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St. Petersburg City Council Are You Listening?

St. Petersburg Residents are Speaking Out - They don't like the deal.

The Tampa Bay Times asked their readers for their thoughts on the Rays/Hines proposal to build a new baseball stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays and redevelop the balance of the Gas Plant site now used for parking. “We asked for letters....and you delivered.”  

What did the letters say: “Most of the writers do not like the deal.” “Many who responded think the Rays and development partner Hines are getting too much. Or St. Petersburg and Pinellas County are getting too little – given the hundreds of millions of tax dollars they provide.” 

So... St. Petersburg City Council – ARE YOU LISTENING?

Based on the 29 letters the Times published as a sample, 86% of the responses were strongly opposed. ("We received far too many to publish them all...")

To our City Council - we don’t like this deal that is going to cost the taxpayers $2.4 billion.

If you like the deal are you telling us that this deal will create more than $2.4 billion in value for St. Petersburg - more than $25,000 per St. Petersburg household?

Is you like the deal are you telling St. Petersburg that this is a price tag we should pay for baseball? We could buy the team for less!

We don’t like giving billions to billionaires. We may like baseball, but we do not want to squander our limited resources so vitally needed to build storm water systems to stop the flooding in Shore Acres, and to help underwrite affordable housing for people working in the restaurants on Central Ave (or we won’t have a Central Avenue), and so many more needs that we have.  

From the letters: 

Many other priorities... 

A one-sided affair -

A mess of fabricated numbers. 

How about Tampa?

No Subsidies for billionaires. 

Let the people vote. 

St. Pete got rolled. 

Love baseball, not this deal.  

Utter madness. 

Fool us twice. 

What happened to capitalism? 

Corporate welfare again. 

Just say no! 

As someone I hold in high regard and who has a long history in St. Petersburg said to me - "the City of St. Petersburg are chumps. Rays and Hines are eating our lunch." And the letters show our citizens know it.

Why are the Rays doing this deal - because the Rays and Hines are making a killing. Everyone knows the Rays want (and should be) in a better location in the Tampa Bay area to increase attendance. But apparently the Rays could not get anyone else to offer them all the freebees St. Petersburg is offering. So, it seems logical - the Rays are trading lower attendance and in return get St. Petersburg and Pinellas County to pay for half of a new stadium, they don't pay real estate taxes like the rest of us, they don't pay any rent like the rest of us, and we sell Rays and Hines land worth up to a $1 billion for $105 million.

So while I know that no votes have yet been cast, I am respectfully asking St. Petersburg City Council Members – "if you are still in favor of the deal, I urge you to study the actual numbers and do so with diligence."  

We vote in your elections and 86% of us don’t like the deal. (73% of a poll I did on Nextdoor don't like it either.)

St. Petersburg Council Members - If you are in favor of this deal, when you talk to your constituents or when you run for election next, how are you going to explain away $2.4 billion given to billionaires?



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