Uber Archives - Page 7 of 24 - SaintPetersBlog

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.

Jeff Vinik, Jeff Brandes discuss future of Tampa Bay transportation at HART summit

In the future of transportation in Hillsborough County, buses and rail may be taking a back seat to autonomous vehicles and other cutting-edge technologies.

Although the Hillsborough Area Transit Authority (HART) primarily offers bus service, buses weren’t the focus of attention at the “State of Transit” event Tuesday at CAMLS in downtown Tampa.

Nor should they have been, as the theme of the day was “Beyond the Bus.”

No speaker in the hour-plus session was more visionary on transportation’s future in the Bay area than St. Petersburg GOP state Sen. Jeff Brandes. He talked enthusiastically about the growth of ride-sharing and the eventual employment of autonomous vehicles in the region.

Brandes lightly referenced issues that the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission has had in dealing with Uber and Lyft, but said that those companies are “revolutionizing” transportation.

“The paradigm of transit is changing,” Brandes told the crowd. “We have to think of transit as an organism.”

The future could include riding in a driverless Uber or Lyft car at a cost of 40 or 50 cents a mile, he added.

“That’s cheaper than I’ve ever been able to provide human transportation in the history of time,” Brandes gushed.

Such a future would be bigger than the smartphone, he said, and would radically change our cities. The future of transit will be based on four things: electric, autonomous, on-demand and shared.

“As a policymaker and as somebody who watches the budget, I can tell you thinking about autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles coming online at the same time is really interesting, but electric vehicles create their own set of challenges,” he said.

It would require rethinking the current model of how government funds transportation, he said, bringing up the fact that the importance of the gas tax could be affected since electric vehicles don’t use gas.

HART board chair and Tampa City Councilman Mike Suarez began his remarks by saying robust transportation would provide freedom of choice for the citizenry. He extolled that freedom of transit choices he said he recently experienced while visiting Philadelphia.

“We want to make sure that people have that same choice, and that same freedom,” Suarez said about the Hillsborough region. Such a possibility means that Hillsborough County and the Legislature needed to kick in more funds to provide more service.

“Public dollars has always been a big part of public transit, in every part of the country, not just here,” Suarez emphasized. Without that investment, he said, “we cannot provide the kind of freedom that people want.”

In his short but impactful time on the scene in Tampa, Channelside developer and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has become one of the city’s biggest ambassadors, while he works to recruit national companies to reside in the $2 billion planned development between his Strategic Property Partners and Cascade Investments.

Vinik said he was agnostic about what mode of transportation should be added to the area, but emphasized it will be the most important element in determining where Tampa and Hillsborough County will be as a community 10 to 20 years from now.

“Obviously, there have been some failed referendums over the last several years in this area,” Vinik said. “The good news is that we’re discussing transportation.”

Vinik added he’s excited about the upcoming 18-24 month “premium transit” study HART is about to conduct, as well as a 12- to 18-month study on the expansion of the Tampa Streetcar.

HART CEO Katherine Eagan (pictured above) kicked off her 15-minute presentation by generating guffaws as she described the Tampa Streetcar as “the nation’s smallest light-rail system.”

Upon hearing some groans when referring to the controversial Tampa Bay Express project, Eagan said, “You don’t have to like it to acknowledge how we’re talking about transportation.”

She also admitted HART is constrained by the funding they have, but said it wasn’t stopping the company’s innovation and imagination. And, she said, buses would not be the main solution to the county’s transit issues.

Eagan introduced the HART HyperLINK program, created to resolve the “first-mile, last-mile” issue. Working with Transdev, it’s considering a complement to existing bus service to provide access to a reservation call center and a smartphone app for customers which will allow real-time ride-sharing matching and rider incentives.

HART officials say the pilot program will begin in October and focus first on three select bus stops. Residents living within a three-mile radius of those stops will have the opportunity to try the program. The subsidized ride shares will cost residents $3 each way.

Eagan said once it was successful in Hillsborough County, it might go nationwide. It will start in the university area of Tampa, expanding to Brandon, and go on from there.


Bus ridership down in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in 2016

In what almost seemed like a monthly occurrence in recent years, the PR staffs of both the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit agency (HART) and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) were regularly issuing out press releases touting record ridership numbers.

That is definitely not the case in 2016.

Speaking at the agency’s Finance and Audit Committee meeting Monday, HART CEO Katherine Eagan said ridership in 2016 is down some “five to six percent” in the current fiscal year, a trend she said is similar to other transit agencies across the country. “We do know that without exception, we’re looking at a contraction probably due to lower gas prices, the arrival of more options for transportation, and a few other things that we might not be getting our hands around,” she said.

Eagan said the agency will be doing more outreach with customers next year that will help in understanding the declining trend. And she said other important indexes are up, including vehicle miles traveled (VMT). “That makes our accomplishments — on-time performance and safety — and our biggest improvement on maintenance more notable.  We’re giving more reliable service, (and having) fewer collisions.”

PSTA’s ridership is also down this year. Total bus revenue trips are down 11 percent, and total fixed route passenger trips are down more than 12 percent.

In Washington D.C., Metrobus, the nation’s sixth-largest bus system with an average of 465,000 daily riders, saw a 3 percent decline in the first half of the fiscal year compared with the same period the previous year. In Los Angeles, the number of people riding buses and trains in L.A. county has dropped by about 9 percent, from 1.49 million average weekday boardings in 2014 to 1.36 million in the second quarter of fiscal year 2016.

