Monday, April 23, 2018
Politics

Wishful thinking? Tampa's Bob Buckhorn claims he is Rays' hometown mayor

TALLAHASSEE — Whether he was foreshadowing things to come or just wishfully thinking, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn told a Tallahassee crowd Friday that he was "lucky enough to be mayor of the 55th largest city in the country and, more importantly, home to the Tampa Bay Rays."

One problem with that: The Rays are based in St. Petersburg, not Tampa.

Buckhorn later clarified his comments, which came during a speech to the Economic Club of Florida.

"We're all Rays fans at this point," he said. "They may physically reside in St. Petersburg, at least for a little while, but we all share in their success and I consider myself to be their mayor just as Bill Foster considers himself to be their mayor."

Buckhorn says he doesn't want to be the boyfriend in the divorce between St. Petersburg and the Rays. But he also is waiting to talk.

"We can't talk until the city of St. Pete and the Rays come to some agreement," he said. "I'm frustrated, and I'm sure a lot of people are frustrated that there has been no movement on that. We are in no different a position than we were six months ago. That has to take place. As good as the Rays are, as much as the bay area loves the Rays, it's not going to work in St. Petersburg."

In wide-ranging remarks, Buckhorn was careful not to criticize particular elected officials from Florida, but he lamented the "short-term, stupid politics" of today and said important issues are being overlooked like immigration reform.

He also talked up the city's success hosting the Republican National Convention last year, Super Bowls and other major events.

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