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Posts tagged ‘voteonthepier.com’

Run-down on St. Pete Pier topics–prep for tonight’s ‘input meeting’

I have rarely seen a modern issue as divisive in the City ofSt. Pete as the one that exists now regarding the St. Petersburg Pier. As a native to this town, I am torn between wanting to honor tradition and wanting a symbol for the city’s future and progress. After all, my father,Thomas H. Street, was a prolific artist—mostly a muralist—inSt. Petersburg, and one of his best-known murals rests steady on a circular wall, overhead from the first floor, depicting the many faces of the St. Petersburg Pier through its history. Apparently, its concept was a short-sighted history; it seems a panel should have been left blank, allowing room for the future. Yet, when the demolition begins, I suppose it won’t matter much.

History and sentiment aside, I also am as confused as many are about what facts are really facts. With so much contradictory information floating about, I found myself having difficulty keeping everything straight. Today, another “public input” meeting is set (Tuesday, June 12 at6 p.m.at EnochDavisCenter,1111 18th Ave. S.), and in honor of this, I wanted to put together a rundown of content on the Pier issue. Here are some highlights for review:

“The ‘Lens’ contract was approved at the St. Petersburg City Council meeting yesterday by a 7 to 1 vote, but that likely won’t be the last you hear of this. A local group has formed—you may have heard of them – voteonthepier.com. It appears that the group is well on its way to collecting the 16,000 signatures needed on their petition to meet the threshold. While that may sound intimidating, as though City Council should be shaking in their boots that the people are going to rise up in numbers and could potentially vote to undo the years of work, beginning in 1996 followed by 68 specific meetings and public hearings, that lead to where we are today, finally signing a contract for a new Pier. However, City Attorney John Wolfe said that the language used in the petition from votefothepier.org would not require the city to offer this issue up to a public vote no matter how many signatures they collect.”

“Below is my Twitter feed from yesterday’s St. Petersburg City Council meeting about the Pier issue, using “Storify.”

“Before we get to the fact-checking of Foster’s “facts”, we wanted to share some of the details we learned after filling our brains with pier task-force information, and other related data on the pier: The $50 million that has been earmarked was intended to address the Pier approach and the Pier head, but the not the Pier building itself (City Council instructed the pier task force in 2008 to consider all options, including demolishing the pier)”

“Mayor Bill Foster released some more “Pier Facts” today in his sometimes-weekly weekly forecast email, so we thought we would go through these and see if he was any more truthful on these new facts than he was on the “facts” he released last week in his shiny “facts” brochure. If you haven’t read our post from Monday, please take a few minutes to read it, there is a lot of good background information in there. “The Pier Approach… and the Pier Head were built in 1926. According to engineering assessments, these portions of the Pier are continuing to diminish in their ability to bear weight, and will have to be closed within two years.” We haven’t seen anyone anywhere debate you on this Mayor Foster, everyone agrees that the pier approach and head need to be replaced.”

“Today, the City of St. Petersburg awkwardly launched a fancy new website dedicated to the new Lens Pier design, and wouldn’t you know it, a few of Foster’s misleading “pier facts” and some new revisionist history appears(and then was deleted) on the new website too. We say “awkwardly launched” because they didn’t check to see that the new website was working before announcing it, so for the first couple of hours, people that went to the new website only saw these two words “Under Development”, and they even managed to send everyone five copies of the City’s weekly email newsletter today which also announced the website, just another PR stumble for the Mayor we guess. Also, it looks like they removed the link from the city’s website to the original pier competition page, so we’ve included that link for you here so you can go look at the critique and analysis of how their Lens Phase 1 proposal was over budget and inadequate in several ways.”

“We would like to thank the people behind voteonthepier.com for giving us (the Bill Foster Watch) the exclusive on this story. Through their research they have contacted a former reporter from the St. Petersburg Times from back in 2009. Cristina Silva coveredSt.   Petersburgpolitics for the Times back then, and when she was told about Mayor Foster’s current push to demolish the Pier and not hold a referendum, and how that conflicts with this article that she wrote during the 2009 race for Mayor, she had the following to say…”

“St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster has drawn the line in the sand for voteonthepier.com supporters—a group that has collected over 14,000 petitions to have a public vote to help save the St. Petersburg Pier in its full inverted pyramid style. By June 11th, Foster says the group must submit the nearly 16,000 petitions necessary to have the vote included on the November 6th ballot. The June 11 date was determined by working backwards, said Foster. It includes the time needed for the petitions to be processed and for the City Council to consider an ordinance to put the measure on this November’s ballot.”

“For the Mayor to arbitrarily come up with this deadline is ridiculous,” Lambdon said in an interview with Patch. “It’s clear why he wants to do it. To try and promote an ill-conceived and unsupported “Lens” pier.”

