PSTA’s Brad Miller and Commissioner Ken Welch Lie on Terrorism Grant Abuse

By David McKalip, M.D. 

PSTA is publicly lying about its abuse of Federal Anti-terrorism grants designed to help citizens learn how to spot and report suspicious packages on buses and at bus stops. The Exhibits to prove it are below.

PSTA is publicly lying about its abuse of Federal Anti-terrorism grants designed to help citizens learn how to spot and report suspicious packages on buses and at bus stops. The exhibits of evidence to prove it are below.

“For phase two of this program, PSTA will work with an advertising agency to develop a mass-media outreach campaign to further promote the public awareness project. … These advertising elements combined with high frequency messaging will enhance the public’s awareness of their role in keeping the community safe.” RFP from PSTA for CARES program Funded by DHS, 2011.

“This was not the phase that paid for the TV Ads”. Phase two did “promote security issues related to public transportation” Brad Miller to PSTA Board. June 25, 2014

“There is going to be misinformation from folks that aren’t willing to look at this fairly.” Pinellas Commissioner Ken Welch.

This week highly respected Tampa Bay investigative reporter Mike Deeson exposed the outright abuse of Federal anti-terrorism money by PSTA to instead promote itself and the Greenlight Pinellas Tax hike with feel good TV Ads. The evidence is clear (see exhibits A-F below). The facts are not disputable (although lies are being told by government officials). However the facts are certainly damaging to a Greenlight Pinellas political machine that needs to convince voters PSTA can be trusted with a 300% tax revenue hike (an extra $110 million per year to start). Every month brings more examples of how Pinellas voters cannot trust PSTA to spend their tax money wisely or the Greenlight Political machine to act with integrity. Examples include 1) how they spent $800,000 in tax dollars to “educate voters” on Greenlight, 2) and how they broke their own policies to advertise Greenlight on Buses.  3) TBARTA Chair Ronnie Duncan resigned after inappropriately serving  as Greenlight Pinellas Chair 4). Greenlight Pinellas had hidden their donor money at first and had to be pressured to be transparent. 5) Jack Latvala tried to change the law to allow Penny for Pinellas Money to be inappropriately siphoned to Greenlight Projects.

Latest Greenlight Pinellas/PSTA abuse: anti-terrorism money spent on feel good ads

The Sunbeam Times broke the story on the abuse of anti-terrorism grants by PSTA on May 12, and Mike Deeson thankfully publicized the story on Monday night (6/22).  The stories detail how money was taken from the Transportation Security Grant Program (TSGP) from the Department of Homeland Security to create feel good ads about PSTA and Greenlight Pinellas instead of educating citizens on spotting possible bus bombs. The original response from PSTA CEO Brad Miller to both this reporter and Mike Deeson was that the ads “promoting the message that riding public transportation is safe and secure”. That was his sole talking point from which he would not stray, as illustrated by Mike Deeson on 6/22 at the end of his story and in the original story on Sunbeam times. However the time came to face the music at PSTA’s Board meeting on 6/25 (See the video of the Board meeting starting at about 1 minute to 15 minutes on this issue). There, Miller told his board that the news story and this blog got it “wrong” by pointing out that the TV ads referred to from “phase 1” money designed to give the anti-terrorism message.

However, that statement was never made by Mike Deeson or the Sunbeam Times which specifically pointed out that it was always a “phase 2” project. The quote from the RFP put out by PSTA specifically stated that the TV ads would be designed to “enhance the public’s awareness of their role in keeping the community safe”.The ads were not meant to make people view public Transportation as safe and secure or to promote PSTA or Greenlight Pinellas with feel good ads of happy bus riders and bus drivers! How can the CEO of a major metropolitan transit agency believe he can get away with such a bold-faced lie? Because elected officials let him and support him with further lies along with their union activists.

A Catalog of Lies: Miller, Welch and Union activist Ken Elliot

Lie 1. (By PSTA CEO Brad Miller). Miller claims that the Sunbeam Times and WTSP’s Mike Deeson claimed that the TV ads were paid for under “Phase 1” of the TSGP grant.

FALSE! No such assertion was made. He told the duly convened Board of a Public agency this lie on the record. The Sun Beam Times story specifically referred to Phase 2 money.

Lie 2. (By PSTA CEO Brad Miller). Miller claims that the TV ads are legitimate since they are paid for with “Phase 2” TSGP money.

FALSE! The PSTA put out a Request For Proposal (RFP) to a company to take on the project in 2011 that indicated the money was for TV ads to “enhance the public’s awareness of their role in keeping the community safe”. (see Exhibit F below on how the ads do not do that).

Lie 3. (By Pinellas County Commissioner & PSTA Board Member Ken Welch). That opponents are merely spreading “misinformation”. Spoken while acting as an appointed member to a public agency from a Board where he serves as an elected official.

