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No Pier Over 'Lens'? Worst Idea in Tampa Bay?

A survery of St. Petersburg residents showed they'd rather have nothing than the $50 million 'Lens' icon in Tampa Bay.

StPetePolls has released its results from its September poll and survey says St. Petersburg residents would rather have no pier at all than have the "Lens" 51.7 percent to 48.3 percent. 

According to readers of Creative Loafing, the feeling is mutual. In its annual "Best of the Bay" awards, Michael Maltzan Architecture's "Lens" pier design received the "worst idea of Tampa Bay" award. 

"The Lens" has greater support among younger poll respondents. According to results from StPetePolls, more than 50 percent of those between 18 and 49 years of age would rather build the "Lens". However, those 50 and older would rather build no pier at all. 

The alternative weekly also had Mayor Bill Foster as runner-up to "worst local politician." That award went to State Sen. Ronda Storms. According to StPetePolls, however, Foster is viewed more favorably. 

According to the poll results, Foster has 52.7 percent approval rating compared to 47.5 percent who do not improve. Foster is fairing better than city council, which has only a 43.8 percent approval rating. 

Other StPetePolls.org results

  • Would you support building a new Rays baseball stadium in the Carillon area of north St Petersburg?    Yes:  42.1%        No:  57.9%
  • Do you think the city installing red light cameras was a good thing?    Yes:  50.7%        No:  49.3%   
  • Would you support raises or one time bonuses next year for city employees who have not received raises in over 4 years?    Yes:  67.1%        No:  32.9%                                                  
N.A.W. September 21, 2012 at 02:14 PM
http://www.stpete.org/news/the_pier/docs/Pier_EconomicStudy_VisitorProfile_Sept2000_Klages.pdf
sparky September 21, 2012 at 02:15 PM
The new pier will be a greater ghost town because you actually have to WALK out to it. That is the problem- we are an urban city with a suburban mentality- just look at the number of cars on the pier that it was not designed to handle and its no wonder its falling down. They pyramid is Representative of an architectural style of the mid 20th century and it is iconic.
Jeannie Cline September 21, 2012 at 03:10 PM
The Columbia at the Pier is a shoddy restaurant, beichler? Just why did Cameron Diaz dine there and not on Beach Drive when she was in town to watch the Yankees and Rays play?
Shore Acres Rick September 21, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Let me first say, that I am not necessarily in the camp that wants to preserve the current pier. But I will offer that it's a far more attractive solution than the Lens. Why? Because at least I get an air conditioned building. I get a place to hold collector car events. I get a place to fish that doesn't demand I fish in 'designated areas', whatever that means. I get a bar with music. I can dine there. That is what is meant by function, and I can do none of that on the Lens. It's a sculpture writ large whose eponymous Lens is opaque. It's a fancier, less ecologically interesting version of the Weedon Island Preserve Boardwalk. And downtown doesn't need architectural re-invention, it needs architectural harmony. Here is a list of buildings for which the area is known.. The Vinoy, The Don Cesar, St. Petersburg High, Admiral Farragut, Sunset Golf Course, The Women's Club on Snell Isle, Stetson University, Mirror Lake Library, The Open Air Post Office, The Fine Arts Museum, The Original Bayfront Hospital and on and on. All of them feature Mediterranean Revival design elements. The one criticism of the existing pier I have was that it replaced a more appropriate structure that fit the city's dominant and timeless architectural flavor. So here is the chance to improve upon the current Pier, and what do we get? A selection of three designs, not one of which captures the flavor of St. Pete or improves upon the functional qualities of the existing pier.
N.A.W. September 21, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Joshua Streeter, you embarrass yourself by mentioning a roller coaster, something Tom Lambdon proposed in the 1980's, LOL. Mentioning that means you are swallowing the pablum fed to you by council and the mayor. This never had anything to do with a roller coaster, how embarrassing for you.
beichler September 21, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Is that 1 resturant worth a $1.5 Million dollar tax payer subsidy? I don't see any other resturants in downtown recieving those benefits.
beichler September 21, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Shore Acres Rick- Have you seen the updated plan, all those activities you want to do are avaiable on the Lens. Watch the video on the website and review the plans. http://www.thenewstpetepier.com/
Wendy September 21, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Your statement of 68% may be correct out of those who voted for any of the three designs but there are many of us who don't like any of the designs and didn't vote at all because there wasn't a "None of the above" button. You also forget that the outrageous dollar figure is only for PHASE ONE of the Lens production. I intensely dislike it and hope it never comes to fruition. That money would be much better spent elsewhere.
Joshua Streeter September 21, 2012 at 08:49 PM
When did they know it's not legally binding? Uhm, before the first signature was inked. They went through quite a bit of legal gymnastics to try to get something that was legal onto the ballot, and there was simply no way. And yes, I said you should be OVERLY nice to the 5 precious votes that you HAD say yes, as any one would blow the whole thing for 23,000 people. Just 5 people held your fate, and you continued to rip on the council as a whole. I don't know what planet you live on, but in my world, when people say, "I think you suck, but I want you to listen to my proposal," it doesn't go over well. I congratulated Vote on the Pier for an improbably victory, and called for them to start aligning, rather than fighting, once it was put to workshop. The results speak for themselves. Your approach lost 3 votes. And it's not pandering, it's pragmatics.
Joshua Streeter September 21, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Because she knew no one would be there to bother her! HA! You kinda left the door wide open for that one, Jeannie.
Joshua Streeter September 21, 2012 at 08:52 PM
OK then, tell me what motivated him to work so diligently on this issue?
Joshua Streeter September 21, 2012 at 08:59 PM
I also answered a request (some called it intimidation) to meet in person to discuss from those at Vote on the Pier. I showed, no one else did. Troll? I state facts, correct people's misrepresentations, and people get bent out of shape. I wish I was on someone's payroll! I'm just a citizen who stays involved in local government. I'm not even very passionate about the Lens, but I am passionate about the process! You must respect the rule of law. To be involved you have to organize, and come up with an alternative plan. Not, "Vote NO!" Show me a clearly better alternative to the Lens, and I'll sign the Stop the Lens petition.
Joshua Streeter September 21, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Z and Rick from Shore Acres- You two both sound reasonable, and educated on issues surrounding the Pier. I'd love to discuss your alternative views at a Lens presentation. Is there one coming up? It's the citizens who have already shaped the redesign on some features, and if this train is rollin, let's make sure we make it the best we can (even if we disagree on it being the ultimate best vehicle).
Nicolas Weathersbee September 22, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Joshua Streeter 4:52 pm on Friday, September 21, 2012 "OK then, tell me what motivated him to work so diligently on this issue?" You don't deserve a response, but I'll give one to you anyway. Tom called me back in 2010, after the vote to demolish. He was very unhappy that they voted to demolish without a referendum. He knew a lot about the pier from when he DID try to put a coaster there in the 80's...he was very familiar with the process of doing ANYTHING on the waterfront, and was amazed that they were doing this without a referendum.....you can't sneeze at the waterfront without a referendum, and rightly so. He did it for the RIGHT reason....that people were denied a vote on such a landmark of our city. I agreed with him, and the petition was filed not long after that in November of 2010. Not once did a roller coaster come up, except from the mouth of the mayor, who knew about the coaster in the 80's. The mayor started going around, even on TV, telling people that the coaster was Tom's goal. At the time we thought it was funny, because if that was all he had, he didn't have much since it wasn't true. But yet, the mayor, and other council members kept on lying about it. Kept on telling people that he wanted to build a coaster, so some people believed the lie. See, they were lying about this from the very beginning, that's why I lost all respect for them from the start. You don't play paddy cakes with liars, you out them as liars.
N.A.W. September 22, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Joshua Streeter 4:59 pm on Friday, September 21, 2012 "I also answered a request (some called it intimidation) to meet in person to discuss from those at Vote on the Pier. I showed, no one else did." THIS IS A LIE. YOU WANTED TO MEET SOMEONE FROM VOTP AT THE PIER AND SAID YOU WOULD BE THERE, THAT'S IT. NO ONE "INTIMIDATED" YOU...MAN YOU ARE SUCH A LIAR. No one asked to meet you there, and no one said they would meet you, or go to meet you. You just put it out there that you were going, and if someone wanted to be there, that's where you would be. Like discussing things in person with you would change your mind. This takes the cake, you sir are a liar.
N.A.W. September 22, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Joshua Streeter 4:51 pm on Friday, September 21, 2012 "Because she knew no one would be there to bother her! HA! You kinda left the door wide open for that one, Jeannie." This shows exactly the kind of jerk you are. Like the Colombia is empty, LOL...or 800K people don't visit the Pier on a slow year. You laugh as hundreds of people lose their jobs. Karma is a bitch, get used to it.
sparky September 22, 2012 at 04:31 PM
I think in the end the whole pier thing is just a big diversion by the Foster Administration so that while we are focused a couple of thousand feet offshore the city administration can do whatever it wants anywhere in the city. A 12 million dollar budget deficit and they point at public safety and threaten it instead of cutting administrative positions in other departments. Look at the city marina. They took over the ships store from someone who ran it for 25 years profitably. He did it with 2 employees under him to run the ships store and the fuel dock. The city now has a new Marina supervisor and a Ships store supervisor in the same building and it now takes four employees to do what two did under private management. This is all because the failed real estate agent Chris Ballestra wants to show Rick Mussett that he knows how to make money. Both of these jokers make over $100 k and sit in offices in city hall. Ballestra has been in the middle of the Pier hearings- he is the one that looks like the piggy that went to market- and manages all of the downtown that the $50 million could be spent in. Open your eyes St. Petersburg- the city has been stolen away by a wrinkled grinning mayor and an entrenched administration.
Joshua Streeter September 22, 2012 at 09:21 PM
NAW- I took screenshots before the posts were removed. VOTP, after I accepted, said they were just informed about a pending lawsuit, and removed the posts. I sign my name to every post. You use an acronym. I do not have the option of lying. Care to state your real name?
Joshua Streeter September 22, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Dude, relax, it was mild joking. I love the Columbia. They're moving, not closing, BTW, so people can keep their jobs. It's not a zero sum game. And yes, they're staying in St. Pete. I don't know where, aside from not Beach Drive.
Joshua Streeter September 22, 2012 at 09:38 PM
nic-Starting off with "You don't deserve a response," is just poor form. Let's be respectful. Furthermore, you tell me Tom was unhappy that there wasn't a referendum, but you didn't say WHY. What if I told you I'm unhappy that the petition got through to council. Does this tell you any of my motivation for being unhappy? (I'm not unhappy about it, btw) The law is clear, as we've stated many times, you can't have a referendum for budget items. Furthermore, referendums are required for waterfront properties that are for "sale, lease or transfer" to private parties. Not the case here. If Ms. Ford's lawsuit was valid, that the city couldn't do anything without a referendum, then why didn't she bring it in 2010??? You don't need the petition if the law states we must have a referendum...but it doesn't.
Joshua Streeter September 22, 2012 at 10:24 PM
OH, it's Nicolas Weathersbee, from VOTP. YOU are the guy who called me out. I'm assuming N.A.W. is also Nicolas Weathersbee. If I'd have made that connection before, I would have quit posting, because you have shown in the past that it's personal. This isn't about you vs me, Nic, it's about what is best for the city. Nic, you said that was the one wanted to meet someone? The conversation is plain as day, on VOTP's FB page. I also have the screen shot if you try to take my posts down, as has been done before. Posting in the next comment, due to exceeding the number of characters allowed.
Joshua Streeter September 22, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Voteonthepier.com Joshua Streeter you are a poopy pants. August 2 at 2:11pm · Like · 2 Nicolas Weathersbee Joshua Streeter, I am one of the mods here. I do not control the page, however I do contribute from time to time, as it takes many eyes to keep up with this. If you would ever like to speak to me in person, I would be happy to speak with you about all of this if you are interested. August 2 at 2:23pm · Like Joshua Streeter Always keeping it professional, I see. You don't need to be a professional politician to some cooth. Council members read FB. You guys probably worked against 23,000 people through your comments here. August 2 at 2:41pm via mobile · Like Joshua Streeter Nick-I made a decision in 2006 to use my real name on anything online. I will not say anything online that I won't say in person. If you can show me a benefit of us meeting, I would. August 2 at 2:45pm via mobile · Like Nicolas Weathersbee Well, filling you in on some of the truths about this sometimes is easier in person, as typing is devoid of any body language, inflections, and humor, lol. It's ok, I was just trying to extend the olive branch, no worries. August 2 at 2:54pm · Like Joshua Streeter I'm always up for learning the truth. If you want to meet at Johnny Reno's sometime, I'd be down. I love the Pier. August 2 at 2:59pm via mobile · Like **So who first called to meet in person, Nic? That's the last time you call me a liar. I expect an apology.**
N.A.W. September 22, 2012 at 11:50 PM
BWAAAHAHAHAHA, i knew you kept screenshots! Now we know. Thank you JS. No one intimidated you as is shown in your screenshots. No one requested to meet you at the pier. You were told that it would be possible to meet sometime if you wanted to...you said, you would be "down" for that, and that you would be at Jony Renos that night. No one said that they would meet you there, and the lying is you saying that you were intimidated in some fashion, and that someone "requested" to meet you. It seems you were not at all intimidated, and no one requested to meet you at the pier. And interesting your screenshot doesn't have your "poopy pants" comment. We wondered if you kept screenshots, and you do, like a good troll. Please show where anyone intimidated you, or "requested" to meet you.
Joshua Streeter September 23, 2012 at 12:06 AM
This isn't about you and I, nic. Like I said, I didn't know that I was speaking to you. No one wants to see this. Bye, nic.
N.A.W. October 08, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Joshua Streeter-"I made a decision in 2006 to use my real name on anything online." HMMMM, interesting that you have this fake profile on facebook: JESS STRAUSSER https://www.facebook.com/jess.strausser?fref=pb And yes I have taken a screenshot of it.
Joshua Streeter October 08, 2012 at 10:30 PM
My joke profile with scribbled on fake mustache? The profile that I specifically pointed out to VOTP belonged to me? I hid nothing, and only used it to post when VOTP banned me...3 times. Again, Nicholas Weathersbee, stop this. No one wants to see us go back and forth online.
Joshua Streeter October 10, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I forgot that I also have a badly photoshopped sombrero on my head, and I even mockingly posted from my real account so people know it's me. Yes, nefarious, me, with my "fake" profile.
N.A.W. October 10, 2012 at 03:29 PM
N.A.W is an acronym, not a name. Joshua Streeter-"I made a decision in 2006 to use my real name on ANYTHING online."
N.A.W. October 10, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Joshua Streeter-"I made a decision in 2006 to use my real name on ANYTHING online." ......ANYTHING. I guess that's not true.
Sharon Stubblebine February 24, 2013 at 11:22 PM
I showed a friend of mine visiting from out of town a picture of The Lens. His comment was where do we think we are, Dubai ? We then went out to the Pier and had a wonderful lunch at Cha Cha Coconuts. The food, the breeze, the entertainment and the view were great. I go regularly to the Columbia. I'm glad the Gonzmarts' plan to keep a Columbia restaurant downtown but half the fun of going there is getting there and the view. You'll have neither from the Dolphin Parking lot. Part of the attraction of the restaurants on the Pier is that you're out on the water with a great view. When The Pier is destroyed and the Lens is built any of the Pier restaurants and shops that decide to stay in business will just be another downtown waterfront business, competing with all the great ones already there. IMHO the city refused to put the Pier's future to a vote is because the remember what happened when they wanted to bulldoze Albert Whitted Airport and build parks, apartments, condos and restaurants on the land. The citizens voted NO and we still have an airport which has a nice restaurant. If we, the citizens of St. Petersburg are borrowing $50 million dollars we should use it for something we really need, like a new Police Headquarters, instead of a partially completed piece of art that we're now finding out is not being built the way it was promoted and only the city council knew that the $50 million was only buying us the basic structure.

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