Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What the experts say

I have been debating with several political "experts" on how well Libertarians can expect to do in the upcoming election.

Let's see what economic experts have to say about taxpayer funded ballparks.

"There is no return to the public sector or a region's economy that is worth or can justify the commitment of tax dollars for building an arena or ballpark."
Taken from "The myth and reality of the economic development from sports" by Mark Rosentraub Real Estate Issues April 1997


Squarefinger said...

Robert, you don't get it, it is not about "the public sector or a region's economy", it's about individuals' economy, those involved and supporting this project. There 160-million reasons why the supporters of Harrison Square support this venture, and it has nothing to do with "the public sector or a region's economy".

Let's stop kidding ourselves. The public is not fooled on the motivation behind this project.

Robert Enders said...

There are many people who sincerely think that HS will benefit the entire community. This should not be a debate about motives and intentions, this is a debate about results.

Anonymous said...

Very bold, broad and potentially defamatory statement squarefinger. Please elaborate specifically on your allegations. I expect that you will be unable to elaborate because it is just BS that you are making up.

Anonymous said...

Rosentraub also says this:

"Still, there are also less cynical explanations. Mark Rosentraub, dean of the college of urban affairs at Cleveland State University, has consulted on a number of stadium projects, and has been vocally skeptical of many of them. But he believes that well-thought-out projects can benefit cities. Though they don't create economic growth, he argues, stadiums like Camden Yards and San Francisco's SBC Park (which was built almost entirely without public funds) have helped guide it.

The natural pattern of development, Rosentraub asserts, tends to be sprawl, but stadiums can function as focal points around which apartment buildings, stores, restaurants, and bars cluster. And they can help bring back hollowed-out downtown areas. In San Diego, the Padres' new Petco Park turned a desolate area full of abandoned lots and storage facilities into a landscape of luxury condominiums and boutique hotels. Washington is hoping a new stadium will do the same for the city's blighted Anacostia neighborhood. Of the recent stadium deal, Washington Mayor Anthony Williams's office has said the ''exciting economic revival" the stadium would trigger, ''will benefit our whole city for generations to come."

Anonymous said...

Vote for Robert Enders: beating dead horses with 10 year old quotes.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me how you expect to analyze results when you desire to kill the project, regardless of its intentions? It is clearly a debate solely about motive and intention...

Robert said...

anonymous ...

Mr Rosentraub is talking about Major League ballparks with attendance and investments far greater than Fort Wayne can get. 2,500 fans per game times will not effectively save downtown. For these favorable examples, there are many more new minor league venues which have failed to revitalize downtowns.

When the new stadium is built, expect ticket prices to rise in order that HBC can maintain the facility.

"There's a sucker born every minute...and two to take 'em."

Anonymous said...


And your SOURCE of information is???

Oh, that is right...YOUR OPINION!

I would suggest that you will see the same results, on a smaller scale- of course, OUR ballpark is only costing about 10% of a Major League park.

but, that is MY OPINION- and every bit as right as yours at this point!

Robert Enders said...

Anonymous 1:52 The horse isn't dead yet, the next city council and mayor can remove the public funding for the ballpark. The state can still deny the bond issue.

The age of a quote does not detract from it's value. For example, people quote famous leaders of the past to establish a common frame of reference.

Anonymous 1:38 and 4:08
Private companies should not receive subsidies or special tax breaks. A successful company makes enough money on its own and doesn't need government funding, a failed company does not deserve it. Now, if the ballpark is going to be a success, then Hardball Capital would not need any public funds to build it. I don't necessarily want to kill the whole project, just remove the public funding. If Hardball can build it with private funds, just like San Francisco's SBC Park.

Anonymous 8:28
You are correct. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and this will only be 10% as wasteful of public funds as a major league ballpark. I would still prefer not to waste any money.

Anonymous said...


