Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Commissioner Pat Kemp Running Again But This Time With Questionable Behavior

Commissioner Pat Kemp

Did Democrat Hillsborough County commissioner Pat Kemp violate our Sunshine Laws?  It appears Kemp collaborated behind closed doors last year with fellow Democrat commissioners Kimberly Overman and Mariella Smith to collectively oppose TECO's proposed Big Bend natural gas plant after the commission had already voted their unanimous approval.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Bernie Bro Socialist Running for Hillsborough County Soil and Water Conservation District 2

Politics is local. During this pandemic and the civil unrest in the streets, it is more important than ever to pay attention to local races including the nonpartisan Hillsborough County Soil and Water Conservation District 2 Supervisor race. 

We posted here our interview with Karen Cox Jaroch, a candidate for the non-partisan seat we believe is the most qualified and competent candidate for that position:

Ms. Jaroch is a professional licensed engineer and a former member of the HART Board who governs the local transit agency. Jaroch has the technical expertise, the governance experience and the public service experience required for the Soil and Water Conservation Board position.

There are three other candidates running in that race but Jaroch's biggest competitor appears to be Doug Rivero. Per LinkedIn, Rivero is a Political Science Professor at St. Petersburg College

According to his Facebook feed, Rivero is also an anti-capitalist Bernie Bro Socialist. Rivero has endorsements from Socialist and Far Left organizations including Our Revolution and Tampa Bay Democrat Socialists who are demanding Tampa defund their police department.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Tampa Bay Anti-Car Brigade Candidates on November Ballot - Voters Take Note!

Tampa Bay Anti-Car Brigade Candidates
on November Ballot

Voters take note of the Anti-Car Brigade in Tampa Bay because four of them, Pat Kemp, Harry Cohen, Janet Long and Charlie Justice, are on the November ballot. The Anti-Car Brigade agenda is to force us out of the security of our individual vehicles that keep us healthier and safer. Their agenda requires large tax increases to pay for costly rail and transit few will ever use and road diets to make car travel more painful and traffic congestion worse.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Letter to the Editor: Vote for Vasquez and Ahern Because Pinellas County Deserves Better

We obtained this Letter to the Editor submitted to the Tampa Bay Times by Pinellas County resident David Happe. As of this time, it appears the Times has refused to print it.

Letter to the Editor

An open letter to my fellow Pinellas County Residents regarding the upcoming county commission elections.  I am writing in support of the candidacy of Larry Ahern and Tammy Vasquez for County Commissioners to replace Janet Long and Charlie Justice.

Over the past several months, those of us who are politically neutral and focus more on family, faith and future than we do on what politicians are up to have had to pay attention to what’s happening locally and nationally with the CoronaVirus wreaking havoc on our lives, our loved ones and our incomes.  Up until now, I have been negligent of my own civic duty of paying attention and getting involved to help make a positive difference.

In the few months that I have been observing and studying local politics and politicians, here is what I have observed :

The Pinellas County Commissioners have a budget of $2.3 billion dollars.  The seven member commission controls the spending for that budget, but they really don’t like it when people ask questions about how exactly the money is spent at an itemized level.

One example of that would be the $2m that they allocated to a “Visit Clearwater/St Pete” advertising campaign.  A large percentage of that $2m went to an outside of Florida creative agency.  That agency created marketing materials showing visitors wearing masks on paddle boards and at the beach, neither of which are recommended or reflective of the attractiveness of our area to tourists.  So, they recalled part of the materials, at the expense of the taxpayers that paid for this, and claimed they never reviewed it prior to implementation.  They never “reviewed” the marketing materials we spent $2m on

One of the commissioners, Janet Long, who is running for re-election, recently stated that their workload was overwhelming to her.  Between the emails and the meetings she was overwhelmed.  She put forward a motion that passed on a 4-3 split decision, which effectively eliminated residents from participating in the previously scheduled commission meetings, limiting involvement opportunity by Pinellas residents to 50% of what was previously available.  

A few weeks back, Pinellas County commissioners determined that for 2021, they needed to increase the amount of money they had in cash reserves.  So, with the expected increases in income from property tax increases in 2021, the net impact will be a tax increase on every homeowner, renter, and business owner in Pinellas County for 2021.  Moving money from your bank account and mine to the County savings account was passed on a 6-1 split decision.

Then, lastly they took the seriousness of the local State of Emergency that we operate under, which is causing business restrictions and influencing everything from mask ordinances to emergency funds allocations, and delegated all decision making on the local SOE to an unelected administrative assistant.  They no longer discuss this weekly, and the commission members no longer get briefings from local health experts on a weekly basis. The single largest issue affecting our 1,000,000 Pinellas County residents, but these commissioners who we pay an annual salary of $100,000 each didn't have the time nor interest to maintain their direct supervisory authority over the details that affect the health of our people, the strength of our businesses, and the governance of this real State of Emergency.  They thought this would be best served in the hands of an unelected bureaucrat who now extends this outside of the lens of public dialogue and scrutiny.

So, my vote is for anyone else.  There are candidates who are running for the right reasons.  Tammy Vasquez is a business owner and political newcomer who saw how issues like the above were being managed, and decided she would get involved to strengthen Pinellas County.  Larry Ahern, no stranger to local politics, also thought we deserved a better and more thoughtful representation.  I didn’t know either of these candidates before I started paying attention to what was happening in Pinellas County, but we deserve better.    

Tammy Vasquez, 
Candidate for Pinellas County Commission
District  3

Larry Ahern
Candidate for Pinellas County Commission
District 1
We deserve a government that represents us. We deserve fiscal transparency. We deserve elected officials that are not too busy politicking to see us all the way through this local State of Emergency. And we deserve representatives willing to listen, engage, and work with all of us towards a better Pinellas County. Please join with me, my family and my friends in voting for Larry Ahern and Tammy Vasquez for Pinellas County Commission on November 3rd.

David Happe

Tarpon Springs, FL

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Repost from Tampa Bay Guardian: The open and shut case of Commissioner Pat Kemp’s Florida Bar violations

Reposted with permission from the Tampa Bay Guardian

Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp, who is on the ballot, is facing almost certain disciplinary action from the Florida Bar. This after a complaint was filed against her last month. The issue at hand is Kemp has referred to herself as an “attorney” or a “lawyer” at least 17 times during Hillsborough county commission meetings going back to 2018 (list of instances).