PSTA spent almost $400,000 of taxpayer dollars last year creating a logo, a website and targeting certain groups to get them on board with the Greenlight referendum. Now this year PSTA will spent at least another $400,000 on their so called "education" campaign.
Education means to provide information. In the public arena, does that mean only providing one-side? Does that mean to only provide education in support of Greenlight? Or is Greenlight Pinellas really a one-sided advocacy campaign that violates, if not legally, the intent of our electioneering laws?
It's been another bad week for Greenlight Pinellas as they receive another black eye.
Gulf Port councilman Dan Liedtke decided to ask PSTA CEO Brad Miller a number of questions last week, including whether any of the Greenlight Pinellas materials includes any CONS about the plan. Miller was forced to uncomfortably admit NO. You can find this question and other important questions Mr. Liedtke asked Miller starting about 53:33 here.
We are left wondering why more elected representatives are not asking these types of important questions.
Now Mike Deeson with WTSP 10 Investigates has looked into the issue and confronted Miller with the same question. According to Deeson's report Miller states
It is unnecessary (emphasis mine) to talk about negative facts, that's not what we are trying to do with our information.If ALL information is not being provided, then this proves Greenlight Pinellas is NO education program. In addition to distributing one-sided information, PSTA/Greenlight Pinellas is distributing pens, refrigerator magnets, chip clips, campaign buttons, goodie bags, etc. These trinkets are to encourage voters to support the referendum, all at taxpayer expense.
|PSTA/Greenlight Pinellas taxpayer funded advocacy trinkets and|
Wheel of Fortune…..
|PSTA CEO Brad Miller advocates for Greenlight Pinellas |
at Yes for Greenlight kickoff event to Vote Yes on Nov. 4th
In addition to increasing the sales tax in Pinellas to the highest in the state, opponents say part of the light rail plan will increase congestion because it calls for surface routes meaning the trains will cross major roads and stop traffic. In addition, there are plans for bus-only lanes which again adds to congestion on the roads. However, problems are never mentioned in the Education Campaign.PSTA has been mismanaged as they continue to warn of cutting services without more tax dollars sent their way. They said the same thing in 2011 when PSTA raised the property tax millage 30%. Apparently, there's no end in sight to PSTA spending taxpayer money. PSTA spent $4 million on their Alternatives Analysis. Hillsborough County spent about $1.5 million on their Alternatives Analysis, which had 2 light rail lines. Why was PSTA's Alternative Analysis so expensive?
After spending $4 million, there's still questions about where the rail and BRT are specifically going:
- Will lanes of traffic be taken out and where?
- Must they acquire right of way?
- Will they have to use imminent domain to acquire any right of way?
- Are they using any CSX right of way or dealing with CSX?
- Will any portion be elevated?
Any of these could increase the cost, cause huge delays and negatively impact the projects.
The reality is there are negatives about Greenlight Pinellas and Greenlight Pinellas refuses to address or even state any CONS or negatives in their so-called "education" campaign.
It's time for Greenlight Pinellas to stop their "education" charade of spending taxpayer dollars on a one-sided advocacy campaign. Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on an advocacy campaign that may well go down in defeat, PSTA should be focusing on their fiscal due diligence and fixing their bus service.
And to top things off, doesn't Greenlight Pinellas logo look eerily similar to the logo for Greenlight loans? If so, why did PSTA have to spend so much taxpayer money last year to create a logo when it looks like they simply Googled one to imitate? Is that legal?
|Greenlight Pinellas and Greenlight Loans similar logos|
It's time for taxpayer funded Greenlight Pinellas campaign to shut down, cease and desist.