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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Props from Chicago

posted by on November 15 at 7:50 AM


Given how often my brother disses Seattle in favor of Chicago, just thought y’all would like to hear some praise from the city of Big Shoulders, which was blackmailed three times to build expensive new stadia with plenty of taxpayer dollars. From Neil Steinberg in today’s Sun-Times:

Don’t let the door … Whenever a sports franchise extorts a tax break or a stadium out of a city by threatening to pull up stakes and leave otherwise, citizens inevitably wonder what would happen if they called the bluff.

Usually they do that wondering while digging into their pockets for the ransom.

But in Seattle on Election Day, a miracle occurred when 74.3 percent of the voters approved a measure forbidding public funds to be spent on sports facilities. Now the so-so SuperSonics are making noises about looking for a new home.

As satisfying as this is, the great part — for me — is the name of the group that fought to end welfare for rich team owners: Citizens for More Important Things. .

OK, we have rapid transit and a Mayor-for-Life-or-til-Indicted who loves bicycle lanes, but we also ponied up for the United Center, the New Comiskey Park (Now US Cellular Field, aka The Cell) and that Mother Ship on the Lake, the New Soldier Field. Your rejection of the Sonics beats Chicago’s chickenshit ways hands-down.

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108.4 yard run. I'd trade the Sonics for that any day.

Posted by Joh | November 15, 2006 8:06 AM

well it isn't very hard to get voters to say no to sports in this town -- you saw how people flipped out about the live slog for the hawks/bears game ;)

but yes, i voted for the measure because paul allen has plenty of his own money thank-you-very-much!

Posted by charles | November 15, 2006 8:29 AM

Paul allen doesnt own the sonics, he owns city hall, and he pimps this town as he pleases. man, theyre building him a useless trolley. I mean if this dude asked for Ceis' wife, he probably would get her.

We voted safeco field down too and they still built it. i love my M's but I wasnt about to vote for that. Qwest was built with our dough too, regardless of what they say. Shultz just couldnt play the game like allen, and he was trying to run game on people and well, lets face it, he has no game.

Posted by SeMe | November 15, 2006 9:12 AM

No one voted Safeco Field down. What was voted down was a taxing structure. It was therefore funded a different way.

Funding for Qwest Field was voted for by the people, like it or not.

I-91 was an unnecessary initiative.

Posted by DOUG. | November 15, 2006 9:21 AM

The United Center is a great facility. The new Comisky is a huge improvement over the crappy old one (and who gives a damn where South Siders sit anyway). And the retrofitted Soldier Field is a blast, whether you're in it or just driving past it. I'm even willing to say the expanded Wrigley is bearable.

Sorry--Chicago can't possibly compete when it comes to its citizens ragging on how bad their hometowns suck. Let's face it: Seattle's in a league of it's own.

Posted by Boomer | November 15, 2006 9:25 AM

What's funny is I remember your brother ripping into Mayor Nickels once for not being more like Richard Daley.

Posted by Gomez | November 15, 2006 9:27 AM


The old Comiskey may not have been the most amazing, but we were all told it was falling down. Amazingly, they then had trouble knocking it down.

The new Soldier Field just lost its landmark status. Not to mention, of course, that it's ugly as sin and the seats are more expensive.

Sometimes, it's just not worth it.

Posted by Brie | November 15, 2006 9:32 AM

soldier field's "landmark" status is more intact than lambeau's (and i know allen doesn't own the sonics, but allen seems to be the only one capable of getting the city to pay for his pet projects, ergo, i took it as an anti-allen vote--though i do support what he's doing in s. lake union)

Posted by charles | November 15, 2006 9:38 AM

The funny thing is that i 91 didn't actually prohibit the funding of sports stadiums. It just prohibited obviously bad economic deals-- investments without even marginal returns. It's interesting to see how many people on both sides of the issue don't make the distinction. Though I realize that practically speaking, the difference is academic since sports franchises aren't into profit-sharing.

As for the idea that subsidizing Qwest field expressed the will of the people, that seems to omit the huge factor that Paul Allen's money played in bankrolling the yes campaign, and the well documented (thanks, Rick Anderson) lies and omissions that campaign engaged in to convince voters they were getting a better deal than they actually were.

Posted by wf | November 15, 2006 9:48 AM

More morning news from the wide world of Democrat sports: I'm tired of ragging on Dan, so now it's time for something completely different ... ragging on another overhyped and hypocritical rad 'Crat icon, Saint Jack.

Jack Murtha's been given an undeserved exemption from earnest discussions of the culture of corruption. Too bad, since Saint Jack has been neck deep in the cesspool almost from the moment he got back from Nam. So let the swiftboating begin.

Even the Washington Post can't run and hide forever from thier hero's ability to run and hide. In an uncharacteristic spasm of honesty, the Post is reporting that Pelosi is pushing ABSCAM Murtha into leadership, a guy who's led only in the wide field of congressional graft.

"But several members are privately aghast that Mr. Murtha, a pork-barreling opponent of most House ethics reforms, could become the second most visible symbol of the new Democratic rule. 'We are supposed to change business as usual, not put the fox in charge of the henhouse,' one Democratic member told me. 'It's not just the Abscam scandal of the 1980s that he barely dodged, he's a disaster waiting to happen because of his current behavior,' another told me.

