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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 9, 2009 8:39 AM. The previous post in this blog was For sale: the Hillsboro Whole Foods store. The next post in this blog is States need to throw some money at Amtrak. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Word games

Here in Portland, the fix has been in for Merritt Paulson's pending $100 million sports stadiums boondoggle for a while. The City Council is performing the traditional kabuki that it puts on for these things, but there is little doubt that it's a go. The powerful construction contractors, architects, and labor unions all want the public pork that this exercise in foolishness represents. Not to mention Little Lord Paulson himself, who has captivated Mayor Creepy and Fireman Randy with his New York city-slicker talk, much the way Mayor Vera fell in love with Homer Williams over Pimm's Cups at Paley's Place a decade ago.

As ever, there are lots of informed and concerned souls among the public who can see through the deal for the fiasco that it is, and they are straining to make themselves heard as the city fathers plow on toward another bankrupt Big Idea. And right on cue, Paulson -- with coaching from former Portland Development Commission boss Don Mazziotti, who oversaw all the Katz administration's ill-advised real estate misadventures -- is starting to parrot the buzzwords that in the past have put stinker projects over the top at various junctures.

This week, the Paulson camp is flying the twin flags of "guarantee" and "general fund" as part of the latest phase of its dubious sales pitch. These are words that Portlanders have heard before -- in the last PGE Park re-do earlier this decade, and in the atrocities known as the OHSU aerial tram [rim shot] and the SoWhat district [gong], to name just a few instances. The words have their usual ring to them, but when you stop to consider what they mean, it's pretty clear they seek to divert listeners' ears from the unmistakable rumble of Financial Disaster Ahead for the city's residents.

Let's start with the "guarantee." Paulson is now on record telling the world that somebody's contract with somebody is going to be "guaranteed" by him and his wealthy dad (the Bush Treasury secretary and bailout-meister). What exactly does that mean? If it means that the Paulsons are going to guarantee that the rent paid to the city from the two new stadiums will be sufficient to pay all the principal and interest on the bonds, that would be great. But that's certainly not what they'll be promising.

Perhaps they're going to guarantee to the bondholders that if stadium rents, property taxes, ticket taxes, income taxes, and other taxes and fees that the city and state are supposed to throw at this deal don't amount to the bond payments, he and Dad will pungle up the rest rather than see the city default on the bonds. That's wonderful for the bondholders, but what does it do for the taxpayers? For taxpayers, it would be a decent deal only if the taxes that the bonds are going to siphon off are really new revenues that wouldn't be collected without the two new stadiums and the upgrade from "minor league" to "major league" (by U.S. standards) soccer. And that seems a bogus hypothesis.

At last report, the plan was to declare a huge swath of the inner west side of Portland -- from NW Thurman Street to Portland State -- an "urban renewal" zone, and take any increase in property taxes from that area over the next 25 or 30 years to pay the stadium bonds. The technical name for this is "tax increment financing." Where I come from, it is also known as grand theft. The slight upgrade in soccer quality and the subtraction of the Beavers baseball team and many other events from the renovated "soccer only" stadium would hardly be the cause of any significant property value increase in that area. Yet the Paulson stadium would in effect be taking credit for every single penny of additional property value there, for decades.

No, the Paulson family "guarantee" isn't going to help taxpayers much unless it guarantees revenue to the taxpayers as well as to the bondholders. Just telling the bondholders that the Paulsons will make them whole if the taxpayers can't does nothing for the general public.

On to the "general fund." This was one of Vera Katz's favorite catchphrases during aerial tram and SoWhat time. The cheerleaders at the Oregonian editorial board loved it, too. "The bonds won't ever have to be paid out of the city's general fund," they'll tell you. Which is true on its face, but economically, it's meaningless. The bonds absolutely will have to be paid out of funds that would have been in the general fund except that the City Council is going to divert them away from the general fund before they ever get there.

The "general fund" is a figment of a bookkeeper's imagination. It's just a box where taxes go if the City Council wants them to, and don't go if the City Council doesn't want them to. The simple reality here is that the "urban renewal" part of these bonds is going to be paid out of property taxes, including yours and mine (or your landlord's, if you are renter in Portland). Look on your property tax bill: If you live in Portland, about a quarter out of every dollar you pay the city in property taxes goes to something called "urban renewal." A bunch of the Paulson stadium bonds are going to say "urban renewal" right on them. That's you and me and money that we all would rather spend on schools and police and parks and paving over potholes and a hundred other more worthy, truly public, purposes than pro soccer. That money could go into the general fund if the City Council would just let it.

