Welcome to the Irreverent View, brought to you by 411 Communications; Chris Ingram, editor and publisher. This site contains political opinion columns with an “irreverent view.” That means they are edgy, against the grain, and snarky. Our columns include views and opinions from all sides of the political spectrum. Hopefully they will make you think beyond what you read in the daily newspaper or hear on Fox or CNN. If you are offended by free-thinking thought and opinion that is different from your own, please stop reading and stop voting and go stick your head back in the sand and let people with some grey matter between their ears figure things out for you. Chris Ingram Editor and Publisher

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Charlie Crist an empty suit, yes. Corrupt politician, no

October 14th, 2014

By Chris Ingram

Published: October 13, 2014, The Tampa Tribune

Between the two of them, Rick Scott and Charlie Crist and their respective allies have already spent over $50 million to sway voters’ attitudes — mostly through 30-second television ads that no Floridian is safe from viewing.

By some reports, their ad spending has amounted to nearly 100,000 commercials that have run throughout the state, and there are still three weeks before Election Day. The volume of ads will only increase until then.

Television viewers are no doubt sick of the spots, with most of them being negative, with ominous-sounding music, dark images, and claims of how bad the other guy is.

Crist corrupt

Despite the fact that voters say they don’t like all the negativity, campaigns from coast to coast “go negative” because it works. It works by suppressing the vote when those ads cause voters to say, “I’m so sick of the political ads, I’m not going to vote.”

The hope of the candidate who is airing the ad is that more of his opponent’s voters are going to take that view than his own voters will. The more frequently the negative ads run, the more impressions are made, and thus the more likely that will occur.

This also explains why the candidate with more money is more likely to win. Because more money means more ad impressions.

Yes, voter suppression is alive and well, and both parties do it. And, no, it has nothing to do with racial issues.

Of course, the ads we see are often misleading, sometimes they are flat-out lies, and every now and then they are even embarrassing — to the campaign that is running them (as was the case two times this year when Rick Scott’s campaign had to pull its own ads — one that featured a convicted fraudster, and another featuring a Tampa man with a conviction for human trafficking). Ouch!

But those mistakes happen, and can be forgiven.

What can’t be forgiven is when a campaign runs an ad making a completely false statement. Such as a Scott ad currently airing that says Charlie Crist is corrupt.

Now let me make one thing perfectly clear: I don’t like Charlie Crist.

Crist is a chameleon. He lacks real leadership skills. He’s an empty suit. He’s a… (click here to read the full column in today’s Tampa Tribune)

 

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him atChris@IrreverentView.com.

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The Glazers fleeced us. Will Stu Sternberg do the same?

October 7th, 2014

By Scott Myers

The banter and conversations are now percolating, at an ever more rapid cadence, for the need for a new baseball stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays in Hillsborough County.  Just in the past week multiple columns and editorials have appeared in the Tampa Tribune and the Tampa Bay Times covering this hot topic.

Thus, I think this is a very appropriate time for us to take a look at how the Raymond James Stadium deal  (30 years lease 1998-2028) has played out to date, and will continue to unfold for the next 13 years or so.  I believe, that after you read my discussion below, you will emphatically agree that taxpayers in Hillsborough should avoid another Ray-Jay experience – which amounted to nothing more than a taxpayer handout to a billionaire.

I am of course referring to Malcolm Glazer (recently deceased), and his family, their businesses and foundations. All of which have benefited for years, and will continue to benefit from the sweat-heart deal they receive from Hillsborough County taxpayers.

Of course the Glazer’s and their foundation (as well as the Bucs organization) love to throw money around and get free publicity for various philanthropic causes and charities they support, but given all the taxpayer money they benefit from, it amounts to just ‘pennies on the dollar.’  No one in the county gets more public welfare from the taxpayers in the Tampa Bay area than the Glazers.  And I would be hard pressed to find a less needy family than they are –  with a current net worth of about $4.5 Billion.

To be fair, here is what the Glazer’s give:

$5 million for the Glazer Children’s Museum which opened in 2010 – total cost was $21 million of which $3.5 million came from Hillsborough County – click here to see the many non-Glazer donors who provided the other $12.5 million.

$13.7 million via Glazer Family Foundation for the years 2001-2012, $5 million of which went to the Cleveland Clinic (which does not operate any hospitals in Hillsborough County), leaving $8.7 million for the Tampa Bay Area – click here to see the foundation’s report (IRS Form 990) for details.

So, for the 12 year period of 2001-2012 the Glazers contributed $13.7 million ($5 million + $8.7 million) to the Tampa Bay community, which equals $1.1 million per year

What the Glazers get

$24.5 million per year for full care and maintenance of Raymond James Stadium. That’s what they get.

My review of Tampa Sports Authority’s stadium budget documents for FY 2011-2012 and FY 2012-2013 show the following approximate costs for each of the two fiscal years:

•  Stadium Operating Expenses over revenues = $ 2 million

•  Bond debt service =$14 million

•  Capital project/improvements =$ 8.5 million  (Capital improvements  include such essentials as ‘suite furnishings, suite ice makers, and suite refrigerators at a taxpayer cost of $2.7 million.  Meanwhile, during the 2012-2013 school year, my autistic son’s teacher’s aide at Freedom High School made $8.29 per hour with no benefits).

•$1.6 million per year after netting out the rent paid by the Glazers ($3.5 million) with the $2.3 million they receive for Ray-Jay naming rights and the $2.8 million they receive as revenue for non-Bucs events at the stadium.  The Glazers get 100 percent of the first $2 million plus 50 percent of everything beyond the $2 million threshold.

So, the Glazers are getting about $26 million per year – and this is a 30-year deal that does not end until 1/31/2028.

9.-Outback-Bowl (1)

Based on what they give compared to what they get, the Glazers are returning just four pennies on the dollar ($1.1 million/$26 million) for every dollar in taxpayer money they receive. Or, read another way, Hillsborough County taxpayers are getting fleeced.

And let’s not forget that the Glazers have Read the rest of this entry »

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September 30th, 2014

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What is killing our reefs?

September 30th, 2014

Published in The Tampa Tribune, Sunday September 28, 2014 By Chris Ingram

Earlier this month, my wife Amy and I took a trip to St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, for a week of rest and relaxation. It was our fourth visit to St. John in the past 12 years.

St. John is unique, as it is mostly preserved thanks to the generosity of the Rockefeller family, which donated 5,000 acres to the U.S. government in 1956. Following subsequent purchases of land by the federal government, Virgin Islands National Park now covers 60 percent of the island.

St. John and the park are famous for its coral reefs and picturesque beaches — one of which is considered among the 10 best in the world. The park has miles of trails for hiking through mountainous tropical rainforest, and the reefs are favorites of snorkelers and scuba divers — though the latter is prohibited in most reefs within the park’s boundaries.

During our week in St. John, we visited a different beach or two each day, selecting those with the best snorkeling. September is the beginning of what is usually an active hurricane season in the Caribbean, so there are fewer tourists, many restaurants and tourist-related businesses are closed and the normally packed streets of Cruz Bay, the largest town in St. John, are nearly bare.

A colorful (and fast) Reef Squid swims the reefs of St. John.

A colorful (and fast) Reef Squid swims the reefs of St. John.

The trade-off of having to potentially dodge hurricanes is an acceptable one when you consider you can go to the most popular of St. John’s beaches, Trunk Bay in the park, and share it with no more than a half-dozen people on most any day there isn’t a cruise ship in port at nearby St. Thomas.

Although much of St. John will never be developed because of the national park, that doesn’t mean St. John’s ecosystem is being adequately preserved and protected — directly or indirectly.

The first time we went to St. John a dozen years ago, we snorkeled at Trunk Bay and were dazzled by the plethora of fish, sea turtles and vibrant colored corals just 75 or so yards off its sandy beaches. Every time we have been back since that first visit, we have noticed the corals are in decline, and the overall health of the reef appears worse.

Unfortunately, other reefs we snorkeled looked to be in similar deteriorating condition.

The obvious question is: What is the cause of the rapid deterioration of St. John’s coral reefs?

Some suggest that Read the rest of this entry »

Craft beer in Florida meets Karl Marx

May 1st, 2014

By Chris Ingram

State Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) has lead the fight on behalf of “Big Beer” interests to force micro-brewers who produce tasty craft beers to use distributors to sell their products.

