Tuesday, May 22, 2018
News Roundup

St. Petersburg mayor sets deadline for Pier petition

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Bill Foster has thrown down the gauntlet and set a deadline for the group trying to force a vote to save the city's iconic Pier.

Foster has told the group voteonthepier.com that it has until June 11 to submit the almost 16,000 petitions needed to get its question on the Nov. 6 ballot.

"It's either put up or shut up,'' Foster said Thursday, noting that the group's leader had turned up at a recent City Council with three cartons that he said were filled with petitions.

"I support the efforts of the people to add this question on a ballot,'' he said. "That being said, it cannot be open-ended. We need to move forward. They have had two years to do it. It's just time.''

Tom Lambdon, the Safety Harbor man spearheading the group opposed to tearing down the current inverted pyramid for a $50 million replacement, is disinclined to be rushed.

"It's unrealistic to assume we can have everything we require within the next few business days," he said.

"It's a deadline for this election,'' he said. "It doesn't in any way affect our dedicated effort to get this petition drive successfully over the finish line in the next couple of months. We are auditing every single petition before we submit them to the clerk and supervisor of elections. It's such an important issue to us that we are leaving zero room for mistakes."

Lambdon said the group has collected a little more than 14,000 petitions.

Foster's decision to pressure voteonthepier.com appears to be part of a two-pronged strategy that includes a broad campaign to build support for the new Pier. Speaking at a meeting with the Tampa Bay Times editorial board, Foster expressed concern about "the lack of facts" surrounding the need to replace the current Pier. He talked about a website the city is about to launch and of upcoming sessions to get public input about how the new Pier should be developed. He handed out a brochure entitled, "Get the Facts!"

"When people are armed with the facts, they get it,'' he said later.

Foster said he set the June 11 deadline for Lambdon's petitions by working backward, taking into account the time needed for them to be processed and for the City Council to consider an ordinance to put the measure on this November's ballot.

In a May 24 letter to Lambdon, city clerk Eva Andujar said it could take several days for the petitions to be counted by her office before they are sent to the supervisor of elections. "Signatures must be verified and the number of required petitions must be confirmed before council takes action to place your question on the ballot,'' she said.

Foster said the City Council can consider an emergency ordinance if the June deadline is missed.

Lambdon is not worried.

"There's nothing in (the letter) that says if you don't meet this deadline that this is done," he said.

"We are in no hurry. … If we don't make this deadline … we are fully supportive of putting it on the next municipal ballot instead of burdening taxpayers with a special election."

The primary for the next municipal election is August 2013, with the general election in November. The city has announced that the inverted pyramid will close on May 31, 2013. Demolition is expected to take place in August.

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

Comments
Lightning-Capitals: Washington forces Game 7 with 3-0 victory

Lightning-Capitals: Washington forces Game 7 with 3-0 victory

WASHINGTON — The Lightning let one get away Monday night. And it might cost Tampa Bay a chance at the Stanley Cup.So now there will be a Game 7 to decide the Eastern Conference. Maybe this is how it should be. Maybe this is how it's supposed to...
Updated: 5 hours ago
The weather didn’t get Lightning fans down. Losing Game 6 did.

The weather didn’t get Lightning fans down. Losing Game 6 did.

TAMPA — If the Tampa Bay Lightning can overcome a 2-game deficit to the Washington Capitals and take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference final, then Deborah Schmeltzer can definitely drive across the Howard Frankland Bridge through a driving rainsto...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning journal: Capitals had a shot at Jon Cooper

Lightning journal: Capitals had a shot at Jon Cooper

WASHINGTON — Interesting how things work out in the world of hockey.Back in 2012, the first NHL team to ever interview Jon Cooper for a head coaching job was actually the Washington Capitals. The Caps general manager at the time was George McPh...
Updated: 5 hours ago
History has been kind to Lightning in Game 7s

History has been kind to Lightning in Game 7s

WASHINGTON — There's nothing more delicious in sports than Game 7.Unless your team is playing in it. Then there's nothing more nerve-racking.Most sports fans watch a big game with a nice cold drink. But if your team is playing in a Game 7, the ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Prepare yourselves: Golden Knights will be talk of the Stanley Cup final

Prepare yourselves: Golden Knights will be talk of the Stanley Cup final

WASHINGTON — It's incredible. Unbelievable, really. Maybe the best sports story in this country and the sport of hockey since 1980's Miracle on Ice.And, as a side note, if the Lightning reaches the Stanley Cup final, everyone in the country out...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s Game 6 shutout loss

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s Game 6 shutout loss

Let's do it one more time, shall we?Game 7 it will be.If it matches Game 6, it will be extraordinary.RELATED: More Lightning coverageThe Lightning could not close the door on the Washington Capitals. The Caps, who apparently really don't want to lose...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tom Jones’ takeaways from Washington’s Game 6 win

Lightning-Capitals: Tom Jones’ takeaways from Washington’s Game 6 win

Caps D Dmitry Orlov has one of the most wicked slap shots in hockey. When he stepped into one in the first period, Lightning D Ryan McDonagh threw his body in front of it and blocked it with his shoulder — just inches from his face. McDonagh sh...
Updated: 5 hours ago
FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

TALLAHASSEE — The parent company of Florida utility giant Florida Power & Light announced Monday that it will buy the largest electricity producer in Northwest Florida, Gulf Power, in a $6.4 billion deal.Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy Inc. said in a...
Updated: 7 hours ago
One of Ybor City’s most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

One of Ybor City’s most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

TAMPA — Developers are poised to launch construction this week on one of Ybor City’s biggest new projects in years — a four-story, $50 million boutique hotel being created by a Chicago company that seeks out neighborhoods rich in color and character....
Updated: 8 hours ago
State softball: Admiral Farragut happy to be in title game this time around

State softball: Admiral Farragut happy to be in title game this time around

VERO BEACH — All season, Admiral Farragut has focused on two things:Believe in each other.Commit to the process.Well, it all paid off in a big way Monday in the Class 3A state semifinals at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach.Alyssa Rano hit a two-run ...
Updated: 8 hours ago