Kriseman, Lynn returning to Cuba
It's official. Mayor Rick Kriseman, Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin and Kriseman's chief of staff, Kevin King, will be traveling to Cuba next week to see the Tampa Bay Rays play an exhibition game and pursue closer ties with the island nation.
On top of the list? Trying to make the case that St. Petersburg, not Tampa or Miami, deserves a Cuban consulate.
Kriseman visited Cuba in August, but had to cut his trip short when a tropical storm threatened. He'll seek to meet with the same Cuban officials this trip,said King.
Also heading to Cuba for a second time is Democratic congressional hopeful Eric Lynn, who will also cheer on the Rays against the Cuban national baseball team while potentially reuniting with his former boss, President Barack Obama, who will also be in Havana (and attending the game).
Who's paying for the trip? This from Kriseman spokesman, Ben Kirby:
"The mayor's family is paying their own way. The mayor, deputy mayor, and Kevin are responsible for anything over $100.00 (per FL law on lobbying), though some or all of their expenses may be reimbursable using existing, budgeted funds," Kirby wrote in an email.
Lynn is battling former governor Charlie Crist for the Democratic nomination in the 13th Congressional District.
Lynn, who worked in the Pentagon under Obama, said he would like to continue the efforts he made on a previous trip to promote an aristic exchange between the Salvador Dali museum and the Cuban national art museum. He said he also wants to see the fruit of his earlier efforts to help arrange the Rays game. He said he "scouted the condition" of the playing field at Havana's Estadio Latinoamericano on behalf on the Tampa Bay Rays.
Also in Havana will be a group of Rays fans organized by the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership.