Editor: It is true that Jeff Brandes was a strong candidate for Florida state senator, and he ran a strong campaign, but his opponent, Jim, is a career politician and was backed by most of the Republican establishment. Therefore, I feel that Frishe’s pro-light rail stance was a major factor in his defeat.
Brandes, who is against light rail in Pinellas County, which would consist of a rail line from downtown St Petersburg to Clearwater, about 25 miles, and would cost taxpayers an undetermined amount of money.
Also, Brandes had the support of our local Tea Party group headed by Barbara Haselden. Our group is strongly opposed to wasting taxpayers money on any project and especially a pie-in-the-sky endeavor like light rail in Pinellas County, with little or no chance of success.
For our residents not familiar with the light rail issue in Pinellas County, just ask yourself this question: If you are a resident of St. Petersburg; “would I take a train from downtown St. Petersburg to Clearwater?”, or, if you are a resident of Clearwater, “would I take a train from Clearwater to downtown St. Petersburg?”
If you answered “no,” then you certainly would want to vote “no” on a referendum to add an additional 1 percent sales tax next year in Pinellas County, which will be used to fund a light rail project in Pinellas County. Incidentally, this 1 percent sales tax increase would make Pinellas County the highest in sales tax in the state of Florida and this would certainly not be good for business.
Personally, I feel that the residents of Pinellas County will do exactly what the residents of Hillsborough County did, and vote against any referendum to increase our sales tax and approve light rail.