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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 10, 2006 11:02 PM. The previous post in this blog was Have a nice weekend. The next post in this blog is A weary world rejoices. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Ludicrous Paul Allen Quotation of the Day

The O has another howler up at the moment from the Trail Blazers -- this one from Paul Allen himself:

"It's hard. As a businessman, I'm out of pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars each and every game. That's brutal."

Allen said he would rather see the money go to community charities, education or health and science research.

But Paul, you've never given any real money to those causes here in Portland. So we're supposed to pay for your fantasy toy, so that you can be Mr. Bigshot Philanthropist up in Seattle?

I suggest you spend a thousand or so on a set of these.

DOS Boy's lament about how much he loses each game is another one of his classic bonehead p.r. moves. He really shouldn't dare us to do the math.

His net worth is estimated at $22 billion. That's $22,000,000,000. He says he'll lose $100 million over three years -- that's $33,333,333 per year. Divided by 41 regular season home games in Portland every season, that's $813,008.12 per game. Sure, it's big bucks.

But how much does a guy who's worth $22,000,000,000 feel from an $813,008 hit to his net worth? Far less than the average Trail Blazer fan feels from buying a ticket to a game, that's for sure. Bear with me through some more arithmetic here. Paul's per-game loss of $813,008.12 amounts to 0.0037 percent of his net worth.

Now let's say the average ticket to a Blazer game runs $50. It's probably more than that, but let's take $50 for the sake of the calculations. How big a chunk, percentage-wise, does a $50 ticket take out of the average fan's net worth? Well, let's see, in order for it to be only 0.0037 percent, you'd have to have a net worth of $1,353,000!

So listen up, all you Trail Blazer fans with a net worth of more than $1,353,000 -- Paul Allen deserves more of your money by way of state and local taxes. But as for the rest of us, all I can say is, "Paul, sweetie, it hurts us more than it hurts you. Enjoy the games in your new city."

Comments (35)

Any ideas where we might re-invest the 0.0037 percent of our tax kicker?

I like this one, too: "If this all ends up in the courts or someone buys the team and moves it, it would be a shame."

In the courts? Whom could you sue, Mr. Allen? Shawn Kemp?

So Mr. A thinks the money would be better spent on schools or the community. Here's a suggestion for Mr. A. How about following the role of some in history. Vassar College was created by a brewer for his daughter. Peter Cooper used his money to creat Cooper Union, a private tuition free school in New York. Most recently the F.W. Olin foundation created the F.W. Olin Inst. in the Boston area next to Babson College as a private tuition free school of engineering offering some of the most advanced courses in the country.
Imagine Mr. Allen take a billion of your bucks, put it in a foudation that creates a private tuition free school of higher education. You might go down in history. Think Stanford, or Rice if this doesn't suit you.
M.

Beautiful example, Jack.

I actually know a few people who think the City should "do whatever it takes" to keep the Blazers in Portland.

I am of the opposite opinion: the Blazers need the Rose Garden and whatever fan base remains far more than we need the blazers.

I was speaking with a kid (early 20's) who works a sandwhich cart in Pioneer Courthouse Square (talk about low net worth!): he attends every Blazer's home game, and has for several years. He used to sit in the nosebleed seats: lately, he's buying good seats (from scalpers) for 20 cents on the dollar, because so many season ticket holders don't show up unless Kobe or Shaquille are visiting.

At the risk of pushing your analogy too far: even a $20 ticket is probably a full percentage point of this guy's net worth (add up the whole season, and he's probably invested half his net worth!). Yet, I honestly believe this kid would make a better owner than Paul Allen.

It would make a great reality T.V. Show: Paul Allen is making Philly Cheese Steak's in PCS, while a twenty-something basketball lover gets to play NBA owner for a season. The Blazers would benefit from the kid's passion.

I think he should invest in that impressive profit machine PDC. Right? Why not?

They are apparenlty qualified to invest OUR money against our will.

You know what’s driving this? The Seahawks losing the Super Bowl. By losing, Paul didn’t get his little ego stroke and we all have to suffer. I saw the 22 billion figure in the new Forbes Billionaires List, and I noticed he came up a spot. And yes, he has lost money from certain points in the past, but do you want to know the single most annoying way to look at this? In 2004, according to the same list, he was at 21 billion. So he’s come up a billion dollars in 2 years and yet, he’s whining about money. At this point, he’s literally begging the karma gods for an ass-whupping.

That's a good idea Michael. How about the Jimi Hendrix Memorial Methadone Clinic? But seriously, if PA were to commit to providing the equivalent of his Blazer losses to a local cause that we could get behind (education, Wapato or whatever) I would be happy to commit to marching in an annual "Thanks Paul" parade.

We have the Rose Festival knights - maybe the bright lights on our city council can come up with some kind of sainthood designation. Hell I'd even chip in a few bucks for a life-sized statue of him somewhere around town.

Am I the only one who thinks that Paul Allen is (finally) making some sense? It doesn't matter how rich the guy is, I can understand he doesn't want to make this a hobby anymore just so Portland can cut him down. Like he said, he bankrolled the losses for a long time... I guess I don't think this is a crazy concept, but I dunno...

Here's another way to break down the #s for poor Paul:

The guy is crying about losing 100 million over a 3 year period, right?

Knock a few zeros off and that's the same as someone who has $220,000 socked away and complains because he's gotta pay a $334 tab on a tune up for his sportscar.

There are two things you won't get from Portland, Paul: public money and sympathy.

It doesn't matter how rich the guy is, I can understand he doesn't want to make this a hobby anymore just so Portland can cut him down.

Then perhaps, like a good capitalist, he should concentrate on fixing whatever it is that's wrong with his business, rather than whining for a public bailout.

We should hold a one-day give-your-Blazers-money-to-charity day in honor of Paul. For the 5,000 people still going to games, blow one off and donate the money to charity. I think it would be better spent than, say, watching poor Sebastion shoot 2 for 11 in a blowout.

Actually Jeff, the Blazers are averaging 14,700 in attendance this season with their fully paid admissions averaging 12,800. The ten year average is 17,600.

Minimizing the impact of this franchise on the city would be a mistake. If Portland is left with no major league sports franchises we become Chattanooga without the humidity. Do you have any idea how bad the schools, social programs, arts, and coffee houses are in Chattanooga?

I do.

If the Blazers leave, we actually become Austin, just without the Texans. Which is fine by me.

But Paul, you've never given any real money to those causes here in Portland. So we're supposed to pay for your fantasy toy, so that you can be Mr. Bigshot Philanthropist up in Seattle?

I did some back of the envelope calculations based on Allen's Family Foundation grantee list.

He gave, through the foundation, $1,471,500 to charities in Oregon and Vancouver in 2005. Including donations for "Building Organizational Capacity for the Purpose of Expanding Access to Affordable Health Care", "Capital Campaign for the New Estacada Public Library", and "Employment Training Program for Homeless Youth" or in other words, healthcare, education, and community services.

I am not a Blazer fan or really even a Paul Allen fan, but to say he doesn't give to the community is a little disingenous.

Also.. even if you don't like the Blazers or the management, you can't deny the tax revenue Portland and the state of Oregon pick up from player salaries, let alone from other Rose Garden personnel. What about the hotel rooms for visiting teams? Restaurants near the Rose Garden and downtown that benefit from game nights? Adjacent parking lots?

I agree the city shouldn't bankroll a bailout, but we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss the possibility of losing this team. There are potentially dozens of creative ideas to make this work for everyone, many that haven't been put on the table yet. One way or another, the centerpiece will be the Rose Garden facility and ways to leverage that property for mutual gain. Beyond that, we need a new owner...

Paul gets to offset his $813,000 loss per game against his other income when his minions calculate his taxes. Individual fans get noincome offsets.

