Email Insights: No Tax for Tracks calls PSTA’s bluff

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Greenlight Pinellas has turned the issue of expanded transit into a high-stakes poker game, as both sides call each other’s bluff, and voters are the pot.

With Pinellas County contemplates upgrading its public transportation, the folks opposed to Greenlight Pinellas — the November ballot initiative asking for additional taxes to boost bus service by 65% — wants for the county to cut back services.

At least that is what Connect Tampa Bay wants you to think.

In an email to supporters, the group announced a rally to “show those that advocate for service cuts that it is the wrong thing to do.”

The rally took place on Tuesday at one intersection of Largo that could lose all bus service if No Tax for Tracks – the “Tea Party insiders” behind the Greenlight opposition — got their way.

According to the No Tax website and flyer, 30% cut in service “is the right thing to do.”

Why 30 percent? That happens to be the number the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority itself warns will be cut in county bus service if voters do not pass the Greenlight initiative.

No Tax — regardless of who is pulling the strings — is only calling the PSTA out on their own threat. They are saying, in effect, “Go ahead and cut back. Let’s see what happens”

With “record high ridership,” Kevin Thurman of Connect Tampa Bay insists it is time to expand, not shrink, the availability of public transportation in Pinellas County.

Nevertheless, playing off fears of losing bus service — and frightening supporters into action — may not be an effective strategy, especially when opponents are calling the PSTA’s bluff.

Whether you agree or not with Greenlight Pinellas or No Tax for Tracks, it is always better to educate voters with facts, not poker.

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.