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If giving away public land (to limit citizens’ 1st Amendment rights) is the only way to save BayWalk, then let it fail!

in Peter/The Bay and the 'Burg by
It was Aaron Sharockman who first made the point that if the owners of BayWalk had originally asked for the property where the sidewalk around the entertainment complex is, the city would have been more than happy to have given them the land. So what’s the big deal now?

The big deal is that City Hall should not be in the business of giving away public land to private interests because those interests don’t like people exercising their 1st Amendment rights. And if giving away that public land is the only way to save BayWalk, then let BayWalk fail.

Our 1st Amendment rights are more important than a movie theatre and a Johnny Rockets. I remember when there was a pro-Palestine protest outside of BayWalk after Israel shelled Gaza, so I showed up to support Israel. The scene at the protest and counter-protest was loud, exciting and maybe just a little dangerous. But it was a scene. And no one was slowed for one second from going to Dan Marino’s or Muvico.

And it’s not as if the market hasn’t responded anyway. Because BayWalk has failed — due mostly to its antiquated design and its own mismanagement — Beach Drive and Central Avenue and University Village have flourished.

The City Council should vote against giving away our land.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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