Big Beer’s biggest cheerleader has taken thousands of dollars from the Big Beer lobby. She is so overcome with hallucination from her Big Beer buddies’ money, she has proclaimed to be like a mother, saying, “I believe I know what’s best.”

Among other things, the keg monitoring queen apparently knows it is best to limit competition, deny consumers the freedom of choice, increase the cost of buying a beer, and add layers of bureaucracy to budding businesses and the entrepreneurs who start them.

kelli-stargel-216x300

Photo: Florida’s keg beer monitoring queen is Sen. Kelli Stargel.

She is so caught up in the talking points of Big Beer, she has even defended the prohibition-era “three tier” system of beer distribution.

Under this neo-Marxian-like system (one that stresses the monopolistic rather than the competitive nature of capitalism), micro-brewers will be forced into a paper transaction with distributors in order for the micro-brewers to sell their craft beers at their own establishments. No beer will actually change possession between micro-brewers and distributors, but paperwork and money will exchange hands from the micro-brewers to the distributors – who will be acting as the middle-men in this non-transaction transaction; ultimately this will increase the cost to consumers.

Earlier this week Mama Stargel claimed Read the rest of this entry »

A Jake Fuller cartoon. Republicans to “Big Beer”: For all you do, this cash is for you!

April 28th, 2014
BeerBill clr

GOP takes its cash and tramples on free-markets and consumer choice in favor of big business.

Thanks to Republicans, you may have cracked open your last craft beer

April 27th, 2014

Published in the Tampa Tribune, Sunday, April 27, 2014

By Chris Ingram

In what has to be the new poster child of the laws of unintended consequences, craft beer brewers and their beer-drinking enthusiasts have to be scratching their heads and asking, “What happened?”

Craft brewers — or microbrewers — had gotten the Florida Legislature to consider a bill to allow the sale of growlers, half-gallon sized containers of beer that are prohibited by state law. Along with Florida, growlers are illegal in only two other states.

But before the growler bill they were advocating got to a vote, the Senate Rules Committee passed an amended bill that would allow the sale of growlers but would also heavily restrict the sale of virtually all craft beer sold by microbrewers.

The devil is in the details.

SB 1714 would permit the sale of growlers by microbrewers who sell fewer than 2,000 kegs of beer per year. So far so good, but not great. Brewers producing more than 2,000 kegs per year would be permitted to sell growlers, but they would also be required to distribute all of their beers, regardless of size, through an established beer distributor.

craftbeer1

Fla. Senate leaders want you to pay more for craft beer.

The effect of the distribution requirement would be higher costs to consumers, since the beer distributors would be due a large cut for their role as a middle man. Adding insult to injury, any microbrewery in the state producing over 2,000 kegs would have to sell its beer to the distributor and then buy it back (after a mark-up from the distributor), to sell their own beer in their own microbrewery.

Absurd!

Is it any wonder we call it the “Flori-duh” Legislature?

The bill is being pushed by (Click here to read the full column in today’s Tampa Tribune.)

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him atChris@IrreverentView.com.

Click here for more content on Irreverent View.

Please feel free to submit a comment on our blogs. By posting a comment you acknowledge reading and following the terms and conditions of posting found here. You may also submit a comment by e-mail. If you e-mail a comment you consent to your comment and name being posted on the Irreverent View website. If you wish to remain completely anonymous, please state so in your e-mail.

Uber and Lyft denied free markets

April 23rd, 2014

Protecting the candle makers

Published in the Tampa Tribune, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Chris Ingram

I frequently travel on business to Jacksonville and have used local cabs to get to and from the airport. On a recent trip, the cab I was dispatched can only be described as less-than-suitable. It was old, smelled like cigarette smoke, the air conditioning didn’t work, and I had to dig between seat cushions, assorted crumbs and trash to find a broken seat-belt locking mechanism.

After picking me up, the driver asked if I minded if he stopped for a second to pick up some items that someone had left out with their garbage. He collected his new-found treasures and placed them in the trunk on top of my suitcase.

My prior experiences with cabs in Jacksonville haven’t been much better, and my occasional cab encounters in Tampa have been similar.

Last week in Jacksonville, I tried Uber. My car showed up early. It was a late-model sedan. It was clean. Everything from the power windows, air conditioning and seat belts all worked.

