Thank you Mikko for solving my big St Pete problem.
I just finished a 2 player game with my wife using the correct rules. Until now, after every phase I had been tossing out the second row and moving the cards down. This made a very high turnover in cards. The correct rule seems to be to toss out the last row only after every round.
What a difference. I had a ton more cash, which meant that buying buildings now became a possibility instead of a complete waste of cash. And the buildings didn't run out so darn quickly.
Instead, I have another little inelegance: in the second round when neither of us could buy any cards, we passed. And then NO aristocrats and NO traders came out that round. Eh. Is this normal? It seemed a little silly. I assume that this is less likely in a three or four player game. Maybe, if this becomes a regular thing in two players, each player could be allowed to choose a card on the table to discard if the table is full at the end of a phase. Will have to play more.
I still think that all cards should score one more time at the end of the game so as to make the last buys worthwhile. Again, a little inelegance, but not a major flaw.
In any case, the game just got a whole lot better.