Monday, February 23, 2015

Times Ed Board: Sternberg Wrong to Hate on St. Pete Council...That's Our Job!

A rare Tampa Bay Times editorial criticizing Rays' owner Stu Sternberg suggests he's right on most Stadium Saga issues...but he's wrong to keep staff from attending more St. Pete council meetings:
[I]t could take about five years to identify a site, arrange financing and build a stadium. Yet some council members still fail to grasp that the more time passes without an agreement to let the Rays look for a new home, the less negotiating leverage the city has in seeking payments for leaving early and the longer the city has to wait to redevelop the site.

While Sternberg's substantive points are fair and reasonable, his lack of appreciation for local politics and community sensibilities undercuts his message. Council members already are sensitive about being taken for granted and put off by a perceived air of superiority from a wealthy team owner who lives in New York. Refusing to talk to them at a public meeting does not help, particularly when some former elected officials and community activists urge council members to reject any deal with the Rays.
OK, so this is more of a backhanded compliment suggestion aimed at St. Pete's council.  The Times continues on to suggest those hesitant elected officials should quickly move to approve whatever Mayor Kriseman negotiates next with the team.  But if council has questions of the looks like they won't have anyone from the team to ask.

A brief history of Times editorials on the Stadium Saga: 
The history goes further back than that, but for a good synopsis, watch my 2010 piece on newspapers cheerleading for new stadium projects.


  1. Right. Same problem: a newspaper offering business advice. Steer clear.

    The parties could also each stick to their commitments. If one side defaults, let the out-of-state owners explain their reasoning to a local judge.

    The only urgency in this for the Rays and for the Times is that the Times will fold soon.

    The Council members are not concerned about being "taken for granted." They are concerned about being sold a bridge. The Times are just cheerleaders for the bridge sale, nothing more. The Times should take their own advice and "just give up now."

  2. The newspaper should disclose its business relationships with the Rays at the bottom of every single opinion about the Rays. What is good for Tampa or "the region" or the Rays or the Times is not necessarily good for St. Petersburg or Pinellas. As such, the newspaper should disclose its conflicts of interest when offering legal opinions.