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Mitch Perry Report for 9.7.16 — Pam Bondi’s reluctance to investigate Trump University resurfaces on the campaign trail

Who knew Hillary Clinton was a fan of the University of South Florida Bulls?

“Hello, Tampa! Hello, USF! I know I’m only the second-most exciting thing that’s happened here in the last few days. Your big win to open your football season got some attention,” the Democratic presidential nominee said to the audience who gathered at the rather intimate student recreation center on the North Tampa campus on Tuesday (And yes, that 56-20 victory over Towson was impressive).

After dispensing further pleasantries (including a nice shoutout to outgoing Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner), Clinton got down to business, which was all about trashing Donald Trump as being hopelessly overmatched when it comes to discussing national security issues.

While flying to Tampa, Clinton held her second straight news conference with reporters, where she happened to mention the Donald Trump Foundation has recently been fined for illegal activity when it made a political contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. As most readers know, Bondi’s office had received complaints from more than 20 Floridians to investigate Trump University because of their negative experiences.

“And of course, as we know, there was a phone conversation between them — they contradict each other,” Clinton said, adding the “American people deserve to know” what was said in that call because “clearly” Bondi “did not proceed with the investigation.”

Trump was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine to the IRS over the $25,000 donation. The Trump Foundation had not listed the contribution in its tax filings, and Trump later reimbursed the foundation for the donation.

Last night on the Fox Business Network, Bondi told host Neil Cavuto that she wouldn’t be “bullied” by Clinton. “I will not be collateral damage in a presidential campaign, nor will I be a woman bullied by Hillary Clinton,” the AG said.

As an RNC spokesman said yesterday, only one attorney general in the U.S. — New York’s Eric Schneiderman — ever pursued charges against Trump U. True, along with a separate federal class action civil lawsuit filed in California. Both allege Trump University defrauded consumers by as much as $35,000 each with promises of a real estate investing education they either did not receive or found to be worthless.

While the fact that Bondi’s office decided not to pursue charges against Trump U. may be completely legit, speculation about “pay-for-play” continues to color this story, and it ain’t helped by statements that Trump has made on the stump, statements his fans love for “telling it like it is.”

“When I want something I get it,” Trump said at an Iowa rally in January. “When I call, they kiss my ass. It’s true.”

In other news …

SD 19 fallen candidate Ed Narain, who came so close before losing out to Darryl Rouson last week, said he’s optimistic about his future following last week’s tough election result.

After reporting earlier in the day that the Tampa Tiger Bay Club didn’t appear prepared to reschedule a debate between the candidates for state Senate District 18, the campaigns and the political forum have come to an agreement to host the debate between Dana Young, Bob Buesing, Sheldon Upthegrove, and Joe Redner on Oct. 21.

It’s getting rough and tumble already in the CD 13 contest between David Jolly and Charlie Crist, with Jolly bashing the former Republican for his “hidden” ties to Donald Trump.

A subcommittee with the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Committee passed by a 2-1 margin controversial new rules that ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft say could drive them literally out of town.

And there’s fallout in the local PR-political world, as Tampa’s Tucker/Hall is suing one of its former major principals, Tony Collins, for breach of contract.

Hillsborough PTC committee advances controversial new rule proposals for Uber and Lyft

A subcommittee with the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission has forwarded a recommended package of new rules for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft — which neither company wants.

The proposed rules would include the following stipulations for Transportation Network Companies:

  • Background checks: Level II background checks, including fingerprinting
  • Insurance coverage: As required by current state law
  • Required wait time: 7 minutes
  • Required minimum fare: $7

The Rules & Policy Committee of the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission on Tuesday voted 2-1 to forward the proposal to the entire PTC board to vote on next week. Temple Terrace City Councilman David Pogorilich and Plant City Commissioner Nate Kilton voted yes, while Tampa City Councilman Guido Maniscalco voted no.

Once rules are agreed upon by the PTC board, they will be scheduled for a public hearing to be held in October. PTC officials say anyone who would like to be heard on the rules will have the opportunity to do so at the public hearing.

“Our goal in creating these rules is to establish a framework that protects the riding public,” said Kyle Cockream, executive director of the PTC, in a statement. “Just as we focus on getting rogue taxi drivers off the road and helping drivers who’ve been towed illegally, our goal here is to provide the safest transportation experience possible for Hillsborough County residents.”

Officials from Uber and Lyft have said the passage of these new rules, specifically the Level II background checks for their drivers, which includes fingerprinting them, could be a deal breaker.