Uber

Photo: Uber’s ap allows customers to place their ride request.

Even better, the driver was a delightful man who knew how to carry on a conversation using flawless English, with just a slight Sudanese accent. His name was Abbas. He came to the U.S. as a political refugee from Sudan 10 years ago. When he arrived, he had little more than the shirt on his back. A decade later, he has a college education, owns a fleet of 10 cars and employs over a dozen people.

Abbas is an American success story with deep lessons about the value of a good education, picking yourself up from nothing and turning yourself into something, through hard work and determination.

He has learned a lot about American government and burdensome regulations by helping with Uber’s fight in Tallahassee to break the monopoly that traditional cabs have in most markets.

Hillsborough County is one of those markets. In fact, we’re one of the worst — (Click here to read the column in today’s Tampa Tribune).

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.

Click here for more content on Irreverent View.

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Ingram: Tampa’s top 20

April 13th, 2014

By Chris Ingram

Anyone who has ever ventured onto roads in the Tampa Bay area knows traffic congestion is one of our major problems.

According to the 2012 American Community Survey among metropolitan areas, Tampa Bay-area commuters have the fourth-highest commuting time, at 52 minutes per day (26 minutes each way). That works out to 4.3 hours per week, 17.3 hours a month, or 208 hours a year — stuck in traffic.

Recently, I was invited to attend some meetings among business, industry and other community stakeholders to help develop a “Vision 2020” for the Tampa Bay area.

Unscientifically, the group has concluded its primary focus should be on addressing the area’s transportation needs. It seems like a no-brainer, but this conclusion was achieved only after assessing the landscape and considering a variety of other issues, such as: a new home for the Rays, education, the future of MacDill AFB, attracting new jobs, protecting our environmental assets, and tourism and marketing to attract new visitors.

At our last meeting, it occurred to me that while, yes, we need to address transportation and other problem areas, the Tampa Bay area also needs to collectively embrace all that makes the area so great, and stop viewing Tampa Bay the body of water as a divider.

The following is my list of 20 of the biggest assets the Tampa Bay area has to offer its residents, visitors and future generations. They are listed in no particular order. (Click here to read the full column in today’s Tampa Tribune).

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him atChris@IrreverentView.com.

Click here for more content on Irreverent View.

Please feel free to submit a comment on our blogs. By posting a comment you acknowledge reading and following the terms and conditions of posting found here. You may also submit a comment by e-mail. If you e-mail a comment you consent to your comment and name being posted on the Irreverent View website. If you wish to remain completely anonymous, please state so in your e-mail.

Breaking: FBI raids Hillsborough County Commission Offices

April 1st, 2014

Three commissioners arrested by FBI

By: Dub L. Entendre

Reminiscent of a previous raid thirty years ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigations raided the offices of three undisclosed members of the Hillsborough County Commission today.

fbi raid

Photo: Agents raid government center.

Stunned citizens and county government employees were shocked by the scene of armed agents entering One County Center around 1:30 p.m. today. The agents arrested three commissioners and a number of staffers, and later removed hundreds of boxes and several computers from the building.

“It was like a scene out of a movie, I tell you,” Ben Had, a witness to the raid said.

The three commissioners whose offices were raided were arrested and escorted out of the building.

“All of them appeared to be male. I don’t think Commissioner Murman was one of those arrested, as they all were wearing cheap JC Penney brand type shoes and all had their heads covered by their suit jackets,” said Richard Cranium, a witness, in referring to Commissioner Sandy Murman, the lone female on the seven-member board.

According to the FBI, the arrested commissioners were taken to an undisclosed location near Guantanamo Bay, Cuba leaving all the dumb legal experts to believe the three commissioners are being investigated for terrorist activities.

“I’m pretty sure Mark Sharpe was among them. I think he’s been working with the Taliban to take over the world and force everyone to take public transport and use those stupid CFL light bulbs that aren’t that bright,” said erstwhile citizen activist, Shanda Lear.

“They have been removed from the country for security reasons. We expect they will all sing like canaries under questioning from our investigators,” said FBI spokesperson Carrie Oakey.

FBI field director Joe King, added, “This is not a laughing matter.”

Scott ad calls Charlie Crist “corrupt.”

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