The Tampa City Council lsat night gave approval to Residencies at the Riverwalk, the 36-story apartment tower that would be constructed near the Straz Center in downtown Tampa.
The final tally was 5-2, but even dissenters Mary Mulhern and Yolie Capin seemed almost to be apologizing to justify their no votes, in part because of the overwhelming public support for the project that manifested itself last night in council chambers.
It's uncertain whether the final decision might have been different if the mood in the room was more divided, but it made the final decision for council members pretty easy.
And what about the project's critics, who made sure to contact seemingly every reporter in town to express their concerns about the development? They clearly didn't organize very well. Politics in many cases, especially locally, comes down to who speaks the loudest and can show lawmakers where the people really are on an issue. But most of those critics were nowhere to be seen or heard when it counted.
Last night's vote seemed to be a generational issue, with many young people enthusiastically supporting the project, and the more established community fighting against it. In that respect it echoes what we're seeing across the Bay in St. Pete with the Lens issue.
But the older generation there is extremely well organized and their side could easily prevail (against the Lens).
In Tampa? Let me put it you to this way. One of the critics of the proposal reached out to CL yesterday, looking to get ahold of Linda Saul-Sena, who writes a column on urban issues for the paper. He was hoping she would come out to align with the opponents against the development.
Too bad he doesn't read our publication that closely. if he did he would have known that she was actually for it..
Well, there is an election in St. Petersburg in a couple of weeks- not just for mayor but for several city council seats. In the District 4 contest, the rhetoric has at times gotten particularly intense.
If you haven't had the opportunity to check it out, CL has devoted our entire issue this week to the city of Dunedin. This reporter's contribution is a piece about the fact that the quaint, charming Pinellas County community that has been the spring training for the Toronto Blue Jays since 1977, may be leaving the area when their lease expires in 2017.
And check out some of the favorite books of some St. Pete City Council candidates, as announced during a candidates forum earlier this week.