Bill Foster gives himself too much credit in nixing a waterfront stadium for the Rays
ST. PETERSBURG — While campaigning for mayor, Bill Foster has twice taken credit for squelching the Tampa Bay Rays' push last year for a new downtown waterfront ballpark.
Here's how he put it three weeks ago during a League of Women Voters' debate. He was trying to illustrate his contention that, unlike rival Kathleen Ford, he works well with people.
"I am actually the person that enticed the Rays to hold (back) that referendum item on the waterfront stadium because I was against it. And again, working with people and building consensus, they saw the light and they too saw that it was a bad idea."
He repeated the notion last week at the Council of Neighborhood Associations.
Let's go back to June 2008, when a deadline for a stadium referendum was fast approaching. Frustrated City Council members were badgering the Rays for financial details. Mayor Rick Baker had never voiced support for the plan. And a St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 poll showed that 68 percent of residents opposed the idea.