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Posts Tagged ‘Pinellas’


Posted by Tim Bryce on July 27, 2018


– How one outsider is attacking the political status quo.

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The Florida primaries are now just a month away (Aug 28th) and it is interesting to note the influx of non-career politicians running in the various races. This is perhaps inspired by President Trump, a person from the business world, not political. For example, in Pinellas County you have investment adviser and retirement planner Terry Power (R) for Florida House District 64, and restaurateur Leo Karruli (R) for Florida State Senate, District 16. In the south you have Barb Haselden running for the Board of Pinellas County Commissioners, District 6.

What these people lack in political experience, they have made up for as successful business people who are emboldened by the president to toss their hats in the ring. In the case of Barb Haselden, for example, she was a pioneer in the long term care insurance industry where she served as an independent agent. In her 30 years of business, she never had a claim denied. Despite her success, her interest in politics was piqued in 2014 by the Greenlight Pinellas project to introduce light-rail service to Pinellas County and Tampa Bay overall. Smelling a boondoggle in the making, Ms. Haselden founded the “No Tax for Tracks” initiative which helped to defeat the project 62%-38%.

Having studied the Greenlight Pinellas initiative, Barb found this to be a brazen attempt by a Progressive-leaning Pinellas Commission. She claims their use of the “Pennies for Pinellas” money keeps her up at nights. Just as she carefully researched the long term care industry, before making a career move, she studied the Greenlight project carefully and found the numbers didn’t add up properly. In other words, she found some serious flaws in the spin proposed by the Pinellas Commission. She notes how the Commission tries to sell their proposals based on emotion, when, in reality, we should be looking at it from a logical business perspective.

Barb became incensed by the political gamesmanship of the commission, which explains why she decided to run for office. For example, she points to last year’s renewal of the “Penny for Pinellas” referendum in an off-year, claiming the Commission knew it would be easier to pass it then as opposed to a midterm or presidential election year when more voters would turn out. Keep in mind, the tax itself didn’t have to be renewed for another two years. Why else would there be a push for it in 2017? This strategy resulted in having the penny tax be passed by only 26% of the voters in Pinellas County. In other words, 74% didn’t vote in this off year (Source: Pin. Cty. Supv. of Elect.).

To help sell the renewal of “Penny for Pinellas,” the commission often quoted the success of the three-year-old $81 million Pinellas Public Safety Complex used to house county emergency workers during Hurricane Irma. A recent report in the Tampa Bay Times reveals there are some serious structural problems with the building. Even Sheriff Gualtieri describes it this way, “The place looks like a dump,” and the County is now involved in a lawsuit with the contractor over shoddy workmanship.

As an outsider, Haselden finds it disturbing her political opponents only talk about the goings-on in Tallahassee, not in Pinellas County. Whereas one of her opponents for the Board has made a campaign issue of mental health, Barb has three different priorities if elected:

1. Enact term limits for serving on the Board. Barb points out that in 1996 a bill was passed by 73% of the voters in Pinellas to enact such term limits, but the Florida Supreme Court found the wording of the ballot to be unconstitutional, thereby negating it. Nonetheless, if Barb is elected, she plans to get it placed on the ballot again for a general election, thereby putting an end to career politicians on the Board.

2. Correction of the county’s sewage problems. Pinellas voters will remember the 200 million gallons of sewage St. Petersburg discharged into local neighborhoods and waterways in 2015 and 2016, along with other spills throughout Pinellas County. Some might believe the County corrected the problem since then. In reality, No, it did not, as proven by Hurricane Irma. Most residents are unaware sewage problems erupted during the storm. Throughout the county, 33 spills were reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) totaling millions of gallons. According to the Department, Clearwater alone experienced sewage spills of just under two million gallons, and St. Petersburg just under 500,000 gallons during this period. Sewage spills are common when inundated with water, but this was after only 3.67 inches of rain and low tides, a scenario that should have been easily accommodated.

Haselden contends the Board has kicked the can on this issue for far too long. This is an important environmental issue affecting both our tourist industry and property values.

3. She wants to become a watchdog against wasteful spending and pet projects by the Board. In addition to snafus like the Pinellas Public Safety Complex, Barb is very much concerned with the Board moving forward on another attempt to pass the Light-Rail initiative without voter consent, something overwhelmingly defeated by voters just a couple of years ago. Like term limits, the will of the voters is seen as an obstacle to be overcome by political maneuvering.

