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It's still early innings | March 3, commentary by Rick BakerSecrecy on Rays stadium belies mayor's neutrality

It's still early innings | March 3, commentary by Rick Baker

Weigh all the facts

before making any decision

I am a homeowner and proud resident of St. Petersburg. As part of a private citizens' coalition, Fans for Waterfront Stadium, I think that it is the responsible thing for the mayor to want to look at all the facts, and ask others to do so as well, before making any decisions. It is important for everyone to know facts, not just opinions.

Most people being heard from seem to have a very strong opinion one way or the other, myself included. I had a discussion with someone last week, a doctor and political figure, who was adamantly against the new stadium, and yet when I mentioned the proposal for the Tropicana site he knew nothing about it.

The Tropicana site and new stadium would not only provide thousands of construction jobs, but would also provide long-term job potential in the restaurants and stores of the new shopping and entertainment complex. Jobs equal economic growth and consumer spending, not to mention the sales tax revenue generated.

I am not trying to change anyone's mind. I just ask those who haven't made a decision to investigate the facts.

April Alexander, St. Petersburg

It's still early innings | March 3, commentary by Rick Baker

Worth considering

I thought Mayor Rick Baker's op-ed piece was well thought out and very fair to both sides of this important proposal for our city. In addition, I applaud his comments on the Rays' ownership and "genuine desire to develop its franchise and be part of our community." Since taking over, this ownership group has kept their word on every promise made. They deserve the right to be heard.

I'm glad to see this being recognized. In addition, the possibility of a $1-billion investment into our city that would create jobs, add visibility nationally and keep commerce here in St. Petersburg certainly is worth consideration.

Kenny Locke, St. Petersburg

It's still early innings | March 3, commentary by Rick Baker

The team's intentions?

Mayor Rick Baker's comments on the Opinion page about community input and the opportunity to inform the community don't jibe with actions taken. Closed-door discussions held early on about Al Lang Field with the Rays' owners and other interested parties without the knowledge of the community preclude openness.

With respect to the desire of the Rays' owners to be a part of the community, if that were so, why are they moving their team to another site for spring training? I don't see the benefit to the area.

If the Rays are the team for most of Florida, what happened to the Marlins (former World Series champs)? I know they have a problem putting fans in the seats. Is that because of their outdoor stadium?

Now we have an indoor, air-conditioned stadium with parking. I thought Rick Baker, being the mayor of St. Petersburg, might be aware that it is not the heat but the humidity, and no "sail" will change that.

Peter Kayavas, Dunnellon

When wit was in style | Feb. 28

A different time

So that is what happened to America's literati! Bill Maxwell's column on the Algonquin Hotel and the fabulous writers who gathered around the Round Table in 1928 was a joy to read.

Lest you think I was there, I was not. But, as Maxwell wrote, I, too, felt it was the epitome of glamor and sophistication to read about them and revel in their wit, humor and knowledge. They represented New York City, which was blooming with theatrical and literary culture for all Americans.

So, thank you, Mr. Maxwell, for giving me a wondrous retreat back to a time far removed from our modern world. Perhaps, more's the pity.

Greta Myers, St. Petersburg

I find it astounding that St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker can claim neutrality in regard to his position on the Rays' stadium proposal. Have we already forgotten that it was he and city legal and economic development staff that worked in secret on this proposal for years?

If the mayor really cared about voter input and decisionmaking, he would have had this discussion publicly before spending our tax dollars in the long process of readying this proposal for public consumption. Have we forgotten that the mayor and staff decided to keep this proposition secret until after the last City Council elections, another venue wherein voters could have had a say in the analysis of their choices?

We, the voters, know exactly where the mayor stands: pro waterfront development and pro Rays stadium proposal to be built on the backs of the taxpayer for the enrichment of the Rays' investment team. And we're not buying it, Mayor Baker. Start taking care of the real issues that concern the citizens of St. Petersburg, and stop wasting valuable time and money on this boondoggle of a plan. Still early innings? You certainly have a selective memory regarding this sad deal.

Lorraine Margeson, St. Petersburg

An evenhanded approach

I want to thank Major Rick Baker for his very thoughtful piece on the new stadium proposal. It's refreshing to see someone take an evenhanded approach to this issue. This is so unlike the negative approach that we have seen from so many groups and individuals who are falling over each other to kill this project. As a downtown resident, I was particularly disappointed at the downtown neighborhoods' early negative reaction to the project.

I agree that there are many issues that need to be addressed before the stadium becomes a reality, but to dismiss it out of hand in favor of yet another park makes little sense. I love parks, but we certainly don't lack for parkland on the water. You can go for more than 25 blocks in downtown visiting the waterfront on public land. If 25 percent of that land is used on any given day it is unusual.

On the other hand, a stadium can be a signature piece of a downtown. Whether it be rickety Fenway Park in Boston or the wonderful Giants stadium on the water in San Francisco, stadiums are a vibrant part of the downtown community.

Finally, we owe something to the new Rays ownership group that has gone out of its way to remove the mess that was created by the Naimoli group. The new owners are trying to bring a world championship team to our community, and they deserve our support.

David Egbert, St. Petersburg

It's still early innings | March 3, commentary by Rick BakerSecrecy on Rays stadium belies mayor's neutrality 03/04/08 [Last modified: Thursday, March 13, 2008 2:15am]
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