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Sunday letters: A regional effort is needed to keep the Rays in the bay area

Rays should break silence | May 23, editorial

A regional effort needed to keep team

No, St. Pete Times, it is not time for the Rays to "break silence" on their intentions regarding a new stadium for their business enterprise. The last time they tried collaboration with our city they were sold out by an over-manipulative mayor who chose to exclude City Council, the Times, the chamber or any other opinion shapers who could have helped derail the unworkable plan for a waterfront stadium.

The botched stadium effort effectively undermined any hope for public confidence in a proper process involving the investment of large amounts of taxpayer money.

St. Petersburg is a wonderful, charming, arts- and atmosphere-loving small city that is proud of its waterfront, heritage, moderate pace and quality of life. It does not have the population or business corporation headquarters to adequately support a major league baseball team.

The Tampa Bay Rays are a regional sporting enterprise that lives and dies on money, money that for the most part comes from luxury suite sales, season ticket block sales and to a lesser extent, attendance. St. Petersburg can be proud of its role in leading the effort to get the team here.

Now, it's Tampa Bay's turn to step up, in a regional effort to keep the team and help it thrive. Unfortunately, the city and the county lack the governmental leadership to coalesce the bay area into an effective force to get a deal done.

Stuart Sternberg has been burned by the hot stove of government and shouldn't touch it again under today's circumstances. We need the ABC Coalition to be reformed with a broad spectrum of business and citizen participants from all sides of the bay to come up with a firm proposal for moving of the team to a viable location. The proposal should then be presented to governmental bodies and the Rays as a thoroughly researched plan for success, including specific demands on the Rays financial participation as well as specific means of public financing. Hillsborough County and Tampa must participate on equal footing with Pinellas and St. Petersburg if we are to keep this prestigious franchise here in Tampa Bay.

Scott Wagman, St. Petersburg

Rays should break silence | May 23, editorial

Tampa Bay should embrace what we have

Your continuing drumbeat for a new $500 million-plus stadium and description of Tropicana Field as "outdated" is getting stale. Given that the Red Sox were just in town, everyone should take a moment to consider the success that Boston has had with their real "outdated" field.

The smartest move that the Rays owner Stuart Sternberg could make is to announce that they have every intention of honoring their lease with the city of St. Petersburg through 2027. Perhaps about 2020, it would be time to start a search for a new stadium site — if needed.

We would all like to have the newest and latest items on the market, but the question of whether we can afford them often determines if we purchase them. The same rule should apply to sports stadiums. Embrace what we have and be content.

Jay D. Jennings, Brooksville

Rays should break silence | May 23, editorial

Mayor must speak out

I agree that silence on a new stadium should be broken, but I believe your focus is misdirected. St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster campaigned on keeping the Rays in St. Petersburg. He even printed a baseball card-type handout saying he would keep the Rays in our city and we should vote for him.

The mayor must end his silence and show leadership in keeping baseball's best team in St. Petersburg. Foster should not only talk with the Rays but also with Pinellas County officials.

If the mayor refuses to live up to his campaign pledge because of some political calculation, the City Council should force him to begin discussions among all parties via a council resolution.

If the mayor and the City Council remain silent and unengaged while investors and public officials in Tampa and elsewhere are proactive, we will lose the Rays.

Frank Lupo, St. Petersburg

Better baseball connection

Why not make the Rays truly the Tampa Bay Rays? Build a retractable roof stadium in Tampa (which could help entice an Olympic bid in the future) and a smaller open-air park in Manatee County (sellouts at 25,000). Rotate the home games and let everyone feel connected and root for the home team!

Walton McNutt, Tampa

Growing up with ocean, tar balls | May 23, Bill Maxwell column

Our energy needs

Like your Bill Maxwell, I grew up on Florida's east coast, with tar balls as a fact of life. The balls came from oil-contaminated ballast water dumped by tankers off the coast. This is the very opposite of beach ruination by offshore drilling. These tankers were more likely carrying the "foreign oil" we're so addicted to. Now there is great wailing and gnashing of teeth from those who would forbid all offshore drilling so another BP spill can't happen.

The reason we now have little oil contamination of our beaches from ballast dumping is that regulators finally learned to read a signature of the dumped ballast, identifying and penalizing the source when it did occur.

The reason we got the BP spill is that regulators were in bed with BP and other oil giants, winking at precautions that should have been required.

Those who scream for no more offshore drilling remind me of bankers who respond to the mess they're in with bad loans by making no loans at all. We need oil, gas and coal from all domestic sources, as well as conservation, if we are to break the addiction to foreign oil. Alternative energy sources are a useful and necessary, but not nearly sufficient, answer.

Peter C. Ray, Parrish

The Cat in the BP Hat Comes Back | May 23

Making things verse

Half a mil' for a kill switch per rig, yes, that's funny. Our bottom line here, pal, is big tons of money!

While cleaning this mess should be BP's onus, they're far more concerned with who deserves a fat bonus.

The tourists will still come in droves from afar, but not at the beaches will they park their car, but just a short way to the next BP station will they pay through the nose for this devastation!

Michael P. Kreha, St. Petersburg

The Cat in the PB Hat Comes back | May 23

In bad taste

Please tell me how anyone who writes for your paper thought it would be funny to do a rhyming article about the devastation of the oil spill. Many creatures large and small who live in the waters off our coasts will perish. Not to mention the livelihoods of all the residents who will be affected for a long time. It was in bad taste.

Nancy Heuer, Clearwater

Sunday letters: A regional effort is needed to keep the Rays in the bay area 05/29/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 28, 2010 7:01pm]
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