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Is Tampa Bay Rays stadium a crucial factor in your choice for mayor?




If the Tampa Bay Rays don't get a new baseball stadium, how easily could they leave town? That question — critical to any negotiations between St. Petersburg and the team — has taken center stage in the city's mayoral race.

Kathleen Ford says the Rays are committed by contract to play at Tropicana Field through 2027. She refuses to even speculate on alternatives."I'm more concerned about the local economy and having more officers on the street and decreasing taxes,'' Ford says.

Bill Foster can foresee concrete rising from the ground as early as 2016, when the current bonds expire on Tropicana Field. Yes, the city could try to enforce the Trop agreement until 2027, Foster says, but teams break contracts all the time and no telling how messy a lawsuit could be.

How Ford or Foster navigates that process could determine whether the city ends up with a ribbon cutting or a court battle. readers are debating this issue this morning, making the story the most discussed on the site. Many are rallying behind their candidate based on the stadium debate; others are ready to write off the topic altogether.

"This is why Foster will NOT get my vote. No taxpayer money for a new (unneeded) stadium wrote Dave in St. Petersburg. "GO FORD! BTW, we will not be litigating against a partner. That supposed partner will be litigating against us to break a legal contract!"

A Foster supporter shared his take: "Foster is smart enough to realize that this money combined with modest tax increases will build a FIRST CLASS ball park for our boys," wrote Sensible Taxpayer. "Does St. Pete really want to be a MINOR LEAGUE city again? I don't think so."

Bob from St. Pete doesn't seem to care about the team's stadium: "Let them leave. In 10-15 years they will probably be doing the same thing to another city. Some day they will figure out their threats are weak."

Share your feedback: Is the stadium issue a deciding factor in your vote for mayor?

[Last modified: Monday, May 24, 2010 3:57pm]


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