“Public input on the fate of the St. Pete Pier seems less likely now that organizers of a petition drive failed to deliver the 16,000 signatures required to have the issue possibly put on November’s ballot. In a letter dated May 24, Mayor Bill Foster set June 11 as the deadline for votethepier.com founder Thomas Lambdon to turn in the petitions to the city clerk. “I am trying to give them the best possible chance of getting this in front of council members and on the ballot,” said Foster.”

“According to Mayor Bill Foster’s calculations, Monday was the beginning of the end for the group trying to force a vote on the Pier, which is set to be replaced. Foster had given voteonthepier.com a June 11 deadline to submit the almost 16,000 petitions needed to get on the Nov. 6 ballot. But Monday came and went without a single petition delivered to City Hall. Wengay Newton, who is the sole council member against the new $50 million Pier and who signed the first petition in 2010, called Foster’s deadline arbitrary.”

Credit for the format of this piece goes to Peter Schorsch of Saint PetersBlog–I borrowed liberally from his style. Full disclosure: I am a freelance writer often published through Saint PetersBlog–some of my articles are included in the listing above.

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‘Lens’ design contract approved by St. Petersburg City Council–New Pier

The ‘Lens’ – City of St. Petersburg

Below is my Twitter feed from yesterday’s St. Petersburg City Council meeting about the Pier issue, using “Storify.”

  1. DaphneSt
    #stpete All council members vote yes on Pier resolution except for W. Newton. Motion passes.
    Thu, May 17 2012 19:24:06
  2. The ‘Lens’ design contract was therefore approved by council.
  3. DaphneSt
    #stpete Councilmember Curran “it’s easy to sign a petition-it’s difficult 2get involved” We want a project integrated in the com & downtown
    Thu, May 17 2012 19:21:18
  4. Councilmember Curran is making a case for public involvement versus criticism. She defended the ‘Lens’ design that was criticized by some in the audience as “not traditional-looking enough for downtown,” and cited the Dali Museum structure and its success and the forward-thinking design that the inverted pyramid was in its time. She also stressed that the new Pier is to be a project integrated in the community and downtown. Curran also conceded that the city needed to have done a much better job in communicating with and educating the public throughout the process, from beginning to now.
  5. DaphneSt
    #stpete Pier issue–Newton says that no one who wants to continue their political career will go against 16,000 votes. Re: #voteonthepier
    Thu, May 17 2012 19:15:22
  6. DaphneSt
    #stpete Councilmember W Newton “I’m definately not voting for this. If the people can’t vote, Wengay ain’t voting.” Tweeting on Pier meeting
    Thu, May 17 2012 19:12:02
  7. DaphneSt
    #stpete Councilmember Gerdes says he will vote to put the Pier on a public ballot if petitions meet threshold though not legally obligated
    Thu, May 17 2012 18:50:29
  8. DaphneSt
    #stpete petitions will not obligate city to bring Pier issue to popular vote by law.
    Thu, May 17 2012 18:44:37
  9. It appears that voteonthepier.org may obtain 16,000 petition signatures they are working to collect to have an opportunity for a public vote on the Pier. Based on a question by Councilmember Nurse, he was informed that legally, regardless of the number of signatures obtained, the city is not obligated to bring the issue to a public vote. Note: Most councilmembers agreed that if this number of signatures is obtained, they would make arrangements for a public vote regardless of legal requirements to do so.
  10. DaphneSt
    #stpete Councilmember Nurse- “Pier will either be torn down or it will fall down. Not even safe for garbage trucks. It’s coming down.”
    Thu, May 17 2012 18:43:20
  11. DaphneSt
    #stpete Councilmember Danner “The Pier has never been about history; it has always been about the future” Ref: Million Dollar Pier current
    Thu, May 17 2012 18:35:32
  12. DaphneSt
    #stpete Councilmember Kennedy not convinced design team is committed to project due to a contract clause that’s causing concern for $800,000
    Thu, May 17 2012 18:24:32
  13. Councilmember Kennedy expressed concerns that were also echoed in a lighter fashion by Councilmember Kornell about a particular clause allowing the architect/builder to pull out of the contract. After greater explanation, concerns were alleviated and confidence in the commitment of the architect/builder were restored.
  14. DaphneSt
    W. Newton Lens not the best idea & motion Nov vote: “I will not vote on something unless the people can vote.” Motion w/o 2nd dies. #stpete
    Thu, May 17 2012 18:17:45
  15. Councilmember Newton motioned to open the decision to allow for a public vote on the Pier and place this on the November ballot. No one on the council seconded the motion. The motion died.
  16. DaphneSt
    Lens Public presentation to be held in weeks at Coliseum St. Pete from developers. Details of event still under dev Tweeting from #stpete
    Thu, May 17 2012 18:06:13
  17. This presentation is coming too late to help gain the public trust and garner support for the ‘Lens.’ Recommend a streaming video of this presentation along with TV coverage to help reduce barriers to the information and allow for on-line questions submissions prior to the event.
  18. DaphneSt
    Seems like #stpete really should put The Pier issue up for public vote. That’s been said before, I know. Tweeting from City Council meeting
    Thu, May 17 2012 17:52:27

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