I think you are incorrect- the State CANNOT stop the funding process. They can remove the ability of the city to back the bond with Property taxes- resulting in a higher cost of the overall project. That is the ONLY part that is in dispute- the rest of the package stands- Harrison Square will be built.

Stopping Harrison Square at this point in time- AFTER property was acquired and demolition completed, would be wasteful public spending too...would it not?

Anonymous said...

Yes, but only 10% as wasteful than building it out.

John B. Kalb said...

anonymous 6:45 - You are the one who is incorrect - There are at least six (6) actions that our redevelopment department took to acquire the HS land that, per Indiana Code, were illegal. Stay tuned - THE FAT LADY HAS NOT YET SUNG - 1)Pat Rollers 2006 audit by the State Board of Accounts has not yet been released- Bruce Hartman, our State Examiner informed me that they have spent many hours reviewing the payment on December 7, 2006 for one of the properties on West Jefferson with money from the Jefferson/Illinois Road Economic Development Area TIF fund. He could not tell me what they had decided, but he did say that their report "Is going to upset some in Fort Wayne - but we are 'calling a spade a spade'" So who knows?
2)The finalization of the purchase of almost all the properties in HS was done illegally as far as the timing - the area was added to the Jefferson/ Illinois Road EDA well after the parcels were paid for - all in spite of laws stating otherwise.
We have 4 more items in addition to these two which need to be addressed by someone - be it our county prosecutor, state officials (Attorney General Carter has assigned his Chief Counselor to this), or our civil courts.
If the actions taken were indeed illegal, the land being cleared will need to be used for something different than what has been pushed by our city government!
John B. Kalb

Anonymous said...

What would the land be used for John B. Kalb?

Anonymous said...

Privately funded ventures would be good.


John B. Kalb said...

IG - Echo what you posted - but that would indicate that we don't support "play-pens" for our young adults in our downtown area unless they are paid for by these same young adults. John B. Kalb
ps; When the city illegally bought the property - the cost became a "sunk cost" - blame them!

Jeff Pruitt said...


In regards to 1&2 aren't these the very issues you submitted to the county prosecutor which they rejected? Are you hoping the state attorney general somehow intervenes?

Setting John's legal remedies aside, the next mayor and city council will not be able to remove the public funding as they have agreements (i.e. contracts) in place. I suppose they could breach those contracts but they would likely be sued for doing so...

John B. Kalb said...

Jeff - Haver you read the agreements? Every one of them has a "escape clause" which says, "This agreement will be null and void IF THE CITY CANNOT GET FUNDING FOR THE PROJECT"- with a drop-dead date in November, after the election!! So, what are you saying - The redevelopment commission does NOT have the funding yet - Witness the public hearing this coming Monday (9/17/07) at 4:30 on the "temporary" $18 million bond that they need to enable breaking ground any time soon. Then it goes back to City Council for approval - Anyone want to bet on this outcome? I think that the logical Dr. John Crawford will take a double-look at this request and maybe even Tom Didier will see how this request is very poorly supported with fact - how will it ever be paid back????
It isn't over 'til the fat lady sings! John B. Kalb

John B. Kalb said...

And Jeff - Yes #1 & 2 were rejected by Karen Richards' deputy but according to the letter I received from the AG's office, they can not intervene in a criminal case but they do have full abilities to file civily for recovery of tax funds illegally expended - this is all up to the State Board of Accounts as far as Pat Rollers 2006 audit - but even if that is passed up, we have the ability to file a request with them to investigate the four(4) properties that were illegally paid for in early 2007. If you want to see the letters I have received from the AG office and the SBOA office, I can scan them and send to you by e-mail - just let me know. John B. Kalb

Nelson said...

Mr. Kalb - have you ever been involved in project funding? Have you ever even bought a house? You have to get financing in lump sum that you repay over time, correct? That doesn't mean you don't have the money - it means the money will be paid over time... Furthermore, if you have purchased anything more than a stick of gum, go look at your contract; if it was drafted by even a semi-competent attorney, it contains an "escape" clause. It's standard language.

