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Uber celebrates National PARK(ing) Day with mini ‘park’ in downtown Tampa

Who doesn’t love a nice park, even one as small as a parking space?

To honor National PARK(ing) Day, ridesharing service Uber will transform one parking spot in downtown Tampa into a mini park for the public to enjoy.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, Uber will set up a mini “park” – complete with artificial grass, games and Uber signage — located on a single parking spot outside of Chase Bank on the 200 block of East Jackson Street in Tampa.

First celebrated in 2005 in San Francisco, National PARK(ing) Day has become an annual event where artists, activists and citizens all over the country simultaneously “claim” a metered parking spot — paying the metered rate — and transform the space into a temporary park.

Held on the third Friday of September, National PARK(ing) Day seeks to raise awareness of how parking in urban areas are some of the most inefficient uses of space. Uber, which also is based in San Francisco, uses the event as part of its mission to tackle the parking problem by offering transportation alternatives to personal car ownership.

Uber is also encouraging residents across Florida to participate in this campaign by claiming a metered spot (legally) for their own micro park — which can then be used for artistic expression, address a variety of social issues or just a place to chill out.

As Uber and PARK(ing) Day celebrants say: No “park” is too small.

Mitch Perry Report for 9.15.16 — One less #NeverTrump option for president in Florida

#NeverTrump conservatives in Florida have one less option to choose for president in November now.

Evan McMullin, a 40-year-old former CIA official from Utah, has been proposed as a conservative alternative to Trump. He was the nominee of the Independent Party in Florida, but has been removed from the ballot by the Florida Division of Elections because the Independent Party is not a recognized national party by the Federal Elections Commission — a requirement of state law to get on the ballot.

McMullin is only on the ballot in 10 states so far, making his attempt to deny both Trump and Hillary Clinton the opportunity to get 270 electoral votes less likely.

Meanwhile, Libertarian Gary Johnson‘s campaign announced Tuesday he will be the first third-party presidential candidate to appear on the ballot in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., since 1996. An internal McMullin memo reported on by POLITICO argues the Utah native is the much better choice for conservatives.

“With all due respect, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are narrow-gauge candidates of limited national appeal,” the memo reads. “Whether it’s Stein’s warmed-over magical-thinking socialism and weirdness, or Gary Johnson’s astonishingly weak and dangerous positions on foreign affairs and religious liberty, no other third-party or independent candidate has the background, experience, intelligence, and policy strengths Evan McMullin brings to the national debate.”

Then again, if you’re a conservative whose main passion is making sure to deny Clinton the presidency, you ought to be happy about Johnson (and to a lesser extent Stein’s) presence in the race.

Two new battleground state polls shows the “Johnson effect” in action. A CNN poll shows Trump leading Clinton in Ohio 46-41 in Ohio with Johnson taking 8 percent, and Trump winning 47-44 in Florida, with Johnson at 6 percent.

In other news …

There was plenty coming out of yesterday’s Hillsborough County PTC meeting on new rules regulating Uber and Lyft.

The CEO of an aspiring ridesharing company who’d like to enter the Tampa market, said after the meeting that wouldn’t be happening anytime soon.

HD 60 Republican candidate Jackie Toledo blasted the agency after the vote.

Toledo’s Democratic opponent, David Singer, feels likewise, but otherwise says the two don’t see eye-to-eye on the issues whatsoever.

Singer later bashed Toledo for “ducking” a Tampa Tiger Bay debate this Friday.

Before the PTC got into the whole ridesharing thang, they got a piece of Pat Frank’s mind.

The teenage victim in a sexual abuse case blasts Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober.

HD 60 Republican candidate Jackie Toledo slams PTC’s vote on ridesharing companies

Like the many Tampa Bay area GOP state lawmakers she wants to join in Tallahassee this November, Jackie Toledo said Wednesday she is disgusted by the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission’s approval of new regulations that could ultimately lead ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft to leave the region.

“The rules passed by the PTC are clear examples of abuse of power and bureaucratic overreach, plain and simple,” the House District 60 Republican candidate said in a statement issued shortly after the vote came down. “They are designed to push ridesharing companies out of Hillsborough County in favor of a corrupted special interest group with deep pockets.”

