In 2006, my wife and I contributed $200 to Mr. Morroni's re-election campaign. Since that time, John Morroni has changed. It has become clear to us that Mr. Morroni represents special interests and himself....not the voting public. Which is the reason why I am running against Mr. Morroni in 2014.
The purpose of this website was to get the facts out about John Morroni well before he made a decision whether to run yet again. I was hoping Mr. Morroni would be shamed into NOT running again. His 14 years is much more than the 8-year limit the voters made very clear that they wanted (in a referendum! See more below). But Mr. Morroni would not listen.
Did he think the 8 year term limit
was in dog years ???
Image on right: John Morroni's idea of the citizen's proper place in Pinellas County and in society. Aren't the citizens are burdened enough as it is?
Whether you support my opponent or not, I hope you are willing to look at some facts. And here are those troubling facts:
Thwarting the will of the people - 73% of voters in Pinellas County voted for 8-year term limits in 1996 for county commissioners. Mr. Morroni and three other commissioners never put this measure into the county charter. Mr. Morroni has since spent public funds fighting the clear will of the people, under the pretext that he and other commissioner are "defending the county charter".
Mr. Morroni has now served 14 years as a county commissioner, and 8 years as a state legislator in Tallahassee before that. That's 22 years of public service, and his detachment from the everyday reality of the average citizen has become very apparent.
It is time we thank Mr. Morroni for his service and get some fresh perspectives on county issues.
Supports a very bad plan called "Greenlight Pinellas"
Greenlight Pinellas (GLP) is a ballot measure that you will get to vote on in November 2014. GLP is supposedly about transit, but really has very little to do with transit. The real purpose is to shift money from the poor and the middle class to politically well-connected developers and their cronies. The people are seeing through this plan, and an independent April 2014 poll showed that the GLP plan is massively unpopular with voters (almost a 20% gap). Another independent poll on July 22nd shows the plan losing by 20.5%.
But Mr. Morroni endorses this unpopular light rail plan. Mr. Morroni sits on the Pinellas Planning Council (PPC). In its 2013 annual report, it says:
"The PPC has unanimously endorsed Greenlight Pinellas."
That endorsement came in November 2013. The next month, John Morroni voted in favor of a Pinellas County resolution in support of Greenlight Pinellas which stated that "the revenues generated by the Surtax are needed to fund the costs of public transit." No, they are not "needed", and it is clear that Mr. Morroni does not understand the financial stress many Pinellas County residents are under.
Whether it be term limits, higher taxes or the Greenlight Pinellas Plan, Mr. Morroni shows a troubling disregard for the clearly stated will of the people. Enough is enough.
A flip-flopper, and why that is bad - let me give you just one example of Mr. Morroni's flip-flopping.
Regardless of your view on fluoride in our drinking water, Mr. Morroni's voting record on this issue should give you pause. He voted twice to put fluoride in the water in 2003 and 2004. Then he voted to take it out of the water in 2011....and it was in fact removed from our water. OK, fine and well. People can change their minds. But then Mr. Morroni "changed his mind" again, and voted in November 2012 voted to put fluoride back into the water.
Mr. Morroni cited no new scientific evidence in making these sudden changes in 2011 and 2012. His view on issues are thus seemingly determined by purely political considerations. So please ask yourself: if an issue important to you were to come up for vote, is Mr. Morroni going to be for it before being against it before being for it? The mind boggles, and Mr. Morroni's actual position on any issue blows in the wind somewhere.
Higher taxes - Mr. Morroni has now voted two years in a row (2012 and 2013) to raise our property taxes well beyond inflation. He has voted for higher millage rates, a much larger county budget and to collect a stormwater tax which the county just puts in the bank (!!).
All these tax increases come at a time when the middle class is being crushed by a lack of economic opportunity. Between the 2000 census and the 2010 census, median household income in Pinellas County dropped from $46,925 to $46,051. Those numbers are not adjusted for inflation, those are raw numbers. Anyone who pays bills knows that groceries, gas, electricity and the cost of housing all increased between 2000 and 2010. In other words, the citizens in Pinellas County cannot afford the grand plans and largesse of Mr. Morroni.
Excess in government in not a Democrat or Republican value - excess is not in the interest of the average citizen.
Casinos, lobbyists and alcohol - Mr. Morroni was a state representative 1992-2000 before having to leave due to term limits. According to the non-profit and non-partisan Project Vote Smart, Mr. Morroni's last election campaign in 1998 received 44.3% of its contributions from these three major types of donors:
This trend continued in his 2000 campaign for Pinellas county commission, where Mr. Morroni received the maximum contribution allowed by law from Florida Jai-Alai Inc., The Palm Beach Kennel Club, the Florida Beer Wholesalers Good Government Committee, the Hollywood Greyhound Track, the Florida Harness Horse PAC, the Senior V.P. of Gov't Relations for Anchor Gaming (Gaming=Gambling), Florida Gaming Centers, Inc. Ocala, Miami Jai-Alai Florida Gaming, Florida Wholesale Spirits in Tallahassee....just to name a few.
