Aug 152005

A few days ago had a story about complaints by Harbour Islands residents that they feel trapped on their island. Well, please note..they live on an island. The island is smack in the middle of the harbor in downtown Tampa. (Hence the name.) And they are concerned that when a lot is going at the St. Pete Times Forum and the Cruise terminal, they can’t get around.

No one can get around downtown when all that is going on. Everything that is there now was either being built or was already there when Harbour Island was being developed. I love how these rich folks just suddenly realized there were a few disadvantages to living in a place that has done all it can to restrict access (you know, so none of us regular people will venture into their little oasis). And now, bless their little hearts, they can’t get off their island.

Hillsborough County Tax Collector Doug Belden, a resident there since 1997, said it recently took him 25 minutes to travel a couple of blocks when the Tampa Convention Center and the St. Pete Times Forum held events. (Don’t know about you, but I’m wondering how a public servant can afford to live in one of the priciest developments in town.)

But leave it to good ole Doug to play the tax card. He claims that his island is all in good shape, so it costs the City and County nothing (yeah right), and is just a big cash cow in property taxes for the parts of town:

"Harbour Island represents a huge financial, tax and voter base for the city,” Belden wrote in a summary for Iorio. Other city neighborhoods are troubled with crumbling sewers, crime and storm water; Harbour Island “just comes with large revenues,” he wrote.

I don’t know about you, but my heart just goes out to these poor unfortunate residents. I think we should divert all those tax dollars they pay from the crumbling parts of town, and build them their own special road system…oh, and while we’re at it, why don’t we just move the Forum.

Let’s see, you elected to live on an island in downtown Tampa in a location which has intentionally limited access, and you have problems driving around off the island…well duhhhh! Hey Doug Beldon, shut your big whinny mouth. Move to one of the "crumbling" parts of town. They have less traffic.

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