Every night, a Pier night
With the referendum to determine the fate of the Lens fast approaching, supporters and opponents of the proposed new pier are cranking up their efforts.
Citizens for the St. Pete Pier, a new group backing the Lens, held a fundraiser Friday night at the St. Petersburg Museum of History. They've also launched a website, buildthepier.com, and a Facebook page of the same name.
The anti-Lens group, Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg, will hold a meeting of young professional volunteers at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Orange Blossom, 220 Fourth St. N.
Council member Leslie Curran's informational meeting about the Lens last week will be followed by two additional sessions hosted by council members. Charlie Gerdes will hold a town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. July 24 in the music center at the St. Petersburg College Gibbs Campus, 6605 Fifth Ave. N. Jeff Danner's meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 6 at St. Petersburg's Main Library, 3745 Ninth Ave. N.
In other Pier-related news, the second meeting of Mayor Bill Foster's 828 Alliance is scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday, Room 100, City Hall, 175 Fifth St. N. The group's task is to ensure that whatever the referendum's outcome, the city will be ready to move forward with plans for a new pier.
Also this week, mayoral candidate Kathleen Ford filed a brief in the 2nd District Court of Appeal in a continued effort to save the closed inverted pyramid. In April, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Jack Day ruled against her bid to force a referendum on the 1973 structure.
A tale of two Fosters
Candidate Amy Foster, top right, who's running for Jeff Danner's seat in District 8, is get peppered by the same question when she gets out to talk to voters: Are you related to Mayor Bill Foster?
The answer is no.
But just to be sure there's no confusion, Foster's campaign includes this line in almost all of its news releases: "Amy Foster, who is of no relation to Mayor Bill Foster, is the National Program Manager for the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) managed by the EdLab Group."
Term-limited in the House, state Rep. Ed Hooper announced months ago that he plans to make a bid for the District 2 at-large seat on the Pinellas County Commission. That seat is occupied by Commissioner Norm Roche, who is selling his house in Clearwater and may or may not be moving out of his district.
Although it's a little unclear whom Hooper will be running against, he's had no trouble raising money.
He finished June with nearly $32,000, of which he has spent less than $1,000. He ended one fundraiser in late June with more than 60 contributions in hand, many from people who regularly support Republican candidates — a sign Roche may not get the backing from local donors that other Republicans can expect.
It stands to reason that candidates running to be the next mayor of St. Petersburg would raise more money than people in City Council races — they have to reach voters citywide from the outset, not just in the general election. But three candidates for City Council seats brought in more contributions last quarter than mayoral candidate Kathleen Ford, who raised almost $21,000 by the end of June.
They were: Darden Rice and David McKalip, who are running in District 4, and Amy Foster (who is of no relation to Bill Foster, in case that wasn't clear).
Contact Anna M. Phillips at email@example.com or (727) 893-8779. Follow on Twitter @annamphillips