5 things I think I think about today’s Tampa Bay Times

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Like children unwrapping their Christmas presents, the members of the Tampa Bay Times editorial board are fascinated with all things bright and shiny.

How else to explain their obsession with the plan, actually it’s not so much a plan but a dream, for light rail in Pinellas County, as if residents of the peninsula are clamoring to go to and from Clearwater and St. Petersburg.

The editorial board is particularly unhappy with Gov. Scott’s veto of legislation that would have guaranteed a tax swap by requiring the repeal of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority property tax if voters approve the sales tax increase and the money is used for the project.

First of all, whew! Did Rube Goldberg write that legislation?

Second of all, good.  Light rail will never, ever, ever work in Pinellas County and the proposed referendum that developers and land use lawyers are attempting to foist upon the voters is a distraction from other debates about the real pressing infrastructure and transportation needs of the county.

I’ll save the discussion about light rail for other posts; what’s at issue here is the Times‘ editorial board misunderstanding of the politics involved with this veto.  They think it is about Rick Scott’s continuing opposition to rail, but they’re only half right.

This is about local politics. It’s about PSTA not taking care of its backyard before it went to Tallahassee to ask for this tax swap. Of course no one on the Times editorial board, high up in their building, knows what’s really going on with this issue.

Do you think Robyn Blumner or Daniel Ruth actually listen to the legislative opponents of this bill — you know the legislators who successfully lobbied the Governor to veto this project? Of course not.

Better to dream of things bright and shiny.

By the way, the opening line of that editorial — “Tampa Bay will have to run over Gov. Rick Scott to join the 21st century” — may be the best sentence you’ll read today.

Also on today’s editorial page is an op-ed from former Governor Charlie Crist about Florida’s controversial new voter registration laws. While I, of course, agree with what Gov. Crist has to say on this issue, don’t read too much into his penning an op-ed.  He is nowhere near having made a decision about whether he will run for governor in 2014.

Is it jsut my iPhone but is there something wrong with the Times’ new commenting system when it is accessed from a mobile device other than iPad? On my iPhone, when I click on one of its suggested feelings about a story – “Inspiring”, “Sad”, “Angry” or “LOL”, it adds my vote, but it’s the same total on every story.

John Romano takes time to do something very few “adults” involved in the decision about whether to make USF Polytech a separate institution have done, he asks the students.

“I haven’t found anyone on this campus who is in favor of that bill,” said Damon Dennis, the USF Poly student government president. “Our office is right next to the student lounge, and I talk to people about it every day. No one likes it.”

Really, Michael Van Sickler, you’re going to quote David McKalip? Ugh.

And that was sure nice of you to lead with a tweet from Times-crush Rick Kriseman.

Thank you, Mr. Triguax, for the tweet this morning. Let me return the favor and point folks to one of your smart blog post about Jacksonville’s identity crisis.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.