Kathleen Ford's prominent stance against the Lens initially boosted her viability before she ultimately collapsed in the race to become mayor of St. Pete. But she wasn't the only candidate to use an opposition to the now failed Pier project as a cornerstone of her candidacy.
I'm talking about environmentalist Lorraine Margeson, who is running against incumbent Jim Kennedy in the District 2 City Council contest this November (because there were only two candidates in this race, there was no primary election).
Margeson has been working as the office manager at the Stop The Lens campaign headquarters on Fourth Street North since last December, and she revealed on Tuesday that she'll continue to collect a paycheck from them through the end of this year.
"We're going to close the physical office, but I've been hired to work through December," she said. "This is just the first step in protecting our waterfront. We still haven't done that. We still don't know what's going to happen (with the Pier), we still don't know that other things are going to come up to put another bullet hole in the people's voice."
Margeson said Stop The Lens (or if you prefer, Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg) will continue to have weekly board meetings to stay focused on what happens with the Pier going forward.
Earlier this summer, Mayor Foster formed the 828 Alliance — a group tasked with presenting the mayor with options in case the Lens project was defeated. The group meets for the final time this afternoon and is expected to give Foster plans to move forward, and ultimately choose a new design.
Margeson had a few campaign forums with Kennedy, but their race is gaining traction as it attracts media scrutiny. Margeson appears to be very confident going into the general election campaign.
"I did poll sitting today and every single person I spoke to A) voted to stop the Lens, and B) ... told me they were going to vote for me, including a lady whose lawyer is Jim Kennedy. What does that say?" she asked boisterously.
Kennedy is definitely the pick of the establishment in District 2; he was endorsed by former mayors Rick Baker and Bob Ulrich and he recently held a gaudy fundraiser at the Hollander Hotel.
When asked about her fundraising potential, Margeson didn't back down. She said she will have some "very solid support" moving forward, but it won't "red-light camera money like Jim has."
"I would imagine that my funders would be more oriented to knowing that I will be giving truth in government and not wanting to get something from me. That's how I look at it," Margeson said.