We would like to thank the people behind voteonthepier.com for giving us (the Bill Foster Watch) the exclusive on this story. Through their research they have contacted a former reporter from the St. Petersburg Times from back in 2009. Cristina Silva covered St. Petersburg politics for the Times back then, and when she was told about Mayor Foster’s current push to demolish the Pier and not hold a referendum, and how that conflicts with this article that she wrote during the 2009 race for Mayor, she had the following to say:
“I remember Bill(Foster) getting all upset because Scott Wagman said he was going to bulldoze the Pier during that mayoral election”, but she added that, “I will note that in my article… I clearly said that Bill thought the Pier would have to go”.
The passage she is referring to is one that we have quoted before as well:
“Foster said he will give voters final say on the Pier’s future. But his preference is to repair the existing Pier and give it an “extreme makeover” or build a new Pier closer to the shore.”
As if this first-person account of Candidate-for-Mayor Foster being upset at the thought of the inverted pyramid being demolished wasn’t big enough news, Cristina Silva then pointed to a different news report from another news organization one month after Bill Foster won the election for Mayor of St. Petersburg. In this article, Mayor-elect Bill Foster states that:
“it’s likely voters will have the final say on the Pier through a referendum.”
That’s right, he said it, after he was elected, the “R”-word… REFERENDUM!
Mayor-elect Bill Foster was suggesting a voter referendum on the pier. It is clear now that Mayor Foster can no longer deny that he was once in favor of letting the voters decide on the fate of the Pier. So what happened between December 2009 and less than a year later when he was pushing city council for a vote to demolish the pier without a referendum? We may never know, but we’re sure if it comes out it will make a great story.
Cross-posted with permission of Bob Wilson of the Bill Foster Watch.