Fact Checking The Poynter Institute

  By Jim Bleyer The Poynter Institute, self-anointed watchdog of journalistic ethics and the public trust, has declared Apr. 2 as International Fact-Checking Day. Billed as a “global initiative,” the effort is aimed at heightening awareness about misinformation, “especially online.” But before holding itself up as the epitome of trustworthiness …

Continue reading

Feeding a Regional Transit Authority on Tampa Bay

 By Sharon Calvert  Regional bureaucracies an arms length away from voters and taxpayers are not more efficient, especially over time. They become less accountable and more powerful, arrogant, crony and wasteful. We posted here about Latvala’s Senate bill 1672 and its companion House bill 1243 that grows the size and …

Continue reading

Sharpe Promotes Transit for Innovation Place

  By Jim Bleyer Improved mass transit is the top priority of the 238 businesses that comprise Innovation Place, the economic district anchored by the University of South Florida, the organization’s Executive Director Mark Sharpe said Friday. Speaking at Cafe con Tampa’s weekly community forum, Sharpe conceded that Hillsborough County …

Continue reading

Jack Latvala: The Elephant in the Room

A Latvala Power Trip To Seasons 52 in Tampa By Jim Bleyer The aura of power, if not power itself, was on full display Monday at a workshop for the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) board of directors. Senate Bill 1672, which would create an umbrella transit authority over …

Continue reading

Times Report Deceptive, Says Transportation Expert

Mark Aesch   By Jim Bleyer The Tampa Bay Times characterization of Tampa Bay as having “one of the worst transit systems in America” is not only “silly and misleading” but 180 degress from the truth, according to nationally-recognized transportation expert Mark Aesch. If the article, published Feb. 16, underwent …

Continue reading

No to Regionalism in Tampa Bay

By Sharon Calvert (Reprinted from Eye on Tampa Bay) Watch these two companion bills filed in this legislative session affecting transportation in Tampa Bay. SB1672 was filed by Senator Appropriations Chair Senator Latvala and it’s identical House companion bill HB1243 was filed by Representative Dan Raulerson who is not a …

Continue reading

Oh, What a Week!

By Jim Bleyer Until recently, conventional wisdom dictated that one should never pick a fight with people that buy ink by the barrelful. That precept no longer applies, especially in Tampa Bay. Two public figures, whose incompetence and backroom wheeling and dealing have been shielded from public view under the …

Continue reading

Punt, No Kickoff, for Buckhorn

By Jim Bleyer Political winners of the week: Florida voters who will not be subjected to the campaign puffery, hyperbole, and mendacity emanating from the yap of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. The term-limited two-t̶i̶m̶e̶r̶ termer Thursday declared himself out of the gubernatorial race because t̶h̶e̶r̶e̶’̶s̶ ̶z̶e̶r̶o̶ ̶c̶h̶a̶n̶c̶e̶ ̶h̶e̶ ̶c̶a̶n̶ ̶w̶i̶n̶ …

Continue reading

Bipartisan Consensus Builds for Hillsborough Mass Transit

By Jim Bleyer In outlining her vision for Hillsborough County’s mass transit future Friday, Pat Kemp found herself in the trenches alongside activists on the opposite side of the political spectrum. The rookie county commissioner, a Democrat, shares many of the same views as self-styled conservatives  who during the past …

Continue reading

Times Agenda Overrides Integrity

By Jim Bleyer The Tampa Bay Times this month forfeited its right to be perceived as a fair, serious journalistic entity. The newspaper sent its designated first-string political writer to a well-publicized forum last Friday on mass transit featuring three high-profile opponents of light rail.  The overflowing Cafe con Tampa …

Continue reading

Is Anybody Listening?

By Jim Bleyer Timothy Leary would have riffed, “Drop in, turn off, tune out.” The three citizen activists most instrumental in defeating Greenlight Pinellas and Go Hillsborough, the most recent ill-fated local transit proposals calling for higher sales taxes, spoke Friday morning to an SRO, mostly pro-transit crowd at Cafe con …

Continue reading

Donald Trump, Pam Bondi, and the Church of Scientology

        Donald Trump         L. Ron Hubbard     By Jim Bleyer Donald Trump does not believe in science-but he does believe in Scientology, its tactics, truth twisting, and totalitarianism, if not its tenets. He cavorts regularly with its followers and sympathizers, utilizes the …

Continue reading

Slamming the Brakes on the Tampa Bay Express

                  By Jim Bleyer The Florida Department of Transportation plan to widen Interstate-275 with an express toll lane, known as TBX, faces burgeoning opposition from social and environmental activists as well as those who believe it is poor transportation policy. The DOT’s …

Continue reading

Gillum: In The Trenches, Above The Battle

  By Jim Bleyer Tallahassee’s lightning-rod mayor, Andrew Gillum, calmly continued to lead his city back to normalcy Wednesday, five days after Hurricane Hermine unleashed her fury on Florida’s Big Bend. With work crews deployed around the clock, electricity was restored to 92 percent of residences as of 11 a.m. …

Continue reading

Andrew Gillum: In the Eye of the Storm

By Jim Bleyer When Hurricane Hermine roared through Tallahassee last week, trees, roofs, and power lines weren’t the only casualties. Bipartisanship and the truth took a lashing as well.  Mayor Andrew Gillum, a rising star in the Democrat party who took charge of the recovery and restoration effort in the …

Continue reading

Wanted for Jack Latvala: A Memory and a Mirror

By Jim Bleyer Gwen Graham                 Chris Latvala   Even for someone with a reputation for disparaging political opponents, belittling women, and consummate hypocrisy, State Sen. Jack Latvala sunk to a new low Friday. Speaking at Cafe con Tampa, the weekly informal parley …

Continue reading

Media Abets Government ‘Pay-to-Play’

  By George Niemann Guest Columnist   Sadly, this story out of South Florida points to what citizens have to deal with on a daily basis. They have to hope that their elected officials don’t “sell” their vote to land developers for campaign contributions and campaign workers. In addition, they have to …

Continue reading

The ‘Eye’ Calls out Mike Merrill

  By Sharon Calvert Not only did the county commissioners vote last month at the second sales tax hike public hearing against any sales tax hike referendum, they also voted to pursue Commissioner Sandy Murman’s proposal to fund our roads and transportation needs within our growing existing budget. We are …

Continue reading

Experts: Transportation Sales Tax Funds a Road to Nowhere

By Jim Bleyer   Promoting local sales tax increases for transit projects will always be a losing struggle in Florida, a group of transportation strategists agreed this week. They attributed voter mistrust of government as the insurmountable barrier to referendum-based tax hikes. That unequivocal assessment was expressed at a funding …

Continue reading

FAMU’s College of Pharmacy: Just What the Doctor Ordered

  By Jim Bleyer The 65th anniversary celebration of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University’s pharmacy program next month will commemorate excellence as well as longevity. Begun as a modest component in the chemistry department in 1951, FAMU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has blossomed into a nationally acclaimed center …

Continue reading