Sunday, May 27, 2018
News Roundup

Romano: Move carefully on any potential Pier straw poll

Bill Cosby used to do a routine about coin flips before historical conflicts.

He would imagine the choices given to George Custer and Sitting Bull, for instance. Another was the colonists and the British army during the Revolutionary War.

Cosby, as referee, would narrate the coin flip:

"The British call heads; it is tails. You lose the toss, British. What will you do, settlers?

"All right, the settlers say they will wear any color clothes they want to, shoot from behind the rocks and trees, and say that your team must wear red and march in a straight line."

It's been years since I've heard Cosby do the bit, but I thought about it this week when reading the choices St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster was suggesting for a Pier straw poll.

Forgive me if I have missed some of the nuance, but the proposal sounded something like this:

Heads: Approve the Lens.

Tails: Get one of those do-it-yourself Pier kits at Ikea.

Now it's possible that I've exaggerated the options, but you get the idea. A straw poll is not going to be terribly reliable if the choices are not realistic.

To be honest, I'm not even sure a straw poll can accurately reflect the complexities involved in this decision. But, if the City Council decides to move forward with the idea this afternoon, I would hope they take great care in framing the questions.

Since the current Pier's imminent closure has removed renovation from the equation, this is more a philosophical debate over what type of attraction makes the most sense.

If residents want to invest most of the funds on building above the water, then the result will be a largely ornamental structure. The Lens is a pretty nice example of this.

The point is that building above the water is extremely expensive, and so the old concept of restaurants, nightclubs and stores hundreds of feet from shore is not feasible.

On the other hand, if residents do not want the focus on aesthetics or walkways, they can choose to invest in attractions on the land near the Pier's approach with a smaller, less expensive structure over the water.

This idea hasn't been given much attention in recent years, so the city would need to explain what an upland project might look like.

The key is that residents need to understand there are ramifications with every decision. The City Council has already said no to renovating the Pier. Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg is urging residents to say no to the Lens.

At some point, St. Pete has to say yes to something.

• • •

Earlier this month, I asked for your help in deciding which manatee to adopt from the Save the Manatee Club. I appreciate everyone who called and wrote with their choices, and I've finally come to a decision.

Thanks in large part to dozens of heartfelt and handwritten letters from Katie Rief's fourth-grade students at St. Mary's Episcopal Day School in Tampa, the winner is Ariel at Homosassa Springs. Ariel was rescued with her mother, Amanda, when she was just 2 weeks old. The adoption was made in the name of Ms. Rief's fourth-grade class.

For more information on adopting and donating, please visit savethemanatee.org.

Comments
Rays bats come alive with six-run rally to beat Orioles 8-3

Rays bats come alive with six-run rally to beat Orioles 8-3

ST. PETERSBURG — If you think the Rays are holding their pitching staff together with baling wire, duct tape and an overbooked shuttle to Triple-A Durham, a bigger story might be how their bats keep producing runs no matter who is swinging them...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
RFK’s son: There was 2nd shooter

RFK’s son: There was 2nd shooter

Los Angeles Times (TNS)As the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy approaches, conspiracy theories still abound.The latest to back the theory of a second gunman is the senator’s son Robert F. Kennedy Jr.Sirhan B. Sirhan, a ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Visa woes have summer businesses hiring Puerto Ricans

Visa woes have summer businesses hiring Puerto Ricans

PHIPPSBURG, Maine — Frustrated by red tape and visa limits on foreign workers, tourism businesses from Maine to Missouri are turning to Puerto Ricans who are fleeing a shattered economy and devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Bob Smith, owner of S...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Troopers looking for driver in New Port Richey fatal hit-and-run

Troopers looking for driver in New Port Richey fatal hit-and-run

NEW PORT RICHEYDriver surrenders after crash that kills bicyclistThe driver Florida Highway Patrol troopers say struck and killed a bicyclist then drove from the scene turned herself in Sunday afternoon.Shanna Marie Rampino surrendered a 2000 Toyota ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
A solemn display

A solemn display

Associated PressVisitors to Boston Commons in Boston last week pass 37,000 American flags planted to honor every Massachusetts resident killed in war dating to the Revolutionary War. The "flag garden" idea on Memorial Day started in Boston about a de...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Former President George H.W. Bush hospitalized in Maine

Former President George H.W. Bush hospitalized in Maine

BIDDEFORD, Maine — A spokesman for former President George H.W. Bush says the 93-year-old was experiencing low blood pressure and has been hospitalized. Spokesman Jim McGrath tweeted just after 2 p.m. Sunday that Bush will likely remain in the hospit...
Updated: 5 hours ago
None injured in Trinity rehab center fire

None injured in Trinity rehab center fire

TRINITY — No one was hurt Sunday morning after a fire broke out at a rehabilitation center.According to Pasco County Fire Rescue, Trinity Regional Rehab Center at 2144 Welbilt Blvd. is running on generator power after the blaze broke out about 10:30 ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Part of Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard closed through at least 5 p.m.

Part of Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard closed through at least 5 p.m.

Both southbound lanes of Bayshore Boulevard between W. Barcelona and W. Rubideaux streets are closed while the Tampa Water Department repairs a water main break.The repair and roadway restoration work is expected to be completed by 5 p.m. Sunday but ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Meteorologists are calling Alberto a ‘subtropical storm.’ What the heck is that?

Meteorologists are calling Alberto a ‘subtropical storm.’ What the heck is that?

We’re all waking up to the impacts of Alberto: dreary rain, gusty wind, the reluctant change of Memorial Day plans.But while the effects are routine for storm-weathering Floridians, the category of storm Alberto falls into is a little less familiar. ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Temple Terrace applauds progress on downtown project

TEMPLE TERRACE — A round of applause from the audience followed the recent vote by the Temple Terrace City Council to negotiate a contract with a company that plans to build and manage luxury apartments in the long-idle downtown redevelopment area.Th...
Updated: 8 hours ago