Friday, September 7, 2018

Clearwater – Mayor for Sale


The right choice here is a  NO vote on the referendum and a vote for the very best City Council members on the ballot.

St. Petersburg, Fl 
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
The City of Clearwater is operated under the Council/Manager form of government. In this structure, the Mayor is not the principal decision maker.
Day to day, operations, hiring and firing, and City Council policy implementation are handled by professional City Manager appointed by the City Council. Bill Horne is the current Clearwater City manager; he makes just over $200,000 Dollars per year.
If you happen to live in Clearwater and the name Bill Horne doesn’t ring a bell, that’s just the point. Horne is a manager not a politician. His job is to make the City run safely and efficiently and stay out of the headlines.
A while back, a group of Clearwater “businessmen” began circulating a plan that would change the City of Clearwater from a Council/Manager form of Government to a strong Mayor form of Government.
You can get more detail from Tracey McManus Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer, A strong mayor for Clearwater? Some think it’s time.
Clearwater would be wise to follow Lakeland’s example and send a resound NO on election day.
If you do some research, you will find that most of these efforts are brought by local “business people” not a group of regular citizens. Business people like the strong mayor because he/she is a politician, and they are much easier to influence than a City Manager, who does not need their campaign contributions.
Clearwater only needs to look South to St. Petersburg and see the current strong mayor mess with a pier that the public did not want and is now behind schedule and over budget, a wastewater system that is struggling, questionable staffing at City Hall and more lies than they can count.
One of the sales tactics the “business people” are using to promote this referendum is the assertion that a strong mayor would be better equipped to “deal” with the Church of Scientology and its continued growth in Clearwater’s downtown than the current system.
Read that - the big players would like to be making more money in downtown Clearwater, and the Church tends to get in the way.
I would offer that a strong mayor would not be particularly effective in dealing with what these “business people” see as a problem, and I suspect the Church of Scientology would be just fine with an elected strong Mayor.
If you’re interested in whom the business community is talking about running for the strong Mayor slot in Clearwater check out this recent article by Tracey McManus Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer, As Clearwater prepares to vote on strong mayor, the question is who would run?
A strong mayor form of government in a City dominated by large, powerful entity with significant land holdings is not in the interest of anyone who lives in Clearwater.
The people promoting this change do not understand how these two forms of government work, and their view that they can put their guy in and all will go like they want shows a complete lack of current political reality.
The citizens of Clearwater are much better served by a City Manager, who has their needs and wants clearly in view and is not fishing for campaign dollars to get re-elected with every decision.
The right choice here is a NO vote on the referendum and a vote for the very best City Council members on the ballot.
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: Contributor to: Rick Scott for Senate 

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

All for Transit Tax Hike: Costly and Won't Work


Tampa, Fl
From: Eye On Tampa Bay
Posted by: Sharon Calvert

All for Transit wants to raise Hillsborough County sales tax to 8% - the highest in the state. The 30 year All for Transit tax hike throws billions of county tax dollars at transit, including billions for costly rail/fixed guideways in the city of Tampa.



And All for Transit uses the heavy hand of big government regulations to mandate the spending and prohibit any changes for 30 years.

Mandating and forcing the spending of billions on transit at a time when traditional transit is being disrupted and transit is declining all across the country is reckless.

According to this article in The Hill:
The Federal Transit Administration released June 2018 data revealing that the transit industry has now experienced four straight years of ridership losses. June 30 was the end of the fiscal year for most transit agencies, and ridership has fallen in every fiscal year since 2014.
In Hillsborough County, HART's transit ridership has significantly declined over the last few years. HART's ridership numbers reflect that daily ridership has been in a steady decline for at least several years. A few years ago in 2015,  HART had ridership of over 54K riders a day. HART's latest ridership numbers for July 2018 reflect about 34.5K riders per day. (Note: population of Hillsborough County is approximately 1.4 million)

We understand there has been route reconfigurations over those years but the decline is significant.

Transit ridership in Hillsborough County is less than 2% today. Ridership has been steadily declining while the population of the county has been rapidly increasing - a total inverse relationship.

All for Transit wants a full percent sales tax increase to the highest in the state 8%.

The chart below is from the 2015  Hillsborough MPO 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).


MPO 2040 LRTP Transit Riders Performance
(click to enlarge)
What the 2015 MPO's performance chart indicates is:
A full one percent sales tax hike would increase transit ridership in Hillsborough County to approximately 160K riders per day in 2040
A one/half percent sales tax hike would increase transit ridership in Hillsborough County to just under 160K riders per day in 2040
There is basically no difference in the MPO's projected transit ridership in 2040 between a one-half percent sales tax increase or a full one percent sales tax increase to the highest in the state - 8%.

Vastly over spending on transit is wasteful spending and fiscally irresponsible.
.
In addition, transit daily ridership would have to increase over 4.5 times what it is today to reach 160K riders per day in 2040.

That is almost statistically impossible and it has not occurred even where billions have been spent on costly transit/rail.

Hillsborough's population is estimated to grow to about 2.1 million over the next 30 years. Even if transit ridership miraculously increased to 8 or 9%, over 90% or 1.9 million will be using our roads.

But All for Transit absurdly prohibits and restricts funding new roads and new lane capacity.

All for Transit is another 30 year transit tax hike boondoggle.

With all its regulations, mandates, more bureaucracy and prohibitions - All for Transit transit tax hike is worse than the 2010 rail tax.

And when it comes to All for Transit - remember What They Say vs What They Do.
Posted by Sharon Calvert at 8:19 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, September 2, 2018

Monkeying it up……

DeSantis will be explaining his opening comments right up to the interview after the election results are in.



St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author:
 In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog
 It did not take long for the race for Florida Governor to take an ominous turn. Republican Ron DeSantis referred to the prospect that electing his African American opponent would “monkey up” all that has been accomplished in Florida over the last eight years or so.
Predictably social media exploded; every liberal in sight began shouting racist. Print and broadcast media went nearly insane and even some staunch Trump supporters cringed.
Takes me back a few years to when a former St. Pete police chief Mack Vines was rehired by the City of St. Pete. A very few days after he was hired chief Vines referred to a couple of African-American males jostling in the back of a St. Pete Police Cruiser as looking like orangutans. Outrage ensued, and he was fired few days later.
I doubt Mr. DeSantis was aware of the St. Pete incident, but it does provide historical perspective.
At least for a short time after the primary votes were in, there were those that thought the Governors’ Race was DeSantis’s to lose.
Looks like he is making progress.
I was hoping that this election would not turn into a race contest or least not until the PACs started throwing money around, but so much or hopefulness.
There are a lot of valuable issues that could be debated here, liberal versus conservative, welfare, healthcare, Medicare, big government versus small government, regulations versus controls, business/job friendly verses a managed state and the list goes on.
The likelihood is all the serious issues will be lost in all the screaming about who is a raciest and who isn’t.
For now, the only thing “monkeyed” up is the start of the DeSantis campaign. He will be explaining his opening comments right up to the interview after the election results are in.
Mistake, gaff or calculated attempt to draw Gillum into a controversy, only one person truly knows, and so far he is only smiling.
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 
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Disclosures:
Contributor to: Rick Scott for Senate 

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