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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Letter of the Day

Put The Lens on the ballot

When the original citizensí committee finished its task it submitted a little less than two-dozen design renderings for the new pier in St. Petersburg. These designs were all a variation on the existing pier theme. Although individually different, they had a commonality with what we have know. All seemed acceptable to the citizens of St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, these designs werenít in concert with the wishes of a majority of our St. Petersburg City Council. Hence, we now have The Lens, a design given the thumbs-down by 77 percent of our city residents but championed by the mayor and council. When it became apparent there was a division between the wishes of the citizens and our elected officials, common sense failed and a few vainglorious egos prevailed. It has now come to a venomous impasse because the city attorney sees fit to deny the voters their path to the ballot box.
The city of Clearwater has no problem putting the issue of a new aquarium on the ballot for their citizens to decide the outcome of that issue. When Hillsborough County put forward the financing proposal for what is now Raymond James Stadium, it was on the ballot front and center. St. Petersburg, however, lives in fear of placing the pier debacle in front of the voters for one reason: It will suffer an ignominious defeat. The citizens see what the city officials cannot: The pier is not what they want on their waterfront, and the bullying tactics of those in elected power wonít change their mind. This object does nothing but stand as a sidewalk to nowhere. Disregarding the fact itís being built with money we donít have by a city that is cutting corners to build a much-needed police station on the cheap and is suffering an eminent $3 million shortfall, would it not be time for our elected officials to put their bruised psyches aside and respect the wishes of the people they were elected to serve? Do the obvious: Put The Lens on the ballot and live with the consequences. Gary West St. Petersburg
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