After reading today’s Tampa Tribune story, I knew I would need to write about this issue.
Among the many thoughts rambling through the transom of my mind is a disdain for our community’s leaders who lack the backbone to actually lead. No, I am not a raving lunatic who thinks all politicians are evil — I merely have no respect for people who fail to see the forest for the trees.
To be sure, Tampa Bay is a car crazy community. This is simply a result of our history. Tampa grew into a major city when cars where popular, and exploded in the ‘era of the suburbs.’ Strip malls and cul de sacs are as much a part of Tampa as cigars and strip clubs. Still, in the 16 years that I have called Tampa my home, the situation has worsened.
Our leaders do not seem to understand the cliche “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Former Commissioner Ed Turanchik tried to show them the way almost 10 years ago. The Committee of 99 tried to tell them it was important in, of course, 1999. Former County Administrator Dan Kleman tried to thell them. The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce tried to tell them. The Florida Legislature even changed the law to allow Hillsborough County to use a voter-approved sales tax increase. All to no avail.
The only problem is that most voters will not respond until it becomes painful. By then it may be too late.
Better yet, get their mailing address and actually write them a letter. You would be surprised – in the era of email, few legislators received hand written letters any more. They will get more attention, and your views have a greater chance of being heard.
When you contact them, be sure to ask them to have the strength and vision to address our growing transportation problems. Tell them you will remember if the do – or if they don’t.