Sunday, September 6, 2015

Who owns the Pier Park Problem?

Answer – Rick Kriseman

St. Petersburg, Fl.
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb, PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want to Blog 

The Pier Park rhetoric seemed to have ratcheted up a bit this past week. Posts on the voteonthepier Facebook page turned more caustic. In a saintpetersblog Post, Janelle Irwin complains Pier Park critics’ points are a stretch at best, and followed that with Pier Park is coming — meet its creators.

I am totally in on the thought that whining and especially over the top vitriolic whining about Pier Park is useless, but so is whining from the other side of the table about people who genuinely feel the citizens of St. Petersburg got screwed in this deal and they did.

In the follow on saintpetersblog Post, Irwin begins to provide information about those who will actually be designing and running the project. Most of the information is Bid Proposal filler and promotional brochure comments, but in all honesty given the political volatility of this project that is about all you'll get from the participants until the public input and final design is completed.

All of which brings me to my point. The folks who are vehemently against this project are not going to change their minds and the folks that are passionate for the new concept are not likely to change their position. The Facebook, Twitter and Blog battle will likely continue to rage right up to the ribbon cutting and perhaps beyond.

There is, however, a very large group in the middle of these two opposing positions whose minds may be changed. 

It is not really clear where the public stands on Pier Park yet, even though those opposing like to refer the City survey.

Doing a poll right now before the public input and at least a preliminary final design is on the table might be pointless.

Regarding the upcoming public process I would expect the public's input to be given about the same degree of respect and attention they were given in the past.

The real issue I see is if all of this bickering and fighting between a very few people on both sides is successful in poisoning the general public's view of Pier Park, that would be a real disaster that could take years to over come.

All of this name calling is the result of the Kriseman administration's overt decision manipulate the selection committee, ignore the results of the process they put in place and that was simply a dumb move. It set the stage for all of this bickering.

Now that Kriseman has run off Mike Connors he owns Pier Park lock, stock and sloping event field. No shill to blame.

Pier Park will be built, and it will look like whatever Kriseman and those pulling his strings want it too. Railing against the project, while it may be fun, is more self-serving than effective.

What does need to be fixed is the political process that allowed St. Pete to get into this mess and that is a much more difficult problem to solve but you can start at the ballot box.

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