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Creative Loafing draws correlation to Pier petition and blue recycling bins

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

SaintPetersblog has provided tireless coverage of St. Pete’s impending apocalyptic curbside recycling rollout.

I say apocalyptic because you’d think the city was delivering nuclear waste to residents’ driveways and front yards.

Emails collected showed numerous complaints to city officials regarding the recycling bins’ size, color, location, weight, roll-ability, cost and overall forceful nature from which they magically appeared.

We’ve reported on the details – where do you put them? When do they get picked up? Why can’t they go in the alley? When does pickup start? Why does everyone have to pay an extra $3?

How can people opt out? How can disabled people get help hauling recyclables to the curb? How can low-income folks mitigate the cost?

What’s the city doing to mitigate the hiccups?

See what I mean. Tireless.

But nowhere in there has there even been as raw an analysis of the soaring animosity as in the breakdown in Creative Loafing.

“Some parts of town were given the bins in May, and began to fill them, not knowing when recycling pickup would actually begin (it hasn’t yet) and the putrefaction of old cat food and cabernet sauvignon dregs ensued,” wrote Kate Bradshaw.

She points out – with an obvious favoritism for the program – all the things pointed out here. And in the Times. And several other media outlets.

But Bradshaw draws one clear correlation the rest of us reporter folks have realized but not articulated.

“This is St. Pete, where residents would demand a referendum on the color of the terlets in city buildings if they could.”

Remember the Pier thing? That inverted pyramid sitting idle on the pristine downtown waterfront. Yeah, that nearly $50 million project just waiting for an approved contract.

City Council’s next step is to approve a contract with the Pier Park design team. Whatever deal is struck between architects and St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman is likely to get council’s seal of approval and Kriseman will jump at the chance to “build a damn Pier.”

But there’s that pesky thing looming over the heads of all interested parties – will the project get squashed yet again by dissenters angry their beloved upside down triangle is about to get demolished?

It happened with the Lens and the same group – mostly – plus some new additions to the group who previously tried to save the Lens, are already hard at work making sure Pier Park doesn’t happen and the inverted pyramid lives to see another day.

With that little nugget hanging in the balance, wouldn’t it be amusing – almost satire-worthy – if someone drummed up a petition to change the color of St. Pete’s recycling bins?

If that were the case, those who like the blue ones could marvel in their beauty, but couldn’t actually use them. Kinda like the Pier.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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