April 28, 2012
Minnesota just as bad
Two news items in sports. No, not the draft that perpetuates the myth that it creates "competitive balance" in the NFL--it doesn't. Nope. I am appalled that our good neighbors in Minnesota got tricked into a new stadium that will be built mostly by taxpayers. Bill Veeck once told me that baseball owners check their heads with their hats at annual meetings. Believe it, public officials are right behind the baseball owners.
It is a familiar pattern that began with Carroll Rosenbloom and Robert Irsay. Pete Rozelle and Rosenbloom figured that any team could move or threaten to move to gain leverage in negotiations with team owners. If the league approved the city would fold. OK. Rozelle promised Congress that if they would exempt the AFL-NFL merger from antitrust attack the NFL would keep the teams in the same cities and stadia. He had his fingers crossed.
Minnesota got the Vikings to build the Hubert Humphrey Dome under duress. The duress? Build it or we will move to Los Angeles! The last time it was general manager Mike Lynn threatening to move the Vikings to Memphis. The Vikings were successful. No mayor and no governor wants to be remembered as the person who lost the beloved Vikings. So siree!
Here we go again. The Vikings want a billion dollar stadium and will even pay for some of it. Vikes will pay $427 million of the billion dollars needed. Minneapolis will put in $150 million. The Vikings will have to come up with $400 million. How will they raise the money? (Sit before reading.) Minnesota will expand gambling in bars and restaurants. Whoa Nelly! One foe suggested that expanding gambling to pay for the stadium is "immoral and unreliable." What will the impact be on tribal gambling? Wait and see!
The second story is on the front page of the NY Times. Miami's new stadium is a fun park and a stadium. Who paid for this? Good guess. The cost of building the "water park" stadium? $634 million. How much did the public pay? $515 million. One result was the recall of the mayor. Huzzah! And what happens if there are cost over-runs? What happens if the team goes broke? What happens...oh never mind.
Yankee stadium was once dubbed "the house that Ruth built." That would be Babe Ruth. The late wonderful Red Smith, who was raised in Green Bay and became the greatest sports writer in America. Watching as the public was bilked by the Yankees in altering Yankee stadium, Smith opined, "This will not be known as the house that Truth built."
Is this important to Wisconsin? You betcha. Soon Herb Kohl will exhort our leaders to build a new basketball arena for the hapless Bucks. If we say no Herb will say bye-bye.
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It's not just sports stadiums. Take the bailouts for airlines and financial giants for example; the new mantra is privatize the profits and socialize the risk.
-Mark | Madison, WI | April 28, 2012
Where are the Bucks going to go? When even Oklahoma City has a team, most major markets have already been taken. There's no major market looking for a pro basketball team, except maybe for Milwaukee and Charlotte, North Carolina.(Sorry, that was just mean.) There's no Los Angeles looking for a team, like there is in the NFL. Let's face it. The Bucks are more of a farm team for the rest of the league than a real NBA team. They could leave and 90 percent of the state wouldn't notice. "Oh, did we still have an NBA team in Wisconsin?" I just don't see the legislature even trying to get them a new stadium. It would be an extreme overestimation of the importance of the Bucks for Kohl to even try.
-B. Fischer | Appleton, WI | April 28, 2012
If a developer or potential purchaser of a property asks for TIF financing is it not blackmail? When a taxing body offers this as an incentive to a developer to induce development is it not bribery?
Walmart is being accused of doing in Mexico what might be called campaign donations in the US.
-Richard Kanak | Cherry Valley, Illinois | April 29, 2012
Echoing sentiments in other responses to this posting... It really crystallizes who runs this country. (Hint: It ain't elected officials.)
-Arcturus | New London, WI | April 30, 2012