Greenlight Pinellas continues to wallop No Tax for Tracks in funding

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The Greenlight Pinellas transit campaign raked in $46,950 in a one-week fundraising period from September 27 through October 3 bringing the campaign’s total monetary contributions to $937,082.

The campaign is trying to reach $1 million in an effort to pass a ballot referendum that would replace the current property tax funding structure for public transportation in Pinellas with a one-penny sales tax increase. If approved, the measure would increase annual revenue for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority from $30 million to $130 million. It would fund sweeping improvements to PSTA including increased bus frequency, bus rapid transit and a passenger rail line connecting downtown St. Pete to Clearwater through the mid-county Carillon business district.

The impressive one-week funding numbers include a $25,000 contribution from Brighthouse Networks as well as $5,000 from the Carlton Fields Jorden Burt law firm. Other sizeable contributions came from C1 Bank and the Hooters Management Corporation with $2500 checks. Synovus Bank and the law firm Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel each contributed $2,000.

PSTA CEO Brad Miller kicked in $125 of his own money along with Pinellas County Commissioner and PSTA board member Ken Welch who cut a check to Greenlight Pinellas for $100.

The campaign spent $23,644 that week with $10,000 going to the firm B2 Communications. The latest numbers show Greenlight still having $103,059 in the bank to defeat opposition. The Group No Tax for Tracks is in the midst of a massive grassroots push to see the referendum fail. That group has only raised $84,359 to date with $29,693 left in the bank.

No Tax for Tracks brought in $6,030 the first week in October. It’s not much, but the funding shows the campaign is continuing momentum with funding continuing to trickle in since a boost early last month. Two wealthy donors have contributed almost three quarters of the funding and both appear poised to continue.

NTFT’s funding this period came mostly from activist Elizabeth Burgess who kicked $5,000 into the campaign. Burgess has donated more than $22,000 to the campaign since writing her first $6,000 check in January. She’s also donated nearly $650 in in-kind contributions for things like signs and gift cards. Burgess has funded more than a quarter of the entire campaign. Another large donor, jewelry artist Richard Canary, has funded nearly half of the campaign with more than $40,000 in contributions since January.

The group only spent $2,476 this period – most of that on reimbursements.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.