Archive for BOCC

Hillsborough Economic Prosperity Stakeholder Committee

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL with tags , , , on April 5, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Hillsborough taxpayers paid many tens of thousands of dollars on County economic development studies to determine which specific industries should be targeted in order to create local high-paying jobs.

Those “target industries” included:

  • Biotechnology & Medical Devices
  • Medicine & Medical Management
    • Electronic Health Records
    • Medical Simulation & Training
  • Cross-Business Functions
    • Shared Services
    • Business Analytics
    • Information Technology
    • Headquarters Enabling Functions
  • Financial Services
    • Middle/Back Office Operations
  • Defense & Security
    • Security and Technology
    • Security/Intelligence Consulting

Question: how many of these target industries are represented on the new Hillsborough Economic Prosperity Stakeholder Committee?

Answer: none, they all went to the land development industry.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Open letter to the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners

Posted in Hillsborough County, FL, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Marilyn Smith, Tampa FloridaInstead of apologizing for what Marilyn Smith said, you all should be apologizing to her.

Using your public forum to characterize Smith as a racist for her use of the word “ghettozing” in describing a proposal to segregate the so-called Hispanic vote into one geographic district is both contrary to the spirit of the first amendment, and wrongheaded as to the historic origins of the word.

Ghettos have long been used by authorities to marginalize ethnic minorities, by rule of law, removing their voice from general public discourse.

 You should also apologize to the voters for blatantly admitting that the voices of Hispanics would not be heard by the BOCC unless through some commissioner elected from a barrio.

Single-district as well as at-large commissioners are bound to represent all county residents, regardless of geography; regardless of ethnic background.

 Perhaps a less emotionally-charged word describing ethnic redistricting would be “Balkanization”.

Here once again, the goal of the ruling classes is to divide up the political power of the people into ever smaller groupings, dedicated to self-interest, leaving true power in the hands of an influential few.

 I have never known Marilyn Smith to use race, gender, age, political or sexual orientation to attack anyone, even those who were acting against the best interests of the community.

Each of you at one time or another has been on the sharp end of one of her acerbic comments; but none of you because of whom or what you are, but rather because of what you said or did.

 <IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Fourth strike for Hagan

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL, Politics, taxes, Transportation with tags , , , , , on March 4, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan is batting zero in his attempts at hitting a task force home run.

His Transportation Task Force was formed to recommend a Choo-Choo for Tampa.

His I-4 Task Force was formed to recommend paving over east county farmlands at taxpayer expense.

His Economic Development Taskforce was formed to recommend tax breaks for Bass Pro Shop.

Now he wants an Economic Prosperity Stakeholders Task Force formed to recommend taxpayers footing the bills for new roads, sewers, water, and fire and police services in order to “attract new business”.

 All these task forces have simply cost taxpayers a ton of money in outside consultants’ fees.

To paraphrases a line from the movie Blazing Saddles: “We don’t need no stinking task forces.”

Commissioner Sandra Murman didn’t need a task force to start a very successful incentive program to encourage the actual creation of new jobs.

But then maybe we should save Hagan the time, expense and embarrassment of another failed task force and just give him a walk on this one?

After all, according to Hagan, with all the tax and fee cuts already approved by the BOCC over the past few years, The County isn’t bringing in much money from new businesses anyway, so what’s to lose?

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Balkan States of America

Posted in Hillsborough County, FL, Politics with tags , , , on February 23, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

It was stupefying yesterday watching Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan and community activist Marilyn Smith allied against the creation of a new single-member voting district, yet they couldn’t be further apart on the merits.

Hagan doesn’t want another commissioner on the board who doesn’t look like himself; Smith felt that further Balkanizing the districts would likely result in ever-more segregated neighborhoods.

I dearly love Commissioner Miller, but his meta message is that only a person of color could adequately represent other persons of similar color.

Is color a valid criterion in the 21st century?

After all, which “Brown” community is it that needs unique representation?
Mexican? Cuban? Puerto Rican? Colombian?

How about Brazilians, who speak Portuguese?
How about the many Latinos with African roots?

The reality of government is that political influence only belongs to those with money and those who can deliver votes.

The various groups who now feel they are under-represented should come together, register to vote and exchange those votes county-wide for promises of meaningful service from commissioners.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

The parable of the caterpillars

Posted in Alternative Energy, Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL with tags , , on December 8, 2011 by verbumsapienti2

Processionary caterpillarsThe Processional Caterpillar is an animal of little brain.

Its brain is so limited, that the most important functions of the caterpillar are genetically programed in, requiring no thought.

For example, one program tells the caterpillar “Look for something green and head for it, as it is likely something to eat.”

