Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15
What a new ballpark would do
The Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays' new ballpark in Ybor City. The recent news about approaching deadlines for a deal reminds us that projects of such significance rarely follow a straight line.
A project of this scale is obviously a significant financial commitment. Community leaders are working with area governments to propose a deal that is doable and beneficial for all sides. The City of Tampa is undergoing rapid development. This renaissance has been spurred by local leaders who share a common vision of a better Tampa Bay, and who have the follow-through to make it happen. A state-of-the-art ballpark for the Rays would be the capstone in a movement that will complement this recent progress and endure for many years.
The Rays decided on Ybor as the location for the future ballpark after careful consideration. The move would connect Tampa's dynamic downtown corridor with the Channelside district and historic Ybor City, creating an entertainment district that will rival those in major cities across the country. Chuck Sykes and Ron Christaldi, co-chairs of the Rays 2020 movement, understand the importance of business partnerships in growing wages and improving the regional economy. A new ballpark would bring a worldwide attraction to Tampa Bay, further enhancing our reputation as one of America's top places to live.
Since 1878, from the Tampa Smokers in the minors to the wartime leagues of West Tampa and Ybor City, the tradition of baseball has played a major role in Tampa's culture. We've welcomed teams for spring training and raised generations of our children under the lights. A region that's now proudly the home of the Rays can continue that rich history by building the new ballpark.
Bemetra Simmons and Yvonne Fry
The writers are Rays 2020 ambassadors.
Florida needs to keep
energy options open | Column, June 20
Offshore is not the answer
The three authors are co-chairs of Explore Offshore Florida, a project of the American Petroleum Institute, the largest oil and gas lobbying group in the United States. Their job is to steer public opinion in favor of offshore oil and gas exploration.
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded, killing 11 workers and unleashing an estimated 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, between 65,000 and 102,000 birds across 93 species were killed as a result of the spill. Thousands of sea turtles and marine mammals were killed as well.
The authors' specious case for opening up oil and gas exploration off the eastern Gulf Coast should be vigorously challenged. They conveniently ignore the historical impact of oil spills on marine wildlife. They also fail to acknowledge the Trump administration's roll-backs of offshore drilling safety regulations that were put in place after the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
This is only the beginning of Explore Offshore Florida's campaign to sway public opinion, but Florida has a choice in its energy future and the people we send to Tallahassee and Washington need to know it's not oil and gas from the eastern Gulf of Mexico. It's time for Florida to become a leader in affordable solar energy.
Cindy Deadman Maxwell, Clearwater
Have more students died in schools than soldiers in combat? | PolitiFact, June 18
Safe spaces, not war zones
I was disappointed in this analysis of Gwen Graham's social media post that more students have been killed in school than soldiers in combat zones. At least the article correctly noted that there have been more of these incidents in 2018 than before, and that is the point. While soldiers signed up to be in an environment that is high risk, our children's schools are supposed to be safe. Our service men and women have also received training, are armed and have been taught to return fire. So while, yes, a combat zone is a higher-risk environment, how many more of our children must die before we address the violence in our society?
Deborah Sisk, St. Petersburg
Trump halts child separation
policy | June 21
Fixing what he broke
Once again President Donald Trump has engaged in a political form of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. He created a problem, allowed the problem to develop to the extent that it caused serious injury and ramifications, and then, much later, swept in and solved the problem he alone created. After addressing the problem in a manner he had falsely claimed he could not, Trump now is taking victory laps around the White House loudly asserting that only he, the "stable genius," could have saved the Republic from the harm created by a horrific policy of needlessly separating innocent children from their parents. The parents, for the most part, having only been charged with the commission of a misdemeanor. Unfortunately, polls indicate that most Republicans believe Trump most of the time.
John Henninger, Clearwater
Feeling less safe
While I recognize that in all likelihood that nursing mother trying to escape horrific conditions in her Central American country of birth isn't a nursing mother at all but a drug runner, and the infant a paid actor, I wonder how many people like these really scary immigrants have worked as maids or in other low-paying positions at Trump-owned properties? If immigration policies like these are making us more secure, how come I feel less safe every day that this administration is in charge?
Joan Costello, Clearwater
Get used to suds in stadium's
new name | Carlton column, June 20
What's in a name?
So, say, if Ringling bought the naming rights to the University of South Florida Sun Dome, would the students be clowns instead of drunks?
Dale F. Gruver, Tampa