Let us vote on new stadium
As a lifelong citizen of St. Petersburg, I have to ask: What has happened to the people of this city? What began as an idea and dream to expand the city by building a new ballpark has now turned into an all out fight between two sets of inhabitants: those who want and those that don't. But it's more complicated than simple definitions. The debate has evolved into two separate groups that each have a mission, not as simple as the one just outlined.
As we all know, POWW (Preserve our Wallets and Waterfront) is a group of local residents and business people who are against building the new stadium. They advertise and publish arguments against relocating the Rays baseball stadium to the St. Petersburg waterfront. What is worse, POWW does not want to give the citizens of St. Petersburg the right to vote on the issue.
Fans For A Waterfront Stadium is a citizen coalition made up of lifelong St. Petersburg residents, downtown visionaries, teachers, baseball fans, business owners, parents and neighbors who want the best for our community. They envision opportunity, vast possibilities and increased revenue potentials in allowing the waterfront stadium to be built. But more important, they believe more than anything, regardless of what side of the debate you are on, we should all be given the right to vote on the issue.
I will not allow anyone to take my rights away. My voice will grow louder and my tenacity to make this issue come to a vote more clear. POWW will not stop our voices. Not only will this go to referendum, but it will pass in November!
Wendy Accardi, St. Petersburg
One more 'guarantee'
It seems that when taxpayers footed the bill to build Tropicana Field in 1986, and then spotted another $70-million in renovations when baseball finally arrived, that we were "guaranteed" baseball through 2027.
So now, 19 years early, we are being asked to support another tax grab to "guarantee" baseball through 2046. Tourist tax dollars are real money, which could certainly go to better causes, like, say, to those struggling with property taxes and insurance.
I guess contracts and leases in the city of St. Petersburg are as worthless as the paper they are printed on.
Jeff Francis, St. Petersburg
Ball park would be a boon
Why do so many in St. Petersburg not understand the return on investment that a bayfront ball park could bring to this tourist town? A Major League Baseball franchise can be an absolute money tree if the city has a great looking stadium next to a spectacular vista and the brains to put it together. As cities like Denver and San Francisco have shown, the amount of incalculable advertising we could get every time a fly ball goes into the bay and the national TV cameras pan across the St. Petersburg cityscape is far beyond what it will ever cost this city to build a waterfront stadium. There are lots of cities that will pay 10 times what St. Petersburg is being asked to pony up. And be sure that some city will do just that and we will end up with an empty Tropicana Field that is worth nothing.
By the way, people do not travel long distances to watch baseball with air-conditioning. They do that at home. People want real value for their entertainment dollars in a real baseball park.
Jeremiah Rohr, St. Petersburg
Al Lang alternatives?
Do we know what the city of St. Petersburg intends to do with the Al Lang site if we do not build the Rays a new stadium?
In a time when the city is grasping for new sources of revenue to offset losses from property taxes, surely they do not intend to maintain Al Lang as a non-income producing property along the city's beautiful downtown waterfront. So, what's the alternative plan? Or is there one?
I haven't made up my mind about the new stadium yet. But I would sure like to know the alternative.
Terry Ward, St. Petersburg
Get used to this weak real estate market
Judy Stark's housing story last Saturday is one reason the market hasn't come back more than it has. These doom-and-gloom predictions by the "experts" are the reason people are holding off on buying. Just being in the business of selling homes doesn't make you an "expert" in predicting the future.
These are the very people one would expect to paint a rosy picture of the housing market. When the weather person predicts the weather, people make decisions based on these predictions. Doom-and-gloom predictions will only bring doom-and-gloom reactions.
To quote Debbie Dunn from the article, "There's a confidence crisis with declining home values … at the core." Well no wonder. With statements like that, who wants to buy a house now?
Home buyers will determine when we have reached the bottom. Not the "experts." Let the chips fall where they may. Let's all go out and buy that house we want today and get this housing market going! Don't let the "experts" tell you when to buy!
Gary Warner, Clearwater
Get used to this weak real estate market
May 17, Homes story
Charles McMillan likens the current U.S. housing market relief process to the slow delivery of relief to Myanmar. I found the comparison to be insensitive, to say the least. I may owe more on my house than it's worth, but at least I have food and clean water.
That he couldn't even remember the name ("What's that country? It starts with an M.") makes him stupid, to boot. If he's the best the National Association of Realtors can do for a president, it's no wonder their industry is flailing.
Gabrielle McEntee, St. Petersburg
I love the "World in a snap" photos that appear daily on Page 3A of the Times. They are so unique, educational, sometimes amusing, colorful, intense, and inspiring. These are only a few adjectives that come to mind to describe these great "snaps". They surely must appeal to most everyone.
