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The Miranda warning: Tampa council chairman sends a check — and a message on Tampa Bay Rays stadium

Tampa City Council chairman Charlie Miranda wore all black clothes — to mourn "the burial of the taxpayer" — during council meetings when public support for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers stadium was discussed in 1996. He says he has three more black outfits ready to go if anyone proposes using public money to build a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium in Tampa.

EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times (2011)

Tampa City Council chairman Charlie Miranda wore all black clothes — to mourn "the burial of the taxpayer" — during council meetings when public support for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers stadium was discussed in 1996. He says he has three more black outfits ready to go if anyone proposes using public money to build a new Tampa Bay Rays stadium in Tampa.

12

July

As much as Mayor Bob Buckhorn would love to see a Tampa Bay Rays baseball stadium built in downtown Tampa, he is not taking sides in the St. Petersburg mayor's race.

But someone else is.

Tampa City Council chairman Charlie Miranda recently sent St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster's re-election campaign a $100 check and a thank-you note.

"I admire ... your dedication to ensuring that contractual obligations are adhered to," Miranda said. That would include Foster's stance that the Rays play at Tropicana Field until 2027, as required by the team's lease with the city.

Foster welcomes the support, telling the Times in a text message, "I very much appreciate the chairman's contribution and his acknowledgement of my job performance in St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay."

Yet while Miranda said he believes Foster is the best candidate in St. Petersburg's Aug. 27 primary, his contribution is as much about politics in Tampa as in St. Petersburg. It sends a signal that he would oppose any deal that hinged on public support to bring the Rays to Tampa.

"I believe the taxpayers' money should be used for infrastructure and the needs of the citizens, which is where the tax money comes from," Miranda says.

Miranda opposed taxpayer support for the construction of Raymond James Stadium in 1996. For months, he wore all-black clothing — black suit, black shirt, black tie — to City Council meetings to mourn "the burial of the taxpayer."

And if Tampa ever begins a similar debate about the Rays, Miranda says he has three black outfits in the closet, and "there is no doubt that they will come out."

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[Last modified: Friday, July 12, 2013 4:46pm]

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