City’s website carries political message against property tax cut on ballot

The City of Temple Terrace displays a third party political ad prominently on the front page of its website. The ad opposes Amendment 1, a high-profile referendum measure on this year’s general election ballot in November. The Guardian discovered the ad on Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend and immediately emailed questions to city manager Charles Stephenson…

Transit agency proposes NEW five cent gas tax to pay for more transit

In the past six months, the Guardian has reported on PSTA’s plummeting ridership and its declining farebox recovery,  We’ve also reported on PSTA’s increased reliance on free parking shuttles and free special events shuttles to boost ridership. PSTA’s soluiton?  Don’t provide the troublesome data to its politician-packed board anymore. In the agenda and meeting packet for next Wednesday’s board meeting,…

Jane Castor campaign misleads voters about its own fundraising success

Campaign finance reports for the month of April show former Tampa police chief Jane Castor raised $33,540 in April from 89 donors. A political action committee called “Tampa Strong,” which is likely to support the same issues Castor does, raised $15,250 in April, with $10,000 of that from four corporations writing checks for $2,500 each. The amount…

School chief slammed shooting fact as “fake news”, is caught in lie

More than five weeks after the Parkland school shooting, Broward County school superintendent Robert Runcie wrote that “the rise in ‘fake news’ related to this tragedy is reprehensible.” Runcie then alleged three examples of such fake news, one being the allegation that the shooter was “assigned to PROMISE while in high school.” More on the PROMISE…

22% ridership drop in one year on busiest bus route in Pinellas

PSTA calls it the Central Avenue Trolley, abbreviated “the CAT.” Launched in 2011, the CAT was billed as “a one-seat, non-transfer ride from Pass-a-Grille to the St. Petersburg Pier.” At that time, PSTA attributed systemwide ridership increases to the CAT. That was then. During the first six months of PSTA’s current fiscal year, CAT ridership…

Misdemeanor Beach! Pinellas County’s annual employee party

Every year, Pinellas County government closes down for a day to have a  “workforce recognition and staff training event.” Translation: county government closes Sand Key Park to the public for a day, and then throw themselves a party. This year’s party was yesterday, April 25th. What has changed since last year’s party is a 2nd District…

Court says city doesn’t own land under Clearwater Beach Recreation center

The parcel of land that the Clearwater Beach Recreation Center and Library is built on doesn’t belong to the city. That’s just one of the momentous findings in a ruling issued by Pinellas circuit judge Keith Meyer late yesterday. The case was an “action to quiet title” brought against the State of Florida by a company called…

Pinellas Park mayoral election heats up, charges of abuse and dishonesty

They’re both registered Republicans, they’ve both voted in every election since forever, and they both want to be the mayor of Pinellas Park. That’s where the similarities end between current Pinellas Park mayor Sandra “Sandy” Bradbury and her opponent, mayoral candidate Donna Saxer. In this article, we’ll try to cover what has been reported so far…

Second anonymous letter with CareerSource allegations surfaces

Last week, an anonymous letter to an elected official alleged a love affair between CareerSource Pinellas CEO Ed Peacher and one of his top administrator’s Haley Leoun. Now a second letter, written to Pinellas county commissioner Pat Gerard, has surfaced, alleging additional improprieties. The letter alleges, among many things, that Leoun told CareerSource staff that is…

Valentine’s Day Bungle! Pinellas sheriff muffs “domestic violence” law

In Valentine’s Day-themed e-mails to the public and in local newspaper columns, Pinellas sheriff Bob Gualtieri’s provided a definition of “domestic violence” which conflicts with the definition in Florida law. Questions to the sheriff and his public information office about his definition of “domestic violence” went unanswered. Gualtieri’s definition includes “emotional degradation” and “economic manipulation” as…

Depression! Politicians ponder PSTA passenger plunge, then laugh it off

The mood was somber at the  Finance Committee meeting at PSTA headquarters on January 18th. As the Guardian previously reported, ridership in the just completed fiscal year is down 15% in two years. The plunge continues in the new fiscal year, and is headed for a 22% ridership decline over three years. Passenger revenue is also…

Ethics commission sets new legal standard at politician’s request

Today, the Florida Commission on Ethics (FCE) granted a 30-day extension to Hillsborough county commissioner Ken Hagan to amend a petition he filed for recovering attorneys fees and cost. The matter concerned an ethics complaint filed by Dover resident George Niemann, a complaint Hagan believes was malicious and unfounded and which the FCE previously dismissed…