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Columns

Greed Over Need as Hillsborough Schools Go Begging: Thanks, Tampa Bay Times

September 2, 2018 - 11:00am
Plant High School
Plant High School

The Tampa Bay Times needs an intervention.

The Times has reported more than 40 Hillsborough County schools desperately need new air conditioners. They recently published this article about the A/C issue, hot classrooms, and mold in schools.

When Plant High School opened its doors after summer break, teachers discovered mold in the auditorium, soggy posters falling off walls and copiers that struggled to come back to life after sitting in high humidity for two months.

Christine Brady Corum saw so many posts about sweaty students on the Fishhawk Area Neighborhood Facebook page that she began purchasing box fans for Randall Elementary School and launched a community-wide fundraiser.

“Trending” on the Times website at the time of this article reflected that whoever still reads the Times was interested in this issue.

But the Times editorial board either does not read their own “news” or they do not care about the school infrastructure needs or ... they are blinded by train headlights.

The Hillsborough County School Board wanted their 10-year, one-half percent sales tax hike on the November ballot. They are negotiating with OPPAGA to get their required audit that they requested in June, weeks before All for Transit requested theirs, done by the pre-election deadline.

The School Board is pursuing a one-half percent tax increase for 10 years versus the greediness of former hedge fund manager Jeff Vinik, his special interests allies, and transit advocate sycophants demanding an egregious full 1 percent tax hike boondoggle for 30 years.

The Tampa Bay Times' recent "Editorial: Hillsborough School Board foolishly rushes tax vote" is one of the most vicious opinion pieces we have seen the Times ever publish.

The Times sounds like a whiny toddler pitching a temper tantrum when they can’t get a new toy. The public knows the Vinik-funded All for Transit PAC jumped in front of the School Board’s audit request to get their required OPPAGA audit done first.

How did that happen? Time for an investigation to find out.

The Times’ vicious greed is unbecoming but it confirms who the Times is beholden to and their abject bias. Jeff Vinik helped bail out the Times last year and the Times is financially beholden to him -- the paper’s debts are still pegged at more than $100 million with no visible way out.

For all intents and purposes, Vinik owns the Times. They have promoted his flailing, far-behind-schedule downtown development with the big-yawn moniker, “Water Street Tampa.”

Cascade Investment Group, based in Kirkland, Wash. and owned by Bill Gates but operated by a former Boston business crony of Vinik, financed the project. The Times insists on referring to Water Street as the "Gates-Vinik" development.  In all probability, Bill Gates does not know who Jeff Vinik is.

How bottomless is the on-its-knees Times obeisance to Vinik? So extreme that the needs of Hillsborough County public school students and teachers are riding the caboose on a train to nowhere.

The Times got mad at the School Board and pitched a temper tantrum. To the paper, the end -- forcing taxpayers to unnecessarily spend billions on costly trains/transit -- justifies the means, even if it shafts public education in Florida’s fourth most populous county and the country’s eighth largest school system.

How dare anyone get in the way of their Greed Over Need. Any opposition to the Times-Vinik transit tax hike must be shut down and we’ve witnessed the lengths that duo will go in order to save their respective enterprises. We know that over the next two months, the Times will accelerate its disinformation campaign to promote the regressive tax.

The Times refuses to acknowledge the existence of  a proposed transportation plan that will meet the area’s needs with no new taxes. All to save Vinik’s development and, by extension, the Times.

The Times needs an intervention. It will come through loud and clear from voters in November.

Sharon Calvert is a conservative activist and with her husband Mark, writes the blog Eye on Tampa Bay. This story was reprinted with permission from Tampa Bay Beat.  

 

 

 

Comments

It's not the Times that's the problem here: it's corrupt and incompetent politicians being manipulated by carpetbagging special interests of the monied type. Obviously, Vinik and Sternberg want to glom the money coming from the profitable parts of their businesses while the stupid taxpayers pick up the costs of the losing parts of their businesses. Corrupted and stupid politicians is where the problems ALWAYS start.

