Clearwater buys 1.4 acres of land, loses 6 acres earlier in same week

The Tampa Bay Times assigned two reporters to cover the City of Clearwater’s purchase of 1.4 acres of downtown land last night. However, the Times assigned no reporters to cover the city’s embarrassing loss in Pinellas circuit court earlier in the week in a matter involving 6.5 acres of land that the city had claimed it owns….

PSTA ridership at 10-year low despite partnership with Uber

The decline of bus ridership on the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) network of routes continues, despite new programs aimed at boosting ridership. At the current rate, PSTA is headed for its lowest total number of bus revenue passenger trips in 10 years. Five months into PSTA’s current fiscal year (FY), which began October 1st last year, revenue…

Penny for Pinellas open house draws county staff & politicians, few citizens

The second “Public Input Open House” on Penny for Pinellas renewal was held by Pinellas County government last night in Gulfport. County voters will be voting on whether to renew this 1% sales tax on November 7th. Penny for Pinellas (PFP) was first levied on January 1st, 1990. In its invitation to the meeting, the county asked…

Election fallout? Treasure Island city manager offers to resign

Through a public records request, the Guardian has learned that Treasure Island city manager Reid Silverboard offered to resign yesterday if the commission will approve a severance package for him. On Tuesday March 14th, Silverboard wrote a “letter of separation “ to the mayor and the city commission, this before two incumbent city commissioners lost their bids…

Cross Bay Ferry ridership up 57% in February, total was over 6,000 for month

As reported by TBNWeekly.com, which are the Beacon, Leader and Bee free local weekly newspapers, ridership for the Cross Bay Ferry (CBF) in February was over 6,000 people. The Guardian has previously reported on CBF ridership, as well as on the policy considerations involving CBF. According to project adviser and attorney Ed Turanchik, revenues are covering…

Analysis: Realtor Party candidate Gabbard runs for St. Pete city council

Brandi Gabbard, 40, a broker and associate at Smith & Associates Real Estate, is running for the District 2 seat on the St. Pete City Council. The seat is currently held by Jim Kennedy, who is term limited. Barclay Harless, a 31-year old banker and former aide to state senator Darryl Rouson (D), is also running for the…

Cross-bay ferry ridership down 24% in January

The total ridership for the taxpayer-subsidized Cross Bay Ferry (CBF) was 3,867 in January. This was a 24% decline from December, with both months having 29 days of vessel operations. See our article on the CBF from last month as background information. Four local government entities are subsidizing this pilot with a total of $1.4 million for the…

Buckhorn claims area residents “prosecuted for being muslim”

In an interview with NewsChannel 8 Weekend Morning on Sunday, Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn claimed that people in the Tampa Bay area are being “prosecuted for being muslim”.  NewsChannel 8 reporter Paul Mueller did not challenge Buckhorn’s obviously false claim. Mueller referred to a recent meeting Buckhorn  had with the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay, and asked Buckhorn why he needed…

State senator Dana Young’s “anti-fracking bill” doesn’t ban fracking

Republican Florida state senator Dana Young has filed a bill in the 2017 legislative session that she describes as an “anti-fracking bill” (SB-442). Young is reportedly an environmental attorney, and would therefore presumably know how write this kind of legislation. But there is one huge problem with her bill: it doesn’t actually ban fracking. Young’s bill defines the…

Governor Rick Scott spanks Tri-Rail in his budget

In his proposed budget, Florida governor Rick Scott is bringing pain to Tri-Rail after it awarded a controversial $511 million contract to the highest bidder last week. Scott wants to withhold all state funding from Tri-Rail. Tri-Rail, formally known as as the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, awarded the contract after disqualifying all other bidders for submitting…

Tri-Rail’s suspicious $500+ million procurement

Why should residents of the Tampa Bay area care about a procurement by Tri-Rail, a transit agency in southeast Florida? Because $57 million of state funds annually go to fund Tri-Rail. The three counties in which Tri-Rail operates only kick in $4.7 million per year in total. Now there are questions about a major procurement…