On Tuesday, Dana Young, current occupant of the HD 60 seat in South Tampa and western Hillsborough County, penned a letter to the PTC co-signed by virtually the entire Tampa Bay area legislative delegation, with the exception of Tampa Democrats Ed Narain and Arthenia Joyner (Narain informs us that he was never asked to sign on to the letter)The missive called the PTC’s proposed new rules — which included a Level II background check for ridesharing drivers that includes fingerprinting — “plainly designed to be an anti-competitive attempt to push ridesharing companies out of Hillsborough County.”

“If this occurs,” Young added, “our constituents will pay the price by losing a safe and reliable transportation option.”

Young, along with Tampa Bay area Republicans Jeff Brandes and Jamie Grant, supported Uber’s entrance into the Hillsborough market in the spring of 2014 with enthusiasm, and have been persistent critics of the PTC. However, they’ve not been able to persuade their colleagues to date in Tallahassee to pass a statewide regulatory framework for ridesharing companies, leaving it to local governments like the PTC to work it out. Uber and Lyft continue to face similar issues of not being in compliance in Orange and Duval counties, though they were able to clear up their issues over the past year in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

In her statement, Toledo is now calling for the PTC to be “disbanded.”

“For too long, the PTC has stood in the way of innovation and the free market,” she said. “The rules passed today are a clear indication that the PTC is more interested in doing what is best interest of special interest groups than what is in the best interest of those who live, work, and visit the Tampa Bay area. It is a glaring example of why we need leaders in Tallahassee who can stand up for pro-consumer policies and push back against efforts by unelected bureaucrats to thwart the will of the people.”

Toledo is running against Democrat David Singer in the HD 60 race. Late this afternoon he, too, said that he did not approve of the PTC’s actions.

“Innovative technologies like Uber and Lyft provide a much-needed boost to our set of transportation options,” he said.

“We are a large and growing metro area, and we should do everything that we can to encourage inventive, market-driven solutions that help our community,” Singer continued. “We need to position Tampa and Hillsborough County as ahead of the curve on new technology so that we can effectively compete with other growing markets. I’m not in favor of regulations passed by the PTC today that stifle innovation and may cause Uber and Lyft to leave our market.”

Fare wants the same rules as Uber, Lyft before joining Tampa rideshare market

The Tampa based startup ridesharing company DriveSociety has been a leading entity in persuading the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission to pass new rules that require Level II background checks objected to by Uber and Lyft.

PTC board members said Wednesday the new rules would allow more ridesharing companies to enter the market, and they were particularly buoyed by the presence of Michael Leto. He’s the CEO of Fare, a company that entered the Austin, Texas market this past spring once Uber left because of newly imposed rules that required the fingerprinting of their drivers. Leto spoke during the public hearing, and discussed how his company would love to come to Tampa.

But after the meeting, Leto said he wouldn’t enter the Tampa Bay area market unless he was assured Uber and Lyft were operating under the same rules as his company would be.”We’re not going to come into a market where we’re going to be fighting with competitors who don’t have to comply with the rules,” he said, adding that Wednesday’s vote ultimately didn’t mean much to him or his company.

Fare is based out of Phoenix but began operating in Austin just weeks after Uber left. Both Uber and Lyft have said that they will do the same and exit Tampa if the PTC compels them to include Level II background checks. Though Uber did leave Austin, they are still operating in New York City and Houston, which both mandate Level II background checks.

Leto said Fare would begin operating in Hillsborough “in a heartbeat” if the two major ridesharing companies agreed to play by the PTC’s rules, which they haven’t since they began operations here in April 2014.

While Fare currently operates in just Austin and Phoenix, Leto said he’s been contacted by officials in 36 different U.S. cities. “We take pride in that we vet our drivers,” he said. “We take pride in the fact that we’re putting a product on the street that we feel a little more comfortable about. I’m the CEO of the company, and I can sleep a little better at night knowing that we took that extra step.”

In addition to Fare, transportation network companies GetMe and Wingz have also attempted to fill the void left by Uber’s departure in Austin.

 

Hillsborough PTC approves new rules — Future uncertain for Uber and Lyft

The Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission Wednesday voted 5-2 on proposed new rules that still include requiring Level II background checks for Uber and Lyft drivers — a mandate representatives from those companies have said would compel them to leave the market.

