Despite 50%+ discounts, PSTA’s core paying ridership plunges 40%

PSTA’s 2017 fiscal year (FY17) ended with a whimper on September 30th. In one year, ridership declined 7%, passenger revenue declined 10%, and the number of so-called “Transportation Disadvantaged” (TD) riders rose 26%. To call TD riders “paying customers” is questionable since they pay only $11 for a monthly pass. That’s an 85% discount off the full…

Rep. Kathleen Peters: anonymity for sexual abusers, not for accusers

Florida state house representative Kathleen Peters (R – Treasure Island) described herself in a November 6th Facebook post as “a woman who has been assaulted/groped in Tallahassee [the state capital].” When asked by The Guardian who groped her and when, Peters responded via text message “I never said I was groped. And I don’t see that…

Treasure Island loses appeal in lawsuit about vehicle traffic on beach

The 2nd District Court of Appeals (DCA) for Florida today denied the City of Treasure Island’s appeal in the so-called “beach lawsuit” brought by three beach-front hoteliers. The City had been allowing parking on beach during special events in front of three hotels. Efforts by the hoteliers to convince the city to stop failed, after…

Pinellas county commish Janet Long calls her own 2015 bus vote “insane”

At today’s PSTA board meeting, board member and Pinellas County commissioner Janet Long said she was “stunned” to hear that the average cost per rider on bus route 444 is $53.85. Long asked why PSTA staff had not already “eliminated” bus route 444, given its low ridership and consequent high cost per rider. However, when…

Two Pinellas judges like Kriseman’s Facebook page, but not Baker’s

Lauralee Westine is a Pinellas-Pasco circuit judge and also the wife of Pinellas sheriff Bob Gualtieri. On her Facebook page, Westine liked the campaign Facebook page of St. Pete mayor Rick Kriseman. However, Westine did not like the campaign Facebook page of his opponent, former mayor Rick Baker. Westine is not alone – Pinellas judge…

Tampa Bay Times won’t deny that local politicians lent them money

In June, Tampa Bay Times CEO Paul Tash announced that a newly formed company called FBN Partners had provided his newspaper with a $12 million loan. FBN in turn had reportedly obtained the fund from eight investors in FBN Partners. Tash’s spokesperson now refuses to confirm that no local politicians are among the FBN investors. First, some…

Sierra Club violates same Florida election law for second time in three years

In June of 2015, the national Sierra Club agreed with the Florida Elections Commission that one of its local clubs had violated Florida law in 2014. Specifically, the Suncoast Sierra Club had violated Florida Statutes 106.071(2), a campaign finance law which mandates disclaimers on paid political advertisements. Notably, that 2015 consent order was signed by Michael…

Kriseman silent on his Interfaith Week role, vocal on his muslim dinner role

The 4th annual “Tampa Bay Interfaith Week” began yesterday, October 1st.  St. Pete mayor Rick Kriseman spoke at the opening ceremony, which took place at the Cathedral Church of St. Peter in downtown St. Pete. Despite mayor Kriseman’s participation, the official mayor’s office website has been silent on Interfaith Week. Instead, the mayor’s website highlights the Tampa…

Fire district caves on tax as property appraiser intervenes and trap closes

After voting to levy a 0.5 mill tax last night, the Pinellas Suncoast Fire Distict (PSFRD) board today gave notice that they will reverse themselves tomorrow. No millage rate tax will be levied after all, only the previously levied flat tax of $260 per home. The PSFRD board’s decision came just hours after property appraiser Mike…

St. Pete deputy mayor steps on mines, hurts Kriseman’s re-election effort

St. Pete deputy mayor Kanika Tomalin alleged last weekend on Facebook that she was “blatantly racially profiled” in Misred, a downtown St. Pete store located in the 600 block of Central Avenue. The store is owned by Rick Baker supporter Sara Stonecipher, and Baker is mayor Kriseman’s opponent in the November mayoral election. All this…

Pinellas Suncoast fire tax hike cremated by court

Ed Hoofnagle is an Indian Rocks Beach city commissioner. Politicians in Pinellas County normally “go along to get along”, so suing another government agency to stop a tax hike would be down right impolite. Suing the Pinellas Suncoast Fire Distict (PSFRD) after their tax hike passed on last fall’s ballot, now that would be downright…