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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Final Word in the Adams-Canzano-Baseball Debacle

Posted by Andrew R Tonry on Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 8:56 PM

"Better not to feed the trolls," a friend said, referring to Canzano and his scuff with the mayor. And with that I scrapped my extremely offensive letter drafting the sports talk host to run as a Tea Party candidate for city council. The path from radio jockey to jingoist zealot, after all, has already been laid by Glenn Beck.

But no. Better off passing on that one. Things have gotten dumb enough.

Instead, let's take a completely neutral source from across the country and give them the last word. Seems fair, right? So take it away, Ken Belson of the New York Times. Share with us what you learned in researching public stadium financing. From "As Stadiums Vanish, Their Debt Lives On":

It’s the gift that keeps on taking. The old Giants Stadium, demolished to make way for New Meadowlands Stadium, still carries about $110 million in debt, or nearly $13 for every New Jersey resident, even though it is now a parking lot...

New Jerseyans are hardly alone in paying for stadiums that no longer exist. Residents of Seattle’s King County owe more than $80 million for the Kingdome, which was razed in 2000. The story has been similar in Indianapolis and Philadelphia. In Houston, Kansas City, Mo., Memphis and Pittsburgh, residents are paying for stadiums and arenas that were abandoned by the teams they were built for...

How municipalities acquire so much debt on buildings that have been torn down or are underused illustrates the excesses of publicly financed stadiums and the almost mystical sway professional sports teams have over politicians, voters and fans.

Rather than confront teams, they have often buckled when owners — usually threatening to move — have demanded that the public pay for new suites, parking or arenas and stadiums.

With state and local budgets stretched by the recession, politicians are only now starting to look askance at privately held teams trying to tap the public till.

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