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Politics continues to get in the way of Rays solution

“I'll probably blow your mind today . . ."

Those were the remarks of St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster at Thursday's City Council meeting. He seemed to be weary of the political maneuvering that appears to have a firm grip on almost every issue on the city's agenda these days. Such is life in an election year.

Like a tenured professor lecturing a remedial class on the finer points of city administration, Foster's statements were measured.

He corrected misconceptions about the contract: "It's a user agreement." He lectured council: "Listen to your attorney.'' Foster also acknowledged that there are many who disagree with his stance: He has forbidden the Rays from exploring sites outside the city.

Truth is, there needs to be an informed, united front if the city intends on keeping the Rays in town.

But some council members have been spinning their wheels throughout the process. They rightly want to be informed about the negotiations involved with keeping the Rays in the Sunshine City. But there's a big difference between being a part of the process and playing a sad game of political grandstanding.

It seems everyone wants a seat at the table, but few bring any depth or insight to the conversation.

Council member Charlie Gerdes should be credited for drawing up a proposal that would allow the Rays to explore other options, because the stalemate has been dragging on for three long years.

But the hyperbole that ensued wasted too much time en route to the 90-minute train wreck.

During the meeting, City Attorney John Wolfe suggested that the team's true intent is to leave the Tampa Bay area altogether.

Like it or not, he's probably right.

Until that day comes, the city is in the best possible position right now to negotiate a deal in the best interest of the taxpayers.

Let's not allow politics to get in the way.

Moms who know best

There's a super Disney Mom in our midst.

Wilma Norton of St. Petersburg is one of 19 chosen from among thousands of Disney parks fans who filed applications for this year's Disney Parks Moms Panel, an online advice board.

Norton, a Times alumnus and assistant director of marketing and public information for St. Petersburg College, is one of only two Florida residents on the panel.

A longtime park pass holder, the mother of two has stayed in almost every Disney resort, eaten in almost every restaurant and participated in almost every attraction. The panel was created in 2008, and this year was renamed the Disney Parks Moms Panel to tap into the expertise of parents who like to share insider tips at disneyparksmomspanel.com.

437's revolving doors

Is 437 Central Ave. jinxed?

It's a fair question considering the recent closing of Pipo's Cafe.

In recent years, a host of good restaurants have called the space home: Emilio's Bistro Bakery and Bar, Diner 437, Grillside Central or Tedesco's Grillside.

A closer look — in this instance — reveals that owner Raymond Hernandez received an offer on the space. We'll have to wait to see who the next tenant will be and hope whoever it is has staying power.

Sandra J. Gadsden can be reached at sgadsden@tampabay.com or at (727) 893-8874 and on Twitter at @StPeteSandi.

Politics continues to get in the way of Rays solution 02/09/13 [Last modified: Friday, February 8, 2013 6:07pm]
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