View Full Version : James has no monopoly on stupidity

12-29-2004, 05:15 PM
In a city beset with problems, D.C. (otherwise know as Dodge City) is also using bread and circuses to the tune of ONE BILLION DOLLARS to pacify residents and fatten corporate pockets.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Beaming like a kid who just met his favorite sports star, Mayor Anthony A. Williams signed legislation Wednesday to bring major league baseball back to the nation's capital.

``This is one of my proudest days as mayor,'' Williams said.

His signature came after weeks of political wrangling as several members of the District of Columbia Council balked at an earlier plan to finance a new stadium along the Southeast waterfront.

12-30-2004, 02:54 AM
D.C. had more leverage than they thought. They didn't play their cards right at all.

from the December 23, 2004 edition -

Sports stadiums: Who really should pay?
Washington's decision to fund a baseball stadium highlights a debate over sports funding.
By Linda Feldmann | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

WASHINGTON - For Anthony Williams, the mayor of Washington, this week's deal to return Major League Baseball to the nation's capital after a 34-year absence represents the crown jewel of his career.

In his view, and in that of other baseball supporters, the agreement for a new stadium - to be located in a blighted section of Washington's southeast waterfront - will provide economic development and a psychic boost to a capital city that often feels the poor stepchild of the federal government it hosts. "It's more than baseball," Mayor Williams exulted Tuesday, counting off projected benefits, such as 3,500 jobs and $15 million added annually to the city's tax base.

To the plan's detractors, the deal to build a new stadium for the former Montreal Expos - renamed the Washington Nationals - with largely public funds smacks of corporate welfare at a time when the national trend has, in fact, moved toward increased private financing for Major League Baseball stadiums.

Since 1998, the last 10 new major-league ballparks have averaged 60 percent public financing, according to the Sports Business Journal. Financing for the D.C. stadium could end up at 90 percent, funded through a gross-receipts tax on business. The ultimate cost of the stadium package, including purchase of the land and infrastructure improvements, has been estimated to be between $440 million and $584 million.

To economists, after years of analysis, the bottom line on ballpark financing deals is unquestionable: Stadiums do not generate net economic growth.

"Subsidized stadiums require subsidies forever," says Scott Wallsten, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. "And they don't generate benefits to the neighborhood, typically. The jobs they create are small in number, low paid, and temporary."

What's stunning to Andrew Zimbalist, an expert on the economics of baseball at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., is that Washington did not use its inherent leverage to cut a better deal for itself with Major League Baseball. Of the cities trying to lure the Expos their way, including Portland, Ore.; Las Vegas; and Monterrey, Mexico, Washington presented the most lucrative profile: Its metropolitan area, the nation's eighth-largest media market, contains some of the wealthiest ZIP codes in the country.

Even when the stadium deal appeared on the brink of demise a week ago, after City Council chairwoman Linda Cropp passed an amendment requiring that half the stadium cost be covered by private financing, city leaders still did not play hard with Major League Baseball - even though no other city in the running had any kind of firm stadium proposal on the table.

There was little time to spare. Washington faced a Dec. 31 deadline to agree to a stadium deal, and the Nationals are scheduled to play their first game on April 4, 2005. Their first home game is to be played on April 14, 2005, at a renovated RFK Stadium, the Nationals' home field until the new Anacostia River stadium is built.

"Washington could have done better," says Professor Zimbalist. "The main advantage here for D.C. is cultural, not economic. It's like having the Kennedy Center [for the Performing Arts]. Having a sports team in the national pastime is something that's enjoyable, presumably, at least for a good portion of the citizens, and could be a cohesive factor for the community."

It may even be good for politics, in this time of polarization, writes Washington Post columnist David Broder. He noted in Wednesday's issue that "political conditions" began to go downhill in 1971 - the year the Washington Senators left town and became the Texas Rangers. Gone was the opportunity for political adversaries to step off a tough day on Capitol Hill and head over to the ballpark to watch Frank Howard pound one out of the park.

Among the city's cognoscenti, Mr. Broder represents a slice of public opinion that is saying, in essence, the cost is worth it. Another in this vein is Mark Plotkin, a longtime analyst of D.C. politics and commentator on WTOP-FM radio. "The national pastime should be played in the nation's capital," says Mr. Plotkin. "We don't have US senators, we don't have US representatives, but now we'll have this. It fulfills a psychic need. It was something we had and was taken away, and now we're a big-league city."

The bulk of Washingtonians may feel differently. An opinion poll released Monday by The Washington Post found that 53 percent of District residents favored requiring that half of the stadium's cost be funded privately, even if it meant losing the team. Some of those surveyed called the mayor's priorities misplaced, in a city with crumbling schools and libraries and a large underclass that will hardly be able to afford pricey baseball tickets.

Now, the requirement for financing to be half private has been swept away, though even critics of the stadium deal say the plan agreed to Tuesday is better than the one the mayor had cut with Major League Baseball - if only slightly. The city is still seeking to secure at least 50 percent of the funding from private sources, but now it is not a requirement. In another concession, the District and Major League Baseball will now split the cost of insurance against cost overruns. And baseball waived the right to compensatory damages if the stadium is not completed by the start of the 2008 season.

If the stadium plan had been put to a public referendum (which was not possible under the rules of D.C. government), it may well have gone down - as has happened in many such referenda on pro sports stadiums around the country. In San Francisco, four referenda voted down public financing for a new baseball stadium for the Giants, so the team owner financed the park himself.

"Peter McGowan, the owner of the Giants, said, 'This market is too good to give up, so if they give me a good site, I'll pay for it myself,' " says Zimbalist of Smith College, adding: "The San Francisco market is good - but it's not as good as D.C."