"CRIMES" of malfeasance have been committed in this County's School District; "due diligence" was abandoned by school administrators, all in the interests of "redistributing" tax funds sub-rosa to suit their own personal interests... (Typical of local-low-level appointees who have their "fingers on the Tax distribution faucet")... "Investigation & Indictment" required.... (This is quite similar to the "Assisted Living facility lack of working air conditioning" during the mandatory hurricane evacuation DEBACLE ! )

Great deflection! The leftists in and around Hillsborough County do need something else to obsess over since that loser got the "D" primary Governor nomination. Glad you found something so quickly to get the leftist base excited over!!!

Gee, what's the problem here . . . . . post on the wrong article? . . . . . . . . . . nowhere nonsense . . . . . . . PATHETIC

Gotcha 'Lil Frankie!!!

Gotcha 'Lil Frankie!!!

Gee, which party's been in charge of Florida's state educational funding for the last 20 years while this problem has developed . . . . and which party has been attempting to shift more and more public dollars to private schools, including even construction and maintenance dollars . . . . . . . oh, that's right, it's the party in power (now of Scott and Trump) that obviously can't be blamed for anything, because that would be FakeNews . . . . . funny about the hypocrisy on the backs of children and teachers . . . . . . .and clearly . . . PATHETIC . . .

Ah yes The Tampa Bay Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer of the South. They don't care about topics like this, their only concern Is getting Liberal Democrats elected and attacking law abiding Florida gun owners. I hear it makes great fish wrap though.

The fact of the matter is that Ken Hagan, Victor Crist and Al Higginbotham have been bought and paid for by the Viniks and Sternburgs. They have been pushing light rail in the Bay Area since 2008 when Mark Sharpe led the charge. In 2010 Hillsborough County REJECTED light rail. In 2014 Pinellas County also REJECTED light rail. Hillsborough County County Commission has intentionally skimped on roadway and sewer maintenance in order to promote light rail, bike paths and so called sustainable infrastructure And don't even get me started on the criminal actions of April Griffin's Hillsborough County School Board

Since no one is mentioning the state budget for this was given to Charter schools and county schools got zip last legislature...…………………... And no it's a lie the Transport tax is for rail except maybe way into the future, 2 decades out. It's for roads and buses...…………….

Right on! Owner Sternberg admitted at the July 10 press conference for the stadium that the tax is for rail. He said cars are five years ago, people will take rail to the stadium. Rail costs $220 million/mile, not to mention right of way and operating costs. And the Times sold its soul to Vinik as he and others propped up the paper with hundreds of thousands. (Florida Trend Sept. 2017 p.35) Lest we forget that Ft. Lauderdale's Wave, touted to cost $20.6 million, has been killed after spending at least $33 million in federal, state and local money, when costs soared to $226 million. (Florida Trend Aug. 2018 p. 37) And of course the original bad boy of mass transit in Florida, M-Dade, reports that overall transit ridership has dropped 9.6% from 2016-2017, with bus dropping 11.%, Metrorail 6.9% and Metromover 8.3%. (Florida Trend April 2018 p. 37)

With the already wide acceptance of "internet news' daily newspapers SEEM to be biased and irrelevant. "Local news" seems better represented by weekly 'neighborhood flyers'. During my un-retired working career, I was a certified Project Management Professional. I worked AFTER the Baby-Bell breakup in one of the Advanced Technology Centers for Project Excellence. One of the main jobs was to review all projects on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. The worst Project I ran across had $44,000,000 sunk cost (non-recoverable)... and I canceled it, and dispersed over 60 people back on to much more worthy Projects. This was Private Enterprise... WHY can't the government do the same? My actions saved my company at least one million dollars. This is but ONE example of MANY!

Tell us more! You should be bestowed with all sorts of accolades and financial rewards following your "un-retired working career" Sounds like you worked for the phone company. That is a good private start.

Turning OFF, or lowering the AC during the "off season", weekends, and holidays, will cause this ! "Penney wise & pound foolish"! Florida is not the place to "meet a budget" by turning OFF AC & heat..... (The kids are probably smarter than the Administrators, Teachers, and custodians..... HOWEVER, THIS "broad District" decision had to have come from the "Top"!!!!)

Same thing in St Lucie county. School votes to build new 27 million $ building for itself. Meanwhile kids have to carry around 15 pound backpacks all day, because no lockers in Northport K-8

Typical !!!! The finest for administration and crumbs for the kids. I never see government working out of portables and I have seen portables for kids on school grounds for 20 years at a time.

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