Ronnie Duncan, one of the just announced leaders of the Yes for Greenlight political advocacy campaign, resigned earlier in the day, bowing down to complaints that his role constituted a conflict of interest with his job as head of TBARTA.
And now Tucker/Hall, the Tampa-based communications firm that was paid $400,000 to develop the branding for Greenlight Pinellas, has announced it will also be bowing out of Yes for Greenlight.
Despite the less than stellar news, Chris Steinocher, president & CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, insists that everything is going to be all right. "We don't want the opposition to distract readers and listeners," he said of the decisions by Duncan and Tucker/Hall to drop out.
Steinocher said he didn't want to minimize the loss of these two players, but he says there are plenty of other people involved in getting the measure passed in Pinellas County, and that it's best to get such distractions out of the way now, more than eight months before voters will decide on whether to support the measure.
Greenlight Pinellas would dramatically expand bus service in Pinellas, as well as allow for the construction of a light rail system running from St. Petersburg to Clearwater.
Steinocher, who is co-chair of Yes for Greenlight, says he intends to call together advisers and members of civic groups (but no public officials) to decide how the campaign will go forward.
In a press release, Bill Carlson, the president of Tucker/Hall, said:
Tucker/Hall is very proud of the work it has done in support of the Greenlight Pinellas plan. Our firm developed the brand identity of the plan, built substantial public awareness and community consensus in support of Greenlight and got the issue on the November 2014 ballot.
Tucker/Hall has also led the organization of a privately funded advocacy campaign, provided the steering committee members with extensive guidance and managed the successful campaign kickoff event February 7. However, we are no longer engaged in this process moving forward.
As the campaign organization matures, we will continue to be supportive of the Greenlight Pinellas plan.