Joe Henderson: Stacy White’s latest lawsuit shows his disdain for voter mandate

stacy white 2
He doesn't like Hillsborough's All For Transportation tax, but 57 percent of voters approved it anyway

Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White opposed the All For Transportation charter amendment to raise the local sales tax by one percent and made no secret about that.

White worked with anti-tax crusaders in the buildup to the referendum and his voice was on a robocall opposing the tax. His likeness appeared on mailers opposing the tax and exchanged multiple emails with Sharon Calvert. She is the co-founder of the Tampa Tea Party and traditionally hates things like All For Transporation.

It passed anyway, with 57 percent of voters approving.  My guess is they were sick of the inaction by politicians like White to deal with the county’s chronic traffic congestion.

What to do?

Why, file a lawsuit of course.

He challenged a portion of the amendment that specified spending priorities. He won on that point, but the judge ruled the tax itself is legal.

His fellow County Commissioners then voted to adopt the same spending priorities spelled out in the amendment.

So, once again White showed his disdain for the will of 57 percent of the county’s voters. He filed an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the tax, and he isn’t even honest about why.

Let’s refer to a deposition he gave in March about his initial lawsuit to overturn the tax and see the evidence for ourselves.

“Fifty-seven percent of the people could theoretically amend the charter to say that we should segregate our county facilities. And in that context, we would have a real legal problem,” White said.

Or, 57 percent of the people could theoretically believe White has another problem, and it’s that he doesn’t like the tax.


Just be honest, dude. You hate the tax and will do anything to derail it.

That includes ignoring this part of Circuit Judge Rex Barbas’ ruling in June to White’s lawsuit.

“It is evident that the voters of Hillsborough County desire to improve transportation needs. It is further obvious to this Court that the electorate made their desires clear,” he wrote.

“The Constitution gives the power to apply sales taxes. The legislature has given certain counties the right to issue sales taxes under certain conditions. Therefore, those conditions must be followed if we are to be governed by law.”

Read that last part again: “…those conditions must be followed if we are to be governed by law.”

What part of that is unclear?

There is nothing noble about what he is doing. There are only two ways this can end, and neither is particularly good for White.

One, the Supreme Court swats this nuisance lawsuit like Roger Federer swatting a tennis ball, and White gets another rebuke.

Two, White somehow wins, and it sets the county back untold decades in seriously addressing its transportation crisis.

Either way, Stacy White will have cemented his legacy and will go down as one of the county’s greatest impediments to progress.





Joe Henderson

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.


  • Tim Curtis

    July 22, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    Joe you’re weak and intellectually deficient. You didn’t decry the ‘I love more taxes” crowd for introducing for the fourth time another round of tax raising efforts. You a sad excuse for a decent person and worse as a “journalist.”

    • gary

      July 23, 2019 at 3:20 pm

      @Tim Curtis:

      He is not a journalist. He is an arm of the DNC, like most all media today.!

  • Sharon Calvert

    July 22, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    Blaming Commissioner White is absurd. He did not create the problem. All for Transportation is who is to blame for the mess they alone created. They failed to follow the rule of law. All for Transportation failed, either thru incompetence, total sloppiness or willful and intentional neglect, to ensure their 30 year $16 Billion transit tax was lawful, legal and constitutional. They spent $4 million on a deceptive campaign but did not spent one penny to legally vet their massive transit tax. It was All for Transportation not Commissioner White who subjected voters in Hillsborough County to an illegal an unlawful transit tax. FL Statute 212.055 clearly states county commissioners have the authority to appropriate the tax proceeds, not a political committee with an agenda or mob rule. White and others warned last year there were potential legal issues with All for Transportation’s transit tax but Joe ignored these issues. Those issues are now coming home to roost. Man up, stop your whining, and put blame where blame lies for this big mess – with All for Transportation. Stop showing disdain for the rule of law.

  • Jerry Lane

    July 22, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    All for Transportation put an illegal and unlawful tax on the ballot forcing billions be spent on trains and transit and specifically excluded funding new road capacity. Then All for Transportation lied to the public by making all kinds of exaggerated claims that their huge tax was going to fix roads and reduce congestion. All for Transportation refused to debate anyone who opposed them because their transit tax would not have survived public scrutiny. The All for Transportation $16 Billion transit tax was a big scam and the results of the lawsuits are confirming that.

  • Sharon Calvert

    July 23, 2019 at 8:19 am

    All for Transportation looks more and more like it is the “Theranos” of Hillsborough County: Ole Joe can’t defend the merits of the issue because a Circuit Court judge has already confirmed All for Transportation put a legally flawed $16 Billion transit tax on the ballot and subjected voters to it. So Ole Joe is reduced to personal ad hominem attacks and falsely blaming White for the big mess All for Transportation created.

  • Wally C

    July 23, 2019 at 9:16 am

    I love how Henderson and other AFT proponents make accusations and impugn Stacy White’s motivations, without any consideration how AFT amendment was developed. It was created by small cabal of transit activists in private, with no planners, engineers, or transportation experts. It was funded by rich special interests focused on downtown Tampa. It was not legally or publicly vetted. Why does not Joe and other media not care to research the contacts between AFT and politician leaders before and after the vote? There were many, but they want to hide that fact. AFT tries to hide behind the so called Independent Oversight Committee, but that was only set up such that the public and our elected representatives would have little say in how transportation should be developed for 30 years, and shove AFTs dystopia upon us. So much for the government in the sunshine process.

    White won on the merits of his lawsuit. You would be better served by listening to his arguments and at least trying to counter them, rather than these senseless ad hominem attacks.

  • William Beers

    July 23, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Joe Henderson, there you go again.How deep in the pockets of Jeff Vinik are you ?? You are nothing but a prostitute for the progressive left

  • George Niemann

    July 23, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Sadly, Joe ignores the reality of law whenever he writes about the AFT transit tax. And when readers take issue with his inability to take important issues like constitutionality into account, he never acknowledges or responds to the critics. Anytime I’ve sent him an email, he never responds. Other journalists do respond because they realize that it’s healthier when you have two way discussions instead of one way broadcasts. Not Joe, though. He likes being the only one with a microphone. It may be time for FP to look for journalists that relish having a “discussion” with readers.

  • gary

    July 23, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Another fine piece of PROPAGANDA from Joe Democrat!

  • Sal Canete

    July 23, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    This tax was sorely needed and all that oppose should move to Pasco or some other county that’s stuck in the past. Can’t wait until White is voted out. Maybe then he can move to the sticks if he doesn’t like the idea of a major city evolving.

    • Judy Whitaker

      July 23, 2019 at 5:55 pm

      AGREE 100%. These people want to keep the area/ city a rural cow pasture and use this tax a slush fund for their own corrupt political movement… sad

    • George Niemann

      July 23, 2019 at 10:50 pm

      Yes, transportation fixes are needed, however, the wrong people got the 30 year bill. In case you didn’t realize it, land developers have been getting freebies for decades. Unfortunately, the public didn’t bother to pay attention and quickly said, “Oh, OK, let me pay for it”. Don’t mistake the critics as being back woods people, either. According to Mike Merrill, County Administrator, developers have paid an average of less than 20% of the transit impacts per development for many years. Still don’t care??? Remember the old quote, “A fool and his money are soon parted”? It certainly applies in this case!!

Comments are closed.


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