Thursday, September 27, 2018

Hillsborough MPO Gone Rogue, Part 2

The Hillsborough MPO is dysfunctional and in need of a big housecleaning. The MPO needs new leadership, a new Director and new staff.

We posted here that the Hillsborough MPO had already taken sides earlier this year as they began their 2045 long range transportation planning (LRTP).
What is the Hillsborough MPO up to now?

Monday, September 24, 2018

Anatomy of the rushed Hillsborough transit tax audit

Cross post with permission from Tom Rask, Tampa Bay Guardian

It was after 3 P.M. in County Center on a hot Friday in September. The previous evening at 6:15 P.M., Hillsborough County Chief Financial Administrator Bonnie Wise had requested that “errors” be corrected in the performance audit report delivered by the auditing firm McConnell & Jones (M&J).

The corrected report arrived at 2:33 P.M. In response, at 3:12 P.M. Wise wrote to M&J and the state agency responsible for the audit and said: “Our understanding is that we are to substitute this version for the version already posted on our website, is that correct? Would like this response in writing please.”

Wise received no response. Instead, Emily Leventhal at the state Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) wrote M&J without copying Wise and said “OPPAGA will close this loop by working directly with the County on these issues. Take no additional steps unless otherwise directed by me or Janet [Tashner].”

However, OPPAGA never closed that loop, as a public records request to OPPAGA shows. Leventhal is a chief legislative analyst at OPPAGA and was the point of contact for the audit. It is unclear why she didn’t “close the loop” as she said she would.

Thus the corrected and final version of the performance audit report was never uploaded to the county website. By state law, the report must be uploaded at least 60 days before the referendum, and that Friday September 7th was the deadline for the November 6, 2018 election.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Grossly Cynical, Hypocritical Campaign of Janet Cruz

Cross post with permission of Jim Bleyer, Tampa Bay Beat

When State Rep. Janet Cruz jumped into a Florida Senate race against incumbent Republican Dana Young, she told Tampa voters she was motivated to run because of the February school shootings in Parkland.
The term-limited House minority leader had previously filed to run for a seat on the Hillsborough County Commission.
Her (in)action during the 2018 legislative session screams the ultimate hypocrisy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Voters Should Know What They're Voting On Before They Vote

Voters should know what they're voting on before they vote.

The Tampa Bay Times begins a recent editorial about the Florida Supreme Court striking down Amendment 8 from the November ballot (emphasis mine):
Voters should know what they’re voting on, which is why the Florida Supreme Court was entirely correct to strike the deviously worded Amendment 8 from the Nov. 6 ballot.
We agree. Voters should not be forced to rely on any deviously worded amendment that could deceive them. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Weenie Tax

Plans to fund the planned new Tampa Bay Rays stadium near Ybor City are emerging.

"Every hot dog, beer purchased in that district will go toward the stadium."

Taxing hot dogs and beer to pay for a stadium? Now you got my attention.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

2010 All Over Again! Tampa Bay Partnership Funds Another Massive Rail Tax Hike


Or not.

Voters and taxpayers are not funding the All for Transit (AFT) 30 year 14% rail tax hike.

The Tampa Bay Partnership, leader of the local rail cartel, is at it again.

Friday, September 7, 2018

State agency hides the ball on Hillsborough transit tax hike, info funneled to friendly media instead

Cross Post with permission from Tom Rask, Tampa Bay Guardian

Yesterday morning, a state agency told the Guardian that they did not have an audit report that was due for delivery to them five days earlier. Yet that same afternoon, the Tampa Bay Times obtained a copy of the report and published an article about it. The Tampa Bay Times editorial board supports the proposed tax hike to add another 1% to the Hillsborough county sales tax to pay for transit.

“OPPAGA has no records responsive to item number 5, ” Janet Tashner, General Counsel for OPPAGA, wrote to the Guardian yesterday morning at 9:15 A.M. in response to our request for the completed audit report. OPPAGA is the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, a state agency statutorily charged with insuring that such required audits are carried out.