FALSE! There is no misinformation here. The PSTA abused grants designed to stop bombings of busses by terrorists. They instead made feel good ads to make PSTA look good and promote Greenlight Pinellas on television, radio, billboard and bus wraps.

Lie 4. (By Pinellas County Commissioner & PSTA Board Member Ken Welch). People aren’t looking at this “fairly”.

False! There is no “unfair” way to look at and report on the evidence and the facts as detailed below.

Lie 5. (Ken Elliot, Transit Workers Union, Greenlight Pinellas Committee Member) Emphatically states the ads are labelled in every video and bus wrap as being paid for “in part” by DHS. He even repeats himself dramatically – “IN PART”!

FALSE! The quote from the video states “Paid for by a Grant from the Department of Homeland Security” it does not say “in part”. (see Exhibit D, below)

The Evidence

Exhibit A.  PSTA Request for Proposal No. 11-019P.

The PSTA put out an RFP in 2011. It indicated the entire grant (both phases) is designed “to develop a public awareness program that will incorporate the basics of the Transit Watch program”. The Transit Watch Program has an “Eyes” and “Ears” component and is specifically deigned to help every day citizens WATCH transit for possible bus bombs. See an excerpt from the RFP below  (full RFP available upon request).  The Federal Transit Administration describes the Transit Watch Program as follows:

Launched in 2003, Transit Watch is a nationwide public awareness outreach campaign that encourages the active participation of transit passengers and employees in maintaining a safe transit environment.”…“These materials include messages pertaining to unattended bags, evacuation procedures…, and the development of a “Five Step Strategy” for use in enhancing communication with State and Local Citizen Corps Councils.

RFP section c phase 1 and 2 specs

 

Exhibit B.  The PSTA  Agreement Witt Associates 01.2012, RFP 11-019P

Signed by CEO Brad Miller which states clearly states the grant is to be used “to incorporate the basics of the Transit Watch Program“. agreement with Witt sample showing Transit Watch program

 

Exhibit C. Phase 1 developed brochures

Clearly show the TSGP money was to be used to spot suspicious packages. brouchure sample PSTA cares phase1

 

Exhibit D. The RFP clearly states that Phase 2 money will be used “to develop a mass-media outreach campaign to further promote the public awareness project.”.

It was not designed to create feel good ads about how Eva, Phillip, Margaret and Victor feel “safe” on the bus and like how it is “green”, they can check the schedules and that the bus drivers are friendly. Phase 2 money was supposed to FURTHER PROMOTE PUBLIC AWARENESS OF SUSPICOUS PACKAGES AND NOTHING ELSE!  The Tv Ads, contrary to claims of Activist and Transit Union member/Greenlight Committee Member Ken Elliot, said they were SOLELY paid for by the DHS Grant (not “in part”). phase2 from RFP Greenlight logo and DHS disclaimer on TV ads

 

Exhibit E.  Amendment #1, RFP 11-019P dtd 1-17-13 Phase Two (2) to the agreement showing phase 2 money was now available and work should proceed on the TV ads.

It noted that the original agreement was in “full force and effect” and referred to the original goal “to develop a public awareness program that will incorporate the basics of the Transit Watch program”. ammendment with Witt sample showing phase 2 is authorized   ammendment1  with Witt sample showing phase 2 full force of original agreement

 

Exhibit F. These ads do not do that meet the DHS and Stated PSTA goal to “enhance the public’s awareness of their role in keeping the community safe”.

How is the community learning about “THEIR ROLE” in “KEEPING THE COMMUNITY SAFE” in these ads? They aren’t.

 

PSTA and Greenlight Pinellas are based on lies and Corruption.

Thus, the CEO of PSTA overtly lied to the Board of the PSTA regarding facts that are easily checked and public. The PSTA Board welcomed the lie, especially County Commissioner Ken Welch who is famous for leading the personal attacks against any Greenlight Opponent. He launched into his characteristic attack on anyone who exposes simple truths as “misinformation”. He claims that these tactics are all merely political and can thus be rapidly discounted. He essentially stated that Mr. Deeson is merely a muckraker who specializes in finding “what they call government excesses”. Mr. Welch is so invested in the corporate cronyism that is Greenlight Pinellas, his only possible response to exposure of obvious corruption is to deny and attack anyone who disagrees with him or exposes indisputable facts. His henchman Ken Elliot of the Transit Workers Union is aiding and abetting this activity. In fact during the PSTA Board meeting he proudly pointed to a Facebook posting of his telling people to “Keep Calm and Support Greenlight”. It looks like support for Greenlight is more important than the facts or abuse of Federal Taxpayer money by the PSTA.

The PSTA is not ever going to admit that they abused Federal grant money as they clearly did. The only question for voters is do you trust the PSTA with a 300% Tax Revenue hike that results from their proposed highest sales tax in the state. If they can’t be trusted with a $500,000 Federal grant to stop bus bombings, how can they be trusted with an additional $1.35 billion in tax dollars over the next ten years? As the facts emerge on this scandal and the lies and cover ups continue, at what point with Brad Miller and Ken Welch both realize it would probably best serve the common good to resign from their posts?

