In the current financial filings regarding campaign contributions, GreenLight Pinellas received $245,000 from the NATIONAL Association of Realtors. That's not the Pinellas County Association of Realtors or the Florida Association of Realtors it is the NATIONAL Association of Realtors.
Realtors are all about making their commission, but very reluctant to give any of it up, so why would the NATIONAL Association of Realtors dump almost one quarter million dollars into a political campaign to improve bus service in Pinellas County?
Answer: They wouldn't, but they would give all of that and more build a train through some of the most expensive real-estate in the County; profiting, they hope, from redevelopment, land and property displacement and commercial and residential development and sales.
If there was any question in your mind about who is driving the "train" and what their motives are, it should now be crystal clear.
Yes for Greenlight campaign manager Joe Ferrell said "donations from hospitals, finance firms, IT companies, the Rays and utilities are evidence that the private sector sees developing mass transit as a priority."
Not so much a "priority" as an opportunity.
If buses were the priority then this might make some sense, but nowhere in the Ordinance you are being asked to approve, are the buses first in line for funding.
If the train were a priority then it would go where the 2% who might use it live and not where the 1% who wouldn't be caught dead on a train live in their million dollar condos while the train is passing through business parks, malls and other prime Pinellas County real-estate.
The big dollar players know where this is going and some of them just ponyed up one quarter million dollars to get their fingers in the pie. The filling in that pie is your tax dollars.
No doubt the developers, train manufacturers, financial institutions and others will soon be throwing big dollars into the Yes for Greenlight till. This kind of money doesn't come with strings attached, it comes with chains attached.
After the smoke clears, should the sales tax referendum pass, just who do you think will really be calling the shots?
GreenLight and this Tax referendum are bad for all Pinellas County tax payers and our visitors.
There is a solution to all of this. It's called YOUR VOTE.
They can buy all the ads, fill the airways, and stuff your mailbox till it falls over, but don't let them buy your vote.
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Disclosures: Contributor to No Tax for Tracks