"As for Abscam, a recent book by George Crile, a producer for CBS's '60 Minutes,' provides damning evidence that Mr. Murtha escaped severe punishment for his role in the scandal only because then-Speaker Tip O'Neill arranged for the House Ethics Committee to drop the charges, over the objections of the committee's outside prosecutor. The prosecutor quickly resigned in protest."

That's John Fund's synopsis, via, of the Post's story. And Murtha has a mini-mafia brother, a king of the makin'-bacon lobby, who plays Abramoff to Saint Jack's Murray. (Is Pepsodent Patty one the Senate Democrats about whom Abramoff is singing like a Soprano?)

And George Crile? Read his badly written but amazing book about Cocaine Charley Wilson, the Texas Democrat who ran our mid-east foreign policy from Tip O'Neill's House with millions of off-the-books dollars.

Posted by mrtha****** | November 15, 2006 9:49 AM

Qwest Field passed because Paul Allen LITERALLY bought the election--he bought and paid for the entire thing, the printing of the voter's guide and the ballots, and the collection and counting of them too. A special election in August devoted to one and only one topic: Qwest Field. The only people who voted were stadium supporters, and it still barely passed. The whole episode was as offensive an abrogation of democracy as the Florida recount in 2000.

Posted by Fnarf | November 15, 2006 11:27 AM

Doug has his head up his ass - to say that people just voted in 1995 to reject the tax package rather than the stadium it was to fund is about as pathetic a rationalization as I've ever seen on this blog (and that's saying something). That vote - and the Legislature's abrogation thereof - almost single-handedly created Tim Eyman.

No meant no, fucktard - just like it did last Tuesday.

And FNARF is 100% right about Qwest field.

Posted by Sick of sports subsidies | November 15, 2006 11:33 AM


So when Seattle voted down that "latte tax" a couple years back, was that a referendum on public support of education? Or was it a rejection of an irrational taxation policy?

The assertion that "we voted Safeco Field down" in post #3 is factually incorrect, and I'm tired of hearing it. We voted down a regressive sales tax, and (in my opinion) got a stadium funded in a much fairer manner.

As for Tim Eyman, his first initiative two years later dealt with affirmative action, not taxes. He is the creation of a poorly-crafted Initiative process, which should never be abused for profit. Mixed with the devil's semen.

Posted by DOUG. | November 15, 2006 1:25 PM


Comparing the latte tax vote to a vote on an obscure package of taxes on a very high profile stadium profile for an even higher profile sports team is absurd.

And yes, the bitterness over seeing the vote overturned by the legislature certainly did help create the voter anger that fueled Eyman.

But go ahead and keep on kidding yourself. I hope you enjoy the Oklahoma Sonics, too.

Posted by Sick of Stadium subsidies | November 15, 2006 2:06 PM

Oh, and if tweaking the tax package would have gotten the M's Stadium (which is what it was) past the voters, don't you think the professional politicians would actually have put it to a vote? Of course not - because voters had JUST REJECTED THE STADIUM, you revisionist dickhead.

Posted by Sick of Stadium Supporters Spinning for Suckers | November 15, 2006 2:09 PM

"We voted Safeco Field down" is a mantra of Seattle's Left, none of whom back Tim Eyman initiatives.

Posted by DOUG. | November 15, 2006 2:36 PM

Well, maybe that's because lots of people on both sides of the political spectrum felt betrayed when the Legislature overturned a public vote (or when baseball fan and Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge wiped his ass with the State Constitutional prohibition on the lending of public credit to private businesses by allowing the so-called stadium "emergency" to stand.)

You can keep on saying over and over that the voters didn't really reject the Mariners Stadium, but you will do little more than demonstrate to the vast majority of people who were around for that campaign just how far you have your head stuffed up your ass.

Posted by Stadia are for Suckas | November 15, 2006 2:48 PM

Slight tangent, but an interesting tidbit...

An Oakland city official/member of the Coliseum's board of directors was quoted in the Chronical today in regards to Oaklands move:

"To be candid, we made more money in one Rolling Stones concert than the A's made (us) in a whole year. We will deal with it," De La Fuente said.

Posted by Dougsf | November 15, 2006 3:23 PM

Lots of right-wingers say we voted Safeco Field down, too (um, because we DID).

By Doug's logic, in 1995, voters didn't defeat the Seattle Commons scheme - they just voted against the property tax increase. Technically true, and totally wrong.

Posted by Mr. X | November 15, 2006 3:26 PM

"But people will vote against this not because they dislike baseball, but because of the financing."
--Nick Licata, September 1995.

Guess Nick and I agree.

Posted by DOUG. | November 15, 2006 4:04 PM

Well, if it makes anyone feel better, I've been buying tickets in the new stadiums for several years. "Mayor Daley" built them, and here I am. Hooray!

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | November 15, 2006 4:11 PM

Yes, the people didn't like the financing that required taxpayers to fund a sports stadium.

Posted by keshmeshi | November 15, 2006 6:37 PM

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