The Bradenton Times has blown the lid off a mass transit conspiracy. In a stunning series of shocking revelations, the Bradenton Times has discovered that the primary online face of the pro-transit investment message, Moving Hillsborough Forward, is not actually run by a couple of average guys like David Pinero who woke up one day all grooved out by the idea of a thriving mass transit system and who then decided to do something about it.
Say it ain't so!
Who Are THEY?
The explosive investigation piece manages to dole out the true faces of hopeful transit and livability success, and I warn you, it isn't a pretty list:
The Partnership has over 150 member notable organizations and sizable
interests such as Baycare, Blue Cross Blue Shield. The Florida
Communications Group (owners of the Tribune, WFLA, TBO.com and others), Moffitt Cancer Center, Carlton Fields, Progress Energy, Sykes
Enterprises, Teco Energy and USF among others.
If you're like me, you're probably stunned to "learn" that the mass transit and light rail movement in Hillsborough county is inexplicably tied into the cauldron of smart business people, community leaders, growth organizations, employment epicenters, and people who (shudder) understand what must be done to the community to keep it lively and economically relevant by making life bearable. OMG!!!
This is absolutely the most bizarre piece of journalism I've ever read from a serious newspaper, and that's coming from me, the guy who does this very website.
I've got to be honest, I never had any idea that Moving Hillsborough Forward wasn't somehow closely affiliated with the Tampa Bay Partnership. I think everyone assumed so. Even the story admits they share the same office! It's not a "secret". I didn't think anyone was particularly hiding the closeness between the two groups one iota. And if it wasn't the Tampa Bay Partnership, I'd have just assumed it was some other business powerhouse group of one sort or other.
What really burns me up is that this nefarious theme of "aha!" turns against one of the most beautiful accomplishments of the Hillsborough rail movement in particular which is that this push is a public/private collaboration that rises above so many other transit initiatives that have been driven solely by one group or another. The very people who decry "government" this or "government" that, now, suddenly blame the free market for the regional transit alternative push. Is this or is this not ideological schizophrenia?
What kind of cluckiness is this? In every referendum there are websites just like the one put up by Moving Hillsborough Forward and they are all generally put out, quite openly and without doubt, by local leaders who understand that to foster good business you must cater to the demands of urban livability. The whole "gotcha" narrative being woven out of the obvious is pretty silly yet pretty damned pathetic. I hope the Bradenton Herald will give such journalistic toss to those websites and groups that oppose transit development, those whom I believe consist of the Car Captive $tatus Quo.
Everyone, which includes business leaders, politicians, academic heads, most voters, the MSM, the blogosphere, die-hard car drivers, and any God-fearin' preacher, supports the transit and rail plan. To sit back and parcel the wide sweeping revolutionary movement that actually exists to strengthen the bitter, cranky, selfish, dubious, and downright creepy groups who hold the minority if not non-existent position in this question, is outrageous.
Thank god they are this desperate.
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