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The Pier and the Process

From a supporter of honesty and transparency from our City government.

Almost from the beginning there were concerns about the process that led us to the "Lens".

The Visioning process was announced as an open process for citizen review but was carefully managed by those with a preset vision: Replace the Pier with iconic art. 

The input from the public meetings was carefully massaged into ever more focused talking points through the process. Art overtook form and function. The final decision was made not by the people but by outsiders. 

The "Lens" is not a new Pier, in fact it is not a Pier at all. It is piece of art too big to build on land stuck in the water, essentially a $50 to $150 million jogging track and pelican roost. 

Questions continue to surface. Below is an email I received regarding the process from Kenneth Kroger, who is an advocate of VoteOnThePier.com and a local architect. 

FROM A SUPPORTER OF HONESTY AND TRANSPARENCY FROM OUR CITY GOVERNMENT.

The City of St. Petersburg should have complete transparency regarding the cost of renovation of the existing pier and produce a document to support their bold assertions that it would be too expensive. Their claim, that the cost would be $85 million - $90 Million to renovate the pier, should be fully vetted by local construction professionals. In a court of law, this is the only group with the capacity to express a legal opinion regarding the accuracy of the information. This conversation is not being held to that standard of legal veracity and is being played out in the court of public opinion with a good deal of “Political Speak.” 

Where is the documentation and substantiation of the cost to renovate the pier? Their numbers should come from bids from private sector contractors with a detailed cost analysis in the documentation. We are hearing the opinions of government officials who are subjected to the political force of their elected bosses. Their opinions are not creditable evidence of facts and would not hold water in a court of law.  

“The Wave” submission in the competition was budgeted at $50 Million and it included a new pier approach, and new building structure. The estimate was prepared by Robert Kaupp of CC&A, one of the most credible sources of preliminary estimating for the architectural community in the Tampa Bay Area. CC&A has the Curriculum Vitae in the courts and integrity on local construction cost. They are a credible source of what it will take to replace the pier. It would be cost effective to have Robert’s opinion on the renovation expense. 

The Newspaper and City Officials claim to better understand the methods and comparisons in construction estimating then our local construction professionals. They do not examine a detailed estimate with any rigor and they are easily deceived by the rhetoric. 

It is interesting that the reporters can explore the facts and newspaper editors no longer have journalistic integrity to report the facts. They are tending toward political speak to support an agenda, regardless of the communities wish for an open dialogue and the right to democratically decide on an issue. Ultimately, it is the taxpayers who will guarantee this expenditure, and this is where representation is fundamental in this country. 


Vote on the pier!

Kenneth P. Kroger

Thank you for all of your comments and e-mails. 

E-mail doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net or send me a Facebook Friend request at Gene Webb

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joshua Streeter July 11, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Doc-Your writings seem to normally elude to the city being an incompetent bunch of boobs who are inept at getting anything done. Now you're siding with a group that believes there was a coordinated, subversive plot, through 2 administrations, and countless workshops and force through their vision. Huh. Looks like they do know how to get things done, eh?
Joshua Streeter July 11, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Ken Kroger-I watched your video on the Pier. I could cite numerous falicies, but the biggest is your contention that 1) the Pier is worth $45 Million dollars today, and 2) if we put $50 Million into it, it will then have a value of $95 Million. No, it doesn't work that way. Not even close.
Jeannie Cline July 11, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Not at all.....Doc is right on......this is another example of incompetency considering all the time, input, and money expended with this pier process and the 'result' has been a proposal that is so very unpopular. Considering that over a million dollars has been spent along with countless hours of volunteering, the proposal is an example of a fringe group in the decisionmaking realm, which should not happen if our elected officials knew what they were doing with this process
Stephen C. July 11, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Kenneth's email goes a long way towards elucidating the lack of will on the part of our mayor and city council to prepare a fact-based argument for supporting the decision to replace the Pier. A lingering question which all city residents should be asking themselves is: How will the new "Lens" benefit me? Once everyone has visited it once, will it serve to generate any further interest on the local level to warrant a repeat visit? Or, will it simply Serve as a background for photo ops for visiting tourists and the above referenced addition to our waterfront jogging paths. Quite an expensive proposition for a non-functioning sculpture--but great for the Mayor's feathered friends. Nice piece Gene.
Jerry Kendall July 11, 2012 at 07:37 PM
I do not think i have seen a less popular decison by the city government since we came here in 1979. Other than the Mayor and City Council, where are all of the people that want the lens? I have talked with only one individual that liked it and dozens upon dozens of folks that think it is a very bad decision. Why then is the council and Mayor so dead set on moving forward on this white elephant?
Red July 11, 2012 at 09:44 PM
The "FIX" is in! This project is like a fight with one guy ready to "take a dive". But it's us--- the taxpayer that will be all wet. Be a good sucker and throw in the towel. This fight was over before it began.
Jean M DeMange July 12, 2012 at 12:36 AM
We are in a time of austerity in the family budgets, why can't politicians understand that all this buying and doing isn't a good example to the people who pay their salaries. If they ran it like a business, they would be lean, and not top heavy as our elected officials and city big wigs around the country. Wait until the next elections and there will be a total overthrow of positions who handle things "what the people" elected them for, not their own illusions of grandure. Jean M
Sierra Dante July 12, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Can't afford this right now and wish the tax payers had a say & vote on this from conception, I won't be voting for this mayor.

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