Justin Justin Justin...I've heard about that laughable comparison of Portland being the Austin of the West coast. It seems to be popular banter in the coffee shops on Hawthorne and the Pearl District.

We are (and will continue to be) far far from being anything Austin has become. That's both unfortunate as well as VERY lucky.

If we are to be Austin...we need a 50,000 student University with 21,000 faculty and staff working there.

If we are to be Austin we have to have some hope of luring 11 Fortune 500 company headquarters and 19 Fortune 500 company regional offices to our fair city. Alas, we've managed to do the opposite over the past 20 years by driving away a dozen major corporate players.

If we are to be Austin we have to accomodate sprawl....density is a dirty word there.....and allow 19% of our housing stock to be mobile and manufactured homes.

If we are to be Austin we MUST reduce our per capita social services spending by at least 30%.

If we are to be Austin, our school teachers will be required to take an average 27% pay DECREASE and forever say goodbye to PERS.

I could go on....but we ain't nor will ever be anything like Austin. That's not all bad though.

Sorry that I wasn't able to post earlier.

I have been holding the gate open thinking the Blazers might try for an early exit.

Charlie in Gresham and others...

Let's not forget that Texas (as well as CA, FL, etc) is a major beneficiary of federal budgetary pork and defense contracts. Oregon by comparison gets very little because it weilds little power in congress. The only way a state of Oregon's stature gets a disproportionate amount is by opening up the lands to wide open development, exploration and exploitation (see WY and AK -- easy for these states to vote Republican when they're sitting pretty with yearly Oil dividends).

Maybe we as Oregonians should be demanding an equally significant dividend for providing 'endless' timber resources to the rest of the country...

Think of the billions in defense dollars creating ripple effects in local economies... but they're unevenly distributed to GOP friendly areas. As an Oregonian, I can't help but wonder how this state would be different if it had as many military installations as Washington. Or any state for that matter.

"...maybe I put too much money into the team trying to bring a title to Portland." Portland you should be ashamed of yourself because all along Paul was doing it all for you and this is the thanks he gets. He is just like George Baily in 'A Wonderful Life' making sacrifices, never thinking of himself and now the whole town has turned against him and mean old Mayor Potter won't even loan him a few bucks. I bet right now he is thinking the whole town would have been a better place if he had never bought the blazers. Wait here comes Clarence the Angel to prove to Paul what Portland would have been like if he had never bought the Blazers! Why look the Blazers are still playing in that moldy old Memorial Coliseum to sell out crowds and that old geezer Bill Shonley is still doing the play by play, what a bunch of rubes! See Paul you really did have a wonderful life and remember no one is a failure who has friends.

Hold the Austin and Chattanooga analogies. Portland will have an NBA team -- it just may not be this team, or this team may not be owned by Mr. Allen. If he moves it, there wil be a gap of a few years, but then we'll have an expansion team, which may play about as well or poorly as the Blazers do now.

As for his philanthropy in the Portland area, I don't discount it in absolute dollar terms, but it's a very small fraction of a fraction of his income. And part of it may relate to his media and other enterprises here, as much as to the Blazers.

Surely if he sells the Blazers, he won't be donating the $100 million saved to Portland-area charities. Indeed, even his million or two a year will likely dry up in that event.

I was really just using Austin as an example of a city that doesn't have a professional sports team and yet is still a great liveable city.

But Jack's right, David Stern won't let Portland go without a team. I don't think he will even let Allen move the team. I imagine Stern is trying to find Allen an available buyer.

Why don't we make a deal with Paul Allen - Paul, you move to Oregon ( and start paying Oregon income taxes & property taxes ), and we will pony up half of your $100,000,000 (over 3 years). Deal - or No Deal??

Sorry, public-private partnerships run only one way.

Seriously - It's worth putting on the table. I don't know how much he pays in taxes to the State of Washington, but it must be an enormous sum. If he moved enough of his business interests here (he pays taxes on this anyway, right?), the taxes paid could wholly or partially offset any public money we pump into bailing out the Blazers. After all, Paul is the one who came to the Oregon govs with only vague talk of a "public/private partnership" - let's put a serious proposal on the table that we could stomache. What have we got to lose?

