Councilman Frank Reddick, whose district includes Downtown Tampa and many of the city's poorer neighborhoods, told Rudie Friday, "I do not support taxpayer dollars going toward a stadium."
"The mayor doesn't have the power to override the CRA board, which is the city council, so we're going to have some input," Reddick continued. "I think down the road I'll play a significant role in how those dollars will be utilized."
Reddick joins councilmembers Yvonne Yolie Capin and Charlie Miranda (not to mention at least one county commissioner) in expressing concern over Mayor Bob Buckhorn's suggestion that at least $100-$150 million in CRA (a.k.a. TIF) money would be on the table for a new Rays stadium.
Fortunately for the Rays, politicians change faster than sports executives.
Also good news for the team's stadium subsidy hopes: public opinion changes too.
According to Saint Petersblog, a new poll indicates an overwhelming majority of Tampa voters oppose tax dollars going to a stadium:
Don't read too much into those numbers - they could be easily reversed by asking residents if they're OK with out of towners paying for a new stadium...because then you can lead them to believe the money couldn't be used for other things.An unscientific survey by St. Pete Polls shows that 65 percent of registered Tampa voters oppose using taxpayer dollars on a stadium for the Rays. Only 25% support such use of public money.
But as Joe Henderson writes in this morning's Tampa Tribune, its important to give careful thought as to the best way Tampa's TIF money could be spent:
[I]t’s one thing to talk about what a stadium could do for downtown, but it’s another to pay for it. It’s tempting to start grabbing at that big pot of cash while dreaming of the Rays and the World Series, but take a deep breath. There will be no inside deals.
Paying for a new stadium really is major baseball-related news, and if it happens at all, then it better be in full sunshine.