Unlike career-politicians who bait voters with a carrot and stick mentality, allow for cronyism, and make back-room deals, business people like Haselden and company do not accept the political status quo making them persona non-grata to those in the political swamp. The fact such people are willing to give of their time and bring a common-sense approach to the administration of our communities should be applauded and embraced. Voters are now gravitating to non-traditional candidates with a business perspective and results orientation as opposed to the classic political personas where they promise everything and deliver nothing. If Donald Trump taught us anything, the time for political facade and gobbledygook is over. The people are tired of playing games and want practical solutions to their real problems. In other words, they are entitled to new champions who will lookout for the interests of the taxpayers, not for personal gain, and certainly not for ideology.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

For Tim’s columns, see:

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Copyright © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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Posted by Tim Bryce on January 9, 2014


– 3 Questions for the 3 Republican candidates who want to replace Congressman Bill Young.

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

We’re coming down to the wire for the District 13 Republican Congressional primary to replace the late Congressman Bill Young, which will be held January 14th. Three candidates are vying to challenge Democrat Alex Sink – Mark Bircher, David Jolly, and Kathleen Peters. To make a comparative analysis, I contacted the three candidates and asked three simple questions. I wasn’t so much interested in their resume or list of supporters as this is already known. Instead, I wanted to get their perspectives on the problems facing Pinellas voters, why they feel they are the best challenger, and their impression of the Democratic opponent, Alex Sink.

To be fair, I listed their answers in alphabetic order according to their last name.

1. In priority order, what are the top three pressing problems facing the country?

Mark Bircher –
Rein in the federal debt and deficit and balance the budget, repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and restore individual liberty and freedom (return federal government to the limitations of the US Constitution).

David Jolly –
Create jobs and grow the economy, repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and replace the National Flood Insurance Program with a new Natural Disaster Insurance Program.

Kathleen Peters –
Address the Flood Insurance problem, Repeal the Affordable Care Act, address the national debt and economy.

All three seem to understand the problems of our economy and the Affordable Care Act. Although I had specifically asked for problems facing the nation, Candidates Jolly and Peters wanted to bring attention to the local problem of the National Flood Insurance Program which is affecting the sale of homes and condos in our area. Bircher stressed the need to adhere to the US Constitution.

2. What are your strengths as a candidate? Why should people vote for you? (In their own words)

Mark Bircher –
“My strengths are my 33 years of federal military service and the experience gained from being accountable for leading large organizations. People should vote for me because my entire career, both military and civilian has taught me that true leadership is about providing support to those around you. In the military, as an aviator I supported infantry men. In industry I support my customers. As a Representative to Congress I will support constituents interests.”

David Jolly –
“The loss of our dear Congressman Young leaves an immeasurable void in the Congress of the United States, but also in our Pinellas County communities. This is what this race is about to me. I’ve worked on behalf of our community and this Congressional District for 20 years alongside our late Congressman, as he consistently found ways to grow high-tech and defense manufacturing jobs here at home, invest in transportation and infrastructure improvements that affect our quality of life, expand higher education opportunities, protect and nourish our beaches, and support our men and women in uniform. I got into this race because I humbly believe I have the qualifications to step in on day one and be effective for the people of Pinellas County in Congress. I also believe I can bring together Republicans, Independents and Democrats to work together.”

Kathleen Peters –
“For the last 28 years – I have made Pinellas County my home. From starting a small business to raising four boys and serving as your State Representative, I have dedicated my life to serving this community. That’s why I decided to run. I am the only candidate that has the experience and the background to get things done locally and in Washington like Congressman Young did for so many years. As a Member of Congress, I will fight every day to create an environment for good-paying jobs right here in Pinellas County and stop this partisan gridlock.”

All three noted the need to maintain the local interests of Pinellas County. Whereas Bircher touted his leadership skills, Jolly and Peters claimed they could work well with people on both sides of the aisle.

3. What are the weaknesses of Alex Sink? Why should people NOT vote for her?

All three candidates commented on Sink’s lack of familiarity with Pinellas County, and her embracing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

According to Jolly, “She (Sink) fully supports Obamacare despite recent public outrage over the failed rollout, increasing premiums for individuals, cancelled policies, and additional costs and administrative burdens on Pinellas businesses.”

Bircher echoed Jolly’s position, “Ms. Sink is a supporter of the Affordable Care Act. I support its repeal. I believe the states, not the federal government, are the proper venue to decide such issues as health care, flood insurance, education and similar functions not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution.”

Peters focused on Sink as an outsider, “The people of Pinellas County have a choice: Do they want to elect a career politician that has no real history in this community? Or do they want to elect a mother, a grandmother and a community leader that has spent the last twenty eight years woven into the fabric of this community. Since Alex Sink has no real history of working with the people of Pinellas County, how could she possibly represent their values in Washington?”

Although the rhetoric is slightly different, all three GOP candidates appear similar in their positions. All three want to repeal Obamacare, fix the economy, and tend to the National Flood Insurance Program. The big question though is, “Who can deliver?” Pinellas Republican voters must consider not only who can best fill the shoes of Congressman Young, but who can also knock off Mrs. Sink at the March 11th special election. We’ll find out January 14th.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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