Much of the rest of the bonds is supposedly going to be paid out of state income taxes, ticket taxes, user fees, yada yada yada -- but the operative word there, once again, is taxes. Rent from the stadium won't be enough to pay off the debt -- it won't even come close. I've already explained here that the debt payments on these bonds are going to be more than $6.1 million a year for 30 years. Paulson admits that his soccer team will bring in only $4.4 million of ticket revenue after the rickety league takes its cut. He'll have a payroll of around $2 million, and all sorts of other expenses. There's no way that money coming out of private pockets will be sufficient to pay these bonds. There's nothing else to pay them with but taxes.

I don't care if you run it through the "general" fund, the special fund, the slush fund, the office donut fund, the March Madness pool, petty cash, or the tip jar in the men's room. If it's property tax revenue, it ought to be used for something that the residents of the city really need. A slight upgrade in the quality of the Euro-fantasy known as pro soccer does not fit that bill.

If there's a bright side to this hornswoggle, it's that folks in Salem are taking notice. Even "progressive" Portland-area lefties are drafting bills that would curb some of the excesses of the city's "urban renewal" juggernaut. Under one bill, all future "urban renewal" districts would be submitted to an up-or-down vote by the local county commissioners, who when last heard from were holding bake sales to pay jail deputies. It doesn't take a genius pollster to see how such a vote would go on the Paulson proposal in this day and age.

With the stadiums deal, Fireman Randy, the mayor and the rest of the City Council are issuing a big dare to the taxpayers of the city, and to the rest of the state. Wouldn't it be sweet if it brought the whole game to a grinding, permanent halt? One can only hope. Maybe Merritt Paulson will turn out to be a local hero after all.

Comments (62)

The ongoing distortion of urban renewal, Portland style, is disgusting. Almost as awful is the public's willingness to be bamboozled repeatedly. For a city that's willing to march in protest of damn near any cause just to show how pure its heart is, this development begs for a serious organized effort to kill the beast. This ought to include heavy-duty pressure on Portland's reps in Salem to reform the urban renewal statutes. It could start with serious committee oversight hearings. Who knows? Even the O might report on them.

Beckham wants out of his deal with the LA Galaxy. Why? Because he can see that professional soccer in the United States will always play fifth fiddle behind the true 'Major' leagues of football, baseball, basketball and hockey.

I fully support an upgrade of sports venues in the city. Just not now and not to lure another second-tier team to Portland.

I somehow managed to cross posts with you again. I don't know if this adds to the discussion, but trust that you or one of the regulars will let me know.

Following is what I posted this morning on the previous soccer thread. I would add the questions: Why are the funds to purchase the franchise structured as a loan? Is it to shield someone or something from loss? Here it is:

The New York Times interviewed Merritt Paulson last Fall about his MLS proposal to the city. When asked why he was asking for city funding instead of using family money, he said:

“That idea is based on the assumption that I’m dealing with huge pools of family trust money. Everything I’ve worked from is a legal loan. We’re making a considerable private investment, and we’re saying there needs to be infrastructure."

So, if Merritt Paulson is borrowing the money to buy the franchise, who is the lender, what are the terms of the loan and how do the loan terms affect promises he is making and guarantees he is offering?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/07/sports/soccer/07franchise.html?scp=3&sq=Merritt%20

If you go hit MLS and news on google you'll get an interesting article from Florida about why the franchise idea there didn't fly. First, there are the dreadful economic times that prevented their civic leaders from throwing money around. That has no impact on our discussion here.
But the second reason mirrors exactly what I've been saying all along. The reason the idea didn't catch on in Florida is because the people are too into soccer. The World Cup ratings, etc....are phenomenal so the reason they don't want MLS is because they like soccer too much.
Proponents of this league have claimed to me that Beckham wanted out because the league proved tougher than he anticipated. Well, look at the salary structure with some players making 20 and 30 grand. I think Beckham left because of the quality level. Maybe he loves the game too much to play in the MLS.

>Beckham wants out of his deal with the LA Galaxy. Why? Because he can see that professional soccer in the United States will always play fifth fiddle...

Again for those in the cheap seats: Beckham is on a personal quest to play in the 2010 World Cup for England, and the exposure playing for AC Milan is the best way to do it.

>I fully support an upgrade of sports venues in the city. Just not now and not to lure another second-tier team to Portland.

Get ready to spend a TON more money then, because a MLB, NFL, or NHL team will be orders of magnitude more cash.

>If you go hit MLS and news on google you'll get an interesting article from Florida

No offense Bill but the last "news" article you referenced ended up being an ill-sourced opinion piece that you refused to link to, this time you don't even give us an author name to go on... just "search Google".