Though theoretically the new rules would allow new ridesharing companies to enter the market, the proprietor of one such company said after the meeting he would not enter the market operating under different rules than Uber and Lyft. The new rules could be implemented after a public hearing is held next month. Board members Guido Maniscalco and Ken Hagan dissented.

Other new provisions approved include allowing a driver to operate a car up to 10 years old, and allowing surge pricing up to 10 times their normal fare, but not during a time of emergency. However, the board did jettison two other controversial provisions voted on in a committee last week that would require a seven-minute waiting period and a $7 minimum fare.

When asked if the Level II background checks approved will now compel Uber to leave the market, Colin Tooze, public affairs manager with Uber, said that was a “business choice that we’ll have to make.”

“We’re going to wait and see what the rules look like,” Tooze added.

In addition to approving the new rules, the PTC board also voted to continue negotiations with the two rideshare firms to resolve ongoing lawsuits. A settlement agreement certified by a court could end the legal battles, but PTC Chair Victor Crist said the agency must maintain the Level II background checks as part of operating under a Special Act. Commissioners, however, could lobby the state Legislature to change that requirement.

Tooze said he thought the vote to discuss a possible settlement was a positive move, and unveiled a copy of the company’s own temporary operating agreement, which he said would include background screening requirements for all drivers before they are allowed to operate an Uber vehicle, including criminal and motor vehicle records screening along with national databases. It would also include $1 million in commercial auto liability insurance for every trip, semi-annual audits, and record checks by the PTC. He dismissed the notion that the PTC’s hands were tied because of the Special Act requiring Level II background checks.

“I’m skeptical that anyone’s hands are tied here,” he said about the PTC’s Level II requirement. “They’ve shown remarkable latitude in how they interpret the rules, how they interpret the Florida Constitution … where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

More than a hundred people — most of them Uber and/or Lyft drivers — flooded the county center’s chambers for the meeting.

Zach Jacobs presented a petition with 4,189 signatures of people in support of Uber and Lyft operating in Hillsborough. “Tampa’s only getting bigger, and we need to start acting like a big city” he said in support of why ridesharing services were essential to the region’s economic growth.

Topher Morrison dismissed the notion that using background checks that require fingerprinting is the gold standard and would guarantee customers a safe ride. He cited a National Institute of Justice report released earlier this year that reported that on average, 1,100 police officers (who are fingerprinted) are arrested every year in the U.S. He also mentioned the scandalous case of former Tampa school teacher Debra Lafave, who pled guilty to lewd or lascivious battery following a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old male student in the summer of 2004.

“This teacher and every other teacher in America needed to get fingerprint background checks,” Justin Morganman said. “Do you really think fingerprint checks are going to be different in any other industry? The answer is no, they won’t. Because past records don’t predict future behavior. We live in a weird world. And some people commit crimes.”

But Morganman said it was a “myth” that if forced to undertake Level II background checks, Uber and Lyft would leave the region. “They can stay. They can follow the rules, I know this because they do this in other cities like New York and Houston.”

“It’s time we passed these rules,” said attorney Seth Mills, who represents taxi companies in Tampa. “The truth is, they probably won’t follow them anyway,” he added. “We’re going to be in litigation, but don’t let that stop you.”

This is by no means the end of the road to this process. If the rules are approved again at the Oct. 13 PTC meeting, Uber and Lyft could request another state-level hearing to review the rules. If that is upheld, the PTC would then request an injunction to enforce the rules.

Also today, Hillsborough-Pinellas state Rep. Jamie Grant voiced his opposition to the proposed PTC rules via Facebook, where he showed a letter he sent to the Federal Trade Commission asking whether or not the proposed rules violate federal laws because they were written by taxicab and other ridesharing companies and not the PTC.

PTC board members spoke excitedly about getting new ridesharing companies to begin operating out of Hillsborough County, such as Phoenix-based Fare. However, the company’s CEO, Michael Leto, said after the meeting that he wouldn’t dare try to operate in the county until he knew everyone was working under the same rules. Fare went into the Austin, Texas market after Uber left there in May.

Mitch Perry Report for 9.14.16 — Steve Crisafulli goes there

Outgoing Florida Speaker of the House Steve Crisafulli penned an opinion piece yesterday slamming Hillary Clinton‘s now-infamous “basket of deplorables” phrase to describe half of Donald Trump‘s supporters.

