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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