Vote on the Pier won’t happen

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The future of the existing St. Petersburg Pier will not be decided by the public on the Nov. 6 presidential ballot, reports William Mansell of Patch.

On Thursday, City Council voted to not place the pier petition question on the ballot and continue forward with the design process of Michael Maltzan’s “Lens” pier design.

Council members Charlie Gerdes, Leslie Curran, Steve Kornell, Bill Dudley, Jeff Danner and Jim Kennedy voted ‘no’.

Gerdes, who voted two weeks ago and on Monday to explore putting something on the ballot, said he could not support rebuilding the pier or saving it because of the high subsidies to the city.

“When I look at the business plan for the existing pier, it has a consistent history of drawing $1.2 to 1.3 million out of our treasury that could be used for a lot of other things,” Gerdes said. “I don’t think we can ignore that consistent subsidy … I couldn’t vote for a referendum question, if passed, I would find fiscally irresponsible despite the fact it was supported by 20,000 signatures.”

Kennedy said ignoring the process would be bad for business in St. Pete.

“This decision doesn’t only affect the pier, it affects our city’s reputation in how we do business,” Kennedy said.

Mayor Bill Foster, who did not get a vote on the matter, joined Council members Wengay Newton and Karl Nurse in supporting a pier referendum.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.