A quick reminder, something like a disclaimer: I’m actually a resident of Gulfport, so I won’t be voting for any candidates in St. Petersburg’s August 27 primary — not for Mayor (I’m behind Rick Kriseman), not for City Council, not on the Pier.
For the record, if I could I would vote no to cancel the contract with the Pier builders, and I think you should, too: we should build that Pier.
But that’s not what I wanted to write about today.
The Pier has been a funny issue for residents to take up, as far as I’m concerned. A weird one. I’ve written over at my business blog about how I view the Lens as effectively a failed government works program. And sure, it’s on the ballot, so it will be discussed through a political and electoral frame.
But the way it has divided citizens has really baffled me.
There is a larger issue, and I thought for sure it would be the one everybody was talking about: mass transit, or light rail. There is still time — the issue goes on the ballot next year. Both sides —anti-light rail and pro-transportation — are already gearing up. That’ll be for all of us, Pinellas-wide.
Again, for the record: I’m pro-light rail. I think an area like this — what Richard Florida calls a Mega Region, we just don’t know it yet — ought to have nothing less than a state-of-the-art, leading transportation network. One that could connect us seamlessly with Orlando, even Daytona and Miami.
Here we are in August. That St. Pete primary is coming up. After that we’ll know where folks come down on the Pier. We’ll know more about the races for Mayor and City Council. And maybe then we can start some new conversations.
They’re conversations we need to have.