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Inverted Pyramid lovers: You’re doing it wrong

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Everyone knew there was going to be backlash when St. Pete City Council voted to uphold the Pier Selection Committee’s final ranking of Pier Park as its top pick. Threats from those trying desperately to save the inverted pyramid rolled in as soon as it seemed likely the committee was going to vote to demolish their precious waterfront icon.

A petition drive started almost instantly seeking to ask voters whether or not the city should have to get their permission before demolishing or constructing anything on the downtown waterfront.

But ladies and gentleman, this is getting ridiculous. If the 724 people who “like” the “Vote on the Pier” Facebook Page or the 262 who “like” the outdated, but revived “Wow the Lens Sucks” page want to continue with their push to get their way, it might behoove them to do it a little more graciously.

A post Friday on “Wow the Lens Sucks” shows a video of St. Pete City Council member Amy Foster giving her spiel during the meeting yesterday in which inverted pyramid groupies were sent home to cry in their Corn Flakes. In that monologue, Foster said Destination supporters were more interested in “buying the table and then standing on it and screaming like a toddler when they don’t get their way.”

Alright, I get it. That was harsh. She just called you guys a bunch of screaming toddlers. That’s got to burn.

But what, pray tell, Chel Knight, do you think it sounds like when youR response to that is “let’s see you scream and cry Amy … when you don’t have a job next term!”?

You sound like a 3-year-old who didn’t get a new toy from the toy store.

Yeah, I said it.

During public comment yesterday, the first person to speak literally cried. She had fond memories of the Pier and fishing with her father. I’m sure it’s sad to think about that place going away. But seriously? Just because a building is being replaced in that spot doesn’t mean your memories are all going to evaporate.

Another post on the ever-so-eloquent “Wow the Lens Sucks” seem to imply a name-change is in order. Early Friday the site administrator posted a Pier Park complaint about the design being contrary to the city’s green initiative by adding “even more high-maintenance grass on top of a parking garage over a projected estuary.” Starts out classy enough, but it doesn’t stop there.

“You can’t make this shit up,” the post said. Whoever posted it ended it with a lovely little dig on those who think it’s actually a pretty cool design. For those of you in that camp, apparently you’re a bunch of morons.


In another post right after Thursday’s meeting they posted a link to a WTSP story in which the group points out, “the city has not only opened old wounds, it has started a war.”


They also called Creative Loafing’s news and politics editor, Kate Bradshaw, a “mis-informed (sic) tool” in a post linking to her coverage of the council meeting. My guess is they didn’t take kindly to being called “curmudgeons.” I imagine I’m about to get some name calling too. Bring it.

I’m happy to give a little more credit to the folks running the “Vote on the Pier” Facebook page. They seem to have at least a little more tact. But they also posted a graphic depicting the inverted pyramid as some sort of weird spider-bot shooting lasers at tourists with the caption, “ATAAAAAACK!’

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 4.03.50 PM

What is this image doing for your case, folks? The dude running from said weird alien pier thing is terrified. He doesn’t want to save the inverted pyramid. He wants it to stop shooting him with lasers.

Also, is that supposed to be a threat? Are you going to attack the city with your “icon”?

So, what’s the point in shaming all of these good-intentioned posters? For those of you who have made it this far in the article without deciding to post mean things about me on Facebook, I’m sure you know that I’ve been on all sides of the issue.

When Team Destination had a beef with Pier Park or, previously, Alma, I wrote about it. I gave them their 600 words of fame. When the Destination St. Pete Pier team screwed up by self-promoting, I wrote about it.

When it became clear that these preservation-inclined residents aren’t backing down, I wrote about how the city would be wise to just give them what they want.

So now I’m writing about how Amy Foster’s screaming toddler comment isn’t that far off. You guys sound like a bunch of whiney brats who are crying in the sandbox because some kid beat him to the monkey bars.

So here’s some advice to camp “save the weird looking building or else.” Chill out. Take a deep breath and do what I tell my kids. Think about what you’re about to say and whether or not it’s going to help you or hurt you.

Calling a respected journalist a “tool” was a bad choice. Bad. Don’t do that.

Making weird graphics that don’t make sense. No. Stop.

If you really want people to take you seriously, act like grown ups.

I don’t give a rat’s patoot if you all have a successful petition drive or not. If it works, well then I’ve got months of guaranteed work ahead of me and I will write about whatever you folks send my way as long as it’s news.

If you fail, I’ll take a freaking vacation. Either way, I’m good. Just stop making yourselves look silly.

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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