Below is an unedited response from Bud Risser, a supporter of the Concern Citizens group, to the recent Tampa Bay Times Editorial regarding the St. Petersburg Pier. You can read the editorial here: Editorial Leadership Lacking on the next Pier
To All -
I was disappointed with the recent Times editorial belittling the Mayor's efforts to properly lead the process for planning a new pier. I am in Spain right now with a granddaughter, so I did my best to respond, using my iPad. My first effort was more detailed but more emotional as well, so I started over again. This one is far more civil, and you can read it below. It isn't likely to appear in the paper.
The editorial board is at best ignorant, and at worst intentionally trying to scuttle the Mayor's reasoned and appropriate approach. In any case, none of us have seen a single member of the board at any of the public meetings that they lobbied for when they urged passage of the "sunshine" law. That is especially frustrating. I have no idea where they get their information or their opinions, but it is inexcusable. They need to do their homework and be responsible.
Get informed - insist the Times do better - and please aggressively support the solid program our new Mayor is putting in place. All of the folks who formerly disagreed about the Lens have come together to start fresh and find a better solution, and I honestly think we will do so.
Date: June 13, 2014 at 1:15:48 PM GMT+2
To: Tim Nickens <email@example.com>
Cc: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>, "St. Pete City Council" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Recent editorial
I had hoped when I asked you respectfully to forget the past and give the City's new approach to the Pier an opportunity to succeed that you would join the rest of us. I am so disappointed you have decided not to. That is too bad, both for our City and for the Times' credibility.
Your recent editorial drags up all of the board's old feelings, and once again the Times leads the pack in spreading misinformation. The entire first paragraph is misleading, and it doesn't improve much after that.
A couple of facts: the Mayor is leading, just as you say you want. Citizens from both sides of the last issue are working together and are optimistic that we will achieve a good outcome. Everyone agrees we will start with the hard work of the past. That simply did not happen the last time, but your board never understood why that was a problem, or its consequences.
The Mayor's new effort has begun with the Pier Task Force Report and what our citizens want. That is as it should be, and no, of course not every single person will be satisfied. At least you won't be alone. This strategy will provide the architects a list of functions and that is exactly where any architect should start.
It would help if some of your editorial writers would come out into our City and attend the meetings that we citizens are attending. That way you would get accurate information first hand, and see democracy at its best. That would have pleased Nelson Pointer.
Bud Risser is right. The major issue with the Tampa Bay Times and the Editorial board is they are the ones most likely not to get their way in the Pier process. They could actually come to the meetings and contribute, but then that would require listening to the common folks.
Disclosures: Contributor to No Tax for Tracks