Friday, May 25, 2018
Opinion

Pier, mayor election, light rail are hot-button issues in 2013

As we prepare to ring in a new year, there's no better time to consider the key issues facing residents and leaders in 2013.

First up is a no-brainer.

All eyes are on the Sunshine City as the debate about the Pier continues.

It seems each month serves up a new wrinkle, and residents should expect no less in the coming year.

Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg (Stop the Lens), voteon thepier.com and WOW have all weighed in on the city's plan to replace the Pier.

Slick videos have been produced, a big concert has been held, a lawsuit has been filed and new offices are open for business. There's even a mass mailing in the works to bolster the ongoing petition urging city leaders to allow residents to vote on the issue.

Lost in all the hyperbole is the fact that there's a sizable portion of the population that is flummoxed by the debate.

A recent Times poll shows that 24 percent don't know what to think about the city's plans to replace the iconic Pier with the Lens project.

It will be interesting to see what unfolds in coming months. Will residents be allowed to vote? If so, will they be voting to continue the Lens project, restore the existing Pier or none of the above?

Mayoral election

Municipal elections will be held in 2013, and there are a host of people who are looking to unseat Mayor Bill Foster.

In a matter of weeks, the lineup will be set as filings commence. So far, there's at least one candidate. Retired builder Paul Congemi, a veteran of mayoral politics, filed way back in February.

While the names of several current City Council members continue to surface, Leslie Curran, Jeff Danner and Karl Nurse have yet to officially throw their hats in the ring.

The primary is set for late August and the election for Nov. 5.

Light rail

Could 2013 be the year to finally get on track?

It seems residents are open to the possibilities.

According to a recent poll, a majority of Tampa Bay area residents are in favor of using public money for commuter light rail. The numbers are considerably higher in Pinellas than in Hillsborough.

Truth be told, mass transportation is one of the area's major downfalls.

Millions of tourists are drawn to the azure waters along our sandy shores. But upon arrival, they are forced into shuttles or rental cars, destined for cities with serious parking issues — St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater.

• • •

There's no telling what will unfold next year, but there's a lot to be excited about.

While the city has made strides in the last year, there's still lots of room for improvement.

The Dalí Museum is the crown jewel of the southern edge of downtown. It needs a bookend to the north. Until a more dynamic project comes along, the Lens is the only one on the table that fits the bill.

It will take leadership and vision to move a city forward and St. Petersburg is on the cusp of shedding its sleepy, small-town image.

All the key components are in place: a walkable, vibrant downtown, higher education, thanks to a growing University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus, a burgeoning arts community and patrons focused on supporting local businesses.

Sandra J. Gadsden can be reached at [email protected] or at (727) 893-8874 and on Twitter @StPeteSandi.

Comments
Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

One of the worst ideas in a long time in the field of urban planning received a blessing this month when the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission approved a land-use change for a project that calls for filling three acres of water insi...
Published: 05/25/18
Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Regardless of the reason, the cancellation of the U.S.-North Korea summit to address Pyonyang’s nuclear program is hardly the worst possible outcome of this high-stakes diplomatic gamble. President Donald Trump was unprepared, North Korea’s Kim Jong ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

NFL kneels before the altar of profits

The owners of the 32 National Football League teams sent a wrongheaded and, frankly, un-American message to their players Wednesday: Expressing your opinion during the national anthem is no longer permitted."A club will be fined by the League if its ...
Published: 05/24/18
Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18