“By calling so many of our nation’s citizens ‘deplorable’ haters and racists and the other half too stupid to make their own decisions about who should be our next president, Hillary once again revealed how the elitist Clintons really view Americans,” Crisafulli wrote.

Similar Trump surrogates echoes similar statements last weekend, but not that many House Republicans.

As the New York Times reports this morning, GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence pretty much struck out in a visit to Capitol Hill in getting his former colleagues to join in deploring Clinton for her “basket of deplorables” remark.

In separate news conferences, House and Senate Republican leaders declined to join Mr. Pence, the Indiana governor and vice-presidential nominee, in rebuking Mrs. Clinton over her remark.

Mr. Pence wound up raising the subject only when pressed by a reporter — and then gave a halting answer in which he would not call David Duke, a white supremacist and onetime Ku Klux Klan leader, “deplorable.” He insisted instead that Mrs. Clinton did not have “that bad man” in mind when she assailed Mr. Trump’s supporters.

You might have seen Pence on Monday night, when he refused to take the bait from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer when asked if Duke could be considered “deplorable.”

“The simple fact is that I am not in the name-calling business,” Pence said, which he again repeated yesterday in D.C.

“Is the factory worker looking for a job that Hillary helped send overseas deplorable?” Crisafulli wrote yesterday. “Are the families whose sons and daughters fight for our country deplorable? Are the millions of Americans who simply want her to tell the truth deplorable? If asking these questions is reason for Hillary to put someone in a basket — she can throw me in too.”

Needless to say, Crisafulli is all in when it comes to supporting Trump for president. Obviously, the rest of his party isn’t nearly that unified.

Meanwhile, the Real Clear Politics average has Trump up by .01 percent over Clinton in Florida, and down only two points nationally.

In other news…

Patrick Murphy used the opportunity of getting endorsed by a political action committee formed after the Pulse nightclub shooting to blast Marco Rubio’s votes on gun safety.

Tampa millennials gathered Monday night in Ybor City to talk transportation and how Hillary Clinton’s plan for infrastructure improvements could help the area if she’s elected.

Dana Young and a host of other (mostly Republican) state lawmakers from the Tampa Bay area are warning the Hillsborough PTC not to pass rules that could prompt Uber and Lyft to leave Tampa.

The AFL-CIO is dropping more than 50,000 mailers to union families in Florida this week touting their support for Hillary Clinton.

CD 15’s Dennis Ross has signed on to a House bill that would prohibit any further payments to Iran from the U.S. government.

Dana Young urges Hillsborough PTC reject new rules proposed for Uber, Lyft

Writing that “Hillsborough County is better than this,” Dana Young is the latest Tampa Bay area lawmaker calling for the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission to reject proposed new rules that ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft say would force them out of the local market.

In a letter Tuesday to PTC Chair Victor Crist, Young says the current proposal set for a vote by the PTC “is plainly designed to be an anti-competitive attempt to push ride-sharing companies out of Hillsborough County.”

“If this occurs,” she added, “our constituents will pay the price by losing a safe and reliable transportation option.”

Young’s letter was co-signed by 12 members of the local Tampa Bay area legislative delegation.

Last week, a PTC subcommittee approved new regulations representatives from Uber and Lyft have said are unacceptable. They include a seven-minute wait time for a passenger to get a for a vehicle for hire in the county, a $7 minimum fare, and Level II backgrounds checks that require fingerprinting their drivers. That last demand actually compelled Uber to leave the Austin, Texas market this past spring, so both companies appear serious about not bending on that issue.

On Monday, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn headlined a news conference featuring members of Hillsborough County’s entrepreneur, tourism, and business sectors. They also called on the PTC to reject the proposed rules.

Although the state Legislature failed to come up with statewide regulations of ride-sharing companies, Young’s letter vows the issue will finally be addressed in the next regular Legislative Session, which begins March. Young says the PTC board should hold off on any action regarding ridesharing in Hillsborough until the 2017 legislative session ends next spring.

