Tuesday, November 21, 2017
News Roundup

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman puts Rays deal on fast track

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman and the Tampa Bay Rays aren't wasting time.

On the first business day of 2016, Kriseman, Rays president Brian Auld and City Attorney Jackie Kovilaritch met separately with two City Council members to gauge their temperature on a new deal to allow the team to look outside St. Petersburg for a new stadium site. Briefings with the remaining six council members will all be held before the board's first meeting of the year on Thursday.

Details of what was discussed Monday were closely guarded. One council member, Charlie Gerdes, said the proposal wasn't markedly different than two earlier versions shot down by the council in the past 13 months.

"I wouldn't say there was anything brand new," he said. "There's been some refinement."

An ardent supporter of a deal between the city and the Rays, Gerdes said he was "cautiously optimistic" that his colleagues would support the latest version.

The second council member to meet with the Rays on Monday, Jim Kennedy, wouldn't comment.

Previous proposals have included payments to St. Petersburg ranging from $2 million to $4 million a year once the Rays announce the team has found a new home. Development rights to the current stadium site — worth as much as $1 billion— would revert to the city once the Rays announce they're leaving.

The pace of negotiations appears to have accelerated so that Kriseman could put the plan up for vote by Thursday's City Council meeting if he feels he has the necessary five votes. Gerdes said Kriseman's intent was to have an initial vote on the deal Thursday.

A final vote could then come as early as Jan. 14.

That's ahead of schedule. For several weeks, both sides indicated any deal would probably come later in the month.

Kriseman won't be in town for the council's third meeting of the month on Jan. 21. He's scheduled to be in Washington, D.C., for a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting, said Ben Kirby, his spokesman.

Kriseman is scheduled to speak with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn at the Tiger Bay political club meeting at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club on Friday, a day after what might be the historic City Council vote. A vote in favor of allowing the Rays to look for sites outside Pinellas County would shift the lead negotiating role with the team from Kriseman to Buckhorn, who runs the city the Rays might end up making home.

Kirby declined to comment on any time line.

Nothing related to the Rays is on Thursday's agenda, but it could be added at the last minute. When council members approve the agenda at the outset of the meeting, they could vote to add an item to be discussed.

On Monday, no one was saying much.

Kennedy, who has been an opponent of allowing the Rays to look outside the city, said he had promised Kriseman and Auld that their conversations would remain confidential.

Auld said only that the conversations were "positive and cordial."

Kriseman faced criticism after the council voted down a deal in December 2104 for not lining up support in advance of the vote. This week, nothing is being left to chance. All eight members, including newcomers Lisa Wheeler-Brown and Ed Montanari, will be briefed through Wednesday and have the opportunity to voice any objections or tweaks.

Like Kennedy, Montanari has voiced objections to letting the Rays search for a new home. Steve Kornell has voted twice against a deal, but has said he's open to new ideas.

Gerdes, Karl Nurse and Darden Rice have been steadfast supporters of a deal between the city and the Rays.

Wheeler-Brown has said she'll support a deal.

Council Chairwoman Amy Foster, initially voted against a deal, but changed her position in May, saying it was important to resolve the standoff and let the city move forward.

This time around, nothing has been written down yet. Kovilaritch said no public record exists of the latest deal.

Comments

St. Petersburg council passes living wage ordinance

ST. PETERSBURG — An ordinance requiring certain city contractors to pay workers a minimum of $12 an hour was approved by City Council members Thursday with some amendments. The living wage ordinance applies to businesses with major city contracts pro...
Updated: 2 hours ago
NTSB report details steep turns and dives preceding Roy Halladay’s fatal crash

NTSB report details steep turns and dives preceding Roy Halladay’s fatal crash

Before he crashed, Roy Halladay flew within 75 feet of houses and skimmed the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a report published Monday by the National Transportation Safety Board.The report, which did not address the cause of the crash, ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Ruth: Would high-speed rail have reduced traffic deaths on I-4?

Ruth: Would high-speed rail have reduced traffic deaths on I-4?

Ah, just in time for the Thanksgiving travel season, Florida has once again achieved national prominence. We’re No. 1 — with a body bag! Can’t you feel the pride swelling?A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Editorial: Florida should restore online access to nursing home inspections

Editorial: Florida should restore online access to nursing home inspections

In a state with the nation’s highest portion of residents over 65 years old and more than 80,000 nursing home beds, public records about those facilities should be as accessible as possible. Yet once again, Florida is turning back the clock to the da...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Blasts at plant kill 1, injure dozens

Blasts at plant kill 1, injure dozens

NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. — Authorities recovered the body of a male worker reported missing after two explosions and a fire at a New York cosmetics factory left 30 to 35 people injured, including seven firefighters caught in the second blast, officials said...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Sex assault reports declining at MacDill despite increase militarywide

Sex assault reports declining at MacDill despite increase militarywide

TAMPA — The number of sexual assaults reported to officials at MacDill Air Force Base has decreased dramatically during the past three years even as reports across the military have increased slightly, new Pentagon statistics show.Officials at MacDil...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Florida A&M football coach Alex Wood resigns

TALLAHASSEE — Alex Wood resigned as Florida A&M football coach Monday, two days after the Rattlers completed their season. Athletic director Milton Overton Jr. said offensive line coach Edwin Pata, a former FSU tight end, will serve as interim coach....
Updated: 3 hours ago

PORT RICHEYWoman accused of beating boy, 4, with hangerA Port Richey woman was arrested on a charge of felony child abuse after a 4-year-old boy in her care told deputies she hit him with a clothes hanger, leaving bruises, the Pasco County Sheriff’s ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
‘I tried,’ mother of killer Adam Matos says at sentencing

‘I tried,’ mother of killer Adam Matos says at sentencing

NEW PORT RICHEY — His family described him as a loving, kindhearted father. His neighbors regarded him as quiet and respectful. His friends recalled him as "happy-go-lucky," a "laid-back, fun guy."Thirteen witnesses told of a softer side of Adam Mato...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG — That the Rays went right up to Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."There’s always some...
Updated: 4 hours ago