“We are not trying to keep anyone out of the marketplace,” Cockream insisted. “Instead, the focus is on getting consensus on regulations that ensure rider safety. We want to have a safe and solid framework that is not geared towards any one company, but rather welcomes all TNCs while making the safety of our riding public a priority. That is our goal.”

“The rules being considered by the PTC place unnecessarily burdensome requirements on individual drivers and fundamentally misunderstand how ridesharing works,” says Lyft spokesman Herbie Thiele. However, he emphasizes this is the first step in a lengthy process, which includes requesting a state administrative review.

“That is a lengthy process and Lyft will continue serving people in Hillsborough County during that time,” he said.

Late last week a spokesman for Uber also blasted the new proposals.

“The rules being proposed by the PTC, if adopted, would be the worst regulatory framework for ridesharing in the country,” Uber spokesman Javi Correoso said last Thursday night. “For more than two years, the Hillsborough County PTC has shown itself to be unwilling or incapable of developing the modern regulatory framework for ridesharing that the community they represent deserves. The PTC seems intent to continue a dysfunctional process of picking winners and losers rather than follow the lead of policymakers in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, the cities of Tallahassee and Gainesville, and 29 states across the country that have passed sensible ridesharing laws.”

The PTC’s regular board meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 9 a.m. at the County Center, 601 East Kennedy Blvd., 2nd floor in Tampa.

 

Mitch Perry Report for 9.2.16 – Tampa City Council approves $251 million to improve stormwater system

They did it last night.

After nearly four hours of discussion, the Tampa City Council voted 4-2 to support the biggest infusion of taxpayer dollars ever to attempt to improve the city’s stormwater infrastructure, which for decades has been a major problem in the city.

Mike SuarezLisa MontelioneHarry Cohen and swing vote Guido Maniscalco opted to support Mayor Bob Buckhorn‘s proposal, nearly a year after they rejected a similar one. Councilmembers Charlie Miranda and Frank Reddick dissented, while Yolie Capin was not at the meeting.

The improvements will be paid for through a fee on Tampa property owners. Assessments will be based on the amount of hard surface a property as. Hard surface area cannot absorb stormwater, so fees will be higher for people with more of it.

Critics blasted the proposal, which exempts property owners in New Tampa and Harbor Island, where developers have already paid for drainage systems that do not discharge water to the city’s storm sewers. Others complained that the only “discount,” if you didn’t live in those areas, was a 10 percent reduction.

Although there were people who opposed the project, there were more in the audience at City Hall who spoke out in support of the proposal, with the phrase, “we’ve got to stop kicking the can down the road,” being repeated throughout the evening.

Maniscalco seemed to be wavering in which way he would go and said at one point that the thought the vote should be delayed because many members of the public had stayed away, after hearing reports for days that Thursday night the city would get the worst brunt of a tropical storm.

In fact, the weather wasn’t that bad at all Thursday night, not compared to the evening before or another major storm that occurred early Friday morning.

Although stormwater improvements in South Tampa are among the first projects that will be built with the new funds, Montelione, in particular, emphasized that the problems when major rains come to Tampa are by no means limited to that region of the city, showing a map of areas in her North Tampa district that get flooded out.

Suarez said the same thing, adding that it seemed that the media only liked to cover major flooding in South Tampa.

In other news …

Darryl Rouson leads Ed Narain by 75 votes in the SD 19 race as the official recount in takes place this morning in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

Gwen Graham says she gets why Donald Trump has emerged in American politics, and says his unlikely success should be understood by all lawmakers.

Uber is targeting two PTC members to oppose proposed new rules which they don’t like, but are they targeting the right members?

And Charlie Crist‘s campaign manager says essentially the race between his candidate and David Jolly is a mere formality in a memo distributed to the media. Naturally, Team Jolly disagrees.

Uber targets Hillsborough PTC members in advance of coming rules vote

After the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission began citing Uber drivers for operating without permission in Tampa two years ago, the ridesharing giant initiated a campaign against two of its boards members. Now with the PTC poised to approve new rules that both Uber and Lyft consider beyond the pale, Uber is doing it again.

Mailers targeting two member of the PTC, Tampa City Councilman Guido Maniscalco and Plant City Commissioner Nate Kilton, have been issued in advance of the PTC’s Rules and Policy Workshop committee meeting next Tuesday.

