Alas, enlightenment was nowhere to be found in that recent BayWalk decision by the St. Petersburg city council. It did not pass an ordinance that would have cleared a chunk of public sidewalk at the entrance of BayWalk, an area frequented by animated activists and loitering punks. The motley scene had become a major deterrent to patrons of BayWalk, the erstwhile downtown-revival catalyst now morphing into a plywood ghost town.
No, the ceding of the sidewalk to BayWalk owners would not have been a panacea, not during a recession, but it would help. It would help those investing in BayWalk and those employed at BayWalk. It would address the viability of downtown and help safeguard $20-million in taxpayer funds.
And no, such a vacation would not have been a free-speech sacrilege. The option for demonstrators and thug wannabes was to relocate to the other side of the street – hardly a Constitutional affront.
Enlightened self-interest? How about some common sense?