Newly elected City Councilman John Dingfelder didn’t exactly hit the ground stumbling.
First, he nominated and passionately championed the case for the council’s new chairperson, Linda Saul-Sena.
Then he took on encroaching, excessive commercialism symbolized by a proposal to rename Ice Palace Drive “St. Pete Times Forum Drive.” That’s the street that runs behind the erstwhile Ice Palace and in front of the Tampa Marriott Waterside hotel. The issue came before the council as a second reading of an ordinance approved by the previous council.
As a city council rookie, Dingfelder couldn’t have chosen a better way to debut than to question anything else being named “St. Pete” in downtown Tampa. As it is, the “St. Pete Times Forum” is about as welcome as Tampa Tribune Field or The Trib Pier would be in downtown St. Petersburg.
We don’t have to like the St. Pete Times Forum name, and a lot of us don’t, but we have to accept it. But we don’t have to accept what we don’t like about a prospective St. Pete Times Forum Drive. That’s a public right-of-way — not a .3-mile throw-in to the $30-million, arena naming-rights deal. It never should have been up for re-naming.
In the name of compromise, however, Dingfelder offered up “Times Forum Drive,” which seems workable. Another, “Welcome Drive,” was blithely suggested by the Tampa Tribune .
But frankly, enough of compromising. A newspaper buying arena naming rights is already a compromise — of ethics. If Ice Palace Drive is not acceptable, then the marketing effrontery — which is at the core of this whole issue — should be incorporated into any new name.
“Chutzpah Way” sounds like a winner.