Joining her in co-signing the letter are two local Republicans well-known for their enthusiasm for ridesharing and loathing of the PTC — Jeff Brandes and Jamie Grant. Republican legislators Larry Ahern, Danny Burgess, Richard Corcoran, Bill Galvano, Jake Raburn, Shawn Harrison, Wilton Simpson, Ross Spano, Dan Raulson, and Democrat Darryl Rouson also signed onto the letter.

Some Hillsborough Democrats have been much less vocal in criticizing the PTC and speaking up for the ridesharing companies than their Republican brethren since Uber and Lyft began operating in Hillsborough in the spring of 2014.

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Bob Buckhorn, others call Hillsborough PTC to reject rules that Uber, Lyft say could drive them out

Two days before the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission looks to approve new regulations that representatives from ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft say could compel them to leave town, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and others in Hillsborough County’s business community had a simple message for them on Monday: Don’t do it.

Specifically, they warned the agency not to approve new regulations approved by a subcommittee of the PTC last week that include a $7 minimum fare and a seven-minute wait time for passengers — and absolutely do not approve Level II background checks which include having Uber and Lyft drivers fingerprinted.

“We are not going to a city that’s going to be held down hostage by any cabal of any industry,” Buckhorn said, a nod to the fact that the taxicab industry in Hillsborough — as has been the case all over the world — objects to the Transportation Network Companies (TNC’s) operating under different rules of the road.

Since they began operating in Tampa in April 2014, the PTC has been unable to bring the two companies into compliance with their regulations, many of which the companies believe are onerous and out of date. It’s not unique to this community — the ridesharing companies also remain at odds with regulators in Orlando and Jacksonville, for example, while the companies have come into compliance in the past year with local governments in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.

But Uber and Lyft did pull completely out of Austin, Texas, earlier this year over a similar impasse regarding those Level II background checks.

Buckhorn also used the opportunity at the press conference to once again call for the outright abolition of the PTC, the controversial agency created by the Legislature in the 1970s to craft regulations for vehicles-for-hire in Hillsborough County. It’s the only such agency in the state.

The PTC’s heavy-handed tactics in previous years have led to the belief by some that it is a handmaiden of the taxicab industry. It’s a perception that only gained more currency when former PTC Chair Kevin White was convicted of charges of conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud, and lying to the FBI after he was found guilty of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes and a luxury SUV exchange for helping three prospective wrecker company operators win certificates from the PTC.

“I continue to believe it is a dinosaur,” Buckhorn said about the PTC, a belief shared by Tampa Bay area legislators like Jeff Brandes, Dana Young, and Jamie Grant. “Dinosaurs are extinct. The PTC should be extinct.”

“We are not trying to keep anybody out of the marketplace,” insists Kyle Cockream, the executive director of the PTC. “Instead, the focus is on consensus on regulations that ensure rider safety,” he said in a statement. “We want a solid framework that welcomes TNC’s while making the safety of our riding public a priority.”

Buckhorn was surrounded by more than a dozen people at the news conference, held at the Attic, a downtown coffee shop/bar. Many were representatives of the business community and entrepreneurs who don’t want Uber and Lyft to leave, saying such a loss will hurt with the recruitment of businesses and the retaining and/or luring millennials to stay in the Tampa Bay.

“The whole country took note when Austin passed its draconian legislation,” said Christopher Emmanuel, director of infrastructure and governance policy for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “We ask that the PTC suspend consideration of this extreme rule, and work with the new business and responsible partners that are hoping to bring transportation solutions for Tampa and Florida’s future.”

Tony DiBenedetto is the chair and CEO of a tech company called Tribridge. He said he doesn’t even own a car these days, and instead takes Uber to wherever he has to go.

“I think it’s sending the wrong message to everybody,” he said about the proposed regulations, which could prompt the companies to leave the region. “I think this is a devastating decision on their part. I think it would hurt us from a recruiting perspective; it’s already hard to recruit to Tampa.”

Although the Level II background checks have garnered the most attention, Uber and Lyft have serious issues with other proposed rules going before the PTC board on Wednesday, such as a seven-minute wait time for anyone to hail a vehicle-for-hire car in Hillsborough County.

“You request a ride, said Blayn Shamble, a Tampa Bay area Lyft driver.”It takes two minutes to get there, and now I have to lock my doors and roll my window down and say, ‘I’m sorry, you cannot legally get into my car until five minutes passes.’

“In my opinion, that is just picking your winners and losers in a free market,” Shamble added.