But if you are talking about the Jeff Rusnak column (yet another opinion piece) then you are again missing the point. Jeff's point was that fan support was not there in Florida and that killed the deal.

Whereas Portland has 8-9K coming out for USL (division below) soccer games and 100s willing to march on City Hall to show their support for bringing MLS to town. So your point that lack of fan support killed the FL deal could be used to support the idea of bringing MLS to Portland, since our fans obviously want it.

100s willing to march on City Hall to show their support for bringing MLS to town.

That's pretty funny. It was 200, if that -- about half of them probably paid to be there by their construction company bosses.

Portland has 8-9K coming out for USL

And even if it has 12,000 coming out for "major league" soccer, it will be a financial disaster of the highest order.

"City Council is going to divert them away from the general fund before they ever get there."

That's the punchline for Urban Renewal abuse.

After the long tall tales told by municipalities and their consultants on how Urban Renewal TIF doesn't use general fund revenue they take general fund revenue.
No different than a bank robber robbing an armored car delivery inside the bank while claiming he never robs banks.

The other whopper, and probably the most abused lie is that Urban Renewal pays for itself by generating the revenue to repay the project debt.
A blatant lie.
That might have been an acceptable misrepresentation in the earlier days of TIF with electeds not really grasping the workings of TIF.
But in last decade or so it has become a calculated and deliberate misleading of the public.
In fact all of the recent UR schemes have been crafted to siphon away millions of routine tax dollars from 1000s of acres having nothing to do with ANY of the projects or their impacts.

With SoWa the dishonesty reached new levels with Commissioner Sam having his unqulaified intern/staffer peddle the worst misrepresentations including statements claiming there was no city interest costs incurred with the Tram.

With a minimum of $8 million from UR TIF financing needing to be repaid, with property taxes, over 25 to 30 years, millions in interest will be paid.

All told the original 1999 SoWa budget called for $288 million in projects with an additional $166 million in debt service/interest costs.

Of course that was the original budget with low-balled project estimates and inflated revenue projections, making it possible for PDC staff to call the plan feasible while recommending approval to the PDC comissioners and City Council.

With 100s of bureaucrats working up a nice neat package it's easy for a corrupted system to approve anything.

Especially when there are so many full time PR people employed at every agency and every elected official's office.

"The bonds absolutely will have to be paid out of funds that would have been in the general fund"

Also, I always thought that if the souce that was supposed to pay the bonds (like PFE or Paulson or prop tax increases) didn't pay enough, then it did come out of the general fund anyways.

Whatever source, those bonds are top-line obligations (well, I guess second-line after employee benefits) assuming that CoP wants to keep its bond rating up for future issues.

Get ready to spend a TON more money then, because a MLB, NFL, or NHL team will be orders of magnitude more cash.

No, whoever wants to own it should be spending more. No taxpayer money, no bonds. Period.
Private funds for everything or dont build it. I dont care what sport it is. Hell, the city is still owes $28 million or so on the last expansion for PGE Park.

Oh, and an NHL Team could play in the Rose Garden, so they wouldnt have to build anything. (Not that we need NHL either, just saying.)

"Even 'progressive' Portland-area lefties"? Give me a break. The people who support projects like Paulson's aren't "progressives" or "lefties", they're from the same Arlington/MAC Club cliques who've been finding ways to bamboozle Portlanders into thinking that they're doing them a favor by picking their pockets for the past hundred and fifty years or so. This kind of crap is anathema to actual progressives, there's no contradiction in the fact that they might be trying to find ways to put the brakes on.

The Florida newspapers are reporting that the owner of the Miami FC, the USL soccer team, threatened to pull the plug unless 5,000 season tickets were sold by midnight Sunday. Also the USL has put together a contingency season schedule in case the team withdraws from the league.

Whereas Portland has 8-9K coming out for USL (division below) soccer games and 100s willing to march on City Hall to show their support for bringing MLS to town.

LOL @ "100s." Ooooooooooh, hundreds. We get "hundreds" out for critical mass rides, and I don't see anyone proposing $80M in funding for those guys.

Further to Jack's recent post about how the "difficulties" between Randy and Little Lord Merritt were just a lot of bull, KGW 's Randy Neves was reporting in the midday news that the deal had been agreed between those two and now the vote on Wed was going to be on agreed package.

http://www.kgw.com/video/index.html?nvid=339925&shu=1

Paulson will apparently guarantee against "cost over-runs"...but who knows what the real deal is all about.