12-30-2004, 07:13 PM
As someone who vehemently opposes many (and I do mean many) of the Mayors policies, even the way the arena will come to the city, he is no where near stupid. In fact, he is the most succesful politican in Newarks and possibly even NJs history.

We can all disagree with someone with every ounce of our collective beings, but we have to stop with this name calling crap about individuals who put themselves out there in leadership. I hate that same crap about calling Bookr some type of outside controlled puppet that will lead a renaissance of white domination in Newark (like Black folks run anything in Newark except city hall and a few public sector jobs to begin with).

Lets criticize, be strong in our facts and opinions, and be specific without resorting to the name calling.

Just my few cents...from Ecuador :D

12-31-2004, 03:11 AM
I agree with you Rice2006. The name calling, and certainly calling Booker a puppet controlled by white outside influences is patently unfair because it ignores the reality of the political process. And that reality is money!!!!! To get elected, you must have a war chest. Unfortunately, that war chest isn't going to be filled by the minority electorate. In fact, I bet that many of the so-called white Booker supporters also find a way to support Sharpe--remember Churchill's axiom, "no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests." One would hope, however, that once elected, an African American mayor would take steps to ensure that the "wealth" is spread around. In the past, that has meant giving folks city jobs. But now the time has come for institution building. We need to empower our businesses so that they can provide job opportunities for the people. It is a shame that it has not happened in Newark, at least on a scale comparable to the contracts that are awarded by the city to white professional vendors.
Who will make a difference in that regard in 2006? I wonder......

01-01-2005, 11:46 AM
I hate to tell ya, but one of the functions of the State has always been to build symbols to its leaders. In the past, these included castles and pyramids and HUGE statues with the image of the ruler. Since the State no longer does these functions, it has found a new way to build monuments to its rulers through the capital budget and that's through buildings and sports teams and arenas. And just like the old symbols, these new symbols serve the same purpose - to exalt both the ruler and to show the prowess of that province. It's dumb, but the ruling class has been building symbols for thousands of years. Today, it is just politically correct to do it through areans etc. After all, how many of you would howl if Sharpe decided to build a 100 statue of himself in military park? And let's be clear about Sharpe's historical signficance - he is THE MOST important figure to come out of Newark in the last 50 friggin years. I would think that warrants a statue.

01-01-2005, 12:54 PM
I wouldn't have a problem with that. I think he deserves much more than just a street named after him.

01-02-2005, 03:35 PM
I agree that Sharpe has had more of a positive impact to the city than any mayor in my lifetime (and that spans 50 years). And yes, stadums are like monuments but they are more than that. They indirectly enhance the attractiveness of a city.

That said, and this is getting old, the attractiveness of Newark and even Washington, depends on making these safe places and I don't mean just in the "green zone." If Sharpe is going to leave a super positive legacy (or in fact, be re-elected, if he chooses to run again), than 2005 will be the most important year of his career..HE MUST come up with a way to keep the people safe. The criminal element must be flushed out. Any politician who can come up with a way to do that should have arena's AND statues honoring him or her.

01-03-2005, 01:44 PM
But I was taught to call things by their right name. With all due respect, the fact that the mayor may be "the most succesful politican in Newarks and possibly even NJs history" may mean something to other politicians. Meanwhile, James is spending resources on something we can't afford on something we don't need, all as a testimony to his tenure. If that's not stupid, then I don't know what is. Would you empty your bank account and max out your credit cards to buy that car you're had your eye on even though your rent is overdue? And if you did, what would that make you? Irresponsible, short-sighted, selfish and, oh yeah, STUPID.

Now, if you choose to be politically correct, disagree without being disagreeable, raise the level of discourse, etc., fine. I'll respect that. I for one will not back down from taking these bloodsuckers to task and if that pains then I suggest you examine why. Is it because you're about to make moral compromises in your position? I hope not. :mad:

01-03-2005, 01:50 PM
any attacks on Cory's being a puppet of the "white man" or "outside interests" don't have any validity, right? Just another nasty smear campaign of the mayor. Probably, but remember: behind every smear exists a grain (or two) of truth.

J. Sharpe James, J.D.
01-03-2005, 04:16 PM
The State of New Jersey BORROWED $2.9 million (or is it billion) to balance this years budget....Yet wants to build the $2.9 Billion dollar Xanadudu Complex (Because it will bring in revenue) Are you saying Governor Codey is dumb?...A simple yes or no will do.

NYC, who is so cash strapped they LAID OFF city employees two years in a row, wants to build a Billion Dollar stadium for the Jets (because they say it will make money)... Are you saying Gov. Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg, and all the stadium proponents are DUMB? (A simple yes or no will do)

It was interesting that you only brought up cities with Black Mayors who support an arena as Dumb. Your true colors show. White is ALL RIGHT....Black STEP BACK! :eek:

01-03-2005, 04:34 PM
OK, Cody and Bloomberg are idiots too. Hope it makes you feel better!

J. Sharpe James, J.D.
01-03-2005, 05:28 PM
But explain to me why so many POLS want arenas if they Don't work?

01-03-2005, 06:21 PM
it's a high profile project. you know, you get your picture in the paper with the fancy shovel for the groundbreaking, you get another boost when you cut the ribbon, another photo op on opening night, etc. And a stadium looks great on campaign literature.

J. Sharpe James, J.D.
01-03-2005, 06:34 PM
It seems dumb that so many POLS would want to create a project which becomes a white elephant or forces the municipality to raise property taxes. I have heard pros and cons on both sides, what is your take on financial gain and job creation?