Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Anyone foolish enough to think the Rays can’t leave the Tampa Bay market (especially if Kathleen Ford is elected)…

in Peter/The Bay and the 'Burg by
…need to read about the ongoing legal battle between the NHL and Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie’s effort to move the Phoenix Coyotes. Balsillie offered the city of Glendale $50 million to drop its objections to the transfer of the franchise, an offer that city is evaluating.

Imagine four years from now, when the Rays, frustrated by Kathleen Ford’s efforts to prevent the baseball team from building a new stadium, are wooed by out-of-town interests, such as Las Vegas’ Steve Wynn, who, in his bid to bring the Rays to Sin City, offers the City of St. Petersburg $200 million (pocket change to people like Wynn) to let the Rays leave. The city, unwilling to support a referendum to finance a new stadium, is now faced with the choice of keeping the Rays and having to help pay for a $500 million stadium or saving that money and making $200 million by letting the Rays leave.

This isn’t some far-fetched scenario. This is the future our city will face if we are foolish enough to make that hateful, spiteful woman our Mayor.

Last night, I was talking with a friend who works in politics. He recently moved to town because he thinks St. Petersburg has the best downtown in Florida. And he’s right. What he is wrong about is when he wonders what everyone’s problem is with Kathleen Ford. She seems nice enough on the campaign trail, he says. So why does everyone think she’s crazy as a loon?

I tell him, it’s not because she’s a woman or any of that. St. Petersburg has helped elect an all-woman County School Board and an overwhelming number of female judges to the Circuit and County Courts.

No, the reason, EVERY MEMBER OF CITY COUNCIL WHO EVER WORKED WITH KATHLEEN FORD endorsed her opponent is because they remember what St. Petersburg was like before the renaissance. Kathleen is the direct representative of a period in the city’s history that most would like to forget about. It is a period that included the failed Bay Plaza redevelopment project, a recall effort to remove the City Council, a full-scale race riot, and a mayoral bid by Curt Curtsinger that all but turned into a civil war.

Mrs. Ford was smart enough to have bitten her tongue while the rest of the mayoral field punched itself out of the race. But now that the election is a choice between her and Bill Foster, her true character has come out. It’s time to send her packing.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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