Gene,
I'm responding to the part of the argument that says if you don't like this deal you don't like soccer. I attended many a local NASL soccer game back in the day and saw Pele with the Cosmos, Johann Cruyff with the Washington Diplomats and George Best with the LA Aztecs. It was a chance to see international legends, granted after they were past their prime. Remember the legendary "Clockwork Orange" Dutch team? If memory serves you had to pay to see that World Cup Final at the Paramount. In other words, soccer was not available on television. It is now. I can't get the NFL network channel here but FOX has a channel that is almost all soccer. I get to keep up with greatest leagues and best players in their primes. When Manchester United visited Portland it was terrific. I actually talked with Ryan Giggs, Ruud Van Nestleroy, etc... and what made it outstanding was that I had been following their games on television so to me they were as familiar as the Lakers.

Soccer is a difficult game - it has to be played at the highest levels to keep interesting. So if you think your 8,000 fans will be supplemented by people who love soccer at its best, you may be in for a surprise. As the people in Florida indicated, we're not necessarily going to turn out. Bad soccer only worked for me back in the beer-drinking days but I gave that up in 1984. I see no point in attending a local drinking session when the soccer is played by some players who make less than I do writing jokes for a living. The MSL is a joke, and that's why I sense economic problems here. Oh, and one other thing: That NASL league with all those great former players like Georgio Chinaglia, and Franz Beckenbauer....it folded.

>That's pretty funny. It was 200, if that

That would be the definition of "100s" then, wouldn't it?

>about half of them probably paid to be there by their construction company bosses.

Unless every member of the Timber's Army is in the construction field, I doubt it.

>>Portland has 8-9K coming out for USL

>And even if it has 12,000 coming out for "major league" soccer, it will be a financial disaster of the highest order.

Perhaps, but my purpose was to refute Bill's point that fan support is an issue. I find your posts on the financials of the deal very enlightening, but when it comes to the comments it tends to be "soccer sucks" or "MLS sucks" which isn't helpful.

> No taxpayer money, no bonds. Period.
Private funds for everything or dont build it. I dont care what sport it is.

I think that is a reasonable, if unrealistic, position to take. My position is more along the lines of using PGE Park mostly as-is (field improvements for football/baseball + set of retractable bleachers), tabling of "The Beavers Question" for a couple years, and an agreement that gives the city equity in the franchise in exchange for future improvements.

If the MLS doesn't like it, then let them pass on one of the best target cities for their league. I think the city would find it has more leverage than it thought.

Did anyone else notice that KGW's web poll last night was about the MLS deal? At the time I saw it, the "No" votes were at 84%. Then this morning, the question was magically gone. Maybe Someone Important didn't want the overwhelming size of the voice of opposition to be noticed!

>I'm responding to the part of the argument that says if you don't like this deal you don't like soccer.

Since I never said that I can only guess you are responding to prove you are a soccer fan and that the MLS sucks.

>Soccer is a difficult game - it has to be played at the highest levels to keep interesting.

Really? So the umpteen leagues under Barclay's in the UK, those under Series A in Italy, etc. aren't interesting? Those smaller clubs boast rabid fans and packed venues while exhibiting much less quality.

I think more accurately, soccer has to be played at the highest levels to keep a certain segment of fan interested. You are obviously in this segment but don't extrapolate your preference to the rest of the audience of the most popular sport on Earth.

>So if you think your 8,000 fans will be supplemented by people who love soccer at its best, you may be in for a surprise.

Here we agree. I was very surprised at Seattle's robust season ticket sales for their MLS team.

>As the people in Florida indicated, we're not necessarily going to turn out.

Again, you missed the entire point of the article which illustrated the stark difference between the FL market (MLS fell thru, about to lose their USL team) and ours (strongest support of any USL team in the nation, fans clamoring for a MLS team).

>The MSL is a joke

This is the essence of your point, you don't like the league. Period.

>Oh, and one other thing: That NASL league with all those great former players like Georgio Chinaglia, and Franz Beckenbauer....it folded.

Maybe you watched the games, but you certainly didn't pay attention to the league's finances and business acumen if that came as any surprise.

What's amusing about your argument, is that it was entirely *because* the NASL tried to cater to fans like you that it failed. Way too expensive to pay those huge salaries without fat TV contracts, which don't exist w/o a huge fan base. A catch-22 that ended up burying them in red ink.

Instead, the MLS is growing slowly with domestic players and has been credited as one of the reasons our Nat team is getting so much better. We have players jumping from MLS to the top-flight leagues in England, France and Germany which is a sign we are developing better talent.

For someone that only watches top-grade soccer you should be happy they are making strides. Who knows, in another ten years or so maybe the MLS will be good enough to interest you.

In the game FSC is replaying from Sunday right now, Inzaghi got 3 goals for AC Milan. The skill level is ridiculous. Darn, arguing about the MLS has made me miss some great soccer.
Beckham's playing and he looks happy and energized.
They just yanked him out - big genuine smile. He's happy to know he's staying and the crisis of falling into 4th and not making the Champions League has been averted. Nice ovation. Victoria looks hot in the stands. I love soccer.

Gene, what appears to you to be an anti-MLS bias is actually just a pro-Portland bias. I don't want to see Portland taken by this Paulson character or anyone else. And one thing about my soccer appreciation - I'm not asking anyone to fund it for me.
The difference could be that some people believe the numbers and the predictions and some of us don't.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jack, for calling the Gang of Five on this ruse of diverting revenue from the GF, then claiming the GF has been kept whole. It has become such a frequent and conventional lie that they no longer even blush when they trot it out another time.

The truth is that Randy and Mayor Creepy are behaving like gambling addicts and are being played by a collection of hucksters that would be laughed out of any town with an ounce of financial prudence.

I love the idea that all urban renewal districts must go to a vote. That law can't get on the books fast enough.

Gene's correct. The Beckham fandango actually validates the original MLS business model. The NASL died for two reasons, one of them being that the Cosmos of Pele, Chinaglia and Beckenbauer moved themselves to a plateau that no one could match.

MLS was therefore founded on the notion of slow, steady, incremental progress using primarily American players: Walk before you run. That's why to this date the league has had just two franchise failures -- one of them, instructively, in Miami.

The LA Galaxy tried to take a shortcut through Beckham. But even with some severe stretching of the salary cap rules, the Beckham experiment was doomed.

1. Even with some loopholes, there was a finite amount they could spend on players.

2. They made Yankee-esque personnel decisions, essentially blowing about 93 percent of the payroll on three forwards.

3. Does this sound familiar? Beckham got hurt a lot and didn't really play all that well. (Walk instead of run.)

4. One of the rationales for Beckham's move to America was to launch the career of the lovely Mrs. Beckham, Posh Spice. On screen, it turns out that her personality is as wooden as her breasts are plastic.

So you're saying the league we'd be blowing all this money on hasn't made a gigantic doomed decision since last year? I see your point. This is a wise investment.
I wonder if it could survive without adding new franchises or are we in Ponzi mode yet?

Please, please, Don Garber, give the franchise to Ottawa.

Soooo ... we shouldn't try to get an NFL team because Brett Favre left Green Bay??

Jack, you mentioned the idea of challenging the bond if the city council approves this. How is that done or where could I find more information on that?

If you want a football analogy start with NFL Europa.
That's similar to starting up a league in a land that doesn't have a century of playing the sport.
If you signed Brett Favre to play in that league it'd be analogous to Beckham over here. Of course, we'll never know how that experiment would have worked out since American football folded in Europe, which is another clue that their soccer could fold here.
And if the Liverpool city council wanted to commit a huge number of millions on bringing an NFL franchise to that city, I'd say "No thanks. It's too risky. I'll just watch the Eagles on TV instead."

>Gene, what appears to you to be an anti-MLS bias is actually just a pro-Portland bias.

Really? So "MLS is a joke" is code for "Portland rocks"?

>I don't want to see Portland taken by this Paulson character or anyone else.

Either do I, as I've consistently stated I'm wary of the finances and one of the reasons I read this site is to learn more about the financial plans.

However you don't seem to spend a lot of time discussing the finances as opposed to MLS-bashing.

>So you're saying the league we'd be blowing all this money on hasn't made a gigantic doomed decision since last year?

At this point anyone can tell you aren't interested in a rational discussion of the issue. I've blown holes in nearly all your rhetoric and you don't even respond other than to add another snarky line.

But because I've come this far, I'll say patiently and in a slow voice: "No, it was the Galaxy's stupid decision, and the guy that made it was fired."

>I wonder if it could survive without adding new franchises ...

So you are maintaining that franchise growth is a sign of a league's downfall? I don't even know where to start with that one.

I'd like to hear you respond to my rebuttal of your "Soccer must be at the highest level to be enjoyed" point, which was asinine but regardless seems to be the core of your argument.

>If you want a football analogy start with NFL Europa.

Okay, let's examine that analogy.

First, you are assuming that American Football is played all over Europe in schools and extra-curricular clubs, establishing a fluency in the rules and enjoyment of the game. (HINT: It isn't, but soccer is in the USA.)

Next, you are assuming that semi-professional leagues with significant fans dot the landscape of Europe. (HINT: They don't, but the USA has many overlapping, criss-crossing amateur and semi-professional soccer leagues)

Finally, you are assuming that MLS (like the NFL in Europe) is a top-down crass corporate decision to expand a sports league past the borders of a nation that invented the sport.

