Changing Roles

During the past couple of months, my blogging activities here have decreased, but for a good reason. With just 92 days left before the November 4 General Elections, things are heating up between Greenlight Pinellas supporters (including Friends of Greenlight) and the folks at No Tax for Tracks Pinellas (NTFT). From this point until Election Day, the stakes could not be any higher. We need to make sure that Pinellas voters know the benefits of Greenlight and realize that what NTFT is conveyinga about the plan, is misinformation.

For instance, NTFT Pinellas refuses to mention anything about the expanded and improved bus service that Greenlight will provide. The main mission of NTFT Pinellas is to make sure Greenlight fails; by leading voters into believing that Greenlight is only about “wasteful” light rail, which is not true. The truth about light rail is, that it is modern, efficient, and people use it! If you look at Phoenix, AZ, Norfolk, VA, Dallas, TX, you will see how successful these light rail lines are. There is also a lot of misconceptions about these systems as well, so those associated with NTFT (including their volunteers) are trying to share these misconceptions with Pinellas voters.

In respects to increased and improved bus service, many of PSTA’s bus routes will see frequency improvements. That means a bus route that currently operates with 60 minute frequency will be upped to 30 minutes, routes with 30 minute frequency will be upped to 15, and so forth. Many bus routes will also see earlier start times and later end times. Currently, many of PSTA’s routes begin at 6 or 7am, which is too late for many who have to get to work by 8 or 9am. Many routes also end too early, with some stopping before 6 or 7pm, leaving evening and night shift workers with no alternate avenue of getting home. If Greenlight passes, these improvements, among others, will begin to be implemented immediately as the new sales tax revenue kicks in.

Because of how critical the passage of Greenlight is for the entire Tampa Bay Area, including Hillsborough County, which is considering placing a similar referendum on the ballot for 2016, I’ve gradually become more involved in participating in events relating to Greenlight and the transit situation in Hillsborough. Just yesterday in fact, I took part in the Vote Yes on Greenlight volunteer kickoff event in Clearwater, which was aimed at making sure voters in the area are educated about the Greenlight plan. I’ve also launched a new Facebook Page called the No Tax For Tracks Hillsborough Truth Page, which is aimed at informing Hillsborough voters of the facts about what a potential 2016 referendum will bring, and to help dispel misconceptions that may be spread by the No Tax For Tracks Hillsborough group, which was first launched in 2010, and other members and volunteers of the opposition.

NTFT Hillsborough technically still exists today, though you probably haven’t heard much about them since the defeat of the 2010 Hillsborough transit referendum. Now that NTFT is a household name in Pinellas, I have no doubt in my mind that NTFT Hillsborough, along with many other Tea Party insiders (like Sharon Calvert), are preparing to re-ignite the torches in order to fight off the possible 2016 referendum. In fact, many Tea Party advocates want to make sure that 2016 is a repeat performance of 2010…at all costs! We simply cannot let this happen, and many transit advocates are determined to not let that happen. Oh, and if you try to post a comment on the NTFT Pinellas Facebook Page that they don’t like, you’re more than likely to get banned from the page. I’m sure the NTFT Hillsborough page does this too.

With my shift towards transit advocacy, you will notice a lot less activity here on my blog through November. I also will be shifting some of the talk about the referenda over to my new NTFT Hillsborough Truth Page. However, as time permits, I will be updating pages with information to help get transit customers familiar with the transit agencies that I often talk about. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to drop me a line via the Contact page. Please note that my NTFT Hillsborough Truth Page is only accessible through Facebook, meaning that in order to interact with me, you will need a Facebook account. I will not be posting my activities on the new page via Twitter.

Enjoy the remainder of your weekend!

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