Resident speaks on zoning referendum in city hall, city manager calls police

Prior to the opening of a Treasure Island “voter information open house” on Saturday, city resident Ken Weiss spoke to those gathered. City Manager Reid Silverboard told Weiss to stop disrupting the meeting.  Weiss refused, citing that he was in a public place and that the meeting had not started. That’s when Silverboard called the…

PSTA ridership collapses, will redefine “ridership”

Only after a query from the Guardian did PSTA post its full-year ridership data on its website Monday. The data showed a decline of 10.2% in total passenger trips compared to its previous fiscal year. This comes at a time when PSTA seeks to convince the City of St. Pete Beach to more than double its spending…

“Tourism tax can be used for transit”, claims county commissioner Janet Long

“The TDC dollars can be used for transit”, said Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long in a PSTA executive committee meeting on October 12th.  Long was referring to the Tourist Development Council (TDC) and the tourist development tax dollars they manage. However, the Florida statute governing the uses of such funds does not list “transit” as an authorized…

Private city park for Pinellas political insider

The City of Treasure Island has a waterfront park that looks like private property, and may have been designed to look that way. Former city commissioner Tim Ramsberger owns two homes next to the park, which is located at 122nd Avenue and Lagoon Lane. In multiple ways, the park is unlike any of the other six parks…

Trigger warning! Dirty talk from PSTA’s Darden Rice

In a recent opinion piece published in the Tampa Bay Times, PSTA chairperson Darden Rice referred to cities “which are not ad valorem members of PSTA.”  However, PSTA is not a membership organization. As explained below, Rice’s choice of words may rankle local elected officials. Last month, PSTA board member and Oldsmar mayor Doug Bevis also angered city commissioners in St. Pete Beach…

Manatee County: wrong sales tax ballot language, agencies involved clam up

TampaBayGuardian.Com has found a typo in a ballot question involving a sales tax renewal to fund schools in Manatee County. Three public agencies were involved in placing this measure on the ballot, and we asked all three “how did this error arise?” None of the agencies responded to our question. The actual ballots say “captial expenditures”…

Dunedin Chamber jeopardizes its tax exempt status by stonewalling

The Dunedin Chamber of Commerce has failed to provide its governance documents to our reporter. These are documents that the chamber says it “makes available to the public upon request”, a statement the chamber has made repeatedly in filings with the IRS. DR gave the chamber three full weeks to provide the documents before publishing this article. Allowing the public…

Manatee sales tax hikes: “YES” spends $300,000, “NO” spends less than $500

The privately funded Forward Manatee campaign received $11,970 in campaign contributions during the first week of October, a campaign finance report released Friday morning showed. Of those funds, $10,000 came from the Political Action Committee of the National Association of Realtors (better known as “RPAC”), and another $1,000 from the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance, a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization that…

Hillary campaign wanted DNC to “play ball” 10 months before primaries

In a short e-mail exchange on March 27, 2015 Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robbie Mook wrote Mrs. Clinton and said: I am distressed that DWS [Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair] hired a convention CEO without consulting us after Charlie [Baker] and I both told them repeatedly that we expected to be consulted – and we were under…

FAIL – Manatee County commission’s tax hike info meeting draws 3 people

At the first of seven heavily advertised “community meetings”, Manatee County chairwoman Vanessa Baugh drew a total of three (3) people to a meeting she hosted on the evening of October 4th. It’s not clear if voter apathy, that night’s airing of “Dancing with the Stars”, or other factors were responsible for the low turnout. The below picture of the meeting…

Spring training in Dunedin: economic impact claims disputed by top economics professor

In arguing for the recently unveiled “Toronto Blue Jays project“, Dunedin city staff and city commissioners have pointed to the 2016 economic impact analysis (EIA) as support for spending $65 million of public funds on this project. However, the company selected to perform the EIA was not chosen based on a history of accuracy – it was chosen for strategic reasons aimed…