Tampa politics Category

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

Tuesday, 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 (more…)

Uber and Lyft denied free markets

Wednesday, 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.

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 hereYou 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.

Ingram: Tampa’s top 20

Sunday, 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.

Teach kids to respect other people, other people’s property, and authority

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

By Chris Ingram

 

The Tampa Tribune, February 20, 2014

“It’s a 14-year-old. It’s a tragedy.”

“This isn’t a matter of race; it’s a matter of solving a problem.”

Those two comments from Col. James Previtera of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office succinctly sum up the issue of “wilding,” which came to the public’s attention after the death of 14-year-old honor student Andrew Joseph III.

By most accounts, Joseph was not only an honor student, but a good kid from an intact, middle-class family. Hardly the stereotype of a thuggish youth with a dad in jail and a mom on welfare.

Although Previtera is correct that this isn’t a matter of race — it’s a matter of parenting and teaching kids to respect others — race is part of this story because 108 of the 111 kids who were arrested or ejected from the Florida State Fairgrounds were black.

What this whole incident has shown is that even seemingly good kids with presumably good parents — white, black or other — can make bad decisions. There are a host of other lessons to be learned by the fair authority, law enforcement, the schools, parents and students.

In response to the wilding incident, the fair authority now requires an adult to be present with any minor coming to the fair on Student Day with free admission, if they arrive after 7 p.m. There may be sound logic for this, but it seems curious given the sheriff’s office said the “crowd arrived shortly before 6 p.m.” on Friday of that week.

And what is to keep kids who arrive early from sticking around without a parent? Will the fair remove all patrons before 7 before letting kids with a free ticket back in only with an adult?

I have a few better ideas.  (Click here to go directly to the column in today’s Tampa Tribune.)

Click here for more content on Irreverent View.

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.

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.

Thank God for people like Dottie Berger MacKinnon

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune, October 15, 2013

To say that Dottie Berger MacKinnon had a big heart for kids is like saying Santa Claus is a jolly old fellow.

Berger MacKinnon, who died Sunday of cancer, served a single term on the Hillsborough County Commission from 1994-98. She was defeated for re-election in the Republican primary when conservative activists in the eastern part of Hillsborough County got upset with what they viewed as her liberal leanings. Her name occasionally came up in political circles, even six years later when I moved to Tampa.

But people who really knew her, knew her not for politics, but for her concern for kids.

My path didn’t formally cross with Berger MacKinnon’s until this year when I reached out to her to talk about child welfare issues. She graciously agreed to meet and invited me to her home, where we chatted for a few hours. A few weeks later, she took me on a tour of A Kid’s Place, the youth home in Brandon she was instrumental in founding.

aaMarch 2013 Dottie Target 248

“Martha [Cooke] is the reason for A Kid’s Place,” Berger said of her friend, who is a Hillsborough Circuit Court judge. The “Department of Children and Families wanted an emergency shelter. For a year and a half, Martha asked me to build it. She encouraged us to form A Kid’s Charity of Tampa Bay, and so we did. When we did, everyone was surprised. I didn’t know you had an option to not do something you said you would do,” she said during my visit to her home.  (more…)

Hoe Brown is not a slumlord

Friday, July 12th, 2013

By Chris Ingram

I am disappointed in my friend Hoe Brown, the Tampa Port Authority chairman who it was recently reported has some rental properties with questionable conditions and that lack necessary permits. If I know Hoe as well as I think I do, he is disappointed in himself as well.

I have known Hoe for seven years. In fact, I have been to his offices on Stanley Street countless times. I’ve seen and spoken with some of his tenants while there, and even witnessed some of them pay the rent. 

Hoe’s office location always seemed to be a bit odd, but I attributed it to his thriftiness. While I’ve never seen his bank statement, I imagine it is sizeable; one could argue his wealth was achieved in part by being frugal. In addition to running his office in a “low rent” part of town, he drives a Jeep Cherokee that I would guess is close to ten years old.  Flashy Hoe is not. And he’s not some Daddy Warbucks living and working in a mansion. He works in the same place with the same conditions of the “slums” he’s accused of renting out.

Since knowing Hoe, I have commented to others on many occasions that he is one of very few Republicans who bridge the divide between the two largest factions within the party: the country clubbers who write the checks, and the grassroots activists who do the grunt work.  I say this from having seen Hoe “in action.” You’re just as likely to catch him at a black-tie donor affair, as you are to catch him out putting up yard signs into the wee hours of the night during campaign season – something I’ve never seen GOP heavyweights such as Al Austin or Don Phillips ever do.

The media’s accounts of Hoe’s properties in my estimation are probably accurate, but (more…)

Rotary Club honors four for service

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
By John Ceballos   Tribune Staff Published: May 28, 2013

TAMPA – The day after Memorial Day proved to be a fitting time to honor some of the area’s unsung heroes.

“Yesterday, we took a few moments to honor the brave men and women who served our country,” said Rolfe Arnhym, chairman of the award committee for the Rotary Club of Tampa. “Today is in a little different vein as we honor those who have served in our community.”

Frank Morsani received the Service Above Self award, while Tampa Police Department officer Ricky Wade, along with Steve and Emily Kundrat, received the first Unsung Heroes awards.

“We hadn’t given out the Service Above Self Award for a few years, so when I became chair about five years ago, we brought it back,” Arnhym said. “This is the first time we added the Unsung Heroes awards.”

The club, along with The Tampa Tribune, presented the prizes Tuesday during the rotary’s weekly meeting at the Glazer Children’s Museum. (more…)

Bathrooms and baseball

Monday, March 4th, 2013

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune

Published Tuesday, February 27, 2013

Unless you have kids who play league athletics in Hillsborough County, you probably are not aware of the fact that 55 of the county’s 59 athletic parks are managed and maintained by volunteer groups.

Such is the case at Skyway Park.

Skyway is adjacent to the residential neighborhood of Dana Shores and is just west of the airport. It serves the youths of the Town ‘N Country area.

A nonprofit league, managed by a board of directors who are all volunteers, manages everything from field maintenance to cleaning the bathrooms and running the concessions. For its part, the county cuts the grass once a week, pays the water bill to keep the fields moist, and will take care of things such as a major plumbing problem if one arises.  (more…)

Lunch with Jim Davis this Fri.

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

Please join me for lunch with former Congressman Jim Davis who will be the speaker at the next Irreverent View lunch on Friday, January 11, 2013. Davis will share his views on the fiscal cliff, the economy, budget, and other things related to politics and government. Davis is just the second Democrat to speak at an I.V. lunch. The first Democrat to attend was Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn – who set a new I.V. lunch attendance record.

Photo: Jim Davis

About the lunch*

The lunch group is informal but we have some loose/suggested criteria. They are: You should either be a card-carrying Republican, professed libertarian, a conservative, or someone who thinks our country is currently going down the toilet because most of the politicians (both Rs and Ds) we elect are a bunch of bums and morons (think Barack Obama and John Boehner) who are more concerned with their own egos, their own image, and getting re-elected than they are concerned about the future of the next generation. You can be a liberal Republican, or a conservative Democrat, a limousine liberal, or even a card-carrying socialist — though (more…)

Miller pulls plug on rotation plan

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

By Chris Ingram

Without explanation, Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller pulled his proposal to drastically change how the county commission chairman is selected each year.

Miller’s plan would have removed any thought to the selection of the chair in favor of a process (visit www.IrreverentView.com for details). For unknown reasons, Miller pulled the plug on the idea late this afternoon. Perhaps supporters on the BOCC of Miller’s plan got cold feet upon learning the board would have had to suspend (more…)

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