Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Million Dollars to Pin the Dots on the Board

Go Hillsborough has held a dozen transportation public engagement meetings. We've been to a couple of them. Parsons Brinckerhoff reported at the March 5 Policy Leadership Group  that about 600 had attended the first 7 meetings and they had received about 300 comment forms from all the meetings.

The schedule can be found at the GoHillsborough campaign website.  We hope more folks will participate but we also can understand skepticism with the effort. 

At the March PLG meeting, Parsons also reported "citizens want to speak to their elected officials". However, to our knowledge, only a couple of county commissioners have attended any of the meetings. There were no elected officials at the two meetings I attended in Lutz and Town and Country.

If the commissioners don't show up, the citizens have no opportunity to speak to any elected officials. The commissioners, in turn, do not get the opportunity to hear, listen and observe what is being said. The county is paying a million dollars for this effort and we would like to see the commissioners taking this effort seriously enough to at least show up at some of these meetings. 

While this is a public engagement effort, participants cannot actually make any public comment. Participants can see the displays and talk to county staff, the political consultant running the show and some transportation folks. Your public engagement is limited to filling out a survey and turning it in, drawing some suggestions on a map and placing some colored dots on a board. 

The dot board contains numerous buckets of transportation options you may choose to place the four colored dots given as you enter the meeting. This is not very scientific. Probably to some, the categories are confusing, overlapping, too broad and they may not even understand them. There are some brief definitions of the buckets provided next to the board. Who really knows what "complete streets" are? Who understands ATMS, especially when the definition provided did not even mention it included traffic signalization simply known as timing our lights.  
Dot Board at GoHillsborough public engagement
The County did public engagement in the fall of 2013. No results of that effort was ever presented to the PLG, not even a report or summary provided.  We do know that it didn't cost taxpayers a million dollars and people actually got to speak and make a public comment.

This time taxpayers are paying the big bucks to Parsons Brinckerhoff. But Parsons is just the front man. As we previously reported here, Parsons is funneling hundreds of thousands of our county taxpayer dollars to a very well connected political consultant Beth Leytham.  
Cost Estimates from Parsons Brinckerhoff

Scope of Work
Hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to political consultant Beth Leytham

And Voila! We're paying for an expensive million dollar GoHillsborough PR campaign.

But you do get to play pin the dots on the board.


  1. Charlotte GreenbargMarch 22, 2015 at 1:40 PM

    Excellent information, spot on comments about the dog and pony show we're paying a million dollars for. These people have no shame.

  2. It's quite clear that while Go Hillsborough hasn't been near perfect, the public input has been good. It's also clear once again that the Calverts do not want the citizens of Hillsborough to have any transportation choices.

  3. Charlotte GreenbargMarch 22, 2015 at 2:53 PM

    What's quite clear is that hartride2012tampa puts words in people's mouths. The usual tactic of those who carry water at taxpayers' expense.

    Actually, the transportation choices that are feasible are realistic bus routes and schedules, fixing the roads, smaller buses that go to more places and allowing the citizens of Hillsborough to have the choice to use private transportation options, such as those the County is busy keeping from operating.

    Choice, you see, isn't just what you and your handlers want.

    Now that you mention choice, most of the red dots were on fixing the roads which we took as also preserving assets, timing the lights, intersection improvements, new roads/widening and bike lanes. There were few votes for public transit items. combined