Friday, June 18, 2010

The Oil is Coming…. The Oil is Coming… The Oil is Coming

No Matter how many walks along the Beach President Obama makes, or the many wishes of Governor Crist that the oil won’t come, or the consistent ignoring by County Administrator Lasalla, or the prayers of Mayor Foster…. THE OIL IS COMING.

You just can’t dump that much crap into the Gulf of Mexico, heat it up, stir it with a couple of tropical storms, turn it into a crude oil casserole and expect that none of it will wind up on the beaches here in Pinellas County. I’ll buy the fact that the area has been blessed for several years with no tropical storms but sooner or later the divine entity blinks or your luck runs out.

What is bothering me is the lack of planning. All we seem to really be interested in is getting a few bucks from BP to entice some hapless tourists to come on down so we can stick them in some over priced beach hotel rooms, sell them some cheap tee-shirts at exorbitant prices and in St. Petersburg’s case write a few extra parking tickets. The guy that owns the Trade Winds was classic. Whining about the poor tourist season and blaming in on the oil spill asking for millions from BP to pump up tourism. Did you notice we are still coming out of a recession?

BP may stand for Big Pockets in some people’s minds but there is a limit to everything. Instead of taking the typical small business, small minded, short sighted view of making this months sales, we better be thinking about how we save this place for everyone who lives here. Recent reports say tourism is a 6 billion dollar business in Pinellas County so how about you tourist business operators pony up some bucks to help your self.

If you think property values are in the tank now, just wait until you’re trying to sell your water front property with oil lapping up dock side and sweet smell of crude oil wafting through the air not to mention the oil soaked pelican staring at you from the dock pole.

Instead of bleeding BP for money to promote tourism let’s take that money and use it to train volunteers, and provide resources to cope with the oil when it gets here. The Pinellas County administration and the municipalities are not noted for their cooperation. It is time to put all of that bickering aside and put a strong action plan together to deal with the crisis. A bunch of 60+ year old volunteers out on the beach wheezing in the fumes while they search for tar balls is not a plan to deal with the crisis. Where is the boom, has the County or any City applied for the permits to build sand barriers, who is working with the Corps of Engineers? What is the plan to keep the oil out of Tampa Bay? Recent articles in the St. Petersburg Times indicate a lack of coordination and planning.

I can sympathize with the tourist business owners, I actually owned a couple of business on the beach myself. But listen carefully to those comments from Louisiana about loosing a life style. It could happen here too.

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