Time is quickly running out on the "Vote on the Pier" effort. It seems like the whole process stalled out in the last 60 days or so. It was a long shot to get he 16,000 approved petitions and recent events where 700 petitions were found to be ineligible didn't help much.
The group needed a strong feet on the ground door to door effort here in the last few months and that effort has been noticeably missing.
It is a long struggle to get something like this referendum accomplished when so many of the loud voices in the city oppose a public vote simply because they know how it will go.
City staff seems almost frantic to get this deal signed, the old Pier shut down and this project started. We have a saying for that type of effort in government, "giving a project a life of its own". Once started there is no turning back.
Mayor Bil Foster may think there is no Phase two or Phase three, but then he probably won't be Mayor then anyhow.
The $50 million allocated for the project will get us something incomplete that no one likes and lot of excuses like those unstable underwater pier footings, excessive movement in the pilings, redesigns for safety purposes, unanticipated demolition costs, all that stuff you can't see but sounds really bad. And probably an apology.
The second $50 million will get us something we kind of tilt our heads and look at like the dog looks at you when its confused.
Ahhh but that last $50 million or so, now that will make the arts folks happy and Beach Drive businesses jump for joy. After all that's what this is really all about.
Meanwhile you will be living with a Police Department that is too small, forget the Police Headquarters, streets that need work, a water and sewer system that is in terrible shape and several administrations saddled out of control upkeep costs, for something most of the people didn't want in the first place.
If you live in St. Pete, it still not too late to get one of those petitions.
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