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St. Petersburg City Council will discuss expanded TV presence

When the St. Petersburg City Council reconvenes Thursday after a two-week hiatus, the city's land development regulation ordinance is one of several items on the agenda.

This will be the second public hearing on the matter. While many residents have barely batted an eyelash on the issue of LDRs, taxpayers in St. Pete Beach have spent more than $435,000 since 2004 in lawsuits over the character of future development there.

For the most part, the LDRs in St. Petersburg went into effect in September 2007, but there are several amendments needed — mostly for some 30 clarifications, 29 technical corrections and five changes to make the city's rules consistent with state law.

Topping the list of new business is a Karl Nurse request that the council either televise workshops or add them to regularly scheduled meetings, which are televised.

Nurse is concerned that major issues like panhandling and the fiscal 2011 budget workshops have not been televised. He asserts that such action leaves the impression that the council is making decisions outside the public view.

Council Chairwoman Leslie Curran said she worries about how decisions will be made about the matter. "Can we come to an agreement on what should be televised?"

But she also notes that Nurse "supported the decisions that were made" in 2008 about what to televise, "including what the budget costs are for that."

Much of the council's business is hashed out in subcommittee meetings that are not televised. The intention was to include a couple of council members on each subcommittee who would then report to the full council. But now it's not unusual to have the full council at each subcommittee meeting.

"My thought is to get rid of the subcommittee process so that everything is televised," Curran said, suggesting to "do it (workshops) at council (meetings), so that everybody sees everything" on television.

Nurse could not be reached for comment.

There's another item on Thursday's agenda worth noting: Council member Steve Kornell's request for local music groups to perform after the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance at council meetings on the second Thursday of each month.

What exactly does he have in mind — a St. Petersburg version of Fox's hit show Glee?

"Yes, I love Glee," laughed Kornell when reached by phone.

When asked to explain his proposal, Kornell said, "I'm just trying to find ways to promote city resources."

The performances, he said, would come during the award presentations at the beginning of council meetings, "sort of like when Mike Lynche came before council. There a lot of Mike Lynches in the city. It's not going to cost a penny."

He also suggested having the cast from shows coming to the Mahaffey perform a song at the meeting as a way of promoting the city's facilities.

"We have an incredible arts scene, and I want people to know that they can go to a variety of places here. I want them to know that and see that."

Kudos to Kornell for thinking outside the box, but adding a song or dance to the mix is a bit much for a meeting that often drags on for hours.

• • •

Signs are going up at Scene, the new night spot in the former American Stage building at 211 Third St. S, whose owners include shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.

It was originally set to open on July 28, but management decided Friday to scale the VIP opening back to Aug. 18 after learning that many of the celebrity guests would be out of town, said general manager Lisa Jones.

"We've spent $1 million in that building, so it's really going to be nice," said Richard Fabrizi, the principal owner of the club.

Sandra J. Gadsden in assistant metro editor/community news. She can be reached at sgadsden@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8874.

St. Petersburg City Council will discuss expanded TV presence 07/10/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 9, 2010 7:58pm]

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