Mayor (Seat 1)

Elizabeth 'Sea Turtle' Drayer

Retired attorney, nature rights advocate

The Phillies should be paying a larger percentage of the costs. Considering the team’s valuation and revenue, it should be contributing more to renovations that will largely benefit the team. While spring training is a point of city pride and a tourist draw, the amount of revenue it generates is disputed. The stadium is fairly new to require such costly renovations, and the city and county have other pressing needs for that money. Finally, attending games is too expensive for many residents who will not directly benefit from this project.

Frank Hibbard

Financial planner, former mayor

I support continuing negotiations with the Phillies, (Pinellas) County and state to keep our 73-year relationship intact.

Bill Jonson

Former city council member, retired auditor

Spectrum Field is a wonderful facility owned by the city of Clearwater. The city needs to maintain it in first class condition with periodic updates. The proposed modification to the complex to include a dormitory for 160 ballplayers in training does not represent a municipal purpose requiring the use of taxpayer funds. Such a facility could be allowed on the property if funded by the Phillies or county bed taxes. Additionally, It is unclear why such a so recently constructed facility (less than 20 years) would require such an expensive major update.

Morton Myers

Owner of Dairy Kurl and Tampa Bay Pawn

Negotiation is key. We can’t give away everything. It’s not all our money we’re looking to spend, but it’s still people of this community’s money, people of this state’s money. So we need to make sure we’re negotiating it to make sure we’re fairly getting our money spent.

Seat 2

Mark Bunker

Filmmaker, retired TV news producer

It should be renegotiated. The deals that sports franchises demand from cities so often are not beneficial to the communities. The Phillies are worth $1.85 billion. We don't seem to blink an eye at corporate welfare, whereas small businesses and regular folks are struggling to get by.

Michael Mannino

Xanadu Race Management owner, financial adviser

I recognize that the relationship between the city of Clearwater and the Phillies as being engrained in the fabric of our community. The Phillies have been an integral component of economic impact in our city and the entire region. I do not like the timing of the ask giving the current climate in our city and am hesitant in any discussions that involve spending large amounts of taxpayer dollars. I believe that the financial figures discussed are a starting point and should not be argued as an ending point. Further negotiations will ensure we as a city are being fiscally responsible to our taxpayers while appreciating and valuing our historic friendship with baseball.

Bruce Rector

Attorney, former sport management professor

I support keeping the Phillies in Clearwater. I have had professional experience in assisting communities in negotiating and the financing similar projects. Many times these projects, and the financing package, is adjusted some during this process. The county has not yet decided on its contribution for the project. Although I support keeping the Phillies in Clearwater, the city should, however, be strong negotiators (and) make the proposal comparable to facility and funding solutions that other Florida communities offer Major League Baseball teams for ... spring training and year-round training and player rehabilitation complexes. The city should improve its messaging to citizens on the economic impact, community use of Spectrum Field, and other returns on investment at this city-owned complex. Spectrum Field and the surrounding property are significant community assets and public input and understanding of the project plans and financing are critically important.

Eliseo Santana, Jr.

Retired Pinellas Sheriff's Office technical supervisor

I would first examine whether or not these funds could be used for other more pressing matters. In addition, I would seek input from our residents.

Lina Teixeira

Bar owner, merchants association president

The Phillies are an economic engine that generates over $60 million in economic activity each year for Clearwater. This proposal brings together all the stakeholders and spreads the costs to several governmental partners so that everyone has a stake in their success. I want to pursue some of the plans, such as the player’s dorm, and make sure the costs are borne by those who will benefit.

Seat 3

Kathleen Beckman

Retired teacher, community activist

I am happy that Clearwater is host to the Philadelphia Phillies during their spring training. History and traditions play a big part in a city’s identity and sense of pride and unity. I would work collaboratively to take reasonable actions to encourage the Phillies to renew their contract/lease with the city to continue to hold spring training in Clearwater. Without question, the Phillies spring training brings many tourists and many fans who now consider Clearwater and Pinellas County a “second home,” resulting in substantial economic benefits. However, I feel that the city is being asked to shoulder too much of the economic burden of the renovation. Clearwater has many capital investment needs, and we must be careful with all our available resources, including Penny for Pinellas revenue. We need to assure that all state and county sources of funds are forthcoming, and the Phillies should be asked to step up to the plate and substantially increase its share of the costs. According to Forbes magazine, the Phillies are currently valued at 1.85 billion. They are paying one player $330 million over 13 years. Clearly, they are not struggling. They are completely solvent and are one of the top ten most valuable MLB teams. The city is being asked to shoulder too much of the costs, and we need to further negotiate to assure that the Phillies and other sources of funds contribute their fair share.

Bob Cundiff

Incumbent, college professor

I do support the city's proposal for renovations, though I don't agree with your figures. We do not know yet how much the county will fund; until we do — and we've been waiting a year for them — we won't know what the rest of the figures will be. The proportions should be as planned, though we don't know any figures yet. The return on the investment over the next 20 years will far outweigh the city's investment in its own stadium.

Bud Elias

Owner of Advantage Group insurance firm

I support the Phillies renovation and the role the city plays in this process. The Phillies have been a great partner with the city of Clearwater for 70 years. Next to the revenues generated by tourism, the revenue generated by the Phillies is the second largest source of income to the city. We need to maintain that partnership.

Scott Thomas

Senior human resources director

The Phillies are an organization that makes a lot of money. I believe that we should work with them to make sure that we make Clearwater their home for many years to come, but I also think the current proposal is too high for our taxpayers. Finding a reasonable solution should be a top priority for the city. The Phillies organization brings in millions of dollars each year to our city’s businesses.