The one local issue that I have hit on and written about over various mediums the last ten years is transit and mass transit here in the Tampa Bay area. This post isn’t supposed to be about hyping those letters, blog posts and what not though.
It’s an election year… Early voting is over and the bulk of those planning to vote in this country will do so on Tuesday. Me included.
So I took a look at my own ballot this afternoon on the Supervisor of Elections web site to see who would be running for what. I know who I will be voting for in several races (be it presidential, federal, state representation, school board, etc) except County Commission. I had thought to vote party line on everything but this is where I’ve gotten frustrated with either party involved: The planning in Pinellas County and it’s involvement in the region.
Which brings us back to transit.
I’ve got two county commission races on my ballot, both at-large seats here in Pinellas. One pits Rene Flowers against Nancy Bostock while the other pits Paul Matton versus Neil Brickfield.
I visited all four candidates web sites and… well, I’m a little upset. Yeah, a lot of citizens are upset over a lot of issues from the County Commission regarding their conduct (the Jim Smith land deal and other such things), seeing phrases like Restore Confidence in our local Government doesn’t surprise me, and seeing a heavy use of phrasing about responsible spending doesn’t surprise me with candidates of either party…
But where’s the beef?
Seriously, there is no true coverage of the issues on Bostock or Flower’s web page — one has banalities and another has nothing at all.
Matton and Brickfield aren’t much better — Neil has key phrases for stump speeches used on his site while Paul has essays about Accountability, Sustainability and Responsibility.
But as a voter, I am not looking for catch phrases or essays. I’m looking for an answer. An answer to a question that seems to be missing every election year in Pinellas County: What do you plan to do about transit issues?
Earlier this evening, I emailed all three campaigns and posed a variation of the same question:
know it’s AWFUL late in this election cycle to ask questions, but I was wondering about your stances on local transit and mass transit?
Are you for the go-it-alone version of transit solutions or are you a backer for the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority? Are you more inclined to support road projects or do you see a fixed-guide way (rail) form of transit as an integral part of Pinellas’ (and Tampa Bay’s) future?
These issues — planning, implementation, administration, funding and oversight of transit in the county and the region — have an effect on residents lives every day. It’s not in the same league as some party-line generality issues such as positions on guns, having military service to ones resume, position on marijuana or what not. Every time you step out your door and drive somewhere, walk somewhere, grab a bus somewhere, etc. you’re affected by how Transit is handled in the area.
I’ll post any replies here when they come in.
Update 11/03/2008 8:30 AM: Paul Matton replied to my email with a short line that didn’t really answer my questions:
before we go with rail we need to fix transportation as your commission I will do that