Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What Kriseman's Win in St. Pete's Run-Off Election Means for the Rays

Ten weeks after a razor-tight primary, two St. Pete mayors duked it out in a run-off for control over city hall for the next four years.  And it appears Mayor Rick Kriseman will hold off former mayor, Rick Baker, by a two-to-three-point margin.

Of course, a mayor will leave many footprints on a city's legacy, but one significant influence that Kriseman will continue to have pertains to the future of the Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Rowdies, both of whom currently play in old St. Pete stadiums.

As I wrote this summer, St. Pete seems to be too small for two top-level teams, and Baker had been a natural ally of the Rowdies after quarterbacking their MLS 2 St. Pete campaign. Meanwhile, Kriseman has been a reliable partner to the Rays and already offered the team significant public dollars that would, at the very least, help them leverage more out of Hillsborough County if they aren't serious about sharing in the redevelopment opportunities at Tropicana Field (also explains why the Rays contributed more than $80,000 to Kriseman's campaign.

Now, with the election in the books, it would seem the next domino to fall in the Stadium Saga would belong to the Rays, who could call a press conference to discuss their next move (seeking money) as soon as this week. But that may not prove to be a pleasant - or brief - chapter in this saga.

What won't help the Rays is Montreal's biggest MLB cheerleader, Mayor Denis Coderre, getting upset by challenger Valérie Plante earlier this week. Plante criticized Coderre on the campaign trail for a willingness to spend large amounts of tax dollars on projects like a new stadium. So that may be one weaker chip for the Rays/MLB to play as leverage.

Also newsworthy on Election Day in St. Pete - Gina Driscoll, who campaigned on an open approach to supporting and funding a new Rays stadium, beat out Justin Bean, who was a consultant on the Tropicana Field redevelopment project and said "no public funds" should be used for the stadium other than infrastructure and surrounding development.

In D2, Brandi Gabbard, who liked the idea of a Derby Lane stadium in North St. Pete, beat Barclay Harless, who promised "not one dime" for the Rays until the city gets its sewer problems under control. And in D4, incumbent Darden Rice, who has supported Kriseman's path on the Stadium Saga, knocked off 21-year-old challenger Jerick Johnson.





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1 comment:

  1. What is important to note about the new Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante point of view on baseball return in Montreal is that she's committed to ask the citizens (referendum) if they agree to invest public money (amount to be determined) in a new downtown stadium.

    So if the need is to invest Montreal public money into infrastructures around the stadium or into the Goose Village sector where the stadium will be built, then, does the referendum promise is still valid?

    So far, there are no formal (public) investment requests made by the investors (maybe private talks on how such investments would be done, but no formal public proposal).

    One scenario is to use the immigrants-investors program to fund the stadium. In such situation, public money from the Federal, the Provincial and the municipal governments would be required around the stadium.

    Bronfman confirmed that the approach to fund such project will include a way for those governments to make profits ("ristourne") out of it (sales taxes, revenue taxes, municipal taxes, ...) so it will be a type of partnership where all investors (private and public) will get a share on profits based on their level of investments.

    With the new mayor in place, the public debate will start in Montreal.

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