The rambling conversation revealed the lack of vision and sophistication of half of the council members to grasp what is at stake, and it underscored the importance of this fall's elections to add more thoughtful voices.The Times is right on one thing - this fall's city election is the Rays' best chance at getting permission to look at stadium sites in Hillsborough County. I've even suggested the team has political tools at its disposal if it chooses to use them.
But again, I maintain the Times is too critical of councilmembers who truly believe their constituents deserve better...and agree with the legal opinion of many that the MOU would ultimately make it easier for the Rays to leave Tampa Bay. After all, not all attorneys will see an identical contract identically:
ALSO READ: Newspapers Histoically Drive New Stadium CampaignsCouncilman Gerdes boils #StadiumSaga down: 1 camp thinks MOU helps protect team's future in #TampaBay; 1 camp thinks MOU helps #Rays flee.— Shadow of Stadium (@StadiumShadow) May 28, 2015
The Times editorial continues:
The Rays' understandable desire to search for a new stadium site in either Pinellas or Hillsborough counties offers an opportunity to preserve Major League Baseball in Tampa Bay for a new generation. It also would allow St. Petersburg to proceed with a master-planned development of the Trop's 85 acres, with or without a new stadium. That would increase property values throughout surrounding neighborhoods, create jobs and generate millions of dollars in new tax revenue.This is all probably true. But it could get very costly. And more importantly, if St. Petersburg would be better-off giving a big plot of land to a developer instead of a baseball team...why wouldn't Tampa? File that one under "questions nobody wants to answer."
[I]t will be the outcome of the City Council elections that ultimately will determine whether St. Petersburg moves forward or continues to squander an opportunity to transform the city.One of the four "no" votes on council, Jim Kennedy, doesn't have to run. Another, Bill Dudley, will likely be replaced by like-minded Ed Montanari. A third "no" vote, liberal-minded Steve Kornell, will continue to face some pressure from the Times, but remains a favorite to keep his seat on November 3.
Which puts all the eggs in the basket of whomever replaces Wengay Newton in St. Pete's minority-heavy District 7. It's pretty much guaranteed the first candidate to support the mayor's deal with the Rays (when Newton would not) would a shoo-in for both the endorsement of the Times and potential political muscle of the Rays.
That may explain why Lisa Wheeler Brown, the only candidate in District 7 who has filed a campaign report so far, said she would likely support the mayor's lead on the issue. She has already received campaign checks from prominent stadium-search supporters, including ABC Coalition & Kriseman Transition Team member Craig Sher, as well as three St. Pete councilmembers: Darden Rice, Amy Foster, and Karl Nurse - all of whom voted "yes" on Thursday to the deal that would have let the Rays explore Tampa.
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A brief history of Times editorials on the Stadium Saga:
- 5/28/15 - Hurry up and pass MOU or else we'll have to hurry up in a few years
- 3/31/15 - Times suggests replacing councilmembers who oppose MOU
- 3/28/15 - Maybe Council Will Finally Listen to Us?
- 2/23/15 - Sternberg Wrong to Hate on St. Pete Council...That's Our Job!
- 2/20/15 - St. Pete should just give up now
- 12/10/14 - It's in St. Pete's financial interest to let the Rays go to Tampa
- 11/7/14 - St. Pete should amend contract b/c Rays lost their manager, GM
- 10/3/14 - Cheers, Warning on Hillsborough Negotiations
- 6/30/14 - Save Pinellas Tax Money for New Stadium
- 4/2/14 - What Steps Will Kriseman Take on Rays?
- 3/31/14 - Hurry Up! Only 14 More Years to Solve Stadium Stalemate!
- 1/1/14 - Kriseman Should Solve Stadium Stalemate Within "Months"
- 12/1/13 - Message to Kriseman: no time to waste
- 11/12/13 - New mayor will bring an open mind to the negotiations
- 11/6/13 - New mayor should renew discussions with Rays
- And a bevy of Bill-Foster bashing too: Oct. 2013 | Sept. 2013 | Sept. 2013 | Feb 2013 | Feb 2013 | Jan 2013 | Jan 2013 | Oct 2012 | April 2012