City Commissioner Randy Leonard was on the radio yesterday, answering questions about "snow jobs" on the baseball deal.
First, there was some throwing of the Blazers under the bus. The hosts of the show asked Leonard whether it was the architects' movement that stopped the deal going down in the Rose Quarter. Or whether it was, in fact, the Blazers.
"The Blazers, I've said before, and I don't think they're particularly pleased in my saying this, but the truth of the matter is they certainly weren't helpful, and at times they suggested that we may not have the legal right to put the baseball stadium on that site which is curious because we own the site...but it's not inaccurate to say that the Blazers weren't helpful," said Leonard.
"I was really disappointed in them being their worst enemy and not understanding that this broader development would have been in their best interests," said Leonard.
"Where are you gonna get the money considering today's economic environment?" asked a caller called Bob, who sounded a lot like County Chair Ted Wheeler attempting to disguise his voice, but probably, actually, was called Bob. "It sounds like it's a rush snow job on the taxpayers of Multnomah County."
"It sounds like he's already made up his mind and I've found that when you give an answer to a question like that, it doesn't really change anyone's mind," said Leonard, before talking about the ticket tax, Paulson's rent guarantees and urban renewal. "Not only is it a fair deal, it has been worked out and nobody is being given a snow job."
"We just got an EcoNorthwest consulting job that said 453 jobs would be created during the construction of the stadium," said Leonard, when asked about economic benefits of the baseball stadium. "We didn't ask them to look at the long term economic benefits."
Interesting use of the pronoun "we," there. We've been told Leonard had no part in the commissioning of the study, and that he didn't know about it until Tuesday.
The hosts then go on a tirade about people being "spectacularly uninformed" about the deal. "People here are so, like, ashamed to think about public money going to a stadium," says the co-host. "It's just as necessary as libraries and everything else." "I'm a sports fan," he says. "I want mine. Do something for me, now."
And then the co-hosts say the deal won't be using any public money. Although they do then have to do some back-tracking about "urban renewal technically being public money." "But its uses are limited."
Limited by a statute with a "blight" loophole so broad one could drive a truck full of public money through it, perhaps? Still, don't let me influence your interpretation. Listen to the podcast at Leonard's site.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!