Tampa’s Fenway South
Rather than bemoan the omnipresence of fans of far-flung teams residing in our area, let’s turn the negative into a positive. We are never, at least for a foreseeable generation or two, going to have a fan base that will consistently support the relative newcomer Rays. The demographics are simply against us.
Instead of burying our heads in the white sands these Yankees and Sox are so eager to visit and transplant to, let’s confront the issue. Partner with the Steinbrenner family (always a great supporter of all things Tampa) and the owners of the Red Sox to build a new stadium in downtown Tampa that will embrace the trend. Co-owned and financed by three teams (Rays, Yanks and Sox), when New York or Boston comes in for a series, the ballpark will be co-branded — 50 percent Rays, 50 percent Yankees/Sox.
Think of it like the Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville. A “neutral” site that was once universally referred to as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” — a good time for all. When non-NY/Boston teams visit, it’s back to 100 percent Rays.
The combined deep pockets of these three teams could build the ballpark of our dreams, with no or little public monies. Not to mention the incredible economic boost a dedicated sports tourism campaign promoting trips to Fenway South would have.
Charlie Crist and Rick Scott are too similar. Scott is a tea partier, and Crist really is a moderate Republican. Democrat Nan Rich will have to put Crist out of the primary, or our antiquated plurality voting system will pit two Republicans against each other.
Instant runoff voting (IRV) in a three-way race would allow people to rank their preference, first, second or third. IRV eliminates wasted votes, spoilers, wasteful runoffs, and guarantees majority winners. In a three-way race, a candidate could now win with as little as 34 percent of the vote.
With IRV, if at first count there is a majority winner, that is the winner. If there is no majority winner, the lowest candidate is eliminated, and those ballots are recounted for the voter’s second choices and redistributed to the remaining candidates until a majority winner emerges. Voila — instant runoff.
Many U.S. cities use IRV, and 20 states are moving to adopt it. Ireland and Australia have used IRV for 90 years. Voters who use IRV understand and like it. IRV raises voter interest and also raises candidate quality.
Fanning Ferguson fires
A few things bother me about the events in Ferguson, Missouri. First, the president’s comments about the case. In 1970, Richard Nixon made an off-the-cuff remark that he thought killer Charles Manson was guilty. This caused a problem at Manson’s trial, with the defense saying he couldn’t get a fair trial, as even the president of the United States thought he was guilty. President Obama liked to spin his thoughts on Trayvon Martin, and now Michael Brown. Some people never learn.
Second, Al Sharpton is at it again, inflaming the situation by making such statements as this is a “defining moment for this country,” or “America is on trial!” My favorite, though, was when Sharpton labeled the rioters as “liberators,” as opposed to looters.
Third, the rush to judgment by the media is maddening. This too will muddy the waters of any litigation coming out of all this. I do not understand why we insist on trial by media. I guess we are now “guilty until proven innocent.”
All three of these items are inflammatory and do not help the situation in Missouri. If you want to bring peace to Ferguson, curb the president and Sharpton, and turn off the cameras. The people are only reacting to the attention.
Listen to the locals
Having participated in the last pier debacle, I can only hope that the new mayor and council will really listen to the locals this time (“Don’t rush new pier effort,” Our Views, Aug. 19).
It isn’t rocket science to learn what the citizens want to do at a pier on our waterfront. Too many “experts” can muddy the waters, far too often, like they did last time. Although the mayor claims to be inclusive, it is still too early to tell, as the pier committee, selected by him, does not have any citizen representative outside of the downtown “bubble.” St. Pete has over 250,000 people, and only a fraction live on the waterfront. Many of our visitors live out of the city. I sure hope they are polled when they flock down here this winter.