(2:47pm updated with fresh sewage jokes!)
The St. Petersburg City Council meeting started off by talking about raw sewage on Thursday night. At the end of the night they were floating in it. The Council was gathered to decide how to satisfy the desires of anti-property rights “Historic preservation” activists. They have long desired a way to make it easier for them to decide what other people could do with their houses. The zombie-like attempts to tell innocent homeowners what kind of door or window they MUST put on their house has been floating around since 2010. Like raw sewage, it keeps bubbling to the surface of a broken government. The comparison with sewage was obvious since the evening began with “shocked” politicians complaining how raw sewage was dumped in the bay this month– on their watch. After hours of testimony and hours of discussion and multiple failed amendments by the City Council, the politicians demonstrated why their ineptitude has led to raw sewage dumping in the bay – they make it in copious amounts!
City Council – wasting time – while neglecting waste.
At 6 pm, the public hearing section of the meeting started. As publicized recently, millions of gallons of raw sewage were poured into clam’s bayou at Gulfport. Also, 1 million gallons into the Bay. Council members expressed their dismay. (They revealed it was actually 16 million gallons!) Yours truly, Sunbeam Times Founder Dr. McKalip, advised the council that they were the ones to blame because they had forgotten the true role/scope of government: it should be LIMITED, (you know to things like some utilities, police/fire and roads!). If they had spent time properly evaluating and planning, this would not have happened. Instead, they waste endless time and taxpayer dollar on crusades like social justice, ending poverty, “sustainability”, pandering to unions, economic development and – obviously – historic preservation. I pointed out that they should cut union pensions and benefits and spend the money on things they should do – like keep sewage out of the bay! As if on cue, Darden Rice proposed an anti-fracking resolution after the 1.5 hours of City council member preening on the raw sewage issue. Rice proved the point that the politicians focus on the wrong thing. THEN the 6 hour historic preservation marathon began lasting till 1:30 a.m..
Sewage Flowing Fast!
There was three hours of public testimony from well organized anti-property rights activists. They complained that – gasp- some clod had actually thought he was preserving history in Roser park by putting a VICTORIAN door on his home instead of a craftsman door! (Oh! The Humanity!) They complained that someone actually tore down some very old houses and put up a big house in Old Northeast. They complained that it was REALLY REALLY hard to get 2/3 of neighborhood residents to agree to suffer under the historic district expense and bureaucracy. It would be REALLY nice if the council would allow them to force neighbors to have houses THEY liked with a minority of people living there agreeing to it.
Sewage Pressure Building – Council Looks for Dump Zone!
The city council members were obviously in distress. Here were their base: historic preservationists, who were political activist/community organizers asking to expand the power of government over the objections of a majority of residents! This is exactly what most of the city council wants – more power over the great unwashed yokels who don’t know that their windows are supposed to have “mullions” so we can attract the “right kinds of people” to St. Pete! So the majority of the politicians (6/8) were distressed that the yokels had actually organized and got 565 signers to a petition opposing the efforts. They didn’t like that the 1000 emails/phone calls they got were overwhelmingly opposed to the trampling of their property rights. They needed a way out. Luckily, they are politicians who known how to talk endlessly, while saying little and produce the results they wanted all along – less liberty and more government power.
The Big Dump
The sewage making that started at about 11:30 was rank and voluminous. Multiple attempts to compromise the vote margin from 2/3 of ALL property owners to a lower margin failed on close votes. Slowly emerging was the idea to dump it on the bureaucrats! Why lead when you can preen and complain and pass the buck? So they lowered the margin to 50% of all property owners (from 2/3) contingent on a new set of historic district standards that they will look at in a few months. You know, when the yokels have tired out and gone away and they can hide their endless spewing of the rank platitudes in peace.
The citizens of St. Pete are always ignored by the political class. Even when they make their preferences very clear: the Lens, Pier Park, Greenlight Pinellas, Albert Whitted, Tropicana, lower property taxes, protecting property rights, etc. The politicians proved yet again that they will waste endless hours – FIVE YEARS! – on pure baloney like ensuring windows don’t offend the neighbor across the street and thier artsy fartsy friends. But when it comes to keeping raw sewage out of the bay, not so much. Shame on you St. Pete City Council and shame on the apathetic St. Pete residents who don’t run these sewage mongers out of office!