Wednesday, June 20, 2018
News Roundup

Pier petition deadline comes and goes

ST. PETERSBURG — According to Mayor Bill Foster's calculations, Monday was the beginning of the end for the group trying to force a vote on the Pier, which is set to be replaced.

Foster had given voteonthepier.com a June 11 deadline to submit the almost 16,000 petitions needed to get on the Nov. 6 ballot. But Monday came and went without a single petition delivered to City Hall.

Wengay Newton, who is the sole council member against the new $50 million Pier and who signed the first petition in 2010, called Foster's deadline arbitrary.

"The petitions are good for two years. … How are you going to tell 16,000 registered voters you can't vote and then say, 'Vote for me?' " he said.

"I'm not trying to dictate their timing,'' Foster said. "I'm trying to give them the best road map possible to even have a chance of getting something on the ballot."

Foster said he factored in time for the city clerk to count the petitions, for the council to consider an ordinance to put the issue on the ballot and for the petitions to be delivered to the supervisor of elections by the Aug. 3 deadline.

"This August date is really the driving force to have anything on the November ballot," Foster said. "I do not support a special election. This is really it."

Tom Lambdon, the Safety Harbor man heading the voteonthepier.com effort, said the group has 14,100 petitions and will have the required number within two weeks.

"We have time to get this done,'' he said.

Lambdon's group may have options. The council could agree to a special election, at a cost of about $300,000. The council also could pass an emergency ordinance by July 26 to get the question on the November ballot.

"I have to look very carefully at the merit of doing that,'' said council member Steve Kornell. "They've had 18 months to try to get things together.''

City attorney John Wolfe has said that legally, the city does not have to hold an election. The city charter addresses petitions only for ordinances. Foster has said the Pier question should be on the ballot if the group collects the petitions. Meanwhile, the city has signed a contract with Michael Maltzan Architecture, designer of the new Pier, and set next May 31 as the date for closing the current structure.

"The beauty of a November election is we are still in the conceptual stage," Foster said. "We need finality."

Council member Charlie Gerdes said he might consider an ordinance to put the question on the November ballot. As for the actual question, he said it should contain "accurate information about what the consequences would be" for preserving or renovating the inverted pyramid.

"What it would cost and how many subsidies would it require every single year after that?"

Council member Karl Nurse also would feel obligated to put the measure on the ballot if the petitions are received, but he wants to make sure voters understand the cost.

"We really have done a poor job communicating the condition of the Pier and the choices,'' he said. "We really should have been able to communicate how structurally unstable the Pier was."

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283.

Comments
Seminole Heights restaurant Mortar & Pestle files for bankruptcy reorganization

Seminole Heights restaurant Mortar & Pestle files for bankruptcy reorganization

TAMPA — Mortar & Pestle, a fledgling Seminole Heights eatery with a mom-and-pop pharmacy theme, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Seacoast Bank was listed as the creditor with the largest unsecured claim: $1.4 million.The restaurant...
Updated: 20 minutes ago

Column: It’s time for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to process concealed weapons licenses

It is hard to believe that the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs didn’t discover for a year that an employee could not log into an account needed to see results of background checks that examined, among other things, whether applicants f...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Column: I survived a suicide attempt and here’s what you should know

Column: I survived a suicide attempt and here’s what you should know

Twenty-five years ago, I was a reporter at WTSP-TV, out in the field covering Tampa Bay’s Independence Day celebrations. I expected an easy assignment talking about families and fireworks. Then the newsroom called with an urgent message: I needed to ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

For starters: Rays at Astros, with a different look

Rays manager Kevin Cash's commitment to rest players and rotate playing time resulted in an unusual lineup combination for tonight's series and roadtrip finale vs. the Astros.Such as having rookie Willy Adames at second base, Joey Wendle at third, Ca...
Updated: 1 hour ago
15 arrested in Hillsborough construction fraud sting, one for the eighth time

15 arrested in Hillsborough construction fraud sting, one for the eighth time

TAMPA — The contractors arriving at the Brandon home thought they were meeting with a potential customer. They were wrong.In fact, the would-be clients were undercover detectives and the contractors, lacking a license to ply their trade, left the hom...
Updated: 1 hour ago
As Border Patrol searches its buses, Greyhound is pulled into immigration uproar

As Border Patrol searches its buses, Greyhound is pulled into immigration uproar

He was a 12-year Miami resident originally from Trinidad, taken off a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by U.S. Border Patrol agents in January.She was a 60-something Jamaican national who had just met her granddaughter for the first time, w...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Phil Mickelson apologizes four days after hitting moving ball at U.S. Open

Phil Mickelson apologizes four days after hitting moving ball at U.S. Open

NEW YORK — Phil Mickelson has apologized four days after intentionally violating golf rules by hitting a moving ball on the green at the U.S. Open, saying his frustration got the best of him. The apology came Wednesday in a statement released by his ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Could Lucky’s Market move in to Clearwater’s old Albertsons?

Could Lucky’s Market move in to Clearwater’s old Albertsons?

Lucky’s Market is considering a move in to the old Albertsons box space in Clearwater, according to preliminary plans filed with the city. Lucky’s master broker, Rick Lewellyn, was listed on an agenda as discussing renovating the existing property wi...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Couple leased someone else’s home to 12 families at same time, Largo police say

Couple leased someone else’s home to 12 families at same time, Largo police say

LARGO — At least 12 families leased the same Largo home at the same time and lost as much as $4,300 each in a fraud scheme run by a couple who portrayed themselves as owners of the property, Largo police said.Police learned of the scheme Tuesday afte...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Developer proposes Sprouts Farmers Market for Land O’Lakes

Developer proposes Sprouts Farmers Market for Land O’Lakes

LAND O’LAKES – A Sarasota developer is proposing to turn a vacant Winn-Dixie store in central Pasco into a Sprouts Farmers Market or similar specialty grocer.Benderson Development filed preliminary plans Monday with Pasco County to redevelop the form...
Updated: 2 hours ago