Monday, August 13, 2012

Baseball at Gateway a Good Idea or Not?

A new private (for the moment) plan to build a new stadium may be just the catalyst needed to get things off dead center. But is Gateway the Right place?
Scenario 1
You live in Pinellas County or Manatee County and work in Tampa. You are going to face a horrendous traffic nightmare every time the Rays play an evening home game. There are not enough roads and bridges to handle all of the traffic efficiently even if you use all three bridges as part of the equation. It would not seem possible to build an off ramp large enough to handle the stadium back up. Once again the Howard Franklin would become the "Car Strangled Spanner"

Scenario 2
A lot of the same people who ballyhoo the tourist industry as part of the Tampa Bay economy are deep in the stadium issue. Consider a family of four who have just flown into Tampa International on Friday arriving about 5:00PM, get a rental car and spend the next 2-3 hours on the Howard Franklin or Courtney Campbell Causeway trying to get to their hotel on the beach. Sounds like a set up for another of those "Least Friendly" awards.

Scenario 3
One of the really great things about this area is the Tampa International Airport and the ability to get to and from it for both tourist and business travelers. Placing a baseball stadium right in the middle of access to that benefit seems like an incredibly bad idea. If we want to continue to tout this area as a place for high tech business investment, good airport access is much more important than a baseball stadium.

And speaking of roads, just who will be picking up the tab for the massive exits, entrances, ramps and other road improvements required to support the Echelon plan. (Hint: go look in the mirror).

A stadium on the other side of the bridges where the it does not impact interstate rush hour commuter traffic flow and baseball traffic is generally using the lower volume side of the interstate system to get to the games seems like a much better all around approach.

For now it is an interesting conversation piece, but it's much more about finding a use for piece of Echelon property that has not developed as expected than it is about saving the Rays for St. Pete.
It might also be a good idea to go back and look at the City's box score in dealing with Echelon. I don't believe the City is leading in that series.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Is Billy About to Lose the Ball?

He stood there on the mound haplessly kicking the ground rolling the ball around in his barely used glove. He looked around for his eight team mates but there were none to be found. Not even a catcher they had all abandoned him.

Stu stood at the plate his teeth clinched his eyes squinting the bat raised determined to knock one out of the park.

The Trop was empty save for a lone person sitting behind home plate. Bud Selig sneered as Billy looked into the batter.

In the opposing dugout were those nasty Hillsborough County Commissioners and Mayor Buckhorn jeering and threatening to take away his ball.

In the home dugout the Pinellas County Commissioners were hooting and hollering wanting their turn on the mound.

What to do? What to do?

The water front stadium had sunk. The secret plan had not materialized, the threats to potential pitchers have lost their credibility. The empty threats, lack of leadership, unwillingness to compromise and failure to act had finally come home to roost.

Besides all of that Stu didn't seem to like him.

If Billy threw the pitch, all Stu had to do was let it go by, the ball would roll hopelessly to the wall and Stu would run the bases scoring a run and winning the game.

Billy looked dejectedly at the ground. Suddenly a huge figure of a man strode slowly from the home bull pen and put his arm around Billy. Newt, perhaps the most compassionate of the team members, helped Billy off the field.

Immediately both dugouts erupted as each Commission dashed to the mound. An epic struggle ensued to see who would pitch next. Yelling, screaming, sign waving (they are all politicians).

Almost unnoticed was a small gathering at home plate. Stu, Bud and Bob. Bob had what appeared to be some plans. Everyone was smiling.

Baseball is good for the Tampa Bay region. We need to keep it here. The best way to keep it here is to work together. After all it is a team sport.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Small Business and Trickle Down VS Trickle Up Economics

We are hearing a lot about the economy and what works and what doesn't. Why all of this talk about small business?

What is a small business? Here is the Small Business Administration's definition. You might be surprised to find that you actually work for a small business. Generally 100 to 1500 employees, $2.5 million to $15 million in revenues.

Here are some facts from the Small Business Administration (SBA),
Small Businesses:
Represent 99.7 percent of all employers
Employ half of all private sector employs
Pay 44% of total U.S. private payroll
Generated 65 percent of net new jobs in the past 17 years
Hire 43 Percent of high tech workers

In the Bush era, trickledown economics failed principally due to unbridled greed in the financial sector, a failure of the Bush administration to properly regulate banks and Wall Street and to heed the warning signs that the economy was at a tipping point.

In the Obama administration, trickle up economics have failed to revive the economy principally due to poor execution and an over emphasis on socioeconomic welfare i.e. the Obama Health Care Plan. Continuing to borrow money to inject into the lower level of the economy has not worked. Stimulus money misapplied and mismanaged and weak economic policies have created an anemic growth rate that cannot sustain the national debt or the economy for much longer.

President Obama wants to stay the course, continue to develop stimulus packages, grow the government and expand the welfare state. All requiring a bigger government, more debt and more taxes. There is no Obama plan to scale back government and reduce the national debt. Obama wants small business to grow but with little help, less money, less opportunity and less reward for more risk.
Romney has not embraced the Bush approach, he has not fully embraced the Regan approach, he is proposing a new way to look at our economy. The Romney economic plan would refine regulation, reduce taxes, spending and government programs and get the rising national debt under control. 

Romney would develop economic stability, move more resources and decision making power to the states, increase domestic energy production, and yes hold steady or reduce taxes on the top earners and savers to encourage investment, business growth and expansion especially in the area of small business.

The choice is very clear.

If you want to work, have a career and an opportunity for success you must vote in this election.

If you own or work for a small business you should be extra sure to vote in this election. It is your future most at risk.

Forget political parties, forget how mom and dad vote, you should look carefully at both candidates and make a decision that is in your best interest.

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