Tampa, Florida --The fallout over the arrest of former Hillsborough Commissioner Kevin White on bribery charges is still reverberating one day later.
White is accused of taking bribes as the chairman of the Hillsborough Transportation Commission. And that is starting a new call to abolish the agency.
While the Public Transportation Commission has huge political clout due to the taxi cab and wrecker industry, State Senator Ronda Storms may be getting some traction in her effort to abolish it. Storms says she knows firsthand about the PTC, because she was once a board member.
She says it's been beset with allegations of corruption and failure, etcetera etcetera.
And that's why Storms has been trying to abolish the agency where the Feds say former Commissioner Kevin White took bribes to issue tow truck wrecker certificates. According to Storms, this is one more in a long line of difficulties associated with the PTC.
The new chairman of the agency, Plant City mayor Dan Raulerson says the organization operates effectively and there are no problems other than White. Since 2007 we have documented former Director Greg Cox giving himself a bigger raise than the board authorized: White's campaign manager Victor DiMiao being hired as a $5,000 a month lobbyist with no bids; and the current executive director Cesar Padilla taking on-line college courses while on the clock so he could meet the minimum qualifications for his six figure job.
Despite those problems, Raulerson maintains Hillsborough County has no interest in taking over the agency as Storms is proposing.
And Raulerson is right. Last year Hillsborough County had a reluctance to take over the agency; But White's indictment may be a game changer. It appears some commissioners are rethinking their position. That is particularly true of Commissioner Mark Sharpe, who says the need for the Public Transportation Commission has long passed.
Sharpe says he would reconsider his vote from last year and not vote to abolish the PTC. Sharpe says he has had some problems with the board for a while. He says the way the board is currently structured it is open for political shenanigans and the agency's work could be done at the County staff level
But Rualerson says that it would be mistake to get rid of the board because of White. Raulerson likens it to Congress and Anthony Wiener's problems. Raulerson says he is sure many people would like to see the demise of Congress, but that doesn't make sense.
Here's one more example on the agencies inside relationships.
The PTC rents its building from John Madiedo, who provides and does the insurance for the almost all of the taxicab companies the PTC regulates.
When Kevin White had his security firm, he rented the office next door from the PTC and Madiedo. However, since White left the space, it is being rented by Michael Moses. Michael Moses is the owner of the taxicab company that caused some controversy by loaning White the money to buy his new Riverview home.