Thursday, January 8, 2015

Why Kriseman Has Hope on Rays' Stadium Saga

Speaking extensively on the Rays' Stadium Saga for the first time since city council rejected his proposed deal in December, Mayor Rick Kriseman said he has "no timetable" for renewing negotiations with the team but expects to find middle ground and advance the dialogue soon.

Kriseman was fielding both hardball and softball questions from participants in the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club, a local group that meets approximately once a month to put prominent figures in front of other local influential people to face difficult, but generally good-spirited questions.

Among the Tiger Bay members firing questions at the mayor was St. Pete councilmember Wengay "Newt" Newton, who asked Kriseman if he "really believed council would approve" the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would have given the Rays the ability to explore possible new stadium sites in Hillsborough County without penalty.

Ultimately, council rejected the deal, 5-3, over concerns of future redevelopment potential.

"I view city council as a partner and city government as a team," Kriseman said, acknowledging the two sides won't always see eye-to-eye. ""What I appreciate is and I continue to meet & talk...for the good of the city."

Kriseman added criticisms of the city council, saying it was too quick to "workshop" every issue and councilmembers don't trust each other, so they attend every workshop. He said when he was on city council, from 2002-2006, councilmembers trusted each other more and worked better together.


  1. The MOU is nothing more than a give away of millions of dollars in settlement leverage. The Rays will present a prospective city with an economic impact analysis, and then St. Pete will be able to hang that number around the Rays neck. But if the City signs the MOU, the Rays will be able to point to the low ball values in the Section 4 compensation schedule as an appropriate measure of compensation. The compensation schedule will be evidence of appropriate damages, even if the schedule isn't actually triggered. The City will have handed out this leverage in exchange for nothing. It would be interesting to see a post here explaining exactly how the City benefits from the MOU. Kriseman's words obviously have little connection to the reality of the document.

    1. Kriseman has said St. Pete benefits when the region benefits, so a deal that may cost the city some money could still be worth it if the region benefits.

    2. Surely he must have made a more quantitative and persuasive argument than "region benefits." Any numbers at all? Nothing else, besides the self-interest of journalists, could explain why the Mayor got free cheerleading on the MOU without any critical analysis of a promise as thin as "region benefits." Oh nowwww I get it. This baseball cookie jar has a lot of hands in it. Call it the sports-industrial complex. Like viruses, each feeder at the sports subsidy trough exists only to perpetuate itself, doing whatever it takes to crowd out alternative public investments.