Before you buy into the Stern & Company want the Blazers to stay in Portland theory, consider how come (1) the City of Roses has never hosted an All-Star Game and (2) Las Vegas is hosting next year's All-Star Game. And it's not because there's no "Headquarters Hotel" next door to the Rose Garden. Paul's plan to move the team to Sin City has been in the works for a couple of years. Paying courtesy calls on the local politicos is Step 15 of 30.

David Stern won't allow the team to leave. He could have Paul out of this situation by Wednesday if he truly wanted to get rid of the team. It's not like Paul is the only billionaire with a hoops fixation.

Paul's plan to move the team to Sin City has been in the works for a couple of years.

Over the Malloofs' dead bodies. The Kings lease is up in 2007. They're all but gone to Vegas where the brothers own The Palms. The NBA has a worthy facility in Portland. They won't be abandoning it. Paul's people may believe he's got a shot at Vegas, but Stern won't allow it. Paul's selling. The only question now is to whom.

I'm still rooting for a McMenamins-led local ownership group. The McM. brothers get 51%, and the fans take the other 49% with "moms and pops" putting up $10K apiece. Tie-dyed jerseys, whatever -- the Macs gets complete operational control.

I seem to recall the Grateful Dead purchased tie-dyed Olympic uniforms for the Lithuanian national basketball team, so there is some precedent for this.

I've got a Lithuanian T-shirt from that Olympics. Good old Sabonis -- I hear he signed a petition and gave five bucks to Emilie Boyles.

If Paul pledged to keep the team here for many years into the future then I am rooting for court supervision, like that of federal oversight of a troublesome state redistricting case, such that Paul can lose all the money that he promised to lose . . . and lose control of management to boot. Such a long term promise must surely have been an integral part of the deal to build the new arena and obtain any past public assistance.

If the city could demand this but they choose not to do so is that an act of giving an unlawful gift? Is that a forgiveness of debt that should be taxed as income? It seems we need a judicial action to at least place a present value on that prospective obligation that runs from Paul to the City, for tax purposes at a minimum, and for blog-fodder against the City to boot. Some mobsters get tagged only for the tax implications of their activities.

One can only assume that the league signed on to the long term commitment to leave the blazers here.

I suppose the wimpy city council could claim that there is zero liability if Paul or one of his business partners gives a sizable donation to one of the local school taxing PR outfits instead, quid pro quo.

The last time I went to a blazer game it was in the "moldy old Memorial Coliseum," but even that was before a trip to see a Far West Classic game in the same old building with my dad and brother.

$813,008.12 per game for X many more games is . . .

Someone should talk Stern into letting Portland pull a Green Bay and really put the public in all this private-public partnership talk. It would be a very "Portland" move. I'd pay a few hundred bucks to own a small piece of a NBA team.

From up Seattle way (thanks to soundpolitics.com, a blog as entertaining as bojack's):

Q: How do you make $7 billion disappear?
A: Ask Paul Allen.

Before Seattle's city leaders pour any more money into Paul Allen's South Lake Union biotech boondoggle, they should stop and read this article from today's Wall Street Journal:

"[No U.S. cable companies] are as feeble as Mr. Allen's Charter Communications Inc. Its $20 billion of debt is 50 times the market value of its stock ($409 million). Mr. Allen's 58% stake is worth $250 million, a far cry from the $7 billion-plus he spent buying Charter and Marcus Cable back in 1998.

"Sadly, he still has more business acumen than do the dopey politicians whom he's convinced to subsidize his money-losing schemes."

So. We're not alone. And it looks as if Portland's 'leaders' are as smart as Seattle's.

At least Seattle got Sean Kemp in his prime. By the time he got here he was twice the player, but only in size, and the only time he drew a crowd was on Father's Day.


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Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 319
At this date last year: 172
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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