As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words," and these photos are priceless. I don't recall when you started this feature, but it has become one of my favorites and I look forward the seeing these "snaps" that brighten and enrich my life daily.
Leah L. Langenheim, Dunedin
Your feedback remains valuable to us
Thanks to those who offered their thoughts about the changes we launched this week to the daily St. Petersburg Times. Those who wrote and called in disapproval voiced two primary complaints:
• The BayLink section seems cluttered because it combines such features as comics, puzzles, TV listings and advice columns side-by-side with the classified ads. "It feels disconnected and awkward," wrote Deborah Marzani of Redington Beach.
• The sharp reduction of individual company stock listings frustrates some readers, particularly those who don't have or use computers regularly.
Those who liked the changes are glad we brought back the color weather map and added several cities. Others welcomed the easy-to-read format of the BayLink classified ads in bigger and bolder type. A number of BayLink advertisers reported increased response to their ads, which they attributed to the new format.
These changes are aimed at streamlining the newspaper on weekdays, when many readers have less time to spend with it. In a time of soaring costs for paper and fuel, these changes also help preserve the journalism that best serves the Tampa Bay region, and they help keep the price of the newspaper as low as possible for readers.
As we tweak the changes, your feedback is valuable. For example, we've decided to preserve the weekend Sports on TV/Radio guide, published every Friday. We're also contemplating how best to present entertainment news, which is now split between pages 2A and 2B. We know we still have work to do.
But for the most part, we remain enthusiastic about the changes we unveiled this week. We understand that a new format takes some getting used to. Meanwhile, we remain steadfast in our most important commitment: being the journalism and advertising leader for Tampa Bay.
Neil Brown, Executive editor
It's a ridiculous revision
I have been a subscriber to the Times for around 30 years and have considered it one of the best papers in the country. I have not always agreed with some of the changes you have made over the years, but I always let them go, as I know change is one of the only things we can rely on.
However, this latest "update" is really one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen. If I ever wanted to purchase or sell something or look for a job, I would look in the classified section. I certainly don't need to have to see all the ads mixed in with the comics, puzzles, entertainment, etc. We certainly get enough ads thrown at us in other parts of the paper and on TV.
The other problem I have is with the so called Business pages. I like to check my stocks daily and used to like to check on them on Saturdays, when you gave the weekly report. Now there are only two of my holdings listed at all!
Please reconsider these changes. And please don't add any more stupid, unfunny comics.
Linda Siewak, Seminole
Each day this week, I have felt like a kid in the candy store. With the improved layout, new and interesting items often pop out at me.
I also love the feel of our new paper.
Thanks for the improvements!
Sherry Williamson, Lutz
Generally, I like the new format of the paper. The classified ads look good, the new location of the weather page and its new look are good.
But what happened to the Business section? The stock and mutual fund listings are no longer there and, I believe, with the large retirement community in St. Petersburg, that this information is important. Our retirement funds are tied up in various mutual funds and we no longer see them. Can you resume providing this important information?
Brian W. Massey, St. Petersburg
Easier to read
I just wanted to say that the type in the auto classifieds is much easier for me to read now. I almost needed a magnifying glass to read the old type. Thanks so much for the change.
Roy Garcia, Valrico
A frustrating setup
Understanding that printing and delivery costs are up (what isn't?), I have to say that I am completely frustrated with the revamped Times. I switched to the Times from the Tribune many years ago because your Business section was more informative and better organized. Now, you have destroyed the Business section by squeezing it into basically two pages "somewhere" in the Metro section.
To add insult to injury, the Floridian section has now been scattered across every page of the classifieds, which makes me want to scream. If I wanted to read your classifieds I would, but don't make your readers have to comb through every page to find something of interest from of the old Floridian section! And the weather page on the back page of the Sports section? What have you guys been smoking? Excuse me, the Tribune's subscription rep is calling …
George W. Erck, Tampa
I do not like the new BayLink format. Give me back my Floridan section! This feels like I am being forced to read the classifieds. If I were interested in reading them I would. I don't need them imbedded in the material that I really want to read. Very disappointing.
Ilse Yost, Tampa
Award-worthy no more
I am a longtime annual subscriber to the St. Petersburg Times. I selected the Times because of its award-winning layout and its comprehensive financial section with complete reporting of stocks and mutual funds, which you have eliminated.
I also object to the need to look through all of the classified ads to read the TV section, movie listings, etc. I hope you will restore the newspaper to its former award-winning format or I will not renew my annual subscription.
Erwin Budnick, Spring Hill
Looking for a newspaper
Congratulations and best wishes for financial success of your St. Petersburg Today format, which is fresh, modern and concise.
As a Pinellas senior, I look forward each day to an hour's reading of a newspaper, so I guess I will have to try to find one provided by someone else. Sorry.
Ed Evan, Seminole