If you can find a medium-sized city in Europe who has a minor league American Football team with rabid fans then I will take your so-called analogy seriously, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Now that your mentioned Vera - It's fascinating that Paulson hired her as a consultant. I guess that explains the fine-tune on his approach to sucker everyone in. He know who works Randy and Sam's strings still, I guess. Poor Portlanders, they really do see us a a bunch of simps (or is useful idiots more apropos.)

Dear god, same old tired ideas. Does someone in the so-called leadership have a clue on what it takes to make a livable city here?

Guess what - Soccer is not a cure for cancer.

"I've consistently stated I'm wary of the finances"

So, Gene what would it take to convince you this is a bad idea?

Gene,
I think I can defend the "MLS is a joke" comment with the Portland bias. I made that opinion when I checked them out. It just didn't have that authentic soccer vibe. It still doesn't, but I'm not pulling against them. More power to them.
When it comes to getting a franchise here that's when my pro-Portland bias kicked in. I think it's a bad idea. I think we could spend 100s of millions of dollars that we need elsewhere. I don't believe the numbers. I think we're in that stretch where we just get it rolling, then later when the numbers inflate we'll move onto "It's too late to stop it now." It wouldn't be the first time I saw that.
However if we pass on this I'm fine with the MLS going on as long as they can.

These are perilous financial times. Barcelona cited this when they bagged the Miami franchise. I sincerely don't think it's a good idea to start any new business right now in America. It doesn't seem smart. In addition, I threw in my soccer opinion based on the fact that I am a fan. You say you didn't make that part of the argument, but others have. We've been debating this for a while now.

Okay, the football analogy was a response to the Brett Favre comment. Are you reading these other comments? Forget the analogy. I apologize for the ridiculous nature of dragging Brett Favre and the NFL into this.

Okay, the Beckham deal:

Are you saying the Beckham deal did not need league approval to happen? You seem to know a lot about it. What about the "severe stretching of the salary cap rules" Roger alluded to?

Look, you're probably going to win this one. The city council is showing all the signs of a classic yes vote.

But let's not forget, your side is asking our side to pay for something. It's a request of the People of Portland. We shouldn't be made to feel like we owe it to you just because you want it. Just because you want to spend our money, doesn't mean we don't have a right to an opinion about it.

In fact, Beckham hates MLS so much that he ... uh, plans to buy a franchise.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/europe/7933407.stm

Sooooooooooooooo........ Who will actually go to these MLS games, other than the Timbers Army ?????

One other question, has PDX even been awarded the franchise yet ???

>So, Gene what would it take to convince you this is a bad idea?

I haven't yet been convinced it's a *good* idea, I think because I don't pile on with the soccer/MLS hater-aid everyone here assumes I'm a dirty little Paulson-lover.

That said, I described a scenario in which I would support an MLS bid in my 2nd comment on this very thread. (table the Beaver's stadium, minor improvements to PGE, city gets equity for future improvements)

>I think I can defend the "MLS is a joke" comment with the Portland bias. I made that opinion when I checked them out. It just didn't have that authentic soccer vibe.

I think you should stop trying to convince me you don't hate the MLS ;) You can't seem to help yourself so why fight your nature?

>I sincerely don't think it's a good idea to start any new business right now in America. It doesn't seem smart.

So we are in a perm state of recession?! Scary.

>Are you saying the Beckham deal did not need league approval to happen? You seem to know a lot about it. What about the "severe stretching of the salary cap rules" Roger alluded to?

MLS is an odd-duck in that it holds rights to ALL players. No one can enter into a contract with any MLS team w/o the league holding that player's contact. This is an artifact of a small domestic league trying to compete in a global market of players and consolidating it's bargaining power.

>But let's not forget, your side is asking our side to pay for something.

Again, I'm not on either side. I'm a resident of Portland and anxious to know what will happen if my city shells out all this money. As a Timbers and MLS fan I'd love to cheer for a pro team at PGE but not at the expense of another Big Pipe Tram Shot.

Well, that settles it, Roger. We tell Paulson to get lost and wait for Beckham to get his free MSL franchise - that he had in his initial deal.
This wasn't the salary cap stretching you were talking about, was it?
Oh, and that statement about being committed to soccer here: Did he make that in the airport on his way out of town?

Could a current neighbor of PGE Park let us know what living next to a sports stadium is like?

Gene,
We were talking about the ill-fated Beckham decision that Roger had described as "doomed." I wrote, "So you're saying the league we'd be blowing all this money on hasn't made a gigantic doomed decision since last year?"

