Friday, November 24, 2017
Editorials

Next move on stadium is up to Rays

RECOMMENDED READING


One day after a disappointing end to the Tampa Bay Rays' season, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster sent a friendly invitation Thursday to team owner Stuart Sternberg to talk about a new stadium. It is the logical next step following the unveiling of a developer's stadium proposal last week, and the time is right to break the impasse and move forward. Sternberg should accept the offer, because it is up to him to make the next move.

There has been precious little talking between the city and the Rays the last couple of years. Foster insists the Rays can only look at potential sites within St. Petersburg or nearby in Pinellas. Sternberg reasonably counters that the Rays are a regional franchise and must examine sites within both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. And there the deadlock has remained.

The passing of time has not strengthened the city's hand. Sternberg's ownership group has won praise within baseball, and the team has been successful on the field despite this week's disappointment of missing the playoffs. Yet the Rays are last this year in attendance and were next to last the year before. The numbers are making it harder to argue for a new stadium in downtown St. Petersburg, even if there was political support to build one. And every year ticking by benefits the Rays, because that means a year less on the team's long-term lease with the city to play in outdated Tropicana Field.

More than two years have passed since the ABC Coalition, a Pinellas-based civic group, analyzed areas for stadiums in Pinellas and Hillsborough but was brushed aside by Foster. Finally, the leadership vacuum began to be filled as the St. Petersburg City Council and the county commissions in Pinellas and Hillsborough became more engaged. Developer Darryl LeClair's presentation of a proposed stadium for the Carillon development in mid Pinellas is the first serious public alternative, and there may be others down the road. But Foster was smart to use the opportunity to invite Sternberg to talk.

LeClair's proposal, regardless of its shortcomings and its failure to suggest any financing, deserves a credible examination and thorough response from the Rays. That doesn't mean Sternberg should abandon his position that the Rays need to look in both Hillsborough and Pinellas. Among the viable options:

• Agree to examine LeClair's proposal in return for looking in both counties for a limited period. St. Petersburg's lease would remain in effect.

• Offer a financial incentive to the city, either a cash payment or benefits tied to stadium expenses.

• Outline how the Rays could help test the market for redevelopment of part of the Tropicana site.

• Open the franchise's books to verify its financial condition.

• Suggest that the Rays could move spring training back to St. Petersburg if a new stadium wound up in Hillsborough County.

If the goal is to keep Major League Baseball in Tampa Bay, there are ways to move this discussion forward. Foster has at least opened the door, and Sternberg should seize the opportunity.

Comments
Editorial: Ken Hagan should drop effort to recover attorney’s fees in ethics complaint

Editorial: Ken Hagan should drop effort to recover attorney’s fees in ethics complaint

Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan says he’s standing on principle in his effort to collect $7,800 spent defending him against ethics charges that eventually were dismissed.If so, it’s the wrong principle. But Hagan’s strident position rings ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Another voice: Wall isn’t a lifesaver, it’s a boondoggle

The first stage of President Donald Trump’s controversial border wall project ended last week, while the prospects for any more construction — and even what type of wall — remain uncertain.A Border Patrol agent was killed and his partner seriously wo...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17

Another voice: Time for Republicans to denounce this tax nonsense

Mick Mulvaney, the phony deficit hawk President Donald Trump tapped to oversee the nation’s budget, all but admitted on Sunday that the GOP tax plan currently before the Senate is built on fiction. Senators from whom the public should expect more — s...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
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...
Published: 11/20/17

Another voice: A time of reckoning on sexual misconduct

Stories about powerful men engaging in sexual misconduct are becoming so common that, as with mass shootings, the country is in danger of growing inured to them. But unlike the tragic news about that latest deranged, murderous gunman, the massive out...
Published: 11/20/17

Another voice: Trump does the right thing for elephants; he shouldn’t back down now

There is bad timing, and then there is this. Last week, an apparent military coup placed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in custody, ushering in a new period of political uncertainty. A few days later, the Trump administration announced that Zimba...
Published: 11/19/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Editorial: Fighting the opioid crisis on many fronts

Editorial: Fighting the opioid crisis on many fronts

From birth to death, opioid addiction is ravaging the lives of thousands of Floridians. Drugmakers, doctors, state lawmakers and insurance companies all have a role to play in slowing the epidemic. Lately some more responsible answers, including mill...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/21/17

Editorial: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "I’m pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: A time for real thanksgiving

Editorial: A time for real thanksgiving

By now the guest list if not the table is all set, and the house will be warmed with the noise of loved ones and the smell of that dish with cream of mushroom soup. Tucked between the sugar rush of Halloween and the sparkle of Christmas, Thanksgiving...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/22/17