Go PawSox! No really . . . go. Get your hands out of my pockets and go away. Millionaire team owner Larry Lucchino is back with a new pitch — he heard your concerns and has repackaged his outrageous demands. Gone is that not true “revenue neutral” pitch — now we have “publicly owned.” You will hear that phrase a lot now, but nothing has changed. The ownership team of entitled millionaires wants taxpayers to pay for their stadium. (With all the amenities! Amenities that no PawSox fan relaxing in McCoy with a cold beer and a hot dog, ever, ever missed.)
This battle is exhausting, and at this point, anyone — Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, or the Providence Journal editorial board — who suggests that stadiums are generators of economic development, is choosing not to know that the opposite was proven true long ago. Also known as lying.
Ruggerio is in a huge rush on this. (ProJo 3.28.17)
“It depends how quickly the administration moves on this,” Ruggerio said. “I certainly would not be adverse to coming back here at a later date if it doesn’t happen before the session ends. I think it is that important. It is a big revenue generator for the state.”
[Emphasis mine.] I would ask that Mr. Ruggerio support that assertion with studies, facts, and data.
And apparently the Providence Journal editorial board doesn’t even read its own newspaper where several articles during the last stadium battle cited the sad economic realities of stadium deals for cities around the nation. (ProJo 2.4.17)
Other Triple-A cities have gotten an economic jump from building in areas where neighborhood development could grow up around the park, and where there is room for premium suites, beer gardens, party terraces and children’s fun areas. In some locations, such as Durham, N.C., the ballpark’s impact has been dramatic.
“Cities” plural? No, just Durham. Why is it always and only Durham that is ever cited by these boosters? Because there was a unique set of circumstances surrounding and supporting that one project. And if the board had bothered to attend or watch the presentation by Victor Matheson, professor of economics at College of the Holy Cross, they would know this. (Go to RI Future for video.) Frankly, I think the board understands the Durham anomaly perfectly well but chooses not to know this inconvenient truth. (If the board is pressed for time they should try the John Oliver take-down of taxpayer supported stadiums. It has been watched over 7,000,000 times . . . so people know about this now.)
House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is likewise happy to ignore the true facts surrounding the dismal history of taxpayer-funded stadiums. Last time around he hired Andrew Zimbalist, a “consultant” who was in truth a PawSox lobbyist paid for by taxpayers. Zimbalist happily pushed the pro-stadium line for Mr Mattiello . . . until it was discovered that he had frequently stated the opposite position. (Freakonomics interview.)
One should not anticipate that a team or a facility by itself will either increase employment or raise per capita income in a metropolitan area. . . . if the public or its political representatives are trying to make the case that a team or a facility by itself will be an important development tool, then the electorate should think twice before opening its collective wallet.”
My advice to Mr. Lucchino? First: Tanning booths have been linked to increased rates of skin cancer. Second: If you have such a great business plan then private equity firms will be lining up with bags full of money.
And third: If you have to move the PawSox to another city, then so be it. You killed my love for the team a long ago.