Ferry’s purpose unclear in official docs, Kriseman “Ferry’s Godfather”

The 6-month Cross Bay Ferry pilot project ends on April 30. But what is the stated public purpose of the heavily taxpayer-subsidized Cross Bay Ferry (CBF) that justifies spending public funds on it? It turns out that the answer to this and other questions were never clear to government agencies from the onset. The Guardian has previously reported…

Stone soup? Vinik wants MUCH more public funds, despite $100M pledged

Last Thursday, representatives of Jeff Vinik’s company Strategic Property Partners (SPP) met behind closed doors with Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill. SPP is seeking  to have 75% of all property taxes collected on real estate “above [SPP’s] initial $1 billion investment” in Channelside returned to it. SPP also wants additional public funds through a legislatively created special improvement…

PSTA top attorney & staff embarrass themselves, board willfully asleep

At today’s monthly PSTA board meeting, a flawed resolution that was “approved in form” by its top attorney was before the board for approval. The flawed resolution passed unanimously, as written. As explained below, there are also signs that efforts are underway to inpose light rail against the clearly and repeatedly stated will of the…

Hillsborough County commish Stacy White on land use & transportation

Recently, Hillsborough County commissioner White toured portions of Hillsborough County by helicopter with Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee. White has reportedly made “preventing unmitigated sprawl his top priority as commissioner.” The Guardian sat down with White for a Q&A. Guardian: Thanks for taking the time.  You and your wife live in Valrico on 1.6 acres of land…

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….

PSTA ridership at 10-year low despite partnership with Uber

The decline of bus ridership on the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) network of routes continues, despite new programs aimed at boosting ridership. At the current rate, PSTA is headed for its lowest total number of bus revenue passenger trips in 10 years. Five months into PSTA’s current fiscal year (FY), which began October 1st last year, revenue…

Penny for Pinellas open house draws county staff & politicians, few citizens

The second “Public Input Open House” on Penny for Pinellas renewal was held by Pinellas County government last night in Gulfport. County voters will be voting on whether to renew this 1% sales tax on November 7th. Penny for Pinellas (PFP) was first levied on January 1st, 1990. In its invitation to the meeting, the county asked…

Election fallout? Treasure Island city manager offers to resign

Through a public records request, the Guardian has learned that Treasure Island city manager Reid Silverboard offered to resign yesterday if the commission will approve a severance package for him. On Tuesday March 14th, Silverboard wrote a “letter of separation “ to the mayor and the city commission, this before two incumbent city commissioners lost their bids…

Cross Bay Ferry ridership up 57% in February, total was over 6,000 for month

As reported by TBNWeekly.com, which are the Beacon, Leader and Bee free local weekly newspapers, ridership for the Cross Bay Ferry (CBF) in February was over 6,000 people. The Guardian has previously reported on CBF ridership, as well as on the policy considerations involving CBF. According to project adviser and attorney Ed Turanchik, revenues are covering…

Analysis: Realtor Party candidate Gabbard runs for St. Pete city council

Brandi Gabbard, 40, a broker and associate at Smith & Associates Real Estate, is running for the District 2 seat on the St. Pete City Council. The seat is currently held by Jim Kennedy, who is term limited. Barclay Harless, a 31-year old banker and former aide to state senator Darryl Rouson (D), is also running for the…

Cross-bay ferry ridership down 24% in January

The total ridership for the taxpayer-subsidized Cross Bay Ferry (CBF) was 3,867 in January. This was a 24% decline from December, with both months having 29 days of vessel operations. See our article on the CBF from last month as background information. Four local government entities are subsidizing this pilot with a total of $1.4 million for the…