Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Here are my ten thoughts/predictions for 2015



1. The St. Pete Pier Project will go well and citizen participation in the on line survey will surpass all expectations.

2. The final Pier selection will be the Citizen's choice.

3. Tampa will not be able to find a suitable site for a baseball stadium nor the money to finance it. Buckhorn will throw the ball back to Kriseman and hold him responsible for keeping baseball in the Bay area. Kriseman will punt. Never did really understand the game.

4. Unless it's a fire sale, Stu Sternberg will not sell the Rays for one simple reason: there will be no buyer. Sternberg's hard nosed dealings with the City, all that weaseling to get out of the use agreement, and Major League Baseball's attitude toward the franchise will be enough to turn off all but the most ego maniacal maniac buyer. Even baseball will take a walk.

5. The Rays will have a less than stellar 2015 season and attendance will continue to sink. Beer and hot dog prices are likely to rise. Mortgages will be available to those wishing to purchase season tickets.

6. The Rowdies will have a great year ultimately making the play offs. Attendance will be up, way up. The games will be exiting, fun and reasonably priced. Home games will grow into a significant downtown event.

7. The City will open the MSB parking garage for Rowdies home games parking and donate the proceeds to the Arts Community. The Edwards Group will staff the garage. Much better idea than the beer cup thing.

8. There will be at least one Rowdies home game where attendance will exceed the Rays lowest home attendance.

9. Mayor Kriseman will finally rediscover his campaign promise to the west side and actually do something beyond 16th street.

10. The Mayor and City Council will stop just taking credit for being an arts destination and build permanent arts funding with a 1 million dollar line item in the 2015 budget.

Happy New Year.... E-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net. Or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Twitter@DOCONTHEBAY. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook and Twitter. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos
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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Is de Blasio Ready for the Big Time?



Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD 

When I started to work in municipal government one of my early mentors told me there are just a few vital things people want from their local government.

When their house is on fire they want the fire department to show up, when they flush the toilet they expect what's in there to disappear, they want good roads to drive on and they want their police department to keep them safe.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio must have missed at least part of that message.

de Blasio has managed to almost completely alienate the new York City Police Department rank and file.

You can see the details by Allen McDuffee in The Atlantic NYPD Commissioner Says Snubbing of Mayor de Blasio was ' Inappropriate'

I would expect the Police Commissioner to support the Mayor.

I spent 5 years in our local PD as a civilian employee and one of the things I noted was the impact of how the Administration viewed and respected the Police department.

de Blasio is a well educated man: New York University, Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University but as is frequently the case, common sense does not necessarily follow from high power education.

The circumstances surrounding Eric Garner's death were tragic and possibly avoidable but pandering to protesters and the headlines does not a Mayor make.

The New York Mayor has created a riff with the Police Unions and the rank and file that will be difficult to heal.

Policing cannot be effective if the Police, from the Commissioner right on down, don't believe the City Administration supports them. That does not mean the Mayor cannot be critical, but it needs to be done in a professional manner, not like another street protester.

It must not feel real good to be a New York City voter and wondering if the guy you voted in as Mayor has what it takes to run a City like New York.

E-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net. Or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Twitter@DOCONTHEBAY. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook and Twitter. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Isaiah 9:6 King James Version (KJV)

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.


May his salvation and the joy of the season be yours.

From our family to yours have a very merry Christmas

Doc
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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What really went wrong on the Tropicana field deal? Maybe Nothing.

Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD

There will be a lot of finger pointing and wild accusations as to what happened to the Rays/City Memorandum of Understanding.

No matter how you slice it, it was not a good deal the City or its citizens. It didn't offer enough, didn't provide any protections and it was clearly very one sided.

There are a lot of factors at play but a couple standouts. I spent almost 30 years in the City administration and one of the things I learned was it is very unwise to A, negotiate a big deal in private and  B, bring a take or leave it deal to the City Council. More often than not they vote it down.

What is a bit surprising is Kriseman didn't remember that from his time on City Council.

The Administration would have been wise to include Council in the negotiations at least with some briefings, and to have had some negotiable issues in the Agreement. Off the record we used to call that, "give them some change so they will feel good".

I am pretty sure the Rays understood the impacts of the "take it or leave it" stand. Baseball deals with political bodies all over the country and it would be hard to believe that they don't understand the likely results of the position the Rays took with the City.

I have to wonder if this whole show didn't turn out exactly like the Rays wanted.

City Council are the bad guys, the Mayor and Council are now fighting with each other, baseball has once again become a political football and now the Rays can slink off into the confusion using all of the controversy to do as they please while blaming the City for their woes.

 The Five City Council members who voted no on the Rays stadium Memorandum of Understanding are taking a beating from the Mayor and from some in the press.

I found the Tampa bay Times editorial particularly disgusting and the Tribune editorial not far behind.

The Mayor needs to take a deep breath, get off his high horse and quickly re establish his relationship with City Council. In the long run they may have just saved his honorable derriere.

Note John Wolf's comments when asked if the MOU weaken the Use Agreement, loose quote: "No matter what you do it weakens the Use Agreement."

Chip away enough and suddenly the Rays walk with no penalties or a long protracted legal battle.

If the Rays really want to look around the Bay area they will sit down with the Mayor, take the issues Council raised and come back with a counter proposal. If they don't you have your answer, there never was a deal it was just a shot at weakening the Use Agreement.

For now the Mayor and City Council need to cool off and make sure the baseball issue doesn't throw a wrench into all of the good things the Administration and Council have moving forward.


E-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net. Or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Twitter@DOCONTHEBAY. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook and Twitter. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos
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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday December 21, 2014 The Really big Deal on the New St. Pete Pier



The designs are in and you can see them at http://www.stpete.org/theNewPier/ . They are all
interesting, some more than others.

I am going to let the public way in on their choice on which design they like. I have a preference, but I’ll keep it to myself.

Instead, I am going to focus on the process, because I think that is where the problems will arise.

From the administration’s perspective, I can honestly say I have never seen the administrative team more focused on finding out what the public wants and following through on their desires. At all levels there seems to be a genuine desire to get it right this time.

The public spoke loud and clear in the LENS referendum and the message has really sunk in. The staff is committed to follow the public input process.

In the public survey portion of the process, social media will play a big role as the Kriseman administration asks the public to way in with their choice. It’s up to you to go on line and be part of the process and the final decision. I’ll have a lot more to say on the survey portion later.

If you look at the designs, they all include significant impact on the uplands. If this design concept moves toward Beach Drive and begins to look like it may provide some competition for Beach Drive look for some powerful opposition to arise.

As long as the Beach Drive Barons don’t see the Pier as major competition everything should go pretty easy.

It will be interesting to see where the St. Pete Chamber lands. Heavily populated with Beach Drive interests, the Chamber may be forced into walking a narrow line if there is opposition to the public’s choice for the new Pier.

The good news so far is: the Kriseman administration has done a good job in keeping the Chamber and Beach Drive interests in perspective.

At this point I think the process is most vulnerable right after the survey is completed. That’s why it will be extremely important for a large number of people to weigh in with their choice.

The final selection committee is the most critical step in the process. That’s where the last Pier choice went astray, and it could happen again. If the power players are going to try and exert influence this is their opportunity.

For now Kriseman, Connors and the Pier Team seem to have it all under control.

E-mail Doc at: dr.webb@verizon.net. Or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Twitter@DOCONTHEBAY. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook and Twitter. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.
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