Let me give you your response:
Gene 1: I'll say patiently and in a slow voice: "No, it was the Galaxy's stupid decision, and the guy that made it was fired."
Gene 2: MLS is an odd-duck in that it holds rights to ALL players. No one can enter into a contract with any MLS team w/o the league holding that player's contact. This is an artifact of a small domestic league trying to compete in a global market of players and consolidating it's bargaining power.

Why don't you 2 just argue it out between yourselves.

Nice finesse!

Local media report that negotiations are not over yet. Also that Timber fans are lobbying Saltzman and Fish to get a third vote.

Is it already a done deal?

from:
http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=26997&a=234002

PORTLAND CITY COUNCIL AGENDA

City Hall - 1221 SW Fourth Avenue

WEDNESDAY, 9:30 AM, MARCH 11, 2009


225 TIME CERTAIN: 9:30 AM - Accept Report and Recommendations from Major League Soccer/Triple-A Baseball Task Force (Report introduced by Mayor Adams and Commissioner Leonard)

226 Declare City support for Peregrine LLC bid to bring a Major League Soccer Franchise to the City of Portland and authorize Peregrine LLC to present a financing package to Major League Soccer (Resolution introduced by Mayor Adams and Commissioner Leonard)

If Fish votes to subsidize Henry Paulson's family he will lose my support forever.

Saltzman is the Portland version of Landed Gentry, so he might need to show a little caste loyalty and vote yes while mumbling about "jobs creation" or some such farce.

If I were a municipal bankruptcy lawyer, I'd add Henry M. Paulson III to my holiday card list.

Again, I'm not on either side. I'm a resident of Portland and anxious to know what will happen if my city shells out all this money. As a Timbers and MLS fan I'd love to cheer for a pro team at PGE but not at the expense of another Big Pipe Tram Shot.

you're being disingenuous, Gene. after posting what amounts to about a 1,500 word essay here, it reads to me like you have very strong pro-soccer feelings, and would love a team to be here. that's okay.

but cut the nonsense about it being some sort of populist, grassroots, oh gosh popularity contest. pro sports is organized and owned by the wealthy, for the wealthy. in EVERY country it's in. a handful of people wanting a soccer team--and asking the other half-million to help pay for it so a half-dozen people can be wealthy--is utter crap.

you may now post your sentence by sentence 500-word rebuttal.

I'm wondering whether Fritz is actually the potential third vote. Perhaps the Mayor offered to work on her while the MLS fans lobby Fish and Saltzman.

While they are all busy, perhaps the rest of us should be bombarding MLS Commissioner Don Garber with emails urging him to choose Ottawa. He has the final say.

Getting back to HB2615, that may be the best way of scuttling this stadium deal plus many more like it in the future. The City of Portland has abused the URD money stream too many times. They need to no longer have free access to it. Merritt Paulson has probably stirred up enough outrage in this town that now is the time to fix this.

I wonder if any of the jerks on the City Council are aware that even Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NFL have been cutting back on staff and ticket costs in the current economy. Or that even in New York, the Yankees and Mets are having trouble finding buyers for expensive club seats and corporate suites?
This is simply a bad time to be putting money into a sports league with questionable staying power.

ecohuman writes pro sports is organized and owned by the wealthy, for the wealthy. in EVERY country it's in

The whole business plan behind any sports franchise is "public risk, private wealth"

If we Portlanders make the Merritt franchise(s) successful he will reap the benefits of an increased franchise(s) capital value, on our backs.

Instead of looking at other big cities for examples of this just look at Bandon Dunes. Huge local investment, huge $$ for the shrewd dude who did the "local jobs, local economic benefits yada yada" to the local politicos. Result ? A few minimum wage jobs and a local airfield filled with executive jets making shrewd dude pots of $$.

As a property tax payer in the city I am mad as hell about this.
The council is being bamboozled...again and we the tax layers and small business owners will pay this bill.

How does one find out whether Merritt Paulson, his company, or any of his relations have donated campaign money to the mayor or any of the commissioners?

Did anyone else watch the recent TV interview by Shirley Hancock with Paulson, the manager of the Portland Beavers and a guy who was playing devil's advocate?

Paulson kept talking about how Portland was "Soccer City USA", how tearing down the Memorial Coliseum and resituating the Beavers would result in 3,000 more fans appearing for each game and how he was not going to sell the team for 25 years, would promise to guarantee everything, etc.? While madly blinking which is telltale body language for stretching the truth. He said that Miami didn't reject their bid for a franchise because of economics but because there "wasn't enough support for soccer there." (!!!) I was unable to watch the entire thing which just kept getting worse and worse.

