Friday, February 23, 2018

Dear Mayor: You'll need to self-medicate to deal with the Pier

If there is necessary arcane skill intrinsic to running any form of government it is having civil servants expertly trained in the high arts of graphs, flow charts and organizational tables.

And thus the latest draft of a proposed proposal of a concept relating to an idea loosely connected to an initiative concerning the future of the city's very own ruin-in-waiting — the Pier — has plopped on the desk of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.

Or as it is otherwise known: the Eyesore.

Oh if only former Mayor Bill Foster had been more proactive in razing the civic Rubik's Cube, then his poor successor wouldn't have to deal with what has essentially become a hobby on the part of the city's tsk-tsking class to try to save a structure with all the architectural allure of a PODS storage container.

Days ago, Kriseman's City Hall factotums submitted to his hizzoner three strategies on how to move forward with the vexing Pier question.

The work product includes detailed timelines to get various stages accomplished as well as some Rube Goldbergesque graphics full of arrows and bubbles and boxes all eventually leading to …

Well, a closer look at the artwork suggests that at the end of the process, after all the bubbles have been checked off and all the boxes have been filled, all the arrows end up at — "Begin Process of Design."

Sheesh, there are so many directions going hither and yon, the master plans look like Ikea directions for assembling a pencil. And they will make breakfast for you in the morning, too.

Or more pointedly, after Kriseman puts up with months and months of whining, complaining, nagging and clucking mostly on the part of the city's potentates, mandarins and hotsy-tots, who regard the Pier as if Washington slept there, only then will the effort begin to design a new facility, which everyone will complain about anyway.

Memo to the Mayor: If you haven't already done so, now would be a good time to stash a bottle of scotch in your desk drawer. You're going to need it.

And things are only going to get worse.

On the campaign trail Kriseman pledged to have the new Pier edifice (whatever it is) up and running by 2015. That's so precious. Good grief, it's going to take that long just to get big-shot "Get off my lawn and leave my Pier alone!" crusader Bud Risser just to crack a smile.

Now even Kriseman's own minions have told him that the earliest anything could be built in time for a ribbon-cutting is 2018, which means that for his entire term the mayor is going to have to put up with more harrumphing than Mr. Potter waiting for the Bailey Building and Loan Association to fold. Make that two bottles of Dewar's, Mr. Mayor.

Of course there is another way to go.

Since he assumed office, Kriseman has created a vast executive branch hierarchy with a chief of staff, a deputy mayor, various spokesmen, and other assorted inner-sanctum apparatchiks.

At this rate the mayor will soon have a chancellor of the exchequer, national security adviser, joint chiefs of staff chairman, a director of the St. Petersburg Intelligence Agency, a Secret Service detail and an ambassador to Sopchoppy.

Inasmuch as Kriseman is turning the city's bureaucracy into the Kremlin-on-the-Bay, surely he could find the funding to hire a few ex-Navy SEALs to simply blow up the Pier in the dead of night.

For we all know that as long as that tribute to an inverted double-wide trailer continues to draw another bead of rust, Kriseman will be under pressure to preserve it to humor a few local swells to want to remember their first kiss — in 1904.

If the discreet mayoral hit men do the job right, a crestfallen Kriseman could plausibly claim that the Pier met its tragic end as the result of an earthquake. Or perhaps the creaking, aging structure was simply swallowed up by a sinkhole.

It's just an idea, although it will probably require a flow chart first.

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