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Today's Letters: Stadium plan shows bad timing
By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published November 21, 2007
First off ,I'm a member of a Rays booster organization. That said I'm also a lifelong resident of St. Petersburg. Stuart Sternberg's ownership and guidance have made the Trop experience a complete 180 from what it was with the Naimoli group.
But the proposal for the new stadium simply won't fly. One aspect of the move to the Al Lang site I haven't heard mentioned is the revenue and jobs lost from converting from a multiuse stadium to a baseball-only park.
Where will the homeshows, seniors events and other things be held? We no longer have the Bayfront Center for these events and the Coliseum is too small. That business and those jobs will dry up. What will that cost?
If only the powers that be had have waited, the way Major League Baseball asked, before building the dome. Maybe we would not be saddled with the last of the outdated-design stadiums. The trend is toward retro parks - Camden Yards and even Tampa Bay's Legends Field are pleasurable experiences for baseball fans.
I'm sorry, Mr. Sternberg, but this Rays fan thinks your proposal is a progressive plan, just at the wrong time. Taxpayers are weary of the downtown "public" development that ends up benefiting a few and costing everyone.
Jay Yardley, St. Petersburg
Rays' stadium plan
Nip it in the bud
I hope and pray that the members of the St. Petersburg City Council are intelligent enough to recognize a plan that is totally irresponsible and would carry such enormous consequences.
The plan to move the Rays' stadium from Tropicana Field to our waterfront should never reach the stage where it is presented to the voters. Faulty plans for our city should be cut off by a responsible government, not invented by the owners of a baseball team, no matter how rich and powerful they might be.
To consider building more stores and housing in the area where the dome (which we still owe millions on) now is, would not only burden our water supply, but also would increase the traffic on our already strained roads.
We have a contract with the Rays until 2027. By that time they might have learned how to sacrifice bunt, which will win them many more games than a new stadium.
Guy Nash, St. Petersburg
A lot of gall
I think I have now seen "chutzpah" developed into an art form of the highest order!
First we built Tropicana Field with no major league team until we acquired the Devil Rays eight years later. The major league board of directors then required us to spend millions more for additional improvements before they would issue approval. The Devil Rays never really got off the ground floor or filled a substantial number of the available seats.
And now we are being asked to tear down the dome, and replace it with condominiums and retail stores that put additional pressure on city facilities - and, adding salt to the wound, asking taxpayers to pony up $60-million to effect the transition to a facility that will probably never operate at majority capacity for a team whose mediocrity is well established.
But to add a positive note, I do admire "chutzpah" raised to the level of an art form!
John Christy Clement, Tierra Verde
How about a mall?
I have been a resident of St. Petersburg for 25 years. I wasn't happy when the dome was built, but I thought, like others, that it would help the downtown area.
Now here we go again, talking about building another stadium.
I'm sure I and others might be able to accept this new adventure if on the old site they would put a nice shopping mall.
A good portion of St. Petersburg's residents never go downtown. A nice mall would bring people downtown and to other venues this fine city has to offer.
Maybe St. Petersburg needs to look outside the box to other possibilities.
Nancy Francis, St. Petersburg
What a business model
Find the flaw in my thinking: Let's say I have had a restaurant for 10 years, and for nine of those years it has served the worst food of any other restaurant. In fact some would say it's the worst product of any professional franchise in the history of franchises. But at least I have air conditioning and great parking.
What I'd like to do is build a new restaurant, but I'm going to keep the same menu, cooks, food buyers and managers. I've told everyone that the new building will cost $450-million, though the last one cost a lot more than I told them, so the new one will likely be more too. But that's okay because I'm going to get my customers to pay for a chunk of that.
What's more, the new place will have no parking (unless no one else is in downtown St. Petersburg for any reason) and then will it hold only one-third of my current capacity).
The big innovation is that for half of the year people will sit outside in the 90-plus-degree heat and humidity. But that's okay because I'm going to string some fabric above people's heads. And nothing counters the blistering Florida heat like some fabric above people's heads.
Gee, I hope this is a good way to grow my business.
Todd Olson, Seminole
Help needed for aviation overload Nov. 17, editorial
Travelers get no real help
That the Times editorial staff actually endorses the recently announced plan by the Bush administration to curb air traffic delays as a good start actually left me speechless (a rarity, I assure you).
The "plan" announced last week involves mainly the opening of military airspace and the suspension of maintenance on essential equipment. This is nothing but a panacea to make it appear that something is being done, when in actuality, nothing is further from the truth.
The opening up of military airspace during this holiday weekend will do nothing to alleviate airport congestion in the Northeast. That would be like a discount store realizing there were not enough cashiers to handle a huge influx in customers, so they open up more parking spaces. Was something done? Absolutely. Did it help alleviate the backlog of customers waiting to check out? Absolutely not.
No matter how many more planes you get in the air, the basic fact remains that there are not enough air traffic controllers to handle the increase in air traffic. We have 7.5 percent fewer controllers handling 4 percent more traffic in the last year alone. Couple that with not having enough runways at major airports, and you have the current predicament.
Let's not forget that the military airspace in question is typically not used during a holiday weekend, and available for use by air traffic control. Additionally, the suspension of projects/maintenance during holiday weekends is routine as well. Does the offered plan still sound like a good start?
Lee Parshook, air traffic controller, Tampa
House's secret: 43 dogs Nov. 16, story
An animal hoarder
Diane Lombardi may think that she is an animal lover and hates to think of an animal being put to sleep. However, in my opinion she is what is called a "hoarder." This is a very serious disease and is becoming much more commonplace than it should be.
A hoarder will take in animals with the thought that they are better off in her care than being left on the street. While the intention is honorable, the result is usually the same. The hoarder ends up with way too many animals and is unable to care for them properly.
In this case, things became more complicated as Lombardi was caring for her ill sister.
According to the story, these dogs have never been socialized, have multiple illnesses, and may never be able to be adopted without tremendous efforts to insure that they can thrive in a new home. How sad is that? The very person who said, "I am an animal lover," has indeed created a serious problem for these defenseless creatures.
Please readers, if you suspect this type of activity, call authorities immediately. Give these animals a chance for a normal life.
No offense to the animal services, but this woman has been cited for years, yet this activity was allowed to develop into a situation that may end in the euthanizing of these dogs due to years of neglect.
Diane Lombardi has some serious issues, and I hope that she can receive the help she needs. However, a person like this should never be allowed to own another animal.
Nancy Dively, Tarpon Springs
Ask the Times Nov. 17
Failing the chocolate test
Someone asked why Swiss chocolate tastes so much better than chocolate made in the United States. Swiss and European chocolate is generally better because it is 70 to 85 percent cocoa with much less sugar.
It has nothing to do with air, water or milk. We dilute the cocoa and add lots of sugar, hence really mediocre chocolate.