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Joe Henderson: When things don’t go your way, sue ’em — right, Stacy White?

Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White does know his side lost the election, right?

He is aware that 57 percent of voters approved the All For Transportation sales tax increase last month to do what commissioners like White have refused to do for way too long — namely, address the county’s clogged highways and pitiful excuse for mass transit in a real way, right?

Because if he does know these things, then he just made a bush-league move by suing in Hillsborough Circuit Court to void the tax increase because, paraphrasing here, voters didn’t know what they were doing when they approved this and crusaders like him need to save those poor fools from themselves.

The legal language is a bit more formal.

His 28-page filing seeks to stop the collection of a one-cent-per-dollar tax scheduled to begin Jan. 1.

Is this a good time to remind everyone that 57 percent of Hillsborough voters approved of this referendum? Never mind that though. It ain’t over until the last legal brief is filed, will of the people be damned.

His legal beef is with a citizen’s oversight committee that was a key part of the amendment that, how many voters approved? Oh yeah, 57 percent.

He is claiming the committee is against the law because it usurps the County Commission’s right to distribute the tax proceeds, which would be earmarked to pay for a lot of things the Republican-dominated Commission ducked for the last 20 years.

Democrats hold a majority now on the seven-member Board following the election, and transportation was a major issue during the campaign.

It likely led to the decisive defeat two-term Republican incumbent Victor Crist suffered against Democrat Mariella Smith, and I believe the reason is simple: People are fed up with lawmakers dithering on this issue and decided to take matters into their own hands.

That’s why the citizen’s oversight committee was put into the referendum. The tax has been estimated to generate nearly $16 billion over its 30-year life, and people want to make sure it is spent as voters intended. Lawmakers tend to lose focus about the actual intention of voters when that much money is involved and dreams of pet projects dance in their heads.

Put another way, Commissioner White, voters don’t trust you folks to do what is in their best interest.

For about the last 20 years or so, Republican commissioners have given rubber approval stamps to just about any project or development someone wanted to build, but roads and transportation were rarely part of the equation.

It was just build, build, build as unchecked sprawl threatened to choke the quality of life here for decades to come.

Fifty-seven percent said they are tired of that. They want to do something about it and they’re willing to pay what it takes.

And Stacy White’s response?

Sue the majority.

No wonder people lose trust.

Fifty-seven percent of them.

Written By

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.



  1. Jerry Lane

    December 7, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Whiny Joe only whines when it’s a conservative who files a lawsuit. The Left files lawsuits all the time and Joe never whines when they do. Whiny Joe’s not a lawyer but maybe he stays in a Holiday Inn Express.

  2. Sharon Calvert

    December 7, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Suddenly after the election Henderson admits the massive 30 year tax is a $16 BILLION tax hike. How convenient he can admit the truth after the election. Search Joe Henderson and All for Transportation and read his posts salivating over the massive tax hike prior to the election. Like the Vinik bailed out Tampa Bay Times, Henderson was dishonest and not truthful that the tax hike was a $16 Billion tax hike over 30 years. No wonder people lost trust in media years ago. Henderson should read Florida Statute 212.055

  3. Sharon

    December 7, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Suddenly after the election Henderson conveniently admits the 30 year tax is a $16 BILLION tax hike. Search Joe Henderson and All for Transportation for his posts salivating over the massive rail tax hike prior to the election. Henderson misleadingly parroted All for Transportation’s false talking points that the tax would collect $280 million a year which is totally wrong. $280 million a year for 30years is less than $9 Billion. After the election, Henderson can now correct himself for reporting false information before the election. The Vinik bailed out Tampa Bay Times who also falsely reported before the election is now conveniently admitting the tax is a $16 BILLION tax hike. No wonder people lost trust in the media years ago!

  4. EyeOnTampaBay

    December 7, 2018 at 9:17 am

  5. Charlotte Greenbarg

    December 7, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Henderson conveniently ignores the fraud involved, fraud that Tyler Hudson thought was funny. He sent me an unwanted text pushing the scheme. When I told him to stop texting me he replied with an emoji of a dog laughing and saying “hehe”. Henderson conveniently ignores the Constitutional right of citizens to challenge such actions unless of course he agrees with it. Classic Vinik bought and paid for

    • Charlotte Greenbarg

      December 7, 2018 at 11:16 am

      Need to add I told him his scheme was a fraud and that’s when he replied with the emoji

  6. George Niemann

    December 7, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Just to be fair (fair? is that really a word?), maybe the next piece Joe might want to tackle should be titled this way…
    When you hide the key facts and/or the law gets in your way, just bypass it and don’t let anyone express concerns, right AFT?

  7. George Niemann

    December 7, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    To re-use a phrase from Joe’s sarcastic attack piece above….
    Is this a good time to remind everyone that most voters didn’t realize that the vast majority of the tax money collected cannot be used to expand or create new roads to relieve road congestion? If the snookered voters had known that road congestion will not go away because of severe restrictions on the tax’s use, they would have given that referendum a one way ticket to the Museum of Failed Rail Tax Initiatives. We have to thank our lucky stars that White, knowing all the while that the TBT Hit Squad would be after him, still had the courage and wisdom to ask the court to review the glaring mistakes that were made in putting this referendum on the ballot.

    Sorry Joe, but I have to re-use your line of questioning again…
    Is this a good time to ask if the TBT Editorial Board, Joe Henderson, and Sue Carlton will be getting extra bonus money this year for launching a well planned barrage of attacks on White?

  8. Shirley Wood

    December 7, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    Commissioner White states in his lawsuit that he ” has concluded that he must obtain a legally binding determination of his duties and responsibilities at the inception of this planned tax in order to fulfill his oath of office.” Considering the fact that the state law states that the BOCC shall have the authority to allocate the proceeds, yet the sales tax passed gives the Independent Oversight Commission veto powers over decisions
    made by and projects approved by the BOCC, it seems to me that the ones who should be questioned are the other members of the BOCC who have NOT questioned how this new tax will usurp their authority according to state law. Thank goodness we have one member of the BOCC who takes their responsibility to their constituents seriously and is willing to take a stand on this. Voters were NOT made aware of all of the implications of this TAX before the vote. Shame on our local media for carrying the water for AFT and NOT doing their job of educating their readers before the vote.

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