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Economic value of baseball to a community remains questionable

Rays' future at stake | Oct. 16, editorial

Baseball's economic value questionable

Both St. Petersburg mayoral candidates have said they would bring any new stadium proposal to a public vote. There is no difference in their actual positions. As in all the issues, one may act as a cheerleader, while the other asks probing questions, but there is no real difference in their stated positions.

It is the Times that continues to insult our intelligence by touting research about the "economic benefits" of the Rays, all gleaned from sources that are not independent and without conflict of interest. What about the Council of Neighborhood Associations' report on the last stadium proposal? It cited the Holy Cross University study on the lack of economic impact of professional sports teams in Florida. There are books and reams of evidence from independent academic think tanks and universities, which the Times chooses to ignore.

Why doesn't the Times ever mention the other side of the economic impact debate?

Lee Nolan, St. Petersburg

Be responsible

I have a few issues with the content of this editorial:

1) St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Kathleen Ford has never said she would not sit down with the Rays. However, as a proven negotiator, she would start from a position of advantage. The Rays are about one-third of the way into a long-term contract. Bill Foster would give up this advantage and ignore the contract.

2) You mention the Rays' economic impact on the city. Other than a bunch of rooms at the Vinoy, what exactly is the economic impact of the Rays? Most games are 7-10:30 p.m. on weekdays. Who eats or shops before or after a game? The Rays, the Vinoy and Ferg's do okay, but who else?

3) The ABC's study is a little late. Shouldn't the owners, a smart bunch of New York investment bankers, have performed this due diligence before buying the team? Why would they spend millions on a team in a bad location and with a substandard stadium … and with a 30-year agreement to stay put? Did they plan all along to have us fund their exit plan?

4) Finally, and most important, there are plenty of things our Trop debt-service money can be spent on, once the current bonds are paid off. How fiscally responsible is it to assume that these bonds must be renewed for an unnecessary new stadium? Citizens did not get to vote the first time money was spent on a stadium. They absolutely should have that right this time around.

Hal Freedman, St. Petersburg

Why does it seem so many things aren't built to last?

What is now the Friendship Trail Bridge withstood 41 years of highway service and less than 10 years as a foot/cycling bridge. Now it's considered worthless or to have a negative value. One marvels at the Brooklyn Bridge still fully operational after 126 years of service! Or the George Washington Bridge, still sturdy after 78 years! Why do we have throwaway bridges?

Tropicana Field was built some 20 years ago as a "state-of-the-art" facility to attract Major League Baseball. Some eight years later our expansion team demanded multimillion upgrades to make it "state-of-the-art" once again. But now we learn it is hopelessly outmoded. One puzzles over Fenway Park at 97 years and Wrigley Field still green and operational after 96 years! Must we have throwaway stadiums, too?

The "good ol' boys" responsible for our city and for bringing such semipermanent structures lined up recently to support another ol' boy for mayor. This candidate already leans toward placating both the Rays and Major League Baseball with upgrading.

Deja vu all over again!

Al Foster, St. Petersburg

Offensive phrase? Or typical politics? Oct. 20, story

More important issues

This amounts to typical politics. Many words and expressions are offensive, especially when used in the wrong context, at the wrong time, or when otherwise misdirected. Ask our current president, who had to apologize for referring to someone as "sweetie."

While St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Kathleen Ford's use of the H.N.I.C. phrase has offended some, wouldn't this show of force on the steps of City Hall to denounce her comment be utilized best to address major quality of life issues that are plaguing the city? It does not make much sense to complain about getting wet by the rain when lightning is striking all around you.

Willie J. Day, St. Petersburg

Beyond a single spokesman

It's 2009, not 1959. Do we still need the PC Police? The point that Kathleen Ford made, while apparently giving us too much credit, is simple: We should be at the point that we do not need one person acting as the voice of any community.

The mayor, whoever that should be, should be available to the citizens and have the mental capability to understand their concerns.

Walter Staggs, St. Petersburg

FSU tarnished far beyond sports | Oct. 20

De-emphasize sports

Thank you for your editorial about football scholarships. For many years I have maintained, in spite of opposition from family and friends, that a scholarship to any college should be based on academic intelligence and not on athletic prowess.

Far too many of these players can't read, write, or even compose a sentence. It's time to tighten the rules for any kind of athletic scholarship and insist that students have a high grade rating in academics as well as athletics.

One attends college to learn, not to play games, and the college system should stop putting so much emphasis on sports and more on what they are there for: education.

Peg Spetz, Largo

USF used $2.2 million properly, audit finds and FSU tarnished far beyond sports Oct. 20

An ethical void

There is an old joke around business administration circles that "business ethics" is an oxymoron. The story about the University of South Florida business ethics endowment seems to confirm the joke.

This story and the editorial on the FSU cheating scandal indicate that "academic ethics" may also be an oxymoron.

Larry M. Lane, Valrico

Obama should heed general's advice Oct. 11, letter

We've heard it before

"I'm sorry, but it's a no-brainer that you follow the advice of your No. 1 general and send in more troops," the letter writer claims. "If you don't, throw in the towel and get our troops out of harm's way, leave in failure and hand the Taliban a huge victory banner on the way out."

Substitute the words "Viet Cong" for the word "Taliban" and that's the same advice the Republicans were giving 40 years ago.

James Nelson, Largo

Payments to seniors

Consider need

Are you kidding me? Our president wants to send us seniors $250 because there is no Social Security rate increase this year.

Duh! There is no increase because the law says inflation rates don't justify it.

Many seniors don't need another government handout that puts the nation billions more in debt. If a need exists with lower-income seniors, then at least screen out the many others who don't need it. Ever heard of issuing payments based on a low level of reported income instead of including everyone?

This smells of vote-buying, but I am thinking this one will backfire. No more handouts!

Edwin Ashurst, St. Petersburg

Shot in neck, deputy okay | Oct. 15, story

Leave theology out

Public officials should avoid crediting God for a lucky circumstance, as Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee reportedly commented about Deputy Miguel Galarza's surviving a gunshot wound.

Doing so implies that the deity must not have been looking out for Tampa police Cpl. Mike Roberts. Furthermore, it raises the thorny theological question that if God is good and has the power to deflect bullets, why does God fail to deflect so many of them? Especially those headed for 8-year-old girls?

Chas. E. Lehnert, Riverview


Due to a production error, a letter from Bret Raushenbush on Wednesday, Military excess, made an incorrect comparison. The letter should have said: "More and more we resemble the Roman Empire, bankrupted by sending its legions into many far-flung lands."

Economic value of baseball to a community remains questionable 10/21/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 6:58pm]
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