Keep Pier open till new plan developed
Here are reasons to keep our municipal Pier open for outdoor activities until a new plan is worked out:
1. The pier structure did not suddenly become unsafe for use on May 31; to the contrary, the city's pier project director advised the City Council in February 2012 that the pier was safe for use until 2015 or 2016.
2. The pier gives us and our visitors an enjoyable walking and bicycle path out over Tampa Bay with great views of sea creatures, sea birds, and boat and aircraft activity.
3. It has been a free fishing pier, a source of food for some and entertainment for all of us for generations.
4. It is paid for, and the cost of maintaining it for such use and attractively lighting it at night will be minimal when compared with the benefit of having this recreational facility and icon alive with people.
5. Even if there is only a small chance that the inverted pyramid will be incorporated into the new pier plan, it would be foolish to needlessly destroy this multimillion-dollar asset and the option of obtaining further use of it.
William C. Ballard, president, Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg
When a city caves in to complainers | Tim Nickens column, June 28
People should vote
I appreciate Tim Nickens' passion for the Lens pier design as well as his desire for stronger leadership at City Hall. I know I feel adrift.
This city was founded on a waterfront, and that waterfront continues to be our No. 1 public asset. The entire state has great weather, many areas have good industry, good schools, good arts, great people — but no one in the state or even the country has our waterfront.
As a resident, I don't agree to hand off the decision on what to do with the Pier to anyone.
It is easy to see how that well-meaning process, commenced a few years ago, morphed and/or was guided into a very strange outcome, the Lens. There has been no "misinformation" (such a fist-in-glove way of accusing people of lying, a new millennium cousin to "misremembered") regarding the structural integrity of the 50,000-square-foot inverted pyramid. Thanks to Mr. Harvard and his firm, it is sound and should, even now, be open for business.
Your opposition to a referendum is noted, but I am sure you remember that in 1989, our beautiful Coliseum was decaying and a successful public vote occurred. The result is an asset we are all proud of — including the incredible Latin dancers who we watched perform on Sunday.
We later also voted to preserve Sunken Gardens and I am glad we saved that unique asset.
Not everything needs to be saved or preserved and the referendum process may be a bit cumbersome, but for matters of such grand importance, this remnant of Greek democracy can ultimately protect citizens from poor decisions. The mayor can and should make a multitude of decisions to operate the city, but to demolish and/or replace such a major asset, we, the shareholders, should vote.
Harvey Ford, St. Petersburg
Man shoots paradegoer with BB gun | July 1
It's a hate crime
I hope that the person who shot the Pride Parade attendee will also be charged with a hate crime.
Imagine if someone yelled racial slurs and shot at a Martin Luther King Jr. paradegoer. There would be widespread media condemnation and the person would undoubtedly be charged with a higher crime than aggravated battery.
Polly White, St. Petersburg