Saturday, September 14, 2019

PSTA Hosts Central Avenue BRT "Open House" at S Pasadena

The Eye headed to S Pasadena on Wednesday, September 11th, where PSTA hosted an Open House for their proposed $45.6 million Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

We captured a few interviews from St Pete Beach Mayor Al Johnson, a S Pasadena business owner whose business is being impacted by this project and a S Pasadena resident.

Watch the interviews after the break - there is some background noise.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

AFT Spokesperson/Vinik Employee Christina Barker Cited in FL Senate Brief

As reported, a Circuit Court Judge threw out major portions of All for Transportation's transit tax, including their mandated spending allocations, as illegal and unlawful. The judge, who is elected and will probably run again, split the baby and left the tax itself still standing.

Numerous appeals have been filed to the Florida Supreme Court. The appeals include those filed by All for Transportation according to this Times article.

Since the legal appeals were filed, the Florida House and Florida Senate have filed amicus curiae briefs with the Florida Supreme Court requesting the Court to strike the entire All for Transportation charter amendment including the tax.

The Florida House and Senate amicus curiae briefs can be found here and here.

The Senate brief states they are joining the brief filed by the House and also states (we included link to Times article referenced):
On September 4, 2019 the Tampa Bay Times published an article that was entitled Hillsborough's transportation tax has a new opponent: the Florida House.  
The article included the following quote from the organizer for All for Transportation, Christina Barker, the sponsor of the referendum at issue in this case: “Hillsborough County voters exercised a right that the Florida Legislature gave them. The fact that this is being walked back now is incredibly disappointing.”

The Senate wishes to appear in this case as an additional amicus curiae and join in the House brief in order to clarify that both Chambers of the Legislature support the House’s position stated therein. The Legislature is united in seeking a proper interpretation and enforcement of section 212.055, Florida Statutes, and in opposing an expansion of the severability doctrine to include local exercises of legislatively delegated non-ad valorem taxation authority.

The Senate agrees with and supports the House position, which respects and protects the voters. Unlawful referendums that do not follow the clear procedures laid out by statute should not be judicially repaired by the trial court. The result reached by the trial court ignores the premise upon which voters may have supported the referendum, namely how the transportation tax would be administered.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Paying the Baseball Lawyer: A Spending Black Hole Benefitting Private Interests?

How much money has been paid to the expensive New York baseball lawyer for Hillsborough county's pursuit of a new Rays baseball stadium?
Irwin Raij
Baseball lawyer contracted to pursue new Rays stadium
There has never been a transparent discussion publicly disclosing the cost of the baseball lawyer or the total costs associated with Hillsborough County pursuing a new stadium. What exactly have taxpayers been paying for?