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Kornell takes offense to Foster's pop-psychology reference

St. Petersburg City Council members Steve Kornell, left, and Amy Foster.

[Times files]

St. Petersburg City Council members Steve Kornell, left, and Amy Foster.



During Thursday's momentous City Council debate about reaching an agreement with the Tampa Bay Rays, Council chairwoman Amy Foster offered a psychological explanation for why some of her council colleagues might still be opposed to a deal allowing the team to look outside St. Petersburg.

Foster spoke of  the "backfire effect," in which evidence that contradicts a person's deeply-held belief actually strengthens that belief.

"I respect my colleagues a great deal yet I believe that many of them are experiencing the backfire effect," Foster said.

That didn't sit well with council member Steve Kornell, who a few minutes later voted against the deal along with Ed Montanari and Jim Kennedy.

"Well, okay, I appreciate that brilliant pyschological analysis, but if we could just stick to the issue I think that would be helpful," Kornell said. "That's just not helpful. Calling people names or saying, 'If you're against this, it's impossible to be against this unless there's something wrong with you and you have some kind of psychological issue.'"

Kornell wasn't done. He vented more on Facebook on Thursday night.

"Wow! I have taken the high road for over a year and tried to have a reasonable discussion of the Rays deal, focusing on economics. Too bad our council chair said that anyone who disagrees with that has some type of psychological issue. Great public debate," read his post.

Foster said Friday that she had not directed her comment at Kornell or any other council member. More than anything, she said, she was explaining her own evolution from an opponent of a deal to a supporter. 

"It wasn't directed at Steve or any one person in particular. I was speaking of myself as much as anyone," she said.

Kornell said Friday he's said his piece and won't hold a grudge.

But he couldn't resist a final zinger.

"I hope the backfire effect isn't that we get a deal like the Bucs got," said Kornell, referring to a recent deal to renovate Raymond James Stadium. 





[Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2016 2:45pm]


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