“The Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission (PTC) is considering a special interest-backed proposal to push ridesharing companies like Uber out of the market,” the mailer reads. It calls on citizens to contact Mansicalco or Kilton to vote no on the proposed new rules, which have been shaped by the taxicab industry and a startup ridesharing company in Tampa called DriveSociety.

Among the newly proposed rules include background checks that require that ridesharing drivers be fingerprinted, a bridge too far for both Uber and Lyft.

“The rules being proposed by the PTC, if adopted, would be the worse regulatory framework for ridesharing in the country,”Uber spokesman Javi Correoso emailed to SPB Thursday night. “For more than two years, the Hillsborough County PTC has shown itself to be unwilling or incapable of developing the modern regulatory framework for ridesharing that the community they represent deserves. The PTC seems intent to continue a dysfunctional process of picking winners and losers rather than follow the lead of policymakers in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, the cities of Tallahassee and Gainesville, and 29 states across the country that have passed sensible ridesharing laws.”

Steve Anderson, an attorney for Lyft, previous told the PTC that the company considers fingerprinting their drivers unacceptable, and said that the San Francisco based company operates in 33 other states where that isn’t the case.

Maniscalco was at a City Council meeting on Thursday night and unavailable for comment, but he’s indicated in the past that he doesn’t want to block Uber and or/Lyft. Neither now does PTC Chairman Victor Crist, who previously was scorned by the ridesharing companies, but now has embraced their demands.

“They need to do that,” Crist said of Uber’s full court press to persuade board members to oppose the new rules. Crist said that Uber should be targeting board members like Temple Terrace Council member David Pogorilich and Tampa City Councilman Frank Reddick, who support the new rules.

“These are pretty significant rules that are being considered, and there’s provisions in there that make it difficult for their model to work,” he says, referring to Lyft and Uber.

If the rules committee approves the new proposals next week, the full PTC board will vote on them the following week.

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Miami Dolphins, Uber offer ultimate fan experience with UberTailgate

Miami Dolphins fans can now party responsibly with UberTailgate, a new service giving people the ultimate home-game experience as well as significantly reducing traffic at Hard Rock Stadium.

On Tuesday, the Dolphins announced a partnership with Uber, the San Francisco-based ride-sharing service, to offer rides “with an eye toward the future of transportation” while improving transportation choices.

With the deal, the Dolphins become the first sports team hosting an UberTailgate, which gives fans an opportunity to enjoy the entire tailgating experience.

Beginning with the home opener Sept. 25 against the Cleveland Browns, Hard Rock Stadium will celebrate the new partnership by hosting UberTailgates for all Miami home games. Twenty UberTailgate spots will be available for each event, offering a private area equipped with a tent, cooler, serving ware, furniture and grills.

As part of the agreement, Uber also becomes the preferred ride-sharing provider for the Dolphins. After Sept. 1, Hard Rock Stadium will feature a designated Uber Zone, a single location for drop off and pick up that will be available for four hours before and after the game, which. Following a game, fans can enter the Uber Zone, order an Uber and meet their driver at a specified spot for access and convenience.

After Sept. 1, Hard Rock Stadium will feature a designated Uber Zone, a single location for drop off and pick up that will be available for four hours before and after the game, which. Following a game, fans can enter the Uber Zone, order an Uber and meet their driver at a specified spot for access and convenience.

“Uber is excited to partner with the Miami Dolphins, using our technology to enhance the fan experience at one of the world’s best sports venues,” said Rachel Holt, Uber Regional General Manager U.S. & Canada, in a statement. “This innovative partnership leverages the convenience and reliability of ridesharing to give fans safe and easily accessible transportation options before and after every game.”

“We recognize that getting in and out of the stadium and traffic is one of the challenges we have with fans as we continue to compete with 60-inch high definition televisions,” said Miami Dolphins President and CEO Tom Garfinkel. “We are excited to partner with Uber in this innovative way and want to change our fans’ experiences of getting to and from these events while reimagining the tailgate experience.”

Also in the exclusive UberTailgate area is a general store where fans can buy such party necessities as meat to grill, beer, snacks, soda, water and condiments. UberTailgate will offer round-trip transportation to and from the game via UberX.

For further information, or to sign up for UberTailgate, visit www.Dolphins.com/Uber.

