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…

The politically connected serial predator at Poynter

Barry S. Edwards is a member of the Poynter Foundation board of directors and (according to their bio of him) also a “frequent guest on several of the local Tampa Bay market political shows.”  However, while a professor at FSU twenty years ago, Edwards was a serial predator, unlawfully and immorally preying on multiple students…

Despite 50%+ discounts, PSTA’s core paying ridership plunges 40%

PSTA’s 2017 fiscal year (FY17) ended with a whimper on September 30th. In one year, ridership declined 7%, passenger revenue declined 10%, and the number of so-called “Transportation Disadvantaged” (TD) riders rose 26%. To call TD riders “paying customers” is questionable since they pay only $11 for a monthly pass. That’s an 85% discount off the full…

Rep. Kathleen Peters: anonymity for sexual abusers, not for accusers

Florida state house representative Kathleen Peters (R – Treasure Island) described herself in a November 6th Facebook post as “a woman who has been assaulted/groped in Tallahassee [the state capital].” When asked by The Guardian who groped her and when, Peters responded via text message “I never said I was groped. And I don’t see that…

Treasure Island loses appeal in lawsuit about vehicle traffic on beach

The 2nd District Court of Appeals (DCA) for Florida today denied the City of Treasure Island’s appeal in the so-called “beach lawsuit” brought by three beach-front hoteliers. The City had been allowing parking on beach during special events in front of three hotels. Efforts by the hoteliers to convince the city to stop failed, after…

Pinellas county commish Janet Long calls her own 2015 bus vote “insane”

At today’s PSTA board meeting, board member and Pinellas County commissioner Janet Long said she was “stunned” to hear that the average cost per rider on bus route 444 is $53.85. Long asked why PSTA staff had not already “eliminated” bus route 444, given its low ridership and consequent high cost per rider. However, when…