The PTC has said the new rules were promulgated by members of the cab industry and would-be TNC DriveSociety, who are pushing the PTC hard to pass the new rules.

“Are you a believer in public safety?,” shouted out DriveSociety proprietor Marcus Carter after Buckhorn explained how he believed competition was good for business. “You’re not a member of the media,” barked Buckhorn, who later said that he “welcomed” DriveSociety to the industry.

The Tampa mayor also said the cab industry needed to “up their game” to stay competitive with the new technology.

Louis Menardi, the chair of the Florida Taxicab Association and president of Yellow Cab of Tampa, issued a statement shortly before the press conference took place.

“Uber and Lyft’s approach to this issue is not unique to Hillsborough County or Florida,” he said. “All across the U.S., many local communities, including Portland, San Francisco, San Antonio, Austin, and Orlando are raising significant concerns about fundamental public safety issues and background checks, whether TNC drivers have any or adequate insurance, and whether the local communities should require better service from them for passengers in wheelchairs.

“In response, TNCs flout the law, ignore local regulations and resort to threatening local cities and counties with leaving and/or state and federal forced deregulation when they are questioned about their business practices as they relate to public safety and well-being.”

The PTC board meeting on the new rules will take place Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. at the County Center, 601 E. Kennedy, Tampa, 2nd floor.

Uber, AT&T to give Orlando football fans free rides this weekend

Ride-sharing service Uber is delivering football fever to Orlando this weekend.

In celebration of the start of college football season, Uber and AT&T have teamed up to provide free rides for sports fans in Orlando this weekend.

On Saturday, Sept. 10 and Sunday, Sept. 11, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, riders can open the Uber app and request an exclusive “football” option.

This unlocks access to AT&T enabled cars, each equipped with AT&T LTE-enabled tablets.

Fans will be able to watch the game of their choice without interruption, as they enjoy a free ride to their destination courtesy of AT&T Thanks, a service that provides perks and exclusive discounts to AT&T customers.

Demand for this service — which is available to everyone, not just AT&T customers — is expected to be high, but Uber users can request and ride more than once, depending on availability.

If there is one member of the PTC who should support Uber, it’s David Pogorilich

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David Pogorilich

Beyond convenience and affordability, ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber have become an essential, safe alternative to drunken driving.

One person who should understand this best is David Pogorilich; Uber could have prevented his DUI nearly two decades ago.

An Uber ride — at only a few dollars — is certainly preferable to a DUI, which brings thousands of dollars in legal fees, not to mention the possible tragedy of a wreck.

Pogorilich, a member of the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission who also serves on the Temple Terrace City Council, is pushing for new regulations on ridesharing, including controversial rules on minimum fares, as well as requiring fingerprints be taken of all Uber drivers.

The PTC also seeks to include ridesharing vehicles in PTC rules mandating minimum wait times so traditional taxicabs can stay “competitive.”

Pogorilich is on the PTC rules committee, which voted Tuesday to send these new restrictions to the full PTC governing board at its meeting next week.

“It’s not directed at pushing Uber or Lyft out,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “It’s providing a framework allowing any TNC (transportation network companies) to operate in Hillsborough while ensuring the safety of the traveling public.”

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David Pogorilich (1997)

Be that as it may, in 1997, Pogorilich, then-director of Chitester Management Systems, faced a charge of DUI with Property Damage or Injury by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

That makes Pogorilich the exact type of person who could have most benefited from the safety of an Uber ride. At the very least, he would have saved the $1,000 bond.

Ironically, Pogorilich now stands in the way of allowing other Hillsborough residents in similar situations avoid a DUI, something he indeed could have used 20 years ago, if Uber were around. Ridesharing wasn’t available then, but it is here now.

A 2014 study shows the arrival of Uber in the city of Seattle resulted in a significant drop in DUI arrests — as many as 7 per day, or 10 percent. When given the option, likely drunken drivers will choose affordable, safe and convenient ridesharing, instead of putting themselves and others in danger.

While some may dispute the statistics behind the “Uber effect,” no one can argue that ridesharing offers Hillsborough County a real potential to save money — and lives.

And if anybody can get behind that, it should be David Pogorilich.

David Pogorilich 3 (Large)David Pogorilich

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