Remember BayWalk; proceed with care
I just read where some important people think we should have a new stadium for the Rays. Then they could tear down the old Thunder Dome and "Using Green Technology" turn the area into a new "Downtown Renaissance." Haven't I heard something like that before? The words "Downtown Renaissance" sound so familiar. Now I remember; we used it when BayWalk was built. How did that work out?
James Bardsley, St. Petersburg
Trop is fine, especially in this bad economy
As a lifelong baseball junkie who has been in the Tampa Bay area since the inception of the Rays franchise, I would like to weigh in on a few of the issues being debated about relocation/new stadium and the fan support, or lack thereof, of the team.
I am a transplant from a small town between Providence and Boston, so I know about fandom and regional rivalries. When I was growing up in the '60s and '70s, the Red Sox were not very good, always losing to the hated Yankees, and tickets were easy to come by. Sellouts were rare, and most discussions about the team involved the standard joke, "Wait 'til next year!" But the love of baseball was still handed down from generation to generation. … My point is: It takes time! These kids in this area today are the ones who will grow the fan base exponentially as they reach adulthood and have kids of their own.
Move to Tampa? The home of Legends Field and George Steinbrenner's Yankees? Bad idea.
The Trop isn't a good place to watch a game? Have you ever sat in one of those small seats in Fenway with the wind blowing and it 35 degrees out?
Of course MLB and the Rays' owners want a shiny new stadium, but we are in the midst of a terrible economy. A new stadium in Tampa or elsewhere won't magically create a larger ticket-buying fan base (once the newness wears off). It just takes time. The Rays have a good team and good management, and everything will work out if they just let "the game" take its course.
Michael Lang, Seminole
Put over-the-water stadium where Pier is
I suggest replacing the Pier with a new over-the-water stadium for the Rays. It should have a retractable top. It could be surrounded with fishing areas and be served by ferries from Tampa and Manatee. Parking could be placed around in existing lots, and maybe BayWalk could be replaced with a new garage. Shuttles could serve the stadium from other areas. It would be spectacular.
Jeffrey Harper, St. Petersburg
Expand trustee board, bring in new blood
The word "trustee," as in board of trustees, is a misnomer. They are the board of supervisors, whose primary responsibility is twofold. One is to hire the leadership that they believe will lead the organization in the right direction to accomplish its goals, and two, to supervise the actions and results of that leader. There is no "trust" in trustee. The fact that one has known managerial operatives for a long time does not relieve trustees from the responsibility of cold, hard analysis of leadership, and the key document to do so is the budget. I suspect that Bill Law will see that this procedural gaffe will not happen again, even if the existing board doesn't get that there is a problem. A constructive suggestion to Mr. Law: Expand the board to seven members, as five is too small to risk quorum, and recruit some new blood for the governor to appoint. After 10 years, the contributions of most board members is played out.
Scott Wagman, St.Petersburg
College once again a public institution
I wonder if the St. Petersburg Times ever asked for a copy of the St. Pete College line-item budget during the Carl Kuttler reign? I do not think so. The former president apparently played a major role in the selection of the trustees, and without any serious questions from the local press, whose favor he had curried, Carl Kuttler ran the college for a long time pretty much as though it was his own. Virtually all of his appointments were political. Truth is, there really never even existed an organizational chart. It wasn't until a courageous committee thwarted Kuttler's efforts to name his successor that a truly competent president, in the person of Bill Law, was named. At long last the college is, once again, becoming a public institution. For this the community should be most thankful.
Gerald Ramsberger, St. Petersburg
Pinellas Park set to hike tax rate
Public officials must stop the hypocrisy
An increase in the millage rate is an increase in the tax rate. Who is Dan Katsiyiannis trying to fool, and why?
The problem in Pinellas Park and the government in general is that the salaried government workers are being paid too much. They need to take pay cuts like the rest of us have. What makes them think they have the right to get raises when the rest of us are getting paid less for the same work that we used to get paid more for. Who works for whom?
Remember, all these misrepresentations by the city staff get a stamp of approval from Mayor (Bill) Mischler and the Pinellas Park City Council. … Stop the hypocrisy and just go ahead and say that you think that you are better than the rest of us and should be paid more than the people that you work for — the taxpayers of Pinellas Park.
Randy Heine, Pinellas Park
Madeira Beach Sept. 11 memorial
A living memorial might be best option
Though I by no means want to disparage the feeling of the effort, I believe at least a few of the victims of 9/11 would share my dismay that our limited green spaces attract so much concrete. In this small park in particular the proposed memorial seems heavy-handed and out of scale, further blocking the view of the water.
Folks who share my sentiments are rarely consulted about such things. If we were, we might suggest something living instead, perhaps a memorial grove of something that blooms in September.
However, history instructs me that when the steamroller of boosterism gets rolling, imagination invites abuse. And so, I await it.
Michael Blom, Madeira Beach