Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

2 amendments would give voters power over spending

ST. PETERSBURG — An activist group that led the rallying cry against a waterfront baseball stadium this summer has launched a campaign that would give voters greater control of how tax dollars are spent on professional sports.

Preserve Our Wallets and Waterfront is circulating two petitions to amend the city charter in 2009. One amendment would require voter approval on any city funding for professional sports facilities. The other would require voter approval for substantial changes to St. Petersburg's waterfront parks.

"Our concern was what happens if they try to pull another Tropicana Field," said founder Hal Freedman. "That's a lot of money for the taxpayers to pick up for a private, for-profit organization."

But city officials say the amendment language is too broad and could have unintended consequences on city recreational facilities or development opportunities.

"Basically, you couldn't do much of anything with your parks," said City Attorney John Wolfe.

The city charter states that any long-term private development of a waterfront park must be put to referendum, but the city itself can do what it wants with the land. The amendment on waterfront parks would change that.

The amendment on sports facilities is more far-reaching. It requires voter approval on "construction, renovation, maintenance, operation, replacement financing or refinancing of professional sports facilities," excluding existing contractual obligations.

Freedman said the amendments had to be broad to truly protect the city's tradition of open green space along the waterfront and guarantee tax dollars aren't spent without taxpayers' consent.

"The whole point is letting the people who are going to pay for it make the decision, rather than the officials and the team," he said.

The Tampa Bay Rays delayed their proposed $450-million waterfront stadium plan in June, even as team leaders stressed a new stadium was necessary to remain viable. A group of business leaders and residents has been tapped to figure out where to build a new stadium and how to finance it.

.Fast facts

On the Web

To learn more about POWW's petition, check out

2 amendments would give voters power over spending 10/13/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 20, 2008 12:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Diaz, Taddeo win easily in special Miami Senate primaries


    Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.

    Republican candidate Jose Felix Diaz is surrounded by supporters after he won the primary for Florida’s Senate District 40 race. Democrat Annette Taddeo, right, celebrates her victory with supporter Venus Lovely at BJ’s Restaurant in The Falls.
  3. In live debate, Kriseman and Baker ask St. Pete: Is the city better off?



    Mayoral candidates Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker made their best pitch to voters in front of a live television audience on Tuesday night. The candidates essentially asked this: Is the city better off now than it was four years ago?

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience during the City of St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg on Tuesday evening. The event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. Romano: It all comes down to sewage in this mayoral race

    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    At Tuesday’s debate, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman said responsibility lies on him regarding the sewage crisis.
  5. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.