Things we missed during PoopGate

Just when things in the stadium and arena world seemed to be quieting down for the summer, we had a bit of a crazy week, thanks to all those sewage leaks and threats to move teams to various places. As a result, a few things fell through the cracks this week, so let’s catch up with a quick roundup post:

19 comments on “Things we missed during PoopGate

  1. One of the two churches that must be torn down to make way for the new stadium in Atlanta is playing hardball. The mayor is refusing to pay the church’s price of $24.54 million and offered $13.5 million instead but bumped it up to $15.5 million when the church rejected the lower offer. Since there are two churches and they’re both needed, it’s likely that neither will sell for significantly less than the other. It’s a lot of money but in a $1.2 billion dollar project, it’s a relatively small expense.

    If there is no agreement by the end of July, the city says it’ll use a backup site instead and the churches will get nothing. Since one of the churches is over 150 years old, I can’t imagine they’ll be too heart broken over not having their historic building demolished to make way for a stadium that likely won’t last more than thirty years.

    Article from the local paper:

  2. 150 years? They need a new state-of-the-art church anyway if they want to remain competitive.

  3. Mahler’s article about FIFA and Brazil is not well reasoned or informed. FIFA is a terrible and corrupt organization but that article seems a lazy attempt to say there are connected dots simply because there are dots around.

    The World Cup is awarded through a bidding process and Brazil committed to it. FIFA is undoubtedly to blame for demanding a lot with its stadium and infrastucture requirements but it was Brazil that promised to do it all (without public money!).

    FIFA only requires 8 host cities and Brazil chose to have 12 in order to spread the spending around. But that decision is the main reason this is such a white elephant. If they chose the 8 most established soccer cities and left it at that it would have been bad but a few billion less bad. It would have been fascinating to see how Argentina would have hosted as their soccer madness is densely concentrated in and Buenos Aires (Argentina’s Primera Division has 16 teams and 7 are in the city limits with another 4 in close by).

  4. The more I think about that $6.5M in Sacramento, the madder it makes me. What they’re going to do here is get us to the point where we’ve already spent $30M ($6.5M here, who-knows-what there, sprinkle-a-little in another place…), and then they’ll find a funding gap. “Oh well, we have to find a way to bridge that gap, or else the $30M would have just been wasted. No turning back now.” And when they say that, even many opponents will have to agree.

    The solution to this is simple: The private developers should be paying this first $6.5M bill. Call it good-faith money, or whatever you want, but right now, this is City money that the developers are all-too-happy to tell the City how to spend it.

    Is there a chance the Council would agree to this modest proposal? Hell no.

    I should be able to retire in about 5 years, and hope I can move away before this all turns to shit. Welcome to Louisville, CA. They even hired many of the players from Louisville.

  5. @MikeM – it’s the same game Minnesota recently played against their taxpayers. Nobody ever believed they were going to pay for a stadium by playing bingo and pulltabs, or selling pencils on the sidewalk; it was a fig leaf to get the money flowing. Now, or course, we all know there is no funding plan, so let’s just knock up the taxpayers via the general fund. Amazing how often this grift works.

  6. UC Berkeley found out PSL’s