A corollary program tells the caterpillar “If you don’t see something green, look for the ass of a fellow caterpillar and follow it wherever it goes, as it likely knows were it is going.”

If you place a line of Processional Caterpillars in a circle around a pile of their favorite leaves, they will continue to march around that pile until they grow weak and die. You see, there is no program in their tiny brains that tells them to do otherwise.

The moral of this parable is “If you find that you are not making any progress, get your head up from out of the ass of what you think is the leader, and look around for success elsewhere.”

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Hillsborough Rebound?

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL with tags , , , on December 8, 2011 by verbumsapienti2

The “end of the beginning” of an economic rebound for Hillsborough County?

smoke and mirrorsReally?
Why doesn’t it feel like it?

Are all the 4,116 new jobs since the first of the year those higher-than-average-wage jobs we have been promised? Are those jobs a net increase over full-time, benefit-paying jobs lost during same that time?

We are told those jobs also represent over $190 million in capital investment within the county, raising the ad valorem tax base over last year. Just what exactly is that tax increase; net of tax incentives committed to attract those jobs? Also, factor in the cost to taxpayers for the funding of six task forces and support for related public-private partnerships.

Where exactly is that newly launched website to find “space and land available in Hillsborough County”? A Google search of that phrase returns no clue. The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation (THEDC) website requires that you contact them or a short list of their members to assist with a property search. The Hillsborough County website has no obvious “open for business” links to an online database of available commercial property.

Perhaps instead of quoting Churchill, a quote from Thomas Paine is more appropriate: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Open letter to the Hillsborough Florida Board of County Commissioners

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL, Job-creators, Opinion, taxes with tags , , , on October 15, 2011 by verbumsapienti2

Commissioners –

Call 911If you saw your neighbor hit by a truck, would you just stand around with your hands in your pockets waiting for help to arrive?

The first rule of life saving is to point to some bystander and forcefully say “You. Get help. Call 911.”

Next, stop the victim’s bleeding; treat for shock, and provide appropriate heart/lung resuscitation.

Our nation has been hit by a recession, and we are standing around waiting for the next president to fix it.

We want that president to stop the spending, reduce the deficit, lower taxes, eliminate unnecessary business regulations, and create a business environment conducive to job creation.

In our own neighborhood, the economy of Hillsborough County has been hit by that same recession. The difference is that our local elected officials (you) don’t have to wait for Washington to take local action.

Look at your last few BOCC Agendas. They are filled with sitting around obsessing over speed bumps.

Each of YOU; get help! Call 911.

Do what is in your power now to save the economic life of Hillsborough County.

1. Stop the spending. Put away the County credit card. Stop “bonding” every new spending program that comes along and start spending as-you-go and then only within a balanced budget.

2. Reduce County debt. All y’all have run up the County credit card to nearly ONE BILLION DOLLARS. Our children’s children will still be paying this off, long after we are gone. The monthly interest on those billions of dollars alone is likely more than all of your combined yearly salaries for the next ten years. We should be using that money instead to help put people back to work, and back to paying taxes.

3. Lower business taxes. Business property taxes are out of control. Businesses close their doors everyday because they cannot afford steep increases to their property taxes. Sales taxes on businesses are another thing you can tackle. Eliminate sales taxes on business leases, both for rents and equipment. Reduce sales taxes on everything a business buys to operate their business.

4. Eliminate unnecessary business regulations. It likely would take someone a year and $100,000 to open a simple hotdog cart on the sidewalk outside the County Center (if it is possible at all). Eliminate duplicate city/county business taxes. Examine every business tax and determine to reduce or eliminate every one of them, at least for the next 5 years.

5. Create a business-friendly environment. Lowering business taxes and reducing business regulations go only so far. You can do so much more to encourage new business entrepreneurship. Start business incubator/accelerator/co-work space facilities in each County district. Take some of the County’s “emergency” reserve to start a micro-loan program for small and new businesses. The money would be repaid, with interest, which could be loaned again to other entrepreneurs. With business planning oversight by the SBIC and sound credit and collection control by the County, bad debt losses should be no greater than one or two percent. This would be more than offset by interest collected.

Do these things without exploiting people or the environment.

Now what?

Don’t form expensive new task-forces or committees. The ones we’ve had for the past five years have resulted only in increased county unemployment.

Make the only agenda item on your very next BOCC meeting:

“What will we actually start doing tomorrow to help
Hillsborough County residents get back to work?”

 Invite the mayors and city councils of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace to that meeting and don’t go home until at least five things are agreed upon that can be implemented the next business day that helps get your constituent/resident/taxpayer/voters back to work.

 Do these things without exploiting the people or the environment.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen