Tampa Bay Lightning shoots $25,000 into Greenlight Pinellas campaign

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Friends of Greenlight posted $51,859 in monetary contributions during the latest financial reporting period from August 22 to August 29.

Of that, $25,000 came from the Tampa Bay Lighting and owner Jefferey Vinnick.

“We are proud to support the Greenlight Pinellas plan, the first step towards a quality regional transportation system for the entire Tampa Bay area,” said Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. “From our visits to other NHL cities, we have seen the value of having a wide range of transportation options, for everything from going to a hockey game to making a trip to the drugstore. The Greenlight plan makes sense, and we are excited to be supporters.”

Friends of Greenlight have raised $774,679 to date.

“Our focus in the campaign is to get the word out about what Greenlight is and how it will provide better transportation for Pinellas County,” said campaign co-chair Don Ewing. “All money raised in the next two months will go straight to outreach efforts.”

Friends of Greenlight is the political action committee backing the Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum appearing on the November 4 ballot. The measure would increase sales tax in the county from 7% to 8%. It would replace the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority’s current funding structure that comes from a portion of property taxes and instead increase sales tax from 7% to 8%. The swap would increase revenue for PSTA from about $30 million a year to $130 million.

The Greenlight Pinellas plan includes increased bus service with more frequency and more late night service as well as bus rapid transit. It also includes a passenger rail route that would connect downtown St. Pete to Clearwater through the Carillon business district. That line would eventually connect to Tampa via the Howard Franklin Bridge when it is replaced somewhere around 2025.

Friends of Greenlight also received $10,000 from the Pinellas Realtor Organization, $5,000 each from Smith and Associates Real Estate and Clever Devices LTD and $2,500 from Sullivan Productions.

During that same period the group spent $125,194 on TV ads and $34,160 to McLaughlin & Associates for cable advertising. 

The group paid Tucker Hall $42,903 for marketing. It’s unclear if this payment is for recent service rendered or for satisfaction of an outstanding debt from when Tucker Hall was managing the Greenlight Pinellas effort.

During the latest reporting period, Friends of Greenlight brought in $12,361 in in-kind contributions that includes $11,241 in administrative and accounting services from the Tampa Bay Partnership and $1,120.00 from the Tampa Bay Rays for a fundraising event venue.

The group No Tax for Tracks has raised a total of $46,103. There were no contributions during the latest reporting period. The group has spent $33,358. That includes $3,391 the last week of August on reimbursements, legal fees and credit card fees.

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.