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Lens critics deliver more than 20,000 petitions to St. Pete City Hall to force a referendum listen

05/15/13 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday

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A group opposing plans for a new St. Petersburg Pier delivered more than 20,000 petitions to City Hall Wednesday to force a referendum in August. During a press conference calling on city council to stop spending money on the project until after the election, Fred Whaley responded to claims by critics that it’s not hard to get that many people to sign a petition.

“What it’s hard to do is get 20,000 of them to do it and I guess it was a daunting task that we didn’t realize how long it woul...

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St. Pete City Council puts off next phase of pier funding listen

05/02/13 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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St. Pete City Council members won’t decide whether to approve $1.5 million for the new St. Pete Pier for another two weeks. Council members voted 5-3 Thursday in favor of putting the decision off until city staff can give board members a better idea of how that money is being spent.

The city’s head architect, Raul Quintana, had asked the city to green light the next design phase so that the project could stay on schedule.

The Lens design chosen to re...

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St. Pete's iconic Pier still set to close on May 31 despite objections listen

04/19/13 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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The St. Pete Pier will close at the end of May despite numerous objections. In a city council meeting Thursday, all but one council member refused to consider keeping the pier open until residents vote on the Pier’s future.

Council member Wengay Newton made a motion to stave off the lock and chain, but it died for a lack of a second. Newton wanted to keep the Pier open to save jobs. During a workshop earlier in the day city staff were charged wit...

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St. Pete City Council schedules Pier workshop to appease anti-Lens group listen

04/04/13 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Debate over the future of St. Pete’s iconic pier is heating up as it enters its final days. Critics of the proposed replacement are celebrating a small victory Thursday. City council members approved holding a workshop later this month to discuss some possible problems with the Lens.

St. Petersburg is being sued by critics of the Lens. That’s because the city won’t put the issue on a ballot even though critics got more than the 16,000 certified signatures required to force a referendum....

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Synthetic drug bans move in Tampa and St. Pete listen

04/04/13 Janelle Irwin & Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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St. Petersburg City Council members unanimously passed an ordinance Thursday that would ban the sale, use or possession of synthetic drugs. The ordinance builds on loose state regulations that make it easy for manufacturers to find loopholes in Florida law.

The ordinance includes synthetic cannabinoids or fake pot. It also includes what is commonly referred to as bath salts. St. Pete City Council member Steve Kornell is a social worker who helps h...

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St. Pete City Council opts to renew Bank of America contract listen

03/21/13 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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The City of St. Pete will continue depositing its money into a Bank of America account for at least another year. The 5-3 decision came after council member Steve Kornell complained the bank isn’t being a good corporate partner.

A citizen recently complained to Kornell that Bank of America is breaking some terms of the National Mortgage Settlement. The $25 billion agreement protects homeowners from being foreclosed on if they are trying to secure a loan modification. It also creates othe...

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Should local governments use local banks or credit unions?

03/20/13 Janelle Irwin
Last Call Wednesday
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St. Petersburg City Council member Steve Kornell will ask his board members not to renew a contract with Bank of America because he worries some homeowners are being mistreated by the "too big to fail" bank.

Kornell is also backing a measure to use a local bank for some of the city's business.

Right now credit unions are off the table because a state law prohibits local governments to bank with them.

Jared Ross, vice president of governmental affairs for the League of Southeastern ...

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Some St. Pete officials ponder pulling money out of Bank of America in favor of smaller bank listen

03/18/13 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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St. Pete City Council member Steve Kornell will ask his colleagues not to renew a contract with Bank of America on Thursday. His push comes after a resident complained that Bank of America was not abiding by the foreclosure rules it agreed to. It also coincides with a related effort to invest taxpayer dollars into local banks.

“I happen to have a new business item that was referred to committee asking that a percentage of our deposits be referred to local banks.

Kofi Hunt, a St. Pe...

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St. Pete City Council's Kornell wants assault weapons ban & gun show loopholes closed listen

01/10/13 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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As elementary schools across the Tampa Bay area are increasing security in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, St. Pete City Council member Steve Kornell wants the city to lobby Tallahassee to implement an assault weapons ban. During a city council meeting Thursday, the entire council including Kornell voted to move the matter to the Legislative Affairs committee.

Issues surrounding gun control have become a major talking point around water coolers nationwide. Kornell, who repres...

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St. Pete City Council member Newton told to leave Pier discussion listen

01/07/13 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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More than 20,000 St. Petersburg residents signed a petition to stop city council members from demolishing the iconic downtown pier. Those petitioners want voters to decide what happens to the inverted pyramid and city council member Wengay Newton is one of them. At a press conference Monday he said city legal staff kicked him out of a closed door discussion about the Pier.

“Well, I’m going to ask them, and hopefully request the transcript and recording of that meeting because I was sup...

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