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Confusion remains over pier ballot language | News

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Confusion remains over pier ballot language
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St. Petersburg, Florida - The pier issue has divided neighborhoods and divided a city. It's likely the controversial Lens project will draw a record number of people out for a primary election.

See Also: Take a virtual tour of the Lens design

The group Concerned Citizens, opposed to the Lens, forced Tuesday's referendum and now it's coming down to the wire.

"Our message is the same as the slogan on our signs from a year ago: that St. Petersburg can do better and will, if given the right opportunity," says Bud Risser who helped form the group.

While Concerned Citizens has been heard from for a year, in recent weeks, a pro-Lens group called Build the Pier has gathered steam. Volunteers have canvassed neighborhoods and the group made several TV commercials.

"This is one of the most important votes the city's ever had," stresses Shirley O'Sullivan. "We have a chance to have a world-class architectural design here in our city and if we blow it, we may never get this opportunity again."

But despite the efforts from both sides, there is still confusion over the ballot language.

Take Doug Postma; he clearly opposes the Lens. "I see us still subsidizing lights, cleaning, upkeep," he says of the modern design. Yet when it comes to checking yes or no on the ballot Tuesday, Postma is on shaky ground.

"That's a tricky question, based on how it's worded on the ballot," he says. But even after 10 News let him read the ballot question, Postma was still going to cast a vote, contrary to his original wishes.

"I'm going to vote no on the Lens concept," he said. But when this reporter asked how he was going to check his box, he responded "no."

Once again, here's how it works:

A 'yes' vote terminates the architect's contract and scraps plans for the Lens.

A 'no' vote means you want to build the Lens.

As for Postma, he's got a little reading to do tonight. "I'm going to read the ballot again when I get home now, 'cuz it's tricky," he says with a laugh.

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