Sunday, April 22, 2018
News Roundup

Opposition to St. Petersburg's Lens design erodes, poll finds

ST. PETERSBURG — With a likely referendum coming in August, support to stop the Lens from being built in place of the Pier seems to be falling, according to a new poll.

In a telephone survey Tuesday, 53 percent of respondents said the city should terminate its contract with Michael Maltzan Architecture, the Lens designer. That number fell from 67 percent who indicated they opposed the project in a May 1 poll.

The automated telephone poll of 744 registered St. Petersburg voters was done by stpetepolls.org and commissioned by local blogger Peter Schorsch. The poll has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.

Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg, a group working to stop the Lens, collected more than 20,000 signatures to force a public vote on the issue. Leaders declined to comment on the poll.

The petition signatures are being validated.

For months, Mayor Bill Foster and City Council members who favor the Lens have said residents would warm up to the project.

Anthony Sullivan, founder of WOW Our Waterfront St. Pete, which backs the Lens, said residents are paying more attention to the project and don't want to be left without a Pier.

"That's what we've been fighting for," Sullivan said about the poll numbers. "It's great news. The Pier is going to close. People wonder what's next. The Lens is a pretty great option."

The inverted pyramid closes Friday after anchoring the downtown waterfront for 40 years. Fences will soon encase the structure; demolition will start in the fall.

The poll also asked respondents four questions that Foster wants the council to consider adding to the Aug. 27 ballot.

When asked whether the city should build a replacement pier to honor the 100-year tradition of having a pier, 70 percent of respondents said "yes."

Sixty-four percent said they don't want the city to offer a 99-year lease to a private company for a pier. An overwhelming majority — 76 percent — don't want a wooden fishing pier to replace the inverted pyramid.

The poll's closest margin was on whether the city should adopt universal curbside recycling and charge residents $3 a month. Forty-nine percent answered "no," 41 percent answered "yes" and 10 percent were unsure.

Foster has said he wants to give voters options in case they vote to halt the Lens in August. He doesn't want some of the most pristine waterfront property in Florida left vacant. Millions of tourists have flocked to the Pier since 1973.

The City Council will discuss the possible questions in an agenda-review session this afternoon.

Council member Leslie Curran, a Lens supporter, said the public has been fed misinformation by critics. The city, she said, needs to educate residents as a possible referendum approaches.

"We need to quit playing games with questions and share info with the public about the Lens," she said.

Comments
4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A man wearing nothing but a coat stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Tennessee before dawn Sunday and shot four people to death, according to police, who credited a customer with saving lives by wresting a weapon away from t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

Class 9A-8 (higher seed hosts)Tuesday: No. 3 Alonso at No. 2 Palm Harbor University, 4; No. 4 Sarasota Riverview at No. 1 Newsome, 7Thursday: Final, 4 or 7 (depending on who hosts)Class 8A-4 at Strawberry Crest Tuesday: No. 1 Wharton vs. No. 4 Wiregr...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Teen killed in crash remembered as

Teen killed in crash remembered as "always smiling and laughing"

WEEKI WACHEE — Seth Leathers was on his way to play basketball at his church when he was killed Wednesday in a car crash on U.S. 19 in Spring Hill, according to family friend Laurie Pike.Leathers, 16, was the passenger in a car driven by his friend G...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Rays thoughts are with ex-teammate Danny Farquhar

Members of the Rays organization sent their thoughts and prayers to former teammate Danny Farquhar, who was hospitalized Saturday night in Chicago in stable but critical condition after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm.Farqu...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Baseball: Bulls edge Knights to even series

Baseball: Bulls edge Knights to even series

After a two-hour weather delay Saturday evening at USF, the remote local threat of lightning finally dissipated.The postseason intensity never did.For the second consecutive night, the UCF-USF baseball series delivered, this time with the Bulls (25-1...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe a path for wildlife across Interstate 4

Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe a path for wildlife across Interstate 4

The original Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition in 2012 was inspired by the how the Florida black bear roamed — and the space it needed to do so successfully. In 2010, expedition team member Joe Guthrie conducted research through the University of ...
Published: 04/22/18
Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Closers.That's what the Lightning looked like as it closed out the New Jersey Devils in five games with a 3-1 win Saturday.Nikita Kucherov's star power blazed again, the defense controlled the game and not even Jersey goaltend...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Athletics’ Sean Manaea no-hits Red Sox

Athletics’ Sean Manaea no-hits Red Sox

OAKLAND, Calif. – Sean Manaea watched as Marcus Semien fired a ball from short to second baseman Jed Lowrie, turned around, and jumped into the arms of catcher Jonathan Lucroy. History was made at the Coliseum.Manaea no-hit the Red Sox on ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

BOSTON — Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk scored 1:19 apart in the second period, and then the Maple Leafs killed off a 5-on-3 and three more power plays in a row to beat the Bruins 4-3 in Game 5 on Saturday night and avoid playoff eliminatio...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays’ 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

* Is it time to take the leap and believe this is the real Blake Snell? He talked a good game this spring and pitched well in his debut, but that rough second outing raised old doubts. But a good outing in Chicago and two dominant ones on the homesta...
Published: 04/21/18