From 2010-2015, HART’s ridership grew nearly 20 percent, which far exceeded the national standard at that time, Eagan says. “As we were really growing, there was definitely a component of gas is getting more expensive … we also had service improvements in 2008-10.”

Experts say the drop is due to a variety of factors, including changing job markets, falling gas prices and the growing popularity of other transportation options such as biking, and app-based services such as Uber and Lyft.

Then again, perhaps ridership numbers might have plateaued in 2014. Americans took 10.8 billion trips on public transportation that year, the highest annual public transit ridership number in 58 years, according to a report from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Back to the drawing board for Hillsborough County PTC, new ridesharing rules

It’s back to the drawing board for the often rocky relationship between Hillsborough County and ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft.

After more than two years of failing to come to an agreement, the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission is now ambitiously hoping to have a complete set of rules for all private carriers by October.

That’s the plan anyway, after a proposal offered by Commissioner Al Higginbotham was rejected by the two transportation network companies (TNC’s) because it included background checks for drivers that would require fingerprints.

After his two proposals had failed, Higginbotham directed the PTC staff to come up with new rules to be voted on at the Rules & Policy Committee next week, and then bring those back to the full board in September, finalizing the deal by October.

That’s the plan, anyway.

Representatives from both Uber and Lyft told the PTC that significant progress has been made in recent months toward an agreement that would allow them to operate legally in Hillsborough County.

But neither side will budge on a requirement of background checks which include fingerprinting drivers.

“Lyft is in 66 cities with a population that is bigger than Tampa,” said Lyft attorney Steve Anderson. “None require fingerprinting.”

Anderson added that 33 states nationwide have enacted legislation to regulate TNC’s, and “zero require fingerprints.” He said that fingerprinting had its value, but it simply doesn’t work with the TNC model.

Higginbotham then recited a letter he received about how the county’s current regulatory structure for taxicabs, limousines and ridesharing companies has become “old and stale,” saying that it was time for the county to “encourage and reward innovation.”

PTC board member David Pogorilich, a Temple Terrace City Councilman, said it wouldn’t that take that long since the PTC crafted rules a year ago — with help from taxicab companies — that has just been sitting on a shelf, as well as rules proposed last week by upstart ridesharing company DriveSociety.

“We have a path forward for all the TNC’s. We just have to enact it,” Pogorilich said, adding that he wanted staff to provide a list of the number of citations issued against Uber and Lyft drivers.

He said it would show that the new regulations would qualify to be enacted under “emergency rules.”

PTC attorney Cindy Oster kicked off the discussion by saying that her review of the case law indicates that the courts “have not been hesitant to strike down emergency rules.”

The PTC’s Rules and Policy Committee will meet Tuesday.

Victor Crist said ethics complaint was meant to intimidate PTC board

As was reported on Monday, the Florida Commission on Ethics cleared Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission Chairman Victor Crist late last month of any conflict of interest charges last month, citing a “lack of legal sufficiency.”

The claim of an ethics violation was made by Louis Minardi, the owner of Yellow Cab Company of Tampa. Minardi obtained affidavits from representatives from three other cab companies and his own son who said that they overheard conversations with Crist in which he acknowledged his wife needs the goodwill of St. Petersburg state Senator Jeff Brandes to get state grants.

Brandes has been critical of the PTC for years. Crist’s wife Angela works at the University of South Florida as the director of the John Scott Dailey Institute of Government.

On Tuesday, Crist said the complaint was always bogus, and was intended to intimidate the rest of the PTC board to drop their support for the latest iteration of rule changes that he says he had worked tirelessly on leading up the to the agency’s June general board meeting.”It was an overstretch and inappropriate for them to make the complaints that they did because they were false and deceptive,” he said of the cab company representatives allegation. “I believe they were made not to penalize me, because they had to know that these were false accusations that wouldn’t have any muster. They did them to intimidate my board, and I think it was the final straw that did.”

But the board voted down the proposal on a 4-1 vote, with Crist the lone supporter.

“That was a shock to me,” he admits. “I knew (Guido) Mansicalso and (Ken) Hagan were supportive, and Hagan didn’t show at the meeting, and Maniscaco stayed quiet and didn’t say a word…when I looked around I was shocked. I was the only yes vote. It was clear that the the intimidation factor worked.”

When contacted on Tuesday, Maniscalco denied that the ethics complaint had anything to do with his vote opposing the rule changes. “That was just coincidence,” he says.”In my mind, it made no difference whether there was a complaint or not, I think the decision would have been made the same.”

At that June board meeting, Temple Terrace City Councilman David Pogorilich told Crist, “there’s no agreement, so there’s nothing for us to approve or disapprove.” He went on to say that, “personally, I don’t think that we should putting the PTC’s name on something just to say, ‘well, it’s less crappy than it was before. To me, that’s not compromise. That’s giving up.”

Crist says he’s hopeful that the board and the ridesharing companies will get behind two proposals on background checks for drivers that Commissioner Al Higginbotham will be presenting at the PTC meeting on Wednesday.

One of them will include a full background check for drivers – including mandatory fingerprinting , and one that doesn’t, Higginbotham says. Officials with Uber have previously said they object to fingerprinting their drivers.

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