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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Some light reading for Fireman Randy

He and his new best rich-guy buddy Henry Merritt Paulson III are preparing to sock the City of Portland's taxpayers with another $85 million (at least!) to build a new minor league baseball stadium and rehash the existing one for "major league" soccer. But before he goes any further with this, Fireman Randy ought to head over here and click around a little. He'll find quite a few statements like this one:

[B]uilding sports stadiums does not make sense as a tool of taxpayer-subsidized economic development. From a state and local perspective, sports stadiums do not create jobs, and, in fact, they use resources that would be better expended elsewhere, such as on building schools and shoring up crumbling infrastructure. Rather, state and local governments compete with each other to lure or retain professional sports teams in a senseless race to the bottom for larger public subsidies subsidized by the federal taxpayer. As a result, not only are other, more important public safety projects ignored, such as repairing structurally deficient bridges and aging water distribution and treatment systems, but granting a federal tax exemption to bonds issued to build these stadiums means more stadiums and more expensive stadiums are being built than if there were no federal subsidy. Furthermore, stadiums are essentially private. Sports teams are privately owned by extremely wealthy individuals. The practice of providing taxpayer subsidies to the building of sports stadiums is a transfer of wealth from the many to the wealthy.
The author -- a hard-core Reagan conservative?

Nope -- try Dennis Kucinich.

Comments (6)

Dennis knows of what he speaks. There are multiple studies showing that these things do not "pay for themselves" through new economic activity or even come close.

Meanwhile, the ticket price goes up for the spectator.

I'd love to see MLS here on someone's private dime, but for $85 mil? In this economic climate. You've gotta be kidding me.

This is really not that hard. Don't you think that if stadiums/arenas were money makers, that the team owners would build them. Have you ever known a "rich dude" to pass up a money making opportunity?

You really think Randy cares? After getting his ego stroked in NYC and undoubtedly making promises, he's got too much sunk into it to walk away now.

Looks like stadiums can be spendy even when you don't pay for them.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, because Randy wasn't listening.

The Home Depot Center in LA seats 27,000 and hosts the LA Galaxy with it's superstar player, David Beckham. It is the only team in Southern California, with a potential draw of 20,000,000 people in an economy larger than most nations.

Randy is saying that PGE Park, with a capacity of 19,000 that serves a potential draw of around 2 million (10% that of the Galaxy with 70% of its capacity), is not enough to lure MLS to Portland.

That is complete and utter bulls***. Fireman Randy is either an idiot or a liar.

The LA Galaxy and Chivas USA are both based in Southern Cal, and both share the same stadium.

In addition, San Jose has a team that shares in the Cal economy.

Otherwise I'm not sure what point you are trying to make, just wanted to warn you to be a little more careful with your own facts before you throw out idiot/liar bombs like that.

My opinion is that if Seattle can host MLS at Qwest Field then Portland can certainly host via a multi-use facility like PGE Park. 19000 seats is more than most MLS playoff games attendance.

MLS at a largely-unrenovated PGE Park would be a big success. If MLS doesn't like it then let them go to another market.

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