Friday, August 19, 2011

Mayor Foster's Secret "Detailed Plan"

Mayor Bill Foster's comment to city council Thursday that he has a "detailed plan" to keep the Rays is nothing more than miscalculated politicking.

Foster, who wants city council to stop diminishing the city's leverage in the stadium saga by suggesting possible concessions to the Rays, said he had a "plan" so council would stop pressuring him in public. Foster has been briefing council members individually on the issue, even though the Rays haven't spoken to him in months.

The St. Petersburg Times reports:
"I am very content with the communication with the administration,'' Kennedy said. "If the Rays are interested in having discussions they should call the mayor.''

Foster concurred that public meetings make for an awkward forum.

"We can't play this poker hand in the sunshine, without weakening our position,'' he said. "When the time comes, when they are ready to come to the table, it will be publicly discussed and be in the sunshine. We can't do anything to weaken our position, which is why I'm willing to come to you individually.''
Since I've already explained What Mayor Bill Foster is Thinking, it makes sense that his "plan" is nothing more than to stop letting the issue play itself out in public. Foster doesn't like that the Rays have essentially issued an ultimatim: let us out of the use agreement or we'll continue the public pressure.

Of course, the Rays are thinking the more the issue plays itself out in the papers, the more pressure put on Foster to make concessions. The team has communicated with local business groups interested in fostering regional stadium efforts.

And although it will take years, the Rays are hoping the pressure on St. Pete will eventually help turn the tides so multiple counties can get behind an affordable financing plan for a new venue.

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