Public Misinformation

BrandonskateparkIt’s one of the hottest sports in the Tampa Bay area with at least a dozen official spots between St. Petersburg and Brandon.

Now Northwest Hillsborough County is the latest area to get a brand new skate park, where skateboarders of all ages will flock to practice their ollies and kickflips.

The park will join hotspots like 688 Skatepark off Ulmerton Rd. in Clearwater, and the Skate Park of Tampa off Interstate 4 in South Tampa.

So, it would be expected to see young skaters and parents attending the “Northwest Skate park Project” meeting at Davidsen Middle School.

But, there were no avid skaters at the meeting.  There weren’t any excited parents.  The coordinator of the meeting didn’t even show.

In fact, the only “concerned” citizens who showed up to the meeting were a University of South Florida student covering the event for her broadcast news class and her mother.

A call to meeting contact Steve Valdez earlier in the day assured that the meeting was “scheduled as planned.”

After waiting an hour at the school however, calls placed to Valdez’s office phone and personal cell went unanswered.

A few teachers strolled through the courtyard, but were unaware of any public meeting.

It is reminiscent of the Ray Sansom story, where a public meeting notice was placed in a newspaper 150 miles away from the actual meeting site at Florida State University.

But it really just looks like a lack of county organization.

It’s one thing to cancel a meeting and inform the public, but that is not the case tonight.  The county didn’t even have the courtesy to post an update on their website.

Perhaps there was prior knowledge of tonight’s poor attendance, but it doesn’t excuse the misinformation by Valdez only six hours before the scheduled conference.

If Hillsborough County is looking to impress the public with open meetings, the picture painted at Davidsen Middle is one of communication breakdown and flawed public information.

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