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….

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…

The Crossbay ferry – a path or a bath?

The heavily taxpayer-subsidized Tampa Bay “Crossbay Ferry” pilot project is currently on track to attract approximately 27,000 paying passengers in total during its six-month pilot. Whether the project is a path forward, or a bath for the taxpayers, that we will leave to our readers to decide. Through a public records request to the City of St. Petersburg,…

Manatee Elections office says contacting voters is “misuse” of voter data

One day before the election, the executive assistant to Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Michael Bennett claimed that contacting voters using publicly available information is “misuse of voter registration data”.  The executive assistant, Debbie Scott, cited no law in making her assertion. Scott made her claim in response to a complaint from a citizen who had…

Manatee Supervisor of Elections sits on campaign finance report for two days

The final  treasurer’s report from the “Forward Manatee” political committee was filed electronically with Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Michael Bennett at 2:10 P.M. on Thursday. Forward Manatee’s filing came well ahead of the Friday midnight reporting deadline. Yet on Saturday morning, the data from this report did not appear in a search of financial records…

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…