- Hillsborough County Commission Chair Sandy Murman proposed lobbying reform
- Former Connect Tampa Bay co-founder and President, Brian Willis, Democrat running for County Commission, got some free publicity, said he had a better plan
- Tampa City Council votes to suspend their part of the contract.
- Tampa City Council also wants to review lobbying rules
- Hillsborough County Administrator asks Sheriff David Gee to investigate Go Hillsborough
- Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner's motion to audit the Go Hillsborough process passed the BOCC unanimously
- The Tribune's Joe Henderson wrote Go Hillsborough could hit a stop sign
- The Tribune and Times, as if choreographed by a well connected PR firm, both editorialize on putting the investigation behind Go Hillsborough quickly
- SaintPetersBlog Mitch Perry weighs in, asking if the Hillsborough County transportation tax is DOA
- The Times relishes in the schadenfreude of Go Hillsborough in a Greenlight Pinellas remembrance
- La Gaceta's Patrck Mantiega wrote "This transportation tax, from the start, has just been a vehicle for Beth Leytham and her associates to pad their pockets."
- The Tribune's Salinero attempts to explain it away
- Many other leaders have been quoted in the media voicing concerns, eager to get things cleared up, and move on.
Regardless how the audit, investigation, lobbying reforms, hand wringing, etc. turns out, Go Hillsborough is toast. Done. Fini.
But no one has really caught why Go Hillsborough is dead.
|Off the tracks.. and dead!
Sure, as Henderson wrote,
If the review finds no violations occurred, as Merrill has insisted is the case, opponents will scream it’s a whitewash and business as usual. Even if commissioners went ahead with the referendum, imagine trying to convince a skeptical public that this isn’t an inside job where taxpayers get handed the bill.
True that. With good reason.
We agree with with Mitch Perry as well:
This proposed tax was always going to be a tough sell in a county that overall doesn’t seem to believe it needs to pay more for improved transportation. Now it’ll be even tougher.
True that too.
Yet they are all missing the reality that Go Hillsborough is forever tainted by their own doing, and the real downstream impacts. They can't recover from all the mistakes, lack of transparency, and insider dealings.
They could have learned from the mistakes of the 2010 referendum, but they didn't.
They could have learned from the mistakes of Greenlight Pinellas, but they didn't.
They could have heeded the AECOM study, which we the Hillsborough County taxpayers paid for, but they didn't.
They could have awarded the contract in an open and transparent process, but they didn't.
They could have not hired a crony leader of the rail cartel, Parsons Brinkerhoff, but they didn't.
They could have separated themselves earlier from an insider/PR/lobbyist/advisor/friend who always seems to get the business her way, but they didn't.
You get the picture.
Hillsborough County Commissioners, the transportation Policy Leadership Group, and county Administrator Mike Merrill made a series of decisions.
Each decision was the wrong decision.
Now Go Hillsborough has to live with that legacy.
Will the expected business interests throw the big money at the real campaign? Will the same businesses that got behind Moving Hillsborough Forward in 2010, and Greenlight Pinellas in 2014 get near this thing?
The Tampa Bay Partnership, Downtown Partnership, Chambers of Commerce, Westshore Alliance, real estate developers, land use attorneys, big banks, real estate associations, et al.
Now they won't touch this thing.
If they do, they'll be tainted as well.
Without the corporate money from a multi-million dollar PAC, there will be no campaign, and no corporate support.
Without that, no Go Hillsborough.
Time to cut our losses.
It gives me no great pleasure to write this, as we have to fix our transportation problems now. But it is their own doing.
As we've asked before, and now more than ever.
Where is Plan B?
Time to dump Go Hillsborough, and get started on a new plan. We can start now. Work with the current budget, develop quick wins, demonstrate success, and rebuild confidence.
Before we go for the moon shot.
Before we go for the moon shot.