Political Action Committee formed to support ‘Lens’ design of new Pier

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In anticipation for a to-be-determined public vote on the new design for the Saint Petersburg Pier, called the “Lens”, a pro-“Lens” political action committee has formed. 

In the fall of 2012, TV pitchman Anthony Sullivan founded Wow Our Waterfront St. Pete because he felt the “Lens” was only getting negative publicity from groups such at VoteOnthePier and Stop the Lens. 

Thursday, Sullivan announced the creation of the PAC called WowStPete.

“When I started Wow St. Pete it was one man,” Sullivan told Patch. “I believe it may end up going on a ballot, and it’s going to give us the freedom to move and the freedom to fight the opposition. And we’re going to win.”

The “opposition” are two groups called Stop the Lens and VoteOnthePier.

VoteOnthePier’s lawsuit against the city to have a public vote on the future of the existing St. Petersburg Pier failed as Circuit Judge Jack Day sided with the city in the suit. 

Recentlym Stop the Lens announced it would be successful in its petition drive to create a city ordinance to cancel the contract with Michael Maltzan Architecture to build the “Lens”.

Once Stop the Lens turns in its certified petition, the city has two options: Cancel the contract for the “Lens” or set a public vote within 90 days.

Sullivan said creating the PAC now will help position the organization to, “raise awareness and clear up the facts” about the “Lens” before a public vote could be held. 

Thursday night, Sullivan and WowStPete hosted an event at the Mahaffey Theater to promote the “Lens” through art. 

The “Lens”, Sullivan said, has a lot of controversy surrounding it but in the end he believes people will be excited about the design. 

“This is an ambitious design, a bold design,” Sullivan said. “I don’t think there has been a great structure in the world that hasn’t had a some controversy surrounding it. There are people that don’t like it and they are entitled to their opinions. I want a healthy debate and a healthy conversation.”

On May 31, the pier will close and Sullivan said it is time for the residents of St. Pete to rally behind the new design or face the prospect of a city without a pier. 

“As it stands right now, the pier is going to be evacuated. People are leaving May 31,” Sullivan said. “The Columbia is leaving, the head of marketing has already left. I hate to say it, but it’s a sinking ship.

“If (the future of the “Lens”) goes on the ballot we’ll be ready,” Sullivan added. “This thing is going to get built.” 

Via William Mansell of Patch.

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.