Before you continue to muddy the minds of impressionable people with your questionable grasp of legal terminology and processes, go to law school. It's not like you appear to have much else to do.

Anonymous said...

Cool, an escape clause...just what the taxpayers need to be rid of this boondoggle. A lawyer who gives FREE (yet unintelligble) legal advice, huh? Probably worth every penny...


John B. Kalb said...

Nelson - What the h are you talking about? Are you one of those semi-competent attorneys? Here is the exact text in the Stadium Licence Agreement between Hardball and City of Fort Wayne:
The City shall be entitled to terminate this Agreement, with no obligation to Hardball, at any time prior to November 30, 2007 in the event the City fails to receive satisfactory assurance of construction and completion of a minimum two hundred fifty (250)room Courtyard by Marriott or other equivalent national brand hotel, or in the event the City, in its sole discretion, is not satisfied the City will close on terms solely acceptable to the City, on the City Financing by November 30, 2007."
Now, does that sound like "standard language" to you? It sure doesn't to the rest of us!
John B. Kalb

John B. Kalb said...

And Nelson a P.S. I am a Journeyman Toolmaker and have a BS in Electrical Engineering (Purdue 1961). No,I did not study law (we have too darn many lawyers anyhow). I am 71 years old and you are correct, I don't have lots to do as far as earning a living - I already did that - BUT I STILL LOVE FORT WAYNE and plan to continue to defend it where I feel it's principles are under attack!
John B. Kalb

nelson said...

Congratulations on the degree in engineering. Perhaps if the contractors for the ballpark have an electrical question, they will consult with you.

The basic terms of the paragraph you reference are standard; the parties mentioned and the project referenced are particular, but the language is very basic language to allow the buyer - in this case, the City - to terminate the deal if they are unable to secure financing at desirable terms. Similar terms were likely in the contract for the house you bought, and stated that if you couldn't secure financing within a certain period of time, at terms solely acceptable to you, you were able to back out of the deal. My only point is that it is standard language, protecting the buyer from being forced to accept financing at unattractive terms, and does not indicate that the buyer does not have the money, or is not able to pay.

I'm glad you love Fort Wayne so much. So do I. I just wish you were better informed, and would argue the issue on its merits. I can fully appreciate that you dislike the deal at hand, but can not find the value you do in twisting and turning every part of the transaction to appear sinister, underhanded, and occasionally criminal. It is easy to be negative and contrary when you aren't burdened with having to support your contentions with facts. For their part, the City has the more difficult task; I would thoroughly enjoy seeing what you could accomplish if you were held to the same standard of transparency.

Anonymous said...

I think transparency in government is kinda what the framers had in mind. Your legal opinion (as learned as it is or isn't) is worth every electron it's written on. If legal issues were all black/white we really wouldn't need judges (or lawyers!) now would we? In some cases it's just best to cut the baby in two. In this case there would be no publicly funded baseball boondoggle but there will also be some empty, unused, city-owned property. Nobody is happy...except the taxpayers (grin)


Phil Marx said...

Nelson, I don't think that Mr. Kalb has to be a lawyer or needs to own a home to be able to ask questions. A lot of people have been asking questions about H.S. and the response has often either been misinformation or simply to ignore the question altogether.

My opinion of H.S. is that they (members of city council who voted for it.) wanted a toy, and they're forcing me to pay for it. They're claiming that this toy will actually benefit me in the long-term, though. But I think I am more suited for defining what is good for me than anyone else is. I think that the six members of city council who voted for it should raise private capital for this venture, rather than forcing the entire city to pay for something that a majority of residents feel is a waste of money.

Finally, regarding your personal attack against John Kalb; Everything of substance that you had to say could have been said without implying that John Kalb is an idiot. It's actually possible to disagree with or question someone without besmirching their character. If you need help understanding this, please reference Jeff Pruitt's comment above (4:51 P.M.)

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