Friday, March 13, 2009

Someone stop me; Oh someone please, just try and stop me!

I'm not the type of liberal that'a reflexively against public funding of sports stadiums. I enjoy sports and I do think there is a public value to build cost-effective stadiums if the interests of the taxpayers are looked out for when the deal is formed.

I wish we would the same sort of public support go towards the arts, schools and libraries as we see towards crafting deals to bring major league sports franchises to big cities. This nation would be a much greater country were culture given the same attention that sports enjoy.

In the end I consider sports as much a part of our lives as literature, art or the symphony. They're a part of our identity. They provide a needed diversion, especially during difficult times. They provide value to the community at large.

That's why if these were normal economic times I would probably support a deal to bring major league soccer to Oregon.



PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The City Council has approved financing $60 million to lure a Major League Soccer franchise to Portland, but hasn't resolved how to raise a quarter of the money.

The $60 million would go to renovating PGE Park to meet MLS specifications, and building a new ballpark for the Portland Beavers, the city's Triple-A baseball team.

Major League Soccer is expected to choose two expansion teams by March 19. Four cities are in the running: Portland, Vancouver, Ottawa and St. Louis.

But the times aren't normal.

The state of Oregon is proposing 24 day unpaid furloughs for state workers and wage freezes. The Ways and Means Committee is proposing cutting public safety by $58 million, human services by 19 million and economic development projects by $5 million dollars. We are looking at shortening the school year and laying off teachers. Our unemployment rate jumped to 9.9% in January making it the fifth-highest in the nation.

Spending public funds for a major league soccer team in this economic climate is unconscionable. If the city of Portland has surplus cash it should throw it into the state kitty.

11 comments:

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I'm sorry but in this country, soccer is not a sport that deserves a stadium that's been financed by the public.

dguzman said...

Does ANY sport deserve public funding of a stadium in these hard days? I think not.

Good post, Dean. I hope more people make noise about this issue and it dies.

Randal Graves said...

You know me, I love me some sports and hell I even dig soccer, but c'mon. If they're going to throw good money like that away, at least do something entertaining and buy some ex-BushCo employees, toss 'em on a big fenced in area, get 'em nice and baked with some Bill Walton ganja, and invite Cheney over with his shotgun. Big laughs I tell you, big laughs.

Dean Wormer said...

Monkey-

Ah, c'mon. Soccer isn't all that bad. Take away Posh Spice's husband and you may have something.

dguzman-

Thanks. It passed the city council (with the vote of the "left" side of the council) 3-2. The public is going nuts, just for the reasons I mentioned.

Randal-

Ha! How about gladitorial games featuring NBC vs. CBS anchors? Al Roker could prove his strength in the arena.

Hypatia said...

I like Randal's idea...me?

I'm still pissed we have some pge park bs (it's still the Civic Stadium to me!) and the k'ller theater whatever..(Civic Auditorium forever!)

These building were bought and paid for by the citizens of Portland, a couple SMALL donations to help out maintenance cost DOES NOT equal the millions paid out by regual Oregonians.

Removing the "Civic" name undermines the support and recognition the of the general public.

I'm mad as hell, and I don't take it anymore!

Dean Wormer said...

Hypatia,

That's a really, really good point.

Another thing - I'm given to understand that the new baseball stadium in the Rose Quarter will be built where the Memorial Coliseum is now. That thing is not just a stadium but it was built in memory of Oregon war vets and dedicated to same. They shouldn't be tearing that down IMO.

Lockwood said...

I'd comment, but I'm too apathetic.

Aaron said...

I love soccer and would be thrilled to see an MLS team in PDX. Having said that, I totally agree with the Dean; now is not the time to be throwing public money at this kind of project. The minor league Timbers have been successfully sharing PGE Park with the Beavers for years now. If that arrangement is not good enough for MLS then we don't need them.

The idea of tearing down Memorial Coliseum for a baseball park is ridiculous. As the Dean correctly points out, it's a veterans memorial. It is also an underappreciated example of modern architecture. Compared with the shopping mall style of the Rose Garden next door, it looks like the Taj Mahal.

Overdroid said...

They should just build a coliseum. We'll need a place to film Running Man.

Dean Wormer said...

Lockwood-

Fair enough.

Aaron-

The minor league Timbers have been successfully sharing PGE Park with the Beavers for years now. If that arrangement is not good enough for MLS then we don't need them.

You were always better at articulating stuff than me. :)

I'm surprised they haven't been able to come up with a better use of the coliseum until now. There are lots of 12,000 seat events in Portland.

Also - FACEBOOK now!

Overdroid-

We have to build jails that use exploding collars first.

Dr. Zaius said...

Maybe if it was girls hockey. In bikinis!