Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Then You Win

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

That quote... really an imagined quote mis-attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, sums up the attitude of the local media and the politicians regarding Go Hillsborough.

We reported over the past year numerous issues with Go Hillsborough, and regularly reached out to county leaders.

They ignored us.

Go Hillsborough and the Transportation Policy Leadership Group refused to consider any alternatives besides a sales tax increase. Only the single sales tax increase was proposed... or was it two? Yet there was no real plan to build anything, only a promise to spend. They did not consider impact or mobility fees, they ignored the TBX plans, refused to develop any real plans, as if their lack of action developing feasible transportation plans over the last decade was our fault. What do we know?

Beth Leytham, working her magic "because I'm good" PR, deflecting her own creation of the mess called Go Hillsborough:
“Actually I don’t think this is just coming to light because of the TV,” Leytham said. “I think the tea partiers and anti-tax types have been talking about this for months and months.”
They laughed at us.

From the Tribune's editorial on September 19,
But tea-party opponents of the effort will look for opportunities to drive a wedge into every crease that opens in the process, no matter how small or trivial. In this case, they have the appearance of cozy relationships between elected officials and a contractor.
No. Tea Party opponents are not driving a wedge into every crease in the obviously flawed Go Hillsborough process. The Go Hillsborough team is quite good at doing that to themselves. We just report it. The Tribune presented no evidence otherwise. Only now the Tribune states the audit needs to
Eliminating that appearance [of cozy relationships between elected officials and a contractor] should be done quickly so the public can be assured the effort is about improving transportation and not about improving the bottom lines of contractors and the friends of elected officials.
Eliminating the appearance? Or should we get to the truth?

Many others besides the Tea Party, have come out against Go Hillsborough, from the Sierra Club to La Gaceta. The big story was broke by Noah Pransky. Are Sierra Club, Patrick Manteiga, and Noah Pransky Tea Party? So what gives, Tampa Tribune?

The Tribune has a lot of credibility to lose here. They've refused to acknowledge their meetings and  own "cozy relationship" with Beth Leytham, the focus of much of this investigation. Why not? 

The Tribune, severely damaged by their unacknowledged relationship with Beth Leythan, the center of the controversy, is leading the fight.

Here's a Tribune "Letter of the Day" from September 30.
Having lived through the Greenlight Pinellas war, I see another tea party activist using the same tactics to denigrate a thoroughly reasonable proposal that would benefit the entire community in West-Central Florida. Sharon Calvert is using the same methods that some No Tax For Tracks members used to unjustly defeat Greenlight Pinellas. One member repeatedly misled local municipal councils and went to Denver and brought back a totally erroneous report on Denver’s light rail. She constantly smeared PSTA management, calling into question some of their actions which in hindsight proved to be perfectly legal and reasonable. Now I see Calvert using the same misrepresentations to try to defeat Go Hillsborough — all in the name of “no new taxes.”
The fact the Tribune allowed this fact free LTE to be the Letter of the Day, much less published at all, is clearly a set up.

"Unjustly" defeated Greenlight? It was justly defeated 62 - 38%.

"Smeared PSTA management, calling into question some of their actions which in hindsight proved to be perfectly legal and reasonable."

Seriously? Which is worse in your world, an erroneous report on Denver or the federal government demanding repayment of misappropriated funds, that was not judged "perfectly legal and reasonable", but was in fact judged potentially criminal?

"This is how the tea party is destroying America."

No. This is people like Dave Stanton who are destroying America, by purposely ignoring the malfeasance and dishonorable behavior if it fits their agenda, and tarnishing those that expect more from our public servants.

Remember Greenlight Pinellas, when proponents stated only the tea party was against it. Remember 62-38. We're all tea partiers now.

And weeks later, Joe Henderson has yet another column, on the Sam Rashid story that keeps on giving him columns... so many, I've lost count.

Yes Rashid used crude language. About a month ago.

Can we move on, Joe?

Unless, you know, you really want to write something about the real issues that we and Noah Pransky have uncovered regarding Go Hillsborough, and the valid concerns that Rashid raised.

But that's not as easy as writing another column about Rashid and his bad word.

As Joe closes,
There are legitimate reasons to raise an eyebrow about the way Go Hillsborough is being run, so let the investigation reveal specifically what’s going on and act accordingly.

No matter what turns up, though, I have a feeling it won’t be enough for Rashid and opponents of the transportation measure. I’m sure the Lindbergh baby kidnapping figures into this somehow.

That’s not true, of course, but when you hate something as badly as Sam Rashid appears to hate this proposed sales tax increase, there’s no need to wait for the facts. Those things can be inconvenient anyway.
Gosh, Joe almost took on the real issue. But he dipped back into the ad hominem attacks on Rashid, rather than the merit, or lack thereof, of his argument.

By the way Joe, did you know that Sheriff David Gee was a fundraising chair for County Commissioner Stacy White during his run for commission?

Sheriff Gee was fundraising host for Commissioner Stacy White
Now we hear that (downtown only) Tampa Mayor Buckhorn, on a trip to Denver this week, with over 100 Tampa Chamber of Commerce members inspected Denver's so called light rail success was quoted  as saying "those Tea Party cowards are funding the opposition to Go Hillsborough."

The only funding the Tea Party is contributing are our taxes that is funding the Go Hillsborough debacle.

Who's the coward, Buckhorn? Hiding behind the skirt of his "friend and advisor", not a lobbyist or campaign manager, but a political donor to him, Beth Leytham, who Buckhorn has helped direct hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to.

We'll take you on any time, downtown Bob. Name the time, name the place. Bring some facts, not pejoratives.

Then they fought us.

As we wrote last week, now they've lost. Just like 2010. Just like 2014.

We are all Tea Party now.

Then we win.


  1. You know you are totally wrong. Its interesting how you dismiss Rashid's vulgar comments. In most areas he would be fired for that. I'm sure his own company would fire an individual for making that comment - maybe not he is the CEO.
    You are a total obstructionist regarding Go Hillsborough. Keep up the good work and I can't wait until we are back to horse and buggy.
    Thanks you!!!

    1. It's interesting you dismiss the facts and concerns over Go Hillsborough. Rashid is dancing to his own tune, and we're not defending his language and have condemned it elsewhere in this blog, it's apparent he'll resign if and when he sees fit, so get over it. Everyone else is slamming the tea party similarly, but that's OK. We can take it and defend ourselves. And see our Plan B post if you think we are obstructionist. http://www.eyeontampabay.com/2015/10/heres-plan-b.html

    2. You know who else didn't tolerate obstructionists?...

  2. The only tactics the proponents employ are dog whistle labelling, deliberate obfuscation of the awful record of Its no-compete contractor Parsons Brinckerhoff in transportation projects, and the promise of advertising dollars to the two dying daily newspapers here.

  3. Here's the bottom line on a sales tax increase. It is why opposition cannot be premature, it is why no sales tax increase will be tolerated.

    The county had some $146 million in new revenues and refused to spend it (except $2.8 million) on transportation. They also have refused, for the last 6 years at least, to recover any of the impact costs of new development - Builders do not pay their fair share. The county refuses to spend the extra money we have given them on transportation, then tell us they have no money for what they say is our top priority, and they tell us if we want transportation improvements, we have to raise taxes on ourselves. That is unacceptable. Either transportation is our top priority or it is not. We already gave the necessary funds to the county.