Letter to the Editor from Commissioner Ken Welch

PSTA Chair Ken Welch wrote a letter to the Editor of the Tampa Bay Times today.  A shortened version is now on the Times website and will be printed on Monday but Chair Welch wanted everyone to see the full text of his letter.

Please click here to see the letter: PSTA Chair Ken Welch Letter to Editor – 8-8-2014 (1)

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Letter to the Editor from Commissioner Ken Welch

  1. NORMA HOXTER

    Mr Ken Welch ,and CEO OF THE PSTA.
    I HAVE RIDED YOUR BUSES IN PINELLAS PARK AND WAS VERY HAPPY.NOW THE DRIVERS ON THE 59 GOING TO INDAIN ROCKS ARE THE RUDES DRIVER I EVER INCOUNTED.THEY HAVE NO USE FOR SENIORS AT ALL.THEY REFUSE TO PUT THE RAMP DOWN FOR SENIORS WITH WALKERS OR SHOPPING Carts.THEY TELL YOU TO HURRY UP BECAUSE THEY ARE LATE.THE FRIST TIME I RODE THE 59 TO LARGO MALL I HAD MY WALKER.ASKED FOR RAMP ,THE ANSWER WAS THAT I AM NOT IN A WHEELCHAIR.SO I HAD TO LIFT MY WALKER UP ON TO THE BUS.WHEN I DO THAT I LOSE MY BALANCE.AND IF I FALL BACK SOME ONE IS GOING TO GET SUED.
    THAT DAY COMMING BACK I WAS TRYING TO CATCH THE BUS,TO GO HOME I HAD SOME SHOPPING ON MY WALKER.STOPPED THE BUS AND THE DRIVER KEPT SAYING THIS IS GOING TO INDAIN ROCKS.
    AGAIN I HAD TO LEFT MY WALKER ON THE BUS.THERE WERE NO DISABLE SEATS,BECAUSE THERE WERE OTHER PEOPLE SETTING THERE.WHEN I WAS GETTING TO MY STOP I PULLED THE CORD.THE BUS NEVER STOPPED UNTIL 1/4 MILE PASS MY STOP.THEN THE DRIVER STOPPED THE BUS GOT OFF THE BUS,THEN ASKED ME TO BRING MY WALKER TO THE DOOR,AND THAT HE WOULD LIFT IT OFF AND ON TO THE SIDEWALK.THEN CAME BACK TO GET ME.I WAS VERY NERVOUS TRYING TO GET OFF.I SAT DOWN AND THEN GOT OFF.THE NEXT TIME WAS JUST LAST FRIDAY.WHEN I GOT ON WITH MY SHOPPING CART.STILL NO RAMP HAD TO GO TO BACK OF BUS WITH SHOPPING CART.WHEN I PULL FOR STOP DRIVER LET PEOPLE
    ON WHEN I WAS TRYING TO GET OFF. STILL NO RAMP.I KNOW TWO VERY SPECIAL DRIVERS AND YOU NEVER HAD TO ASK FOR THE RAMP.THESE DRIVER UP HER ARE FOR THEM AND NOT FOR SENIORS.I ALSO PUT IN FOR DART AND GOT A CALL .HE ASKED ME WHY I WON’T RIDE THE BUS WITH MY SCOOTER,AND I TOLD HIM WHY.
    HE SAID DID YOU REPORT THIS ! I SAID YES AND NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE.I WILL NOT RIDE THE BUS WITH MY SCOOTER.
    THAT’S HOW MUCH I HATE THE BUS,I GUESS I WON’T GET THE DART
    EITHER,THAT’S OK, I HAVE MY SCOOTER TO GET ME TO THE MALL.AND SHOPPING

    THANK YOU
    NORMA HOXTER
    11411 ULMERTON RD. #122
    LARGO, FL.33778

  2. JohnB

    A long (self-serving) letter deserves a long response:

    Mr. Welch is guilty by association. He writes a great letter, unfortunately he is as slippery as his colleagues and supports his appointee, CEO Brad Miller, without question.

    Watch the video of the 6/24 PSTA meeting where Mr. Welch states that PSTA has gone “above and beyond” in compliance with using DHS funds and another PSTA Board member asks Miller if DHS was completely aware of media campaign and there was no problem, Miller said “YES.” Miller said PSTA has rec’d $2.5 million of DHS grants – where did all that money go?

    This board meeting focuses on the board members convincing each other of their innocence as they all knew they were being accused of misuse of public funds (taxpayers money).

    PSTA is broken, has been for years. They claim a lack of taxpayers money; it is obviously a direct result of mismanagement as most people/customers are not happy with the service provided. PSTA is spending $91 million in 2014, 15% is paid by riders (the average fare is 91 cents/ride). 60% of operating expenses are for salaries and benefits. NO private company could survive with such high costs for personnel. Taxpayers are paying $77 million (85%) to support PSTA this year.

    2012 census statistics show that 2,127 people without cars use PSTA to commute to their jobs (out of 14,000 who reported they have no access to a car). PSTA has been at this for 30 years and today less than 2% of the population use their buses – this illustrates abject failure and would never be tolerated or even possible in a private business environment.

    CEO Brad Miller, Ken Welch, Wengay Newton, Mark Deighton, Bill Jonson speak to their innocence during the June 25 board meeting. 13 of the 15 board members are elected officials from the county commission and various cities – every one of the cities represented has endorsed Greenlight without question. No coincidence there.

    Greenlight is not about transit, it is all about money. Note that over $600,000 has been given to the Friends Of Greenlight (FOG) campaign to promote Greenlight as a “vision of the future” for Pinellas County. Most of those corporations are not even in Florida, most of those that are in Florida are in Tampa. Why? Because they all want their share of OUR $2.8 BILLION tax dollars.

    Greenlight is a $2.8 BILLION deal and $2.5 BILLION (90%) is for the train. You really can follow the money from our pockets to realtors, developers, contractors, investment bankers, even utilities like Duke and TECO (it’s an electric train), then likely back to the politicians in both counties and most cities in Pinellas. That’s the way things work.
    Only $300 million (10%) is planned for more buses, but the donors and politicians really don’t care about buses. There’s no real money in buses – they are just for selling the voters that something will happen before 2025.
    PSTA is threatening to cut bus service to blackmail Pinellas residents into voting for a train that will serve less than 1% of the population in 2035, 20 years from now.

    1. We need to fix the bus system; that requires replacing management.
    2. We do not need a train.
    3. WE DO NOT NEED A $148 million/year SALES TAX INCREASE.

    Greenlight will give us the highest sales tax in the state. People who cannot afford to pay their bills will be paying more taxes. Wealthy property owners will actually be paying LESS taxes. All courtesy of the Greenlight scheme brought to us by our politicians.

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