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Letters to the Editor

Baseball's economic benefits are dubious

What will happen if the Rays leave? | May 25, editorial

Baseball's benefits are dubious

Okay, so the Times and Steve Raymund have decided to confront the "elephant" in the dugout. If you really want the answer to your question of what will happen if the Rays leave, why don't you do some research? Simply Google "heartland stop the madness." Check the Cato or Brookings Institute research. Or read the very well researched report from CONA (St. Petersburg Council of Neighborhood Associations), which points out that studies that look at the actual experience of cities that build stadiums find no effect on the local economy, or a negative effect. Little difference was found on the economy in cities experiencing the 1994 baseball strike. As CONA points out, a study by the Department of Economics at Holy Cross College in 2006 analyzing Florida taxable sales data over the period from 1980 to 2005 found that neither labor disruptions nor franchise expansions made any statistically significant difference in taxable sales.

As for baseball's contribution to the renaissance of our city, Steve Raymund knows enough about the investment world to make sure he doesn't offend the group of New York investors, but apparently knows nothing about our fair city.

In my opinion, our city's renaissance has been fueled by a fortuitous confluence of events, people and divine intervention. Yes, we should thank God for our wonderful climate and beautiful Tampa Bay. We should thank the redevelopment of the appropriately named Renaissance Vinoy Resort for exposing our God-given gifts. We can thank the real estate boom at the start of this decade. And we should be eternally grateful for visionaries like Perry Snell and William Straub and others who combined to give us the great treasure of our unique and open waterfront. Only 28 cities have Major League Baseball. Only one city has our special open, public, waterfront park system.

Lee Nolan, St. Petersburg

A victory in Dallas | May 24, story

Here's a model for

a city renaissance

Thanks for the article about what can be done if citizens and city leaders make the time to look at the entire picture. What they have done in Dallas has also been done in Baltimore, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, and other major league cities — and now that includes Miami.

Much more emphasis should be on what can and should be done with the Tropicana Field site and surrounding area. Let the proposed stadium be the beginning of a vital renaissance of that entire area — and include the port and the Pier in a "master plan." It should be on the ballot.

David Good, St. Petersburg

What will happen if the Rays leave? | May 25, editorial

The signs count

One has to ask why the St. Petersburg Times feels the need to excoriate our St. Petersburg City Council because they "seem more interested in counting pro and con yard signs than on the potential loss of a major league franchise." The question should be why are there so many yard signs in the first place.

When we have concrete evidence that the Rays organization has had secret meetings with the city administration, then we taxpayers and voters understand our interests have been usurped.

When the Rays offer a different financial scheme every week, then we know there are no real plans in place, just trial balloons.

When the St. Petersburg Times is obviously backing the use of our waterfront by an out-of-state-owned sports franchise, then maybe the only voice we taxpayers and voters have against the tyranny of the special interest minority is a lousy lawn sign.

Gary West, St. Petersburg

Predictable faithlessness

As expected, the Times editorial staff has joined your other writers in introducing the intimidation factor into the stadium proposal discussion: If the children don't get what they want, they will run away from home. But these are not children, of course, they are unprincipled businessmen who pretend to enjoy baseball, but who are really focused on commercial development and the resulting profits.

Dear Abby advises women who marry men who have cheated on their wives that what they get are husbands who cheat on their wives. If the stadium is built, and the profits are gathered from Tropicana development, how long will it be until they regretfully decide that this is not a good baseball market, and that they will have to move to a more "promising" location?

Donald C. Kipp, St. Petersburg

What will happen if the Rays leave town?

May 25, editorial

Not impartial

Because the Times derives considerable income from Tampa Bay Rays advertising and promotional events, it has a vested interest in keeping the team here. It is not a disinterested party in the debate about whether public money should be spent to provide the team with a new stadium, and its relationship with the Rays appears to be coloring its reporting and slanting the official editorial position of the paper toward approval of the stadium.

If the Times was intellectually honest it would, at the very least, recuse itself from making pronouncements on its editorial page promoting this very expensive and risky project.

Jan Allyn, Largo

A huge burden

The overwhelming majority of people in Venetian Isles are against this folly of encumbering the taxpayers any further in moving a very good stadium and creating a lesser stadium at a cost of easily $750-million to $1-billion — nobody believes the current estimates.

Even if there was no taxpayer cost, it is a bad idea for the city. The proposed design will create a visual blight on the downtown area. I find it incomprehensible that you are even considering it. Should the new stadium be built, I suspect the fans will be in for a rude awakening when they try to find parking.

This will be yet another huge burden on the taxpayers, and it does not seem that anyone in the city actually cares about us. I find this the most irresponsible position from an administration that, until this absurdity, had a pretty decent track record.

Let the Rays put up the money and try to sell bonds to finance the remainder of the cost on their own without any taxpayer backing. See how many people are willing to jump on that folly!

Walt Posner, St. Petersburg

The location factor

Let's be frank. We don't "need" a new ballpark. If we "want" one, it would be to hopefully improve attendance by improving the location. The waterfront would be but a scant improvement, and certainly not worth the investment.

If we're going to do this, let's get it right this time. I, for one, do not intend to spend many sweltering mid-summer evenings at the water's edge swatting mosquitoes. A dome (retractable?) in the Gateway area makes sense. It's the only plan that does.

Steven C. Nicolo, Clearwater

Baseball's economic benefits are dubious 05/27/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 28, 2008 4:00pm]

    

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