And in this morning's Oregonian, the paper came out in support of the whole thing.

The City Council will vote on Wednesday. Is anybody planning a demonstration?

The Timbers army is planning a demonstration. Someone on their message board also was wondering if the garrison at city hall was large enough if this thing is voted down.

I don't have a TV. Does Merritt Paulson stutter when he lies like his dad Hank does?

I don't think Saltzman will be voting for the MSL. I recently promised him $10,000 for his Children's Initiative for his no vote. Hopefully this will be a ground-swell to help compensate for the urban renewal dollars stolen from our public schools if this goes through.

Saltzman won't want this to be hanging over his head-"I stole from the Children".

NW Portlander - I watched Paulson on "Straight Talk" on KGW. To listen to him, you wouldn't know that the local, state and national economies are in the toilet. These people have so much money that they don't even notice severe recessions.

Donna,

I don't recall that he stuttered. He just chattered on with bright eyes like a chipmunk with a silver spoon in its mouth. A chipmunk that has always got whatever it wanted in life and expected that, in this case, everything would be going its way once again.

> Why don't you 2 just argue it out between yourselves.
The league holds the contracts, and Alexi (sp?) the general mgr of the Galaxy (since shown the door) was the man who put the deal together. Sorry if my spur-of-the-moment blog comments made it sound like these were two contrary positions.

>you're being disingenuous, Gene. after posting what amounts to about a 1,500 word essay here, it reads to me like you have very strong pro-soccer feelings, ... but cut the nonsense about it being some sort of populist, grassroots, oh gosh popularity contest.

I'm a soccer fan who is pinched by rising costs of Portland city services and programs, whaddya want from me? My apologies if my inability to see the issue in stark shades of sheer blinding white and inky blackness is a problem for you.

whaddya want from me? My apologies if my inability to see the issue in stark shades of sheer blinding white and inky blackness is a problem for you.

sometimes, the issue really *is* black and white--you don't even need to resort to your overuse of adjectives.

this one is easy--professional sports may be enjoyable to watch, but they're a scam by the rich, for the rich. always have been. doesn't matter which sport.


You nailed it ecohuman...this is ancient history revisited.
Bread and circuses for the masses! The Romans threw the Christians to the lions and had gladiators killing each other for the pleasure and entertainment for the masses.
Forget your troubles...be happy...
Go by streetcar!
'The Don' Mazzotti and company are back in business and this time they will really try to take all of what little is left.
Why don't you just write that check for $100 mill Gene, for your precious soccer stadium, and save the rest of us poor slobs some money?

"I'm wondering whether Fritz is actually the potential third vote."

Fritz will do what the puppetmaster Adams tells her to. She is afraid of her own shadow from the get-go.

If they parrot this 300 new jobs line again, I am going to puke. After further review, today Paulson has the Beavers and the USL Timbers. Tomorrow he has the Beavers and the MLS Timbers. This will really take 300 new additional people?

One more lie from the Katz contingent. They really think Portland is full of idiots.

They don't need for Portland to be full of idiots. They just need three on the city council.

If you go to Google News and search "'Don Garber' mls" you'll find a piece that pretty much questions the future of major league soccer if it continues on its present course. You might have to scroll down to find it. It has the term "credibility gap" in the title. Well worth reading.

>"Bread and circuses..."

>"Sometimes, the issue really *is* black and white"...

>"'The Don' Mazzotti and company..."

Yeah, *I'm* the one being dramatic here. Gotcha.

>If you go to Google News and search "'Don Garber' mls" you'll find a piece that pretty much questions the future of major league soccer if it continues on its present course.

That article is a critique of the quality of play in the MLS based on it's performance in the Champions League games where it's teams are regularly thrashed by Mexican clubs.

The money quote, in my opinion, is this: "But the reality is we're still a business that's developing," [Garber] added. "The need to beat teams in the Champions League isn't enough to reconfigure our entire business model."

To me that says that MLS is dedicated to staying fiscally solvent as it grows. The author has some great points about how you don't have to throw huge gobs of money at the problem to make it better, but you really have to stretch to read that piece as "MLS doomsday" coverage.

hey, Gene...
Are you really Merritt Paulson or does he just pay you to defend his bogus schemes?

The Katz contingent telling us there will be 300 new jobs is like when this same group said there would be only 3 buildings of 250 ft. in SoWhat. (51 more to go after the 7 there now-if we ever come out of the depression) The "3 building" quote is directly from Vera Katz.


In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
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: 8
At this date last year: 0
Total run in 2018: 10
In 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
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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