Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Jeff Vinik on baseball and economic development

If baseball is the first concern of a company, Vinik is trying to lure to Tampa, I think I would look around a bit.

St. Petersburg, FL
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of:
So You Want Blog.

Last Friday Jeff Vinik made an appearance at the Cafe Con Tampa discussion group meeting at Hugo's Spanish Restaurant in South Tampa. You can read the details in Richard Danielson's Tampa Bay Times article For Jeff Vinik, the key question is not which side of Tampa Bay the Rays play on

Vinik was asked yet again about a new Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Stadium in down town Tampa.

He nicely soft balled the question and then added, "If we lose the Rays, when I fly up to New York or Connecticut to talk to a company (about moving here), I’ve got two strikes behind me: ‘You guys can’t even keep baseball in your community?’ That’s literally going to be the response.”

I hate to disagree with the father of all things' downtown Tampa, but if that is the first concern of a company Vinik is trying to lure to Tampa, as the landlord I think I would look around a bit.

Actually, the bigger question might be: why are you guys wasting all of that public money on something that has already proven unsuccessful in the Bay Area?

Major League Baseball has for years sold the myth that baseball and MLB teams and big stadiums equal economic development and they are a pivotal part of a community's signature.

The concept of Major League baseball driving economic development has simply not panned out in Pinellas County and there is little to indicate that would change even with a shiny new stadium in Hillsborough.

Also note that so far Vinik has politely refused to put up any of his holdings as a site for the new stadium.

True, it is nice to wave a lot of shiny bobbles, like Major League Baseball in the eyes of corporate relocation decision makers, but I think more and more of them are seeing these big sports complexes as a hole into which public and private money is thrown.

Hillsborough County, Tampa, Mr. Vinik and the corporations he would like to attract downtown would all probably be much better served if instead of pouring 100s of millions of dollars into a baseball stadium, the County and the City would focus on putting together a scandal free public transportation plan and investing those dollars as much as possible into roads and public transportation where everyone can benefit.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Kriseman on Trump is that what you elected him to do?

Now is time for leadership from public officials not late night cute tweets.

St. Petersburg, FL
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog.

Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman, perhaps spending just a bit too much time online, couldn't resist the opportunity to jump on the latest Trump statement regarding US domestic terrorism.

(New York, NY) December 7th, 2015, -- Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on. According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population. Most recently, a poll from the Center for Security Policy released data showing "25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad" and 51% of those polled, "agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah." Shariah authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won't convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women.

Mr. Trump stated, "Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again." - Donald J. Trump

Kriseman Tweet
“I am hereby barring Donald Trump from entering St. Petersburg until we fully understand the dangerous threat posed by all Trumps,” 

Guess we won't be seeing anyone named Trump vacationing here for a while.

You can catch the read from the left in Janelle Irwin's saintpetersblog Post Rick Kriseman unofficially “bans” Donald Trump from St. Pete and it’s exactly as awesome as you’d think

You would think that the Mayor of a City whose administration dumps raw sewage into Tampa Bay and Clam Bayou, can't seem to get the $40 million Pier Park project name right, has five failing schools in his jurisdiction and a continuing poverty and crime problem on the south side of his City could put his time to a bit better use.

While the Tweet obviously is generating a lot of humorous and serious attention, those of a more conservative bent, making winter vacation plans might also consider themselves' unwelcome.

Sarasota is nice this time of a year.

Am I all in on Trump's latest comments? Not necessarily.

However, I do wonder how clever the Mayor would be if the events of San Bernardino had taken place in Tampa or St. Pete.

We face a serious threat in this country, far beyond anything any of us have ever seen. It's pretty easy to jump on a suggestion as seemingly over the top as Trump's latest remarks, but given a couple of more of these incidents that could easily change.

Awesome? Not really.

Now is time for leadership from public official's not late night cute tweets.

Grow up have a serious job to do.

E-mail Doc at mail or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

OMG – what if the millennials don't like the name St. Pete Pier

St. Pete Pier. Not new, unique or clever and not very millennial at all.

St. Petersburg, FL
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog.

The whole concept of Pier Park was touted as a place where one could walk, run, kayak, bike and enjoy nature. It is a Park on a Pier

With the recent disclosure that the name Pier Park was already trademarked; the City has marshaled all of its collective creativity and renamed the venue the St. Pete Pier.

You know the place famous for the inverted pyramid.

There was the Railroad Pier, the Electric Pier, the Million Dollar Pier and the Inverted Pyramid Pier all with some unique characteristic.

Now it's just the St. Pete Pier. What do you do on a Pier?


Maybe Mayor Kriseman had it right when he said, "Let's build the Damn Pier"

Damn Pier – has a nice ring to it.

Pier Park was kind of catchy. Was it a Pier or a Park? It was enough to make the online searcher at least drop one more click and maybe even enough to encourage the Beach tourist to take a trip downtown.

Some may see this as just a marketing problem and feel that spending a few more bucks on promotion will overcome any issues.

Maybe not.

The millennials are all about getting rid of the old and replacing it with the new.

The couch in my mom's house was over 20 years old. The sofa in my home is about seven years old and most of the millennials I know don't have a stick of furniture over 3 years old.

They want things new, shiny and with names that reflect the millennial era. Just look at the names of new cars, rental properties, bars, beers and startup businesses.

What if they decide they just don't like it and the visiting millennials can't figure it out or just decide to pass?

Could be a real problem.

Will the name change affect anything in the Pier Park/St. Pete Pier project?

Probably not.

The St. Pete Pier (AKA Pier Park) will still be a structure of questionable practicality with limited access and functionality, demanding a high taxpayer  subsidy to support and now maybe not nearly as appealing to its primary target customers and tourists.

Phooey you say. A pier is a Pier a park is a Park. What's the big deal in the name?

Google was originally called BackRub. Hot mama became EVEREVE and for you non millennials there was the Ford debacle called Edsel.

Names matter. A Pier is not a Park, and a Park is not a Pier. The name of St. Petersburg's $70 million dollar waterfront investment should reflect what it actually is.

E-mail Doc at mail or send me a Facebook (Gene Webb) Friend request. Please comment below, and be sure to share on Facebook. See Doc's Photo Gallery at Bay Post Photos.