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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 26, 2010 10:46 AM. The previous post in this blog was Please Mr. Postman. The next post in this blog is State budget hole: Now it's up to $1.3 billion. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Thursday, August 26, 2010

You were expecting?

Here's a nonblockbuster story: A group of rich sports team owners lied to get the public to build them a new stadium.

Of course, that could never happen in Portland. Here, the city doesn't even bother to ask the team owners to show how much they're making before the taxpayers are forced to pay part of the hot dog vendors' wages.

Comments (13)

This is why Portland is blessed by the absence of more pro sports, an organized racket to take money from the poor and middle class and give it to the wealthy. This is not the exception -- this is the pro sports business plan. In every case. All leagues. All towns.

What do expect when a bunch of pros (club owners) play bush leaguers (our pols using other people's [taxpayer] money)?

Creamed with no way out. The club owners know how to read people like Samdy - find the one thing they want (another refurb of PGE Park, one more stop for the streetcar, new condos, something green/sustainable/clean), give it to them and then rape the taxpayers otherwise.

It's an old time-honored trick put to recent use by Mssrs. Gerding-Edlen with Vestas. Doesn't matter what level, we've seen what 20+ yrs of state pols rolling over gave us with PERS.

La La La La Ola, La La La La Ola(cover ears) Repeat

Doesn't this tie into the other post about the "good business climate"? All the Marlins owners wanted was the kind of thing any large business owner wants. Public financing for infrastructure. Check. Tax breaks. Check. No accountability or guarantee that the benefit they provide to the community is worth the cost. Check.

Small and medium-sized businesses don't get those kinds of breaks. They just end up paying for them along with the rest of the public.

First, let me say, totally agree. These rich owners fleece the cities for millions, charge exorbitant prices for tickets, and then complain that they aren't making any money. It's insane.

However, I would like to make one point about the Nationals Stadium in DC. The column said this:

In the annals of bad stadium deals, it’s among the most odious, right alongside the Washington Nationals’ extraction of $611 million from the D.C. city council to get Nationals Park built. The team spent $20 million on a parking garage and pays $5.5 million a year in rent. So desperate was Washington to become the landing spot for the Montreal Expos, it ignored reality – there were no other legitimate options for MLB – and vastly overpaid.

The $611 went to building the stadium, not for purchasing the team. And I gotta say they built a pretty nice stadium. In addition, the city gets to keep all concessions sold during the games. That means all food and beer sales. And at $9 a beer and $6 a hotdog, that's actually lot of revenue. In fact, concession sales have been going so well that DC expects to pay off the stadium a little earlier than expected. (19 years instead of 20, I think.)

In addition, they built the stadium in a depressed part of town, and if the housing/commercial market ever turns around, (big if) they will essentially turn a decrepit Navy Yard, into a thriving water front community. This will attract high income residents into living and onto their payrolls.

I know it sounds like I'm shilling for the owners and I'm not. I hope every city takes a stand and refuses to build another stadium with city money. But that said, there is some updside to these deals. And this is why the owners are able to convince these cities to take on the risk.

"And I gotta say they built a pretty nice stadium."

How would you compare the stadium construction to, oh say, local schools and the sewer system in Washington DC?

You're missing the point, if you can afford only a Porsche or feeding your kids, a Porsche's nice, but your priorities are all screwed up.

So the Washington stadium will create a turnaround for the surrounding area sort of like how the Rose Garden turned the area around Memorial Coliseum into a vibrant community?

Crap, I hope Samadumbs and Idiot Randy don't read this. They were guessing Portland was going to be #1 in yet another great category - Cities screwed over by nitwit team owners. Now we'll have to pay Paulson triple or quadruple in soccer stadium ransom just to keep up with Miami!

You don't think Henry Paulson's kid would lie to Randy, do you? That would be like saying Fannie and Freddie were adequately capitalized three weeks before he seized them.

How would you compare the stadium construction to, oh say, local schools and the sewer system in Washington DC?

The sewer system in DC is fine. The schools aren't, but DC spends more per student than just about any other city in the US. So, I'm not convinced more money is going to solve the problem. The real problem starts in the community, and the lack of emphasis on education. But that's a conversation for a different day. Lastly, DC didn't just spend 611 million on a stadium, they borrowed money which they are paying back. It's apples and oranges.

So the Washington stadium will create a turnaround for the surrounding area sort of like how the Rose Garden turned the area around Memorial Coliseum into a vibrant community?

The Rose Garden was poorly planned. And so even in good times it isn't going to revitalize the area. However, the DC Stadium is built in a location that connects to the rest of the city and when the housing market rebounds (again BIG if) the neighborhood will take off. But your criticism is valid.

Several years ago, when our corrupt, money-grubbing idiot legislators were attempting to ram through Steve Kantor's Ponzi scheme to lure big-league baseball to the torpid atmosphere of Portland, a state senator named Gene Derfler hit the nail on the head.

Derfler asked why, if a spanking new stadium was such a financial bonanza, why couldn't Kantor and Co. get their money from a bank?

Easy. They can't because it isn't. It's a public money pit and Kantor & Co. know it.

Has anyone read "Bad Sports" by Dave Zirin?
Check out chapter 13., "The unholy Gall of the Paulsons."

"DC didn't just spend 611 million on a stadium, they borrowed money which they are paying back."

Ask NJ about the Meadowlands (and the associated racetrack). Once these start cash-flowing then it's fair game for the politicians. Then pretty soon instead of paying the debt because they've siphoned it off they re-finance. Then, like the Meadowlands, it never gets repaid and the stadium is obsolete.

"I'm not convinced more money is going to solve the problem"

So why does it fix the stadium problem? Again, its priorities. Maybe you never geive the kids exactly what they want, but I can guarantee you that if you blow $80K on a Porsche, its a helluva lot less likely that you ever will care for your children properly.

"The sewer system in DC is fine."

Maybe, but they have just rasied fees 10% in one year a la Portland. So we need to stick people for this, but somehow it's OK to borrow $600M to build a stadium?


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