Hooper: Officials should ride the bus to get a look at transit flaws

Published February 19 2017
Updated February 20 2017

Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist made a stunning admission in a well-reported story on Tampa Bay's transportation woes by Tampa Bay Times staff writers Caitlin Johnston and Eli Zhang.

Crist said he didn't realize HART stands as one of the most poorly funded transit systems in the nation until a Times reporter told him. Amazing. First of all, it's his job to know. Second, the shortcomings of the system become apparent to anyone who spends even a single day using the system to get to work.

We need to require every commissioner — I know Al Higginbotham has used the system more than once — and transit board member on both sides of the bay to take the bus to work. For a week. In the summer. . . .

Seen on a bumper sticker: Carpe Manana. . . .

Cole Eicher, 15, once again stole the show at the American Cancer Society's Cattle Baron's Ball on Saturday. The Clearwater teen brought the crowd at the event in Water Works Park to a standstill with poise as he spoke of his own cancer battle and the importance of research.

Maybe they should call it the Cole Eicher Cattle Baron's Ball. . . .

I ran into another remarkable teen at Hillsborough Community College Brandon last week. Zach Bonner, the Valrico youth who rose to fame in 2006 after starting his own nonprofit, the Little Red Wagon Foundation, is enrolled at the college, working for Apple and bearded. He hopes to attend a university in California, perhaps Cal Berkeley, where he can continue his efforts to boost charitable giving through social media and Web design.

Yes, he's all grown up but still committed to helping others. Bearded and beautiful.

That's all I'm saying.