City to Spend $270K for RNC Event at the Trop

Mayor Bill Foster announced Thursday that the city will spend $270,000 on security cameras for what would be the kickoff party for the RNC at Tropicana Field on Aug. 26.

What might be the got a little clearer Thursday when Mayor Bill Foster informed City Council of the city's need to spend $270,000 for security cameras for an event to be held at on Aug. 26, which is the day before the RNC kicks off in Tampa. 

The news that the RNC would be hosting an opening party at the Trop . 

The yet-to-be-officially-announced event at Tropicana Field requires the city to use $270,000 for security cameras, which Foster said could be refunded by the Department of Justice. 

According to Foster, he said the refund is likely but there is no guarantee. 

Foster said he met with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn who Foster said would be the one that submits the funding request to the Department of Justice. "He’s the one that kinds of checks things before submitting it to the DOJ, if the event occurs," Foster said.  

According to the Tampa Bay Times:

"More than 15,000 journalists and 5,600 delegates plan to attend the event, which is essentially a cocktail party with live music. It's expected to draw a fair amount of protesters, said Mark Winn, St. Petersburg's chief assistant city attorney.

"There will be thousands coming to protest, and some will be disruptive," Winn said. "The ordinance will be somewhat modeled after Tampa's. One of the reasons we waited this long was to see what Tampa would adopt."

Foster said the city needs to start taking more official steps while it waits for the official word.

"We are 80 days out we cannot wait for the announcement," Foster said of the need to spend the money before any official announcement from the Republican National Committee. 

Council member Jim Kennedy expressed concern that the delayed announcement for the RNC could put St. Pete's safety at risk if the city is not prepared.

"I know that (police) are in close communication with the secret service," Foster said.

The city and its police force, Foster said, will be prepared. 

"There is still a lot of moving parts," Foster said. "Every body is very, very busy. We will absolutely be prepared. They are training and we are training. We are going to have a very (well) trained workforce that will be prepared."

On April 11, the Pinellas Tourist Development Council voted unanimously to give $600,000 to the RNC for the kick-off party at Tropicana Field, according to the Tampa Bay Times

"The money will come from bed tax reserves and must be approved by the Pinellas County Commission."

After the event at the Trop, Foster said the security cameras could be used in other parts of the city. 

"These cameras can be deployed following the RNC," Foster said. "The cameras will be deployed pursuant to council and a recommendation from the police department."

Woody Richey June 08, 2012 at 12:26 PM
What a sheer waste of taxpayer money on what is considered a white elephant! Taxpayer money paid for the Trop, and now MLB wants to abandon ir. Property taxes went WAY UP to pay for the stadium, and never went back down. Add this ridiculous expenditure to the tax credit for Sam's Club (like Walmart needs a tax break) and another half-mil for the Pier architectural Phase 1, and you have a cool Million spent on Pork. Maybe the Mayor and all of City Concil need to be replaced in the next election for citizens with some fiscal responsibility. And what about giving the Police a decent HQ? Where are the priorities?
CJ June 08, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Won't the city ''make'' a lot of money by holding this event? The problem I have with it, is the part where it said there is not guaranteed the money spent will be refunded. Why is that such an unknown? Obviously..with a refund..this seems like a no brainer. The Catch-22 is that it also has to be done whether we can afford it or not. The potential for something bad to happen requires more than usual security. Considering how bad the economy is, it is hard to figure if the RNC would be a boost to ''any'' city right now...but we and Tampa are certainly ''stuck'' with all this at this point. There is no ''backing out'' now. It's going to happen. The camera's, like everything, certainly are expensive..but what choice is there really? We will need world class security for this. Duh.
Woody Richey June 08, 2012 at 03:10 PM
I fully realize that the city will make money on this event. I think the RNC can help pay more for security enhancements that are essentially for a one time event. Don't think for a moment that political parties do not make millions on these conventions. I am not suggesting that there is any backing out, and I did not so state (you can remove your quote marks). I do think that these contracts should be more aggressively negociated, especially when city money is so very tight. Then comes the publicity on the Tropicana Field. Will the World even know it is in St Petersburg? Or will it be billed as Tampa or Tampa Bay, like the Rays? In any case, it is not good value for the taxpayers. Fait accompli that it may be.
CJ June 08, 2012 at 04:25 PM
No need to be a smart aleck, Woody. This is a blog, not English 101. Besides....those marks don't need to be removed..they can be used for many things besides ''quoting'' someone. My comment was not directed to ''you'', anyway. It stood alone as a separate, additional comment. i simply made reference to some of your same topics. ''Otherwise'', I would have hit the ''reply'' button directly associated with ''your'' comment. (ok...I admit...''now'' I am getting annoying...lol!) I was essentially agreeing with you ''anyhow''. Sorry to annoy you with my ''marks''. Geeze...you now sound like you are just here to be a turd. Before you start running your mouth again..I did not just call you one...I said you are acting like one. What the heck is ''Fait accompli''...uh...''that time''...I ''am'' quoting you.
Jack Sprat June 08, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Why bother? We don't need their event or their money, right? But since someone seems to think it is a good thing, we need security, including cameras. Why? Here's why: "There will be thousands coming to protest, and some will be disruptive," Winn said. "The ordinance will be somewhat modeled after Tampa's. One of the reasons we waited this long was to see what Tampa would adopt." They KNOW that "some will be disruptive." They read these comments and KNOW that the liberals in FL will do anything possible to disrupt a Republican gathering.
Christy H June 09, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Fait accompli is a French phrase that roughly translates into English as a deed/decision that's already accomplished. In other words, it's a "done deal."
CJ June 09, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Thanks for splaining that ricky..and I thought it was Latin for ''buzz off''..or "I hope you are with me if I faint''. Now you know why I have never been able to learn a foreign language no matter how hard I have tried. Whatever..but it certainly does sound like a ''done deal''..like everything else in St Pete. Let's hope the money is well spent, the city gets refunded, and the event means big money for the city in business. It should be. Unfortunately, now days 270K is chump change..but as one person pointed out: if you take 1/4 a million here, and 1/4 a million here...sooner or later it adds up to a lot of money. Right now, I'd be happy if someone gave me $100.
CJ June 09, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Exactly. Also, the main convention and this event at The Trop are opportunities for trouble way beyond simple political protesting. Let's not forget, terrorists are still in wait to strike again. Political conventions and surrounding events have historically been times of big trouble. I am not sure how much the additional camera's will help anything...surely ther is already a substantial amount of cameras in place already? Oh well...if nothing else..they can supply us with some fuzzy pictures of people doing crimes that will never be caught. If I am there, (enjoying myself..not casuing trouble...lol), I just hope I remember to say cheese. I look better when I am fuzzy, actually.
Robert Thompson June 10, 2012 at 03:35 AM
I would agree the RNC needs to be supportive financially of their own security needs. If I threw a party at the Trop and needed security cameras or what not, the City would surely tell me to get out my checkbook..... Further Tax woes: Sams Club is over 50% built. I doubt they would have backed out if no tax credit was awarded..... City Hall could be a little sharper...
Lynda June 11, 2012 at 02:26 AM
I lived in St. Paul during the 2008 Republican Convention held there. It wasn't the "liberals" who caused the disruptions or the damage. It was radical groups who believe all government is evil and an intrusion against personal liberty. Sound familiar? Cities who want to hold political conventions are becoming fewer and fewer because of the costs, the damage to a city's reputation and its infrastructure and the exhaustion of its citizens. Tampa was crazy to bid for the convention; St. Petersburg is crazy to pay to participate.


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