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 when he said that PSTA “brings food to a picnic”, and some municipalities “just bring a fork and want to eat everything.”
Bevis made his comments at the monthly PSTA Board meeting, and used the fork analogy twice. It became clear at the next St. Pete Beach commission hearing that commissioners believed he Bevis was talking about them, and resented being described as being freeloaders. The city already pays PSTA $500,000 a year for its share of the existing Beach Trolley service, and may not therefore not appreciate to Rice referring to them as a “non-member”.
These missteps could not come at a worse time for PSTA, which is seeking to convince the City of St. Pete Beach to pay $1.2 million per year for a BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) line that PSTA is proposing. That line would run from downtown St. Pete to St. Pete Beach, even though a bus line already exists along that route.
Rice’s term use of the term “non-member” could muddy the waters with the St. Pete Beach the city commission. In using terms such as “member” and “non-member”, Rice uses the same kind of “binary” language that LGBTQ advocates frequently criticize as being “non-inclusive” and “marginalizing” when used in the context of gender.
Even if PSTA became a membership organization, cities might choose to be members, non-members, meta-members, pseudo-members, trans-members or something entirely different. It would be up to the cities to self-identify.
The word “member” is also a synonym for “penis”, and may remind some social justice warriors of the oppressive male patriarchy they believe they live under. Rice, who is a lesbian, did not issue a trigger warning before using the term “member” in her opinion piece in the Times.
Rice is in good company – PSTA CEO Brad Miller also refers to municipalities as members or non-members.
Rice’s locker-room reference to a man’s tackle, reminiscent of Trump, could be insulting to the “genderhood” (formerly known as “manhood”) of many men, and doom the BRT line she seeks to establish.
We would have reached out to PSTA or Rice for comment, but neither have responded to requests for comments in the past. As per our policy, we then do not seek comment again. However, we will update this lampoon piece should they have any.
PSTA’s ridership dropped over 10% during its fiscal year which ended on September 30th. The PSTA board raised its millage rate to the maximum 0.75 mills last month and is increasing spending 28% this fiscal year as it desperately seeks relevance in an increasingly Uber world.
What is good for the goose is always good for the gander. Always. But what is even more solidly “always” is that the Guardian reports and the readers decide. Please like our Facebook page to find out when we publish new stories.