Tuesday evening Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe came to speak to the USF Student Government regarding light rail and their support of the 14% increase in the county sales tax. Frank Hernandez introduced Commissioner Sharpe, stating that Hillsborough County is in “dire need” of mass transit.
Commissioner Sharpe spoke about his blueprint for the future of the county. His focus is on creating jobs, high paying jobs, such as in the life sciences, so that the students at USF today will want to continue to live and work in this area after graduation. He said that in the past we have been focused on jobs in industries such as housing and agriculture, both of which are not growing here. (Where are they growing?) He stated that we need a good transit system and that would attract these high paying jobs to the Tampa Bay area. Commissioner Sharpe acknowledged that he was going against his party and was even challenged in the primary. He said that the Republican party is wrong on this issue.
He went on to say that the county grew rapidly in the past several years, and the cheapest and fastest way to accommodate the growth resulted in the sprawl we have today. People that bought homes in communities in south Hillsborough County with as many as 4 golf courses in a single development have created traffic problems. He stated that golf course communities are getting old. Who wants to live like that today? The new way to go is to build vertical, bring people together in more densely populated areas, with walk and bike trails, and more buses. He wants more buses, smaller buses, along with the light rail and the speed rail. This will make us economically competitive and will entice business to come here and the university students of today will want to stay here after they graduate, to work and make a life here.
I asked him about the negative cost of running the buses, which is about $40 million a year, and where that shortfall came from and what is that taking away from other county services. He said it was paid through property taxes, but did not comment further on that.
I also asked him if he thought that an 8% sales tax, which would be the highest in the state, would have a negative impact on bringing business and people here. He said that we do not have a state income tax and that Pasco, Pinellas and Polk will also be increasing their sales tax in the near future.
He also said they just signed a deal to grow algae as a fuel alternative on 600 acres in the county. I will check into that further.
The students speak of sustainability as if they understand what it means. At 18-21 years of age, when you either still live at home or are living in high density dorms or apartments, and are physically able to ride your bicycle around the campus or take the buses from one side to another, the convenience makes it understandable why one would be for the rail. Perhaps they should ask their parents, who very possibly live in gated golf course communities on a nice 1/2 acre of land, why they worked so hard all their lives just to end up being consigned to such an awful existence.
These bright young students should understand that the entire sustainability propaganda is straight out of the U. N. Agenda 21 doctrine, and buying into it strips away their God-given rights of life, liberty and their Constitutional rights of property ownership and freedom to live where they choose. In this column from the Canada Free Press posted on August 15, 2010, by Henry Lamb, he discusses the bill being presented by Senator Christopher Dodd called the "Livable Communities Act." S. 1619. It is currently on a fast track to being presented for a vote. Ever so silently and swiftly our government is taking away our freedoms.
There are two issues currently in play which will be covered in the next few articles. The CLEAR Act and President Obama's Executive Order regarding the creation of a National Ocean Council. Chilling stuff!