St. Petersburg candidates decry BayWalk plan
ST. PETERSBURG-- Mayoral hopeful Ed Helm said the city will make itself vulnerable to legal challenges if it privatizes the sidewalk fronting BayWalk.
If BayWalk’s owners insist on the sidewalk vacation, “educate them as to what the constitution involves,” Helm said during the City Council's open forum Thursday.
District 8 candidate Leonard Schmiege also chided the City Council for moving forward with the plan.
“I want to remind the City Council when you were sworn in you raised your hand and stated in part, and I quote, ‘I will support and protect and defend the Constitution,’” Schmiege said. “Not only do you swear in an oath to defend the Constitution there is nothing in there that says, ‘except when it is inconvenient to shoppers or developers.' ”
“Somehow business and retail shopping are now more important than free speech and freedom of assembly,” he added. “How did we get to this point?”
Schmiege faces Council Chaiman Jeff Danner in the November general election. Danner supports the BayWalk plan.
Cristina Silva, Times staff writer