Response to St. Petersburg Times article on the St. Petersburg entry monument

By now you probably drove by the entry monument for St. Petersburg when you head south on Interstate 275 just before the 4 St N exit (Exit 32).  If you haven’t read my previous blog entry on the entry monument north of 4 St N in St. Petersburg, please feel free to do so.  After all, that entry monument really puts St. Petersburg’s best foot forward.
Unfortunately, the St. Petersburg Times – er, the misnamed Tampa Bay Times – has decided to go pro-Tampa and be anti-St. Petersburg.  This article written by Times staff writer Michael Kruse (in print on 2 December 2012) is nothing more than the worst anti-St. Petersburg article I have ever seen since the day the St. Petersburg Times became the Tampa Bay Times on 1 January 2012.  As such, this blog entry shows my disappointment with the St. Petersburg Times over how it covers its stories in this present day and age.
Mr. Kruse, let me tell you a few points about your anti-St. Petersburg article regarding the newly constructed entry monument on Interstate 275 just north of the 4 St N exit:
1.  You mention that the sign is “monstrous”.  This sign is not monstrous in any way whatsoever – it is a beautiful sign seen by St. Petersburg residents as well as visitors, not to mention commuters headed back home to St. Petersburg after a busy work day in Tampa.
2.  The sign was not paid for with our tax dollars.  The City of St. Petersburg was going to construct this sign but it had to be put on the shelf because of budget cutbacks.  However, a prominent St. Petersburg businessman – Bill Edwards, whose company, Big 3 Entertainment, manages the Mahaffey Theater in downtown St. Petersburg – came up with the money to build that monument.
3.  You took it on yourself to compare that entry monument to something from Celebration (which is next to Disney World) or Lakewood Ranch (a community south of Bradenton), an entrance to an apartment or condominium complex or a gateway to an outlet mall.  How dare you say that about the sunshine city of St. Petersburg?
4.  I was born and raised right here in St. Petersburg.  In fact, I grew up as every section of Interstate 275 was being built southward in segments from the Howard Frankland Bridge to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, including the two downtown St. Petersburg connectors, Interstates 375 and 175.
Here’s a comment I made on the St. Petersburg Times’ site regarding this article I would like to share with you:
The St. Petersburg Times – of course the misnamed Tampa Bay Times – should be ashamed of themselves for even writing this article to begin with. This article is definitely pro-Tampa and anti-St. Petersburg on the spot.
Speaking of the entry monument on Interstate 275 right before you get to the 4 St N exit (Exit 32), this is the most beautiful and welcoming work of art that welcomes residents and visitors to the sunshine city of St. Petersburg. Even in the tough financial times the City of St. Petersburg is facing, at least one prominent local businessman – Bill Edwards – stepped up to the plate and provided the funding to get this entry monument built and done.
First impressions always count.  After all, this entry monument puts St. Petersburg’s best foot forward.
Besides, this article shows clearly why the misnamed Tampa Bay Times does not care about St. Petersburg anymore. After all, the St. Petersburg Times made a monumental mistake on 1 January 2012 when it changed its name to the pro-Tampa, anti-St. Petersburg Tampa Bay Times.
We have two other entry monuments at the eastern ends of both Interstates 375 and 175 in downtown St. Petersburg.  Those entry monuments are not “monstrous” contrary to what the St. Petersburg Times mentioned in the article I have recently seen.  As a St. Petersburg resident, I am proud of these entry monuments every time I ride by them.
As for the St. Petersburg Times, it used to be a great newspaper until it started covering more and more Tampa related stories.  As time wore on, the St. Petersburg Times covered less and less St. Petersburg, even going to the point of calling St. Petersburg “South Pinellas”.  And, on 1 January 2012, the St. Petersburg Times did a lot of collateral damage to themselves by renaming it the Tampa Bay Times.  All you will find in the St. Petersburg Times today are articles that are nothing more than sensationalized and speculated for maximum fear effect.  You can read more about this in one of my blog entries over at the Edward Ringwald Blog (that’s my other blog) about the credit crunch and the news media.
And one more thing:  Even though the St. Petersburg Times is now the Tampa Bay Times, it will still be referred to as the St. Petersburg Times in my book, especially for at least as long as it still maintains a headquarters at 490 1 Av S in beautiful downtown St. Petersburg, if not more.

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