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Friday, April 17, 2009

Paulson as employer: worse than Wal-Mart

The City of Portland's taxpayers pay part of Merritt Paulson's bush league sports payroll because he's such a cheapskate:

His economic consultant, Economics Research Associates, says [Merritt] Paulson's [stadiums] plan would add 217 jobs within his soccer and baseball teams. Paulson's 300-job pledge includes about 100 jobs that might be added by restaurants, parking lots and garbage haulers who feed off the teams.

Of the jobs Paulson would directly create, about 160, or three-quarters, would be full-time positions paying roughly $50,000 on average with health and retirement benefits, he said. The rest would be low-wage, part-time, seasonal ticket takers, ushers and others who get no benefits....

Mayor Sam Adams, one of Paulson's chief supporters at City Hall, has rallied against Wal-Mart's expansion in Portland partly because of its low wages. Yet the retailer offers similar wages to what Paulson's part-time workers make -- and better benefits....

The city pays $150,000 a year to boost stadium worker wages to $11.26 an hour. The payments last year went to 118 ushers, ticket takers and field maintenance workers. (Concession crews work under a subcontract with Paulson's company and don't receive the city subsidy.)

Paulson last year paid most of those workers the state's minimum wage, $7.95 an hour, and the city paid an additional $3.31. Other workers earned $8.50 plus a $2.76 city subsidy, according to city records. None of those workers received health coverage or retirement benefits, Paulson said....

Why is "progressive" Portland in bed with this fellow? One of the many mysteries surrounding the current brand of local leadership.

Comments (20)

This is even better. Not only do we subsidize Paulson by building the stadia, we subsidize his workers wages.

So, if we recalculate, 160 jobs * $80K (the cost of a $50K/yr job with benes), we get $12.8M additional or if he sells 600K (I am being v. optimistic) tix, $21.33/ticket EXTRA beyond what he is paying for AAA and USL now.

This is funhouse mirrors stuff. It should gel into reality with voters in about 74 days.

"In bed"? Surely you mean "in the men's room"?

I'm waiting for one of these things to violate the State Constitution. I thought city governments weren't supposed to raise money for private companies. How is paying part of their employees' salaries not raising money for Paulson's company?

So we've whittled the number down from 300 to 160. But his updated job projections for the MLS franchise are still a sham. I used to work in the front office of a large-market MLB franchise and our numbers didn't come close to approaching those. And all these jobs averaging $50K/yr.? My chapped a*s.

Merritt- lets see some specific job descriptions. Break down the big number for us. Or in the words of Chanel #5, "Share the Fantasy".

Bill, I think this is like a zen koan, and I'm sorry your mind isn't open enough to get it.

Q: How can you say that any part of this does not violate the state constitution?

A: There! The stadium is built!

Your problem is that you are seeing things in a linear, Western way of thinking. Every question is grounded in reality and must consequently have an answer equally grounded in reality. Once we accept the inherent absurdity of the question, however, we can recast our minds to accept that the "truth" must be equally implausible.

awesome. and you know how important it is to Portland to have several dozen usher and ticket taker jobs.

what does "living wage job" mean?

what does "I count the potential nearby wait staff jobs when I promise jobs" mean?

what does "this is how rich folks get richer, you morons" mean?

what does "we're spending *how many millions* to get a handful of crummy part-time jobs?" mean?

and, what does "so *this* is what "being an international city means" mean?

WW today pointed out something I posted about employment April 5th, on Jack's post about Mayor Hazel:


which was:

"Oregon has the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation: 10.8%. Only South Carolina and Michigan are higher.

and lest readers think that Multnomah County, mythical bastion of the Creative Class, is safe from such gloom, the county's unemployment rate is about 10.2%--one of the worst in the nation.

and Portland/Multnomah's rate is *rising*.

and, for those unfamiliar with conventional wisdom about unemployment rates, this means that the actual number of people without a job is maybe as much as twice the official figure."

Dave J,
I hear what you're saying. My concern is that we could be getting into such an advanced level of theoretical physics with this deal, that a soccer ball kicked in PGE park could go through a time/space portal and appear in the outfield of the new baseball stadium.

The O says we are now No. 2 in unemployment nationally.

The O says we are now No. 2 in unemployment nationally.

yeah. we were number 3 with a rocket. I predict we'll even top Michigan, which is no mean feat, given Detroit.

Which is why I'm one of those leaving in the next month. But don't worry; before my U-Haul leaves the curb, I will be replaced by 20 creative class types.

"My concern is that we could be getting into such an advanced level of theoretical physics with this deal..."

Or we could be witnessing an aspect of string theory of parallel universes. The city council lives and governs from one of them and we live and pay from another.

With Sam (and Randy) it's all about how things LOOK. The OHSU tram, fancy bike bridges, SoWa, the Burnside/Couch couplet are all examples of THINGS he tends to focus on. The convention center is another item on his agenda. (BTW WalMart just isn't cool enough for him. Maybe he's trying just a little to hard to snuff out anything white trash because of an inner self hatred of some kind...who knows?) Whenever they want something they throw the jobs thing out there. Has SoWa and the tram created even one job other than for the people who maintain the infrastructure? Sam's lack of critical thinking skills and poor judgment will set this city back many years to come if the pattern continues.

My son asked me the other day how Portland got it's name. I told him the story about the two men tossing the coin. It may be time again, heads it's Markland, tails it's Mookland. But then that would all be moot when the Paulson's reign supreme.


All of today's surreal coverage gave me hope.

I was flabbergasted to learn that the city was making up the difference between minimum hourly wage and $11+ an hour.

I work in a Portland business with a union and we have lots of employees who are paid in the "minimum wage to $9-$10 range" per hour for far more demanding and diverse work.

If the city doesn't think Paulson is paying his employees a "living wage" then, (a) demand that he do so, (b) raise the minimum wage to what you think a "living wage" should be or (c) play fair and start pungling up the difference in ALL of our salaries if we make less than a "living wage."

Oregon Live (Oregonian online) has buried this story, which it printed on the upper half of the fold, front page this morning.

The only place it can't be hidden is in the "most comments received" section:

"Portland soccer jobs not exactly as promised"
72 comments as of 1 PM today

And the hits just keep on coming.

I think it's time that everyone revisit that great not-old classic "The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation" by Greg LeRoy." The faux sticker on mine uses typical advertising come-on font and styling to say

"How corrupted economic development brings us (checkmark) Layoffs (checkmark) Outsourcing (checkmark) Overcrowded Schools (checkmark) Runaway Sprawl and (checkmark) Higher Taxes"


Oops, forgot to include, from the index:

professional sports stadiums, 157-158 subsidies, who benefits?, 164-166 unanimity of findings regarding economic impact of, 164 professional sports teams effect on economic activity, 163 owners benefit from subsidies, 164 relocation threat, 158-160 selling, 165 promotional studies, consulting firms and, 164

Stadium Games, 160
stadium subsidies
as bad investments, 163
George W Bush, 165-166
problem with studies justifying, 161-162
building of new, 159
franchise values boosted, 164-165
indirect job creation, 161
jobs created by, 160
professional sports, 157-158
public money for, 157-158, 161

"Why is "progressive" Portland in bed with this fellow?"


Forbes has Portland at #6 on their "U.S. Cities Where It's Hardest To Get By" List.
We only have Buffalo, Tampa, Riverside, Providence and LA to beat.
Come On Portland... Beat LA! Beat LA! Beat LA!

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