The Pier, The LENS, The People

What will Bill Foster do about the Pier vote?

It looks like the stage is being set for major confrontation on the Pier. If Vote On The Pier has enough verified petitions then what?

The safest approach for the Mayor would be to ask the Legal department to quickly draft an ordinance with ballot language and present it to City Council. If they vote it up the Mayor wins big time, if they vote it down the Mayor can just shrug his shoulders and blame it all on the City Council. 

The key lies in how the ordinance, should we get to that point, is drafted and what the proposed ballot language is. Since the City attorney has already indicated he does not feel the petition drive is legally binding, he may not feel compelled to structure the proposed ballot language directly in line with the petition language. Then again he may.

If the language closely parallels the save the Pier petition, it gets voted down by City Council and the City is stuck with the LENS.

If the language is more along the lines "do you want to continue with the LENS or start over", then it will be a close vote with Nurse or Gerdes being the swing vote.

Will the Mayor give Legal any "direction" regarding the ballot language? Other than asking them to make it clear and legal, and adding in some sort of reasonable financial cap so the City doesn't get trapped into a voter mandate with no financial limit, probably not. 

There will be the threat of lost sunk money  and maybe even a thinly veiled threat of legal action from the current contractor.

Staff will go on and on about the Pier Visioning, the meetings ad-nausea while carefully avoiding talking about how they controlled citizen input.

All red herrings, but none the less effective.

All of this will get really confusing. if the Ordinance makes it to City Council.

Look for some double-entendre motions (those where when you vote yes, you are really voting no, or vice versa). Great whining and bleating from the arts segment on Council: Curran, Danner with some convoluted support from Kennedy.

Resolve from Nurse, firmness from Kornell and Newton and a worried and stressed Charlie Gerdes. Gerdes has done a great job so far, but if he bobbles this one it could be the end of what is turning out to be a great political career.

It will be great theater if it actually plays out.

Remember this, the Mayor can receive the petitions, have them verified and "take the whole thing under consideration" for future action since there is just not enough time to get the issue on the November ballot.

If that happens. Game over. LENS on.

email doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net or send me a Facebook Friend request.

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N.A.W. July 13, 2012 at 05:16 PM
S.Ripley the decision to demolish The Pier was only made in August of 2010, so how could people have acted any sooner than that? The option to refurbish was promised to be a part of the process all the way through, and it was not. Ed Montinari was quoted as saying a refurb option would always be an option. Let this be a lesson to all of us- if you stand up when you see something wrong in official policy, immediately stand up and do something about it. That's why the petition drive started, the decision to demolish The Pier was made without the consent of the voting, tax paying residents of St.Pete. Part of the lack of interest you speak of is a direct result of city planning. Do you seriously think they want the p[ublic involved in decisions they make? The demolition of The Pier was a forgone conclusion long ago in some people's minds. The backlash they are receiving is a direct result of going at this the completely wrong way. Ask the residents FIRST, then make a decision based on that. Do you want to refurbish what we have, or demolish and start new(lens)? Do you want to demolish and have nothing? These questions were never asked, and all of the recommendations of the Pier Advisory task force?All those years of meetings?The city totally disregarded their findings. Yes this has been a waste of money, close to 2 mil so far, and it is councils fault for not going about this the right way from the start.Lesson learned-always ask the public on giant, regional life changing ideas
S. Ripley July 13, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Perhaps the formal decision was made in 2010, but the wheels where set in motion long before then. As soon as large chunks of money are involved, screwy things start happening. Local politics rarely attract society’s best & brightest, but once those folks get into office, they figure pretty quickly how to get what they want. It takes a very keen eye foresee potential problems before they become obvious- and this is a great example. I recall when pier redevelpment got some coverage back in 2005- a real estate developer acquaintance of mine remarked “this will get awfully ugly before it gets done”.
HANI F MATTA July 16, 2012 at 01:26 AM
first principle in architecture is " form follows function "......the lens has no function , just a lifeless form ...it is therefore a sculpture, a long track for the daring athletes who will dare to walk, run and sweat exposed to our hot , humid and stormy weather. what people need is functions that bring life to a climate controlled building.........we need restaurants , food, drinks, beer, cafes, shopping ....etc. same as in the existing pier. so stop. cut our losses and go back to serious programming effort based on residents desires and input once we have a mature program , advertise for an open competition to remodel/expand the existing building or to build a new facility, whichever will satisfy our approved program an open competition will bring the talents of many florida and national architects so we can have on hand tens of ideas to chose from........only then we will be certain we made the right and wisest choice otherwise we will end up with this dead elephant they call the lens , a $ 70000000 useless sculpture that we will visit probably twice in a life time Hani f Matta architect elmasry73@aol.com
CJ July 16, 2012 at 01:49 AM
The more I read on this, the more it seems clear that obviously the main reason people have against demolishing The Pier is the destruction of the beloved Inverted Pyramid design. It is what put The Pier on the map. Every travel/tourist book, etc, written on St Petersrburg since 1972 features The Pier and it's Inverted Pyramid. Why have I not read much about simply building a new, improved , more awesome version of the same thing? Isn't this a no brainer idea? I don't get it..why don't the city people see that ''if'' they are going to do this big expense...then the way to win the hearts over of vitually everyone..is to simply do a ''better'' one. This would take care of most arguments from practically every opposing party here. It would appease those who think the old one is structurally falling apart. It addresses the people who want something new and excitingly different, but the same. And... it pleases those who absolutely don't want the REALLY COOL Inverted Pyramid gone forever. I have sort of changed direction on my thoughts on this...but I think this idea is one that would satisfy more people. Then all that is left is the other issue. The money.
Bill H. July 23, 2012 at 07:26 PM
N.A.W., you are right. Only 4 or 5 million is ready now. The rest must be borrowed, so the bill goes up either way. Still favor refurbishing if it can be done, compared to doing the Lens.


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