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Mitch Perry Report for 7.9.15 — Pier politics returns yet again in St. Pete

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

You’ve gotta love Tom Lambdon.

Well, let me take that back. You don’t have to love anybody. In fact, there are many people in St. Petersburg who would hope to never hear this man’s name mentioned in polite company ever again.

But civic activists like Lambdon wouldn’t get anywhere if they weren’t representing others who need someone to lead them.

I mention the Safety Harbor resident because the St. Pete City Council is meeting today to consider contracts for Pier Park, the recently chosen successor to replace the inverted pyramid structure along the waterfront.

But just as it seems the city is (finally) united in moving forward, back comes Lambdon to piss on the new parade. Lambdon is collecting signatures via his website, VoteOnThePier.com, hoping to get another referendum in front of city voters, as he was ultimately able to do two summers ago (a referendum drive that was first reported by SPB’s Janelle Irwin back in March). This referendum would be to amend the city’s charter.

That vote, you might recall, killed The Lens, the previously consensus choice that survived the labyrinth political process and was supposed to replace the iconic 1973 structure.

Lambdon is a character, to say the least. I learned that when I profiled him for a piece in Creative Loafing more than four years ago. I also learned in the subsequent years of reporting on the story that the Pier has an emotional hold on some people that a lot of people don’t get– but it’s very real.

And while I’m sure that Rick Kriseman’s team already knows this,  let me just spell it out again — this guy is somebody not to be toyed with. In retrospect, I’d dare say that Bill Foster might say he didn’t take him as seriously as he might have. Bill who, you ask?  You remember, the guy who some people say was not re-elected two years ago in part because of his indecisiveness.

In other news..

He’s trolling us all. Alan Grayson will announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate today.

You may never have heard of Todd Wilcox before yesterday. Then again, you might have gone to high school with him in Tampa (he’s a Robinson High grad). He’s the newest entrant in the GOP Senate contest.

Even before the events of the past 24 hours, the National Republican Senate Committee was already touting the GOP’s chances to hold on to the Florida U.S. Senate seat next year.

Marco Rubio penned an op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times criticizing President Obama for reestablishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, and Times readers responded to Rubio.

JPMorgan Chase got busted again. The financial giant reached a financial settlement with Florida and 46 other states yesterday regarding its collection and sale of credit-card debt. Over $15 million will go to various nonprofits to teach financial literacy around the state.

The TampaBay area Sierra Club is saying no to the proposed half-cent transit tax proposed by the Hillsborough County Policy Leadership Group.

The Hillsborough County Charter Review Board said “adios” Tuesday night to the possibility of adding two county commissioners on the Hillsborough Board.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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