Friday, November 24, 2017
News Roundup

Embattled Hillsborough transportation commission facing legal action over limo fees

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — It's executive director is getting heat for moonlighting during the work week. Legislators are talking about revamping or even disbanding the agency. And now this.

A national public-interest law group with libertarian leanings plans to sue the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission, saying the minimum fares it sets for limos are a government overreach.

The PTC sets a minimum of $50 for limo rides in the county, no matter the distance, in part to keep them from poaching business that would go to cabs. Its spokesman says that's the price that a consensus of limo companies sought the most recent time the issue was debated. It's an amount they say was needed in order to make money.

"It should not be illegal to give your customers a better deal," said Justin Pearson, executive director of the Arlington, Va.-based Institute for Justice's Florida Chapter.

The Institute for Justice says it will be representing Tom Halsnik, owner of Black Pearl Limousine, and Daniel Faubion, a customer. The suit will be filed Wednesday in Hillsborough Circuit Court.

Similar complaints were offered recently by a group of young entrepreneurs. They cited difficulties entering the market by the San Francisco-based company Uber, which provides a smart phone application that allows people to dial up limo offers on their phone. The $50 minimum has been an impediment to entering the Tampa market, company representatives have said.

State legislators, including Jamie Grant, R-Tampa, have cited Uber's experience in saying it's time to revisit the PTC's mission, that it is thwarting entrepreneurship.

The PTC has been in the spotlight recently after the Tampa Bay Times reported that Executive Director Cesar Padilla was moonlighting as a private security guard on work days when county payroll records indicated he was working or out sick. The Sheriff's Office last week revoked his status as a reserve deputy, which allowed him to do the security work.

Chief Inspector Mario Tamargo, who serves as the PTC's spokesman, said the agency has won past challenges over its rules and emphasized that limo operators sought the minimum charge. He said the PTC has no vested interest in the rate.

"If they set it down to zero, we'll enforce that," Tamargo said.

Comments
Jon Mott wins record fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

Jon Mott wins record fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

By BOB PUTNAMCLEARWATER — The Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot has long been a fixture on Jon Mott’s sporting calendar. Not even a 103-degree fever Tuesday could keep him away from the event, in its 39th year. Mott, a record four-time 10k champion, added ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

TAMPA — In the jubilant moments after a Bucs win, Dirk Koetter will sometimes ask for a game-used ball from his equipment staff, hold it high in the locker room and present it to the player who was most crucial to the victory.NFL players can ask for ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

 
Updated: 7 hours ago

Updated: 7 hours ago
Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

LARGO — Sydney Pender, 27, loved riding her motorcycle, even though she knew the dangers. Three years ago, her friend said, a delivery truck hit her. But she kept riding. On Thanksgiving, it was a crash with a taxi cab that killed her.Pender, a St. P...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Valrico intersection closed after car-sized hole opens in road

VALRICO — A hole the size of a vehicle opened up beneath the intersection of Nature’s Way Boulevard and Elm Grove Lane, Hillsborough officials said.The cause of the depression is unclear, but the intersection was blocked off to traffic.Hillsborough C...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

CLEARWATER — On Tuesday, Jon Mott had a 103-degree fever. That was not enough to keep him from maintaining his dominance Thursday at the 39th Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot.The former Northeast standout added to his record with his fifth title in the ev...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Update: Mother, toddler hit by car in critical condition at TGH

TAMPA — A mother and one of her two small children who were hit by a car while trying to cross Dale Mabry Highway on Wednesday were still in the hospital on Thanksgiving, according to Tampa General Hospital.Cassandra Marie Spicola, 29, and 18-month-o...
Published: 11/23/17

Pasco County put under immediate tornado warning

The National Weather Service has put out a tornado warning for Pasco County. Thunderstorms capable of producing a tornado and strong winds are expected over Jasmine Estates, New Port Richey and Hudson until 1:15 p.m., according to the NWS warning. Ba...
Published: 11/23/17
Thanksgiving forecast: Rain today, but sunny skies this weekend

Thanksgiving forecast: Rain today, but sunny skies this weekend

It’s going to be a wet Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay, but sunny skies are coming during the long weekend, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Ric Kearbey. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10...
Published: 11/23/17