Monday, March 28, 2016

Arena proponents should be honest about why they want an arena.

You want a new arena. It's okay, just say it. It's okay to want things. It's okay to want a bigger house or a nicer car. It's okay to want a newer computer or a bigger TV. It's okay to want a boat even though you don't live near the water or a flood plain.

Or maybe you expect to benefit directly financially. It's fine to admit that or even brag about it.

But can you really credibly say with a straight face that the entertainment industry is the best use of your tax dollars? There are so many things that are more important but are less exciting: roads, sewers, fire departments, etc. If you want an arena so badly that it influences the way that you vote, fine. But to insist that you support a project because of its economic impact is disingenuous. All civic projects have both economic benefits and consequences. People are hired to build the project and people are taxed to pay for it. Traffic patterns change, Commute times are increased for some and reduced for others. Retailers can gain or lose business because of these traffic patterns.

I'm especially suspicious of businesses that support new downtown construction projects after moving all their operations to the outskirts. It's like slapping a Greenpeace bumper sticker on your own Hummer.

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