Trebek’s long display of character.

The fact of the matter was most of the people who were invited to appear as guest host, with a few notable exceptions, have longstanding careers in the media, in television, in news, and other fields. The prospect of hosting a five day a week game show, which requires a great deal of preparations, would have meant putting an end to their current career, not something, it seems, that many of them were interested in doing.

There have been a lot of accolades about Alex Trebek, his integrity, his skills as a game-show host and his long-term ability to stand in the spotlight and remain clear of the scandals that typically surround the medium in which he worked.

If you have ever watched the end of Jeopardy and noted the long list of names of people that are involved in the production of Jeopardy, think for a moment about your own office. Think of all that goes on: the affairs, the intrigue, the backbiting, the striving for position. Mix that into the high-pressure environment of one of the world's most watched game show programs, and you certainly have at least the foundation for an explosive mix.

I think Alex Trebek’s greatest asset was his grace. I personally have rarely seen a more gracious individual host anything on television. In the years of watching him interview or ask questions of the various contestants on Jeopardy, you always got the feeling that he was genuinely interested in their past accomplishments and their interests.

Jeopardy is in jeopardy. It almost seems Sony doesn't understand what they are dealing with.

The real key to Jeopardy's success has long been the fact that the host is the host.

The decision to go through what will most likely be another year of guest hosts beginning with dual service from Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik of Big-Bang Theory fame, is a bad one.

Jennings, who brings a deep understanding of the program how it works and what it really takes to be host, has been serving in a quasi-executive producer role for some time and does bring at least a hint of the grace that Alex Trebek brought to the program.

Mayim Bialik appears to be more desperately auditioning for a new long-term job than presenting herself as someone who understands the true nature of the game of Jeopardy and protecting its legacy. To me, she often appears intimidated by the very contestants who are participating in the game and every now and then tries to flash her intelligence versus theirs.

Jeopardy has long enjoyed one of the most loyal fan bases in all of television. No doubt a great number of them will stick around for the host selection process and remain faithful to one of their favorite programs.

On the other hand, if this continued circus of a selection process begins to show a lack of respect and grace regarding the contestants, the viewers will quickly note that, and should that be the case you can look for Jeopardy to slowly begin to die the death most game shows ultimately do.

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Friday, September 17, 2021

Anna Paulina Luna in A Quest for Florida’s 13th District Congressional Seat.


WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD
In Search of Robin  

When Charlie Crist decided not to run for reelection in the Florida District 13 U.S. House of Representatives’ race, it opened the door for a floodgate of candidates who would like to replace Charlie Crist in the US House.

On the Republican side: Will Braddock, Audrey Henson, Moneer Kheireddine, Anna Paulina Luna, Amanda Makki.

On the Democratic side: State Representative Ben Diamond and State Representative, Christian Hotchkiss, Michelle Rayner along with former National Security analyst Eric Lynn have filed to run.

If you haven't been following the drama in the Anna Paulina Luna portion of the race, check out these articles:

Tampa Bay Times By Romy Ellenbogen; Decision delayed on permanent injunction sought by Anna Paulina Luna.


Tampa Bay Times By Steve Contorno: Trump endorses Anna Paulina Luna in GOP primary for Pinellas House seat.

Luna has become increasingly concerned about comments from conservative activist Aaron Olszewski, and you can't really fault her for that in this day and age where almost anything is possible.

For some background  on Luna Check out Tampa Bay Times By Josh Solomon: The evolution of Anna Paulina Luna, Republican candidate for Congress. This is a good read if you’re thinking about voting for Luna.

It's a bit unfortunate that the Republicans couldn't come up with somebody to run for Crist’s vacated House seat with a little more experience and a little less baggage in their resume. For now, Luna’s problems with a potential stalker and a court hearing are sufficient to keep her name in the media.

The question Republican voters must ask is: do they really want someone like Luna in the US House of Representatives when the margins for control are so close?

In the majority or in the minority, Republican House leadership will have its hands full keeping Luna under control.

Another activist in the House of Representatives, is just another activist in the House of Representatives.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

School Mask Mandate

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Is There a Reputable Republican Out There Willing to Challenge Ron DeSantis in The Gubernatorial Primary?

WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD
In Search of Robin  

The Republican Party of Florida has some difficult and challenging decisions to make in the next few months.

With current Governor Ron DeSantis’s approval rating slowly slipping South, the question on the table is: does the Republican Party of Florida's leadership think Ron DeSantis can win in the upcoming gubernatorial election?

On the Democratic side, there are likely to be several primary candidates for the governor's office, including Nikki Fried, and Charlie Crist.

Looking at the political crystal ball, at this point, it would really be difficult to say who might emerge victorious in that upcoming primary election for the Democrats. However, for now, Fried and Crist seem to be the most prominent names.

Governor DeSantis’ approach to leading the State of Florida in the past few months regarding the coronavirus and the anti-riot bill have proven to be unpopular with a large segment of Florida voters.

His bullying and threatening tactics used with School Board members and school administrators regarding the mask mandate has left a foul taste in the mouths of a lot of the people on both sides of the issue who vote in this state.

The Governor's continuing legal challenges to court decisions unfavorable to his positions on these issues are starting to irritate the public to say the least.

With somebody like Charlie Crist and his compassionate approach to governing running on the Democratic side, the Florida Republican Party must consider not only can DeSantis win a second term, but if he is weak what might that due to the down ballot races for the Florida House and the Florida Senate?

The Republican Party of Florida may decide to rely on the results of extensive polling to determine whether DeSantis is in political jeopardy. The problem with that approach has been the recent series of elections where the polling was significantly flawed.

The other issue is simply the fact that even though polling can be done quite quickly these days, by the time you get close enough to the primary election to find out the current poll results, it will be too late to react if the polling indicates DeSantis is in trouble.

There are several prominent Republicans in Florida, who could mount a primary challenge to the current Governor, but to do so without the endorsement of the State Party organization would be political suicide. It's certainly true that anybody who decides to mount a serious challenge against the current Governor will without question endure his full force personal and political wrath.

Republican politicians, especially those who have reached an elevated level in the state political hierarchy, are risk adverse. There's no doubt that deciding to oppose Governor DeSantis and forcing a Republican primary for the governorship, and losing, would relegate the loser to the Republican trash pile.

As a lifelong Republican, I am already on record saying that I will not support Governor DeSantis in the upcoming gubernatorial election. I think his approach to the governorship with all its draconian trappings is a travesty for this State and has made us look like the laughingstock of Republican controlled states in the country.

Political leopards like DeSantis, don't change their stripes. There will be no Ron DeSantis 2.0 who is more compassionate, more understanding, more willing to compromise, and less willing to do political and legal battle over any and every issue.

There will just be more of the same.

DeSantis was never really like Donald Trump. He's proven much more to be like Attila the Hun running roughshod and focusing on what he thinks his best and political force to get his way.

I would love to see a gubernatorial race between Ron DeSantis and Charlie Crist. The voters of Florida would never have a starker difference between their gubernatorial candidates.

So, if the Republicans want to stay in power, in the Governor's office, in the Florida House and the Florida Senate, it's just simply time for some serious soul searching.

But remember this, those of you, who serve in the Florida Republican Party organization, if you even begin to talk about this openly, get ready for the full wrath of Governor Ron DeSantis.

 He will be coming for you.

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