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6 Replies:

  1. Dave Scooterman Kovar

    Dr MxKalip,

    You are going all in on your accusations, which are strongly held and based on your interpretation of events and evidence.

    Such repeated terms as “lies”, “knowingly”, and “can you ever trust”, etc are starting to cross over the line of personal opinion and news analysis to character assassination and libe despite your targets holding the higher standard of being public figures.

    If you are PROVED right, you will be a hero. However, the state of Florida has already done an investigation on one of you claims (is GreenLight educational, are bus wraps political) and your suspicions and accusations were RULED FALSE by the state.

    You may not like it, but it is reality. To state the opposite of reality (mistruth, lies, etc) repeat lt publicly, in a manner to build public ridicule of your named targets, may resultbin two very unpleasant outcomes.

    First, a court (as your know) may find you liable for premeditated false attacks. You may, at a minimum be forced to retract and apologize or even pay damages. While YOU sincerely believe what you say, and you hope to convince others of your opinion, that does not make it true.

    Second, you may humiliate yourself in the court of public opinion. The more over the top your clains and accusations, the easier it is for the other side to get a 3rd party (voter) to percieve an absurdity to the depth and emotion of the attack. Once they come to believe your statements exaggerate or even outright misstate reality (by leaving out state investigation), your credibility, and eventually your very word, this website, even those people and groups you recomnend or who recomnend you get tarnished as an “unstable” or “untrustworthy” spokesman.

    Just a warning about how far you are now going out on the limb. When it cracks, you may not be able to fix it. The constitution protects every American citizen’s rights. Yours to speak your mind, and your opponents to maintain their personal reputation.

    1. Sun Beam Times Post author

      Mr. Kovar, (thanks for using your REAL name this time!)

      Your premise is that “the STate” said it was okay for members of the “State” to use taxpayer funds for a propaganda campaign. That is exactly the same as the Fox holding a press conference to say that the Henhouse is quite secure!

      1. There is not much here to disagree with. The facts speak for themselves. The PSTA did not delvier on what the grant said and they are lying about it in public.
      2. The investigation you refer to is a STATE of Florida (FDOT) investigation on a SEPARATE ABUSE of taxpayer funds. One government agency (FDOT) says that – through a legal loophole – another government agency (PSTA) is not violating some arcane policy. That is NOT the same as saying it is a good policy decision to misuse nearly $1 million in TAXPAYER FUNDS for a so-called education campaign. Especially one as incredibly lopsided and full misleading statements, omissions and outright erros as that of the PSTA Greenlight campaign.
      3. As far as “libel” and the like – these are public officials and that law doesn’t apply here. Further, the simple fact is they are LYING!
      4. My credibility is important, but not as important as spreading the truth. The public will decide fairly if the facts are given equal exposure.

      Thanks for your concerns,
      David

  2. Norm Roche

    “To state the opposite of reality (mistruth, lies, etc) repeat lt publicly, in a manner to build public ridicule of your named targets, may resultbin two ….”

    Respectfully; You’ve just described the SOP of some of the major local, state, and national media operations. Except I believe they call it kind-of, sort-of, mostly-halfway, almost not, but definately maybe somewhat true or false.

    As I’ve stated before; The biggest threat to our nations security, sovereignty, and sustainability is not as much the “D’s” or “R’s” – or even when the two “work together” – rather it is those members of the media who pick a side.

  3. GreenlightFraud

    If federal government money was misspent by PSTA, which appears to be the case based on the evidence presented here, then this needs to be reported to federal authorities for investigation and determination of whether federal law has been broken. Public officials trying to spin this matter away is shameful. They should be demanding an investigation and fire those who came up with the scheme to misuse federal funds.

  4. GreenlightFraud

    From Wikipedia on the federal law that appears to pertain: The False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. §§ 3729–3733, also called the “Lincoln Law”) is an American federal law that imposes liability on persons and companies (typically federal contractors) who defraud governmental programs. It is the federal Government’s primary tool in combating fraud against the Government. John W. Andrews is a Tampa attorney who knows this law and would be the person to assist on filing a suit to recover damages.

  5. Sen. Burticus

    It looks like Our Hero is vindicated again, haha. Article from the 8/2/14 local fishwrapper:

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/psta-repays-354000-in-federal-grant-money-over-questions-about-transit/2191144

    Of course, this now means that PSTA had to pay the 350,000 FeRNs for its ridiculous, wasteful media propaganda using its own (taxpayers’) money, instead of “federal (taxpayers’) money”.

    Just another reminder why elephant/jackass sock puppets (politicians) and diapers need to be changed frequently and for the same reason.

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