And like it or not, an election about so many important issues - from poverty and extreme school inequality to wastewater failures and affordable housing - has been simplified by the Tampa Bay Times into a referendum on the Rays' stadium situation. Oh look, there's another editorial today. Ho hum.
St. Pete voters (albeit, not many of them) will go to the polls to cast ballots for three city council seats, one of which is expected to be the swing vote in future negotiations with the Rays.
At the start of 2015, I wrote there were three ways the Rays could break the so-called stalemate:
- Pay more to get their way, which we know they really don't want to do.
- Form a PAC to influence St. Pete's election with dark money, which they said they wouldn't do.
- Get involved by backing a candidate publicly, which they also said they wouldn't do.
READ: Nobody covering the Stadium Saga can count...or read
Of course, council has been negotiating against itself for so long, even the worst-case scenario for the Rays right now is an extreme bargain compared to the tens of millions per year other teams have had to pay for ditching out on leases early.
The winner of today's election won't take office until the new year, so if it's Wheeler-Brown, we may be able to expect some real movement come January. But if it's Newton, council may have more leverage than ever to demand MLB and the Rays put up some real cash if they want to break the terms of the deal they originally negotiated with the city in the 1990s.
- 11/1/15 - St. Pete Should Cough Up More Money for Stadium in Another City
- 10/23/15 - Next "Last Chance" comes in two weeks
- 10/22/15 - "Last Chance" for council to save Rays
- 10/7/15 - Hurry up, already! We need to free up editorial space for other news!
- 9/29/15 - Times Doubles Down Support for Rays Sympathizers
- 8/2/15 - Times: We Want Rays to Look in Tampa, but Pinellas Should Raise Taxes Now Anyway Just in Case
- 7/23/15 - In trying to advance stadium interests, newspapers may do opposite
- 6/14/15 - Opportunity cost of keeping Rays costing St. Pete big
- 6/4/15 - Council blind to economic opportunities at Trop
- 5/30/15 - Times cranks up pressure on opponents of Rays compromise
- 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
- 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
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