- Gambling & Casinos (21.2%)
- Lawyers & Lobbyists (16.7%)
- Beer, Wine & Liquor (6.5%)
Many, many entities and people from outside the Tampa Bay area contributed large sums of money early to this particular Morroni campaign. Everyone in politics understands the value of early money. The real question is: why did they contribute to a county commission race far way from their own county?
Did these people give money because wanted John Morroni to provide good government? Or were they expecting him to vote certain ways as payback? When I contributed to Mr. Morroni, I just wanted good government....but I was sorely disappointed. I was NOT disappointed when I contributed to County Comm. Norm Roche's campaigns. Norm Roche doesn't just want the job, he does the job.
Morroni's dishonorable lack of oversight
When Mr. Morroni was chairman of the Tourist Development Council in 2012, I presented him with evidence that contracts between Pinellas County and local chambers of commerce were not being adhered to. These contracts totaled in excess of $180,000 per year, and fell under Mr. Morroni's purview as chairman.
When made aware of the situation, Mr. Morroni did nothing - he did not even respond to my e-mails urging him to take action. Mr. Morroni's non-response is a matter of public record.
Mr. Morroni continued to do nothing when the county administrator (an unelected county employee) altered the contracts after the fact to remove key contract requirements. These after the fact contract modifications were carried out in direct response to my complaint that the contracts were not being adhered to. However, the requirements that were removed had been deemed so important at the time of signing the contracts that failure to adhere to them would result in disqualification from being able to receive future funds. It said so right in the contract. Yet now those unmet requirements were simply removed after the fact. Does that make sense to you?
It is only in the last 10 years that Pinellas County has started to contract with chambers of commerce for "services". The chambers love it, because these contracts come at a time when chambers have had falling revenue and are increasingly irrelevant due to technological change. In essence, the elected officials are buying political support from the chambers of commerce. Do you want your tax dollars going to buying political support for your elected officials? What if unions wanted tax dollars?
The contracts were sloppily written and not enforced precisely because they are mere fig leafs by which politicians try to give the appearance of legitimacy to their misappropriation of public funds. Mr. Morroni abdicated his oversight role to an unelected bureaucracy. In doing so, he supported these handouts to chambers which amount to a vote-buying program.
As indicated above: I know these facts because I am the person who brought the issue to Mr. Morroni’s attention in the first place. He did nothing, thus abidcating his fiduciary duties to the citizens.
Morroni tells businesses to invest.....but does not invest one dime himself - candidates are required to file a so-called Form 6, which is a "Full and Public Disclosure of Financial Interests". Looking at Mr. Morroni's 2006 Form 6 and his 2010 Form 6, we can see that Mr. Morroni possesses no financial or business investments. None. Nothing.
Can Mr. Morroni really understand what it means to invest your own hard-earned money? To abstain from consumption in order to invest? What it feels like to risk a loss? Or incur a loss? I can, because I have those experiences. But this website is not about me, it is about John Morroni.
Morroni makes over $144,000 per year, saves zero - please also note that from Mr. Morroni's financial disclosure that he has zero in savings. That also means zero in retirement savings.
This total lack of savings is only noteworthy because Mr. Morroni has high income. Mr. Morroni will celebrate his 60th birthday shortly after the 2014 election. Apparently, John Morroni's retirement plan is to live on his generous government pension once he retires.
John Morroni's total lack of savings at this stage of his life, despite years of high income, tells you a bit about his outlook on life: spend, spend, spend. Whether it be his own money, or your money. And by the way: during the last 22 years, all income Mr. Moroni received was out of tax dollars.
Tax-and-spend politicians like Mr. Morroni only understand how to increase taxes so that they can dole out more largesse. You will never get well-paying jobs or a real economic recovery as long as you punish small businesses.
Pinellas County needs elected officials who put the interests of the people ahead of patronage, empire building and power for the sake of power. That is yet another reason why John Morroni has got to go.
We need fresh perspectives in order to provide conditions that create economic opportunities for all of our citizens. John Morroni is unlikely to provide those fresh perspectives.
If you have any comment about John Morroni, please e-mail facts [at] johnmorroni.com
Please include supporting documentation (articles, documents, etc.).
This site published by Tom Rask, business owner and resident of Pinellas County, FL.