(L-R) Uber South Florida General Manager Kasra Moshkani with Dolphins President & CEO Tom Garfinkel at Hard Rock Stadium
(L-R) Uber South Florida General Manager Kasra Moshkani with Dolphins President & CEO Tom Garfinkel at Hard Rock Stadium
(L-R) Uber South Florida General Manager Kasra Moshkani with Dolphins President & CEO Tom Garfinkel welcome Uber to Hard Rock Stadium
(L-R) Uber South Florida General Manager Kasra Moshkani with Dolphins President & CEO Tom Garfinkel welcome Uber to Hard Rock Stadium
UberZone at Hard Rock Stadium
UberZone at Hard Rock Stadium

Kevin Beckner says decision by Hillsborough PTC to take money away from Clerk’s office ‘troubling’

The Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission (PTC) is taking public money from the Hillsborough County Clerk’s Office due to mismanagement and woefully inadequate accounting practices with several egregious discrepancies.

WTSP-Channel 10 reported this week the PTC has “a long list of accounting issues with Clerk Pat Frank’s office.”

Those issues include: vendors not being paid on time; invoices sent to the wrong department; items deducted from the incorrect account, and several more violations. The PTC discovered the Clerk’s office was about to pay $180,000 for an $18,000 vehicle.

The PTC regulates tow trucks, limos, and taxis. It’s been in the news frequently in the past two years as it attempts to regulate ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft.

PTC executive director Kyle Cockream told WTSP the problem has been going on for at least three years. That’s why Cockream says he is pulling the agency’s million-dollar account from the clerk and hiring a private bank to take over the duties. “I felt compelled to protect and be accountable and fiscally accountable for the money I deal with,” added Cockream.

“At the end of the day, I’m a pretty simple guy,” Cockream told WTSP’s Mike Deeson. “I know one plus one equals two and the balance sheet should show two, not five, not zero; I know that. But the balance sheet has been showing something other than two.”

According to Deeson, it’s not just the PTC that has accounting problems with the clerk’s office. Another audit of county finances found millions of dollars in accounting discrepancies including: At the start of the audit process, reconciled variances between the general ledger and supporting sub-ledger and/or module totaling over $20 million for the water enterprise fund, and over $40 million for general government capital assets were observed.

The timing of the story couldn’t be worse for Frank, who has run the clerk’s office since 2004. She faces Kevin Beckner in the Democratic Primary taking place Aug. 30.

Frank gave this statement to WTSP:

“I am very pro­­ud of the work the Clerk’s Office has done for the Public Transportation Commission for more than 30 years. We have worked closely with the PTC staff as they have struggled to adapt to a new computerized accounting system that was adopted by the city of Tampa, Hillsborough County and the Clerk’s Office in August 2013. The agency has acknowledged to auditors that it has failed to adapt to the new technology, which includes not entering information correctly.

The 2014 and 2015 audits found material weaknesses in internal controls and placed the responsibility squarely on the staff of the PTC. Instead of following the audits’ recommendations to hire someone to “monitor the financial reporting process,” the PTC now seeks to privatize its services and shift blame to my office. That is unacceptable.

As for the accusations regarding vendor payments, we pay any approved invoices within an average of three to five days. The timely processing of invoices depends on the Clerk’s Office having the necessary documentation to justify the expenditure. As the steward of public funds, we take this responsibility seriously. Mistakes happen and we will take responsibility when they are ours.

It is disappointing that the Public Transportation Commission staff has failed to communicate directly with me or my staff that it plans to end our long-term relationship.”

In a statement issued on Friday afternoon, Beckner said,”The PTC removing public funds because of their loss of confidence in the accounting procedures by our clerk is another example in a long laundry list of mismanagement issues and failures of Pat Frank. Hillsborough taxpayers deserve a clerk who will show up to work and be a good steward of their tax dollars.

“I will bring accountability and transparency to the Clerk’s Office,” he added. “Having millions in unaccounted-for public money while passing the blame onto others is exactly why Pat Frank doesn’t deserve to be rehired.”

Partnerships with Uber, others could be future of public transportation

If partnerships are key to the future of public transportation, three Florida communities are already ahead of the curve.

Officials with Altamonte Springs, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit, and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit authority highlighted their efforts to partner with private transportation companies during the 2016 Building Florida’s Future symposium Thursday.

The partnerships, with both Uber and local cab companies, have helped their communities ease congestion, fill transportation gaps and give users more options. But they’ve also pushed local leaders to begin thinking about what new transportation technology means for economic development and future growth.

“I think it’s exciting. We’re moving away from … regulatory fights where we’re trying to convince people of the value that we have,” said Stephanie Smith, the senior public policy manager at Uber. “You can already see the shift in the conversation, and that helps us move the conversation past whether it should exist.”

Uber has partnerships in both Pinellas County and Altamonte Springs. In Pinellas County, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority teamed up with the ridesharing company to provide more flexibility to make public transportation more accessible.

The transit authority announced the six-month pilot program earlier this year. Under the program, the transit authority pays half of the fare up to $3 for passenger traveling to a PSTA bus stop or home from one after work or an appointment. The trial was being offered in the Pinellas Park and East Lake areas.

The program has been a success, and has contributed to the growth of Uber in Pinellas County, said Brad Miller, CEO of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority.

“We’re trying to introduce more and more people (to it) who have never used Uber before,” he said.

In Altmonte Springs, the city picks up the tab for Uber users traveling within city limits. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the city in March announced it would pay 25 percent of the cost of an Uber going to or from the city’s commuter train station to any destination in the city.

It also picks up 20 percent of the fare for Uber trips beginning and ending in Altamonte Springs. The hope is the program will ease congestion in the area.

Frank Martz, Altamonte Springs’ city manager, said the program has been a success, and residents are taking advantage of it.

Uber isn’t allowed in Hillsborough County, but the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit authority partnered with Yellow Cab to provide services to disabled customers. The program allows customers to use the cabs instead of its HARTPlus program, and allows customers to receive same-day service, instead of having to book ahead of time.

Rep. Jamie Grant, a Tampa Republican, said government often looks for ways to work with the private sector, and advances in technology will allow for private-public partnerships in transportation.

Uber is already being used on a regular basis in Florida. Smith said 1.5 million people used Uber for more than 24 million trips in Florida in 2015. There were 70,000 drivers in 2015.

And the company is expanding in Florida. It rolled out UberPool, a ridesharing program, in South Florida earlier this year. The service connects users with other riders traveling along the same route, allowing users to share the cost of the service. It also launched UberEATS, a food delivery service in the Miami area.

“We’re here to stay,” said Smith.

Jeff Brandes: The future of transportation is ‘right around the corner’

The future of transportation is autonomous. It’s electric. It’s shared and on demand.

And it will be here sooner than you think.

“The message today is it’s right around the corner,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes, the chairman of the Senate transportation committee.

The St. Petersburg Republican laid out his prediction for the future of transportation during the 2016 Building Florida’s Future symposium in Tampa. The event, hosted by Associated Industries of Florida and Port Tampa Bay, was a chance for industry experts and policy makers to talk about issues impacting transportation, infrastructure and economic development.

Brandes has led the effort to make sure Florida’s transportation efforts are ready for self-driving vehicles. He’s been an outspoken supporter of the technology, pushing legislation in 2012 to encourage testing and study of automated vehicles in Florida.

He also backed legislation approved earlier this year as part of an omnibus transportation bill. That legislation, which was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott in April, paves the way for autonomous vehicles to begin operating on Florida’s roads.

Brandes said he believes self-driving vehicles will be on the roadways soon, in part because of the safety factor. Ninety percent of accidents are caused by human errors, and Brandes said that’s why there is such a push to get these vehicles on the roadways.

“Lives are going to be saved,” he said.

But the future of transportation won’t just be self-driving vehicles, but electric vehicles, ride-sharing, and on-demand services. And while the shift to this technology may seem gradual, one day providers will show up in a community and turn on their services.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time,” he said. “We’re talking about a massive change that is going to occur.”

Florida has been trying to address the new technology, and in recent years has attempted to regulate ride-hailing services, like Uber. Those attempts, however, haven’t been successful in recent years.  And as autonomous vehicles start hitting the roadways, questions of who, or what, to license will surely emerge.

Another question lawmakers have to tackle, how to adjust funding models to account for growth in the electric vehicle industry. More electric vehicles on the roadway could translate to less money from the gas sales tax, which helps fund transportation initiatives across the state.

Mitch Perry Report for 8.18.16 – The Affordable Care Act is getting less affordable

There’s more news about the Affordable Care Act this week, and it ain’t that good.

Aetna announced on Tuesday it would be pulling out of Florida and 10 other states next year, giving those on the government plan less options for choice here in the Sunshine State.

There have always been problems with the ACA, and they’re starting to exacerbate.

But the answer isn’t just to repeal it, like most congressional Republicans have invoked like a mantra for the past three years.

However, Democrats have got to raise their game and not just robotically defend it.

This is a test for all of our federal candidates on the ballot this fall – for David JollyCharlie CristMarco Rubio and probably, Patrick Murphy – what do you plan to do?

Hillary Clinton is calling for a “public option” for states, which would expand health insurance coverage beyond the current provisions in Obamacare. Clinton also is calling for allowing people 55 years and older to be able to enroll in Medicare. Currently, the typical age for enrollment is 65. She pledged to expand funding by $40 billion for primary care services at federally qualified health care centers.

Will that get congressional approval, especially if Republican still control the House? I have no idea, but having Washington remain at loggerheads on our health care coverage is simply not acceptable, not with costs going up everywhere (not just with the ACA) and the country only getting older, this is as big a problem we have in this country.

According to today’s New York Times, “The administration is also hunting for consumers who can deliver ‘testimonials’ advertising the benefits of coverage under the Affordable Care Act. “Interested consumers could appear in television, radio, print and/or digital ads and on social media,” the administration said in an appeal sent last week to health care advocates and insurance counselors.”

The paper reports that in Tennessee, Cigna last week requested rate increases averaging 46 percent, double the request it made in June, and Humana is seeking an average increase of 44 percent, up from 29 percent in June. The other major carrier in the state, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, said it was standing by its original request for increases averaging 62 percent in 2017.

The Affordable Care Act is becoming less affordable, by the day it seems. Time for an intervention.

In other news…

The Congressional Black Caucus PAC is backing Patrick Murphy in the U.S. Senate race, and Pam Keith doesn’t like it one bit.

Victor Crist wants Jeff Brandes to know he’s not down with proposed rules that could compel Uber and Lyft to leave Hillsborough County.

Speaking of Brandes, the St. Petersburg state Senator and co-sponsor of Amendment 4 on this month’s ballot takes exception to criticism of the proposal made by one Al Sharpton.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is crushing Tim Canova in their CD 23 race in South Florida, according to a new poll published on Wednesday.

And more endorsements: Frank Peterman is supporting Wengay Newton for the job he once held – representing House District 70 in Tallahassee (It was District 55 when he was in office, for what it’s worth).

And the Florida Education Association is backing Ben Diamond in the House District 68 contest.

The Dept. of Children and Families says that New Beginnings of Tampa did no wrong back in 2008, the second government investigation that has cleared the group after a series of damning articles were published by the Tampa Bay Times in late 2014.

Hillsborough County makes a move to preempt any civil unrest if things go sour between law enforcement and the community.

 

Victor Crist slams Hillsborough PTC’s proposed ‘onerous rules’

The Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission moved closer to implementing rules with that have drawn the ire of ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft. Also displeased: the PTC’s chair, Victor Crist.

The PTC’s Rules and Policy Committee passed some measures at its meeting on Tuesday, including a ban on surge pricing in times of a declared emergency and background checks that require fingerprinting, a mandate Uber specifically has said is a deal breaker.

The new rules were approved by the committee on a 2-1 vote. They’re scheduled to be discussed again at the next Rules & Policy Committee meeting Sept. 1 and are scheduled to be voted on at the PTC’s regular board meeting on Sept. 14.

In a letter penned to Jeff Brandes, the Senate Transportation Committee chairman in the Florida Legislature, Crist repeats that he is vehemently opposed to the rules.

“The proposal I had worked out with the rideshare industry that died last month in a 5-1 vote against me, would have opened the door for ridesharing, Uber, and Lyft through commonsense public safety rules that they would have agreed to and followed,” Crist writes in the letter. “The public safety rules I had worked out with them were very close to what this board was demanding. “

“Unfortunately, the PTC Board is moving in a different direction by trying to pass regulatory rules that are overreaching that they know these two companies will not accept or be able to adhere to.”

Brandes is a huge enthusiast for Uber and Lyft and has been critical of the PTC’s actions in citing their drivers since they began operating in the county in the spring of 2014. In the past, he’s advocated legislation that would eliminate the PTC, the only agency of its type in the state of Florida created by a special act of the Legislature back in the 1970s.

Attempts to regulate ridesharing companies at the state level have been unsuccessful in recent years, leaving it to local governments to craft ordinances to bring the companies into compliance. In April, the Palm Beach County Commission passed new rules that require both ridesharing companies and taxis to be responsible for conducting their own background checks or hiring the county to do the more comprehensive and costly fingerprint-based “Level II” checks for them.

In Broward County, both Uber and Lyft ceased operations last summer for a few months when their new rules required fingerprint-based background checks. Only when the Broward County Commission relented last fall did the two companies began operating again there.

Crist says he wants to meet soon with Brandes. The two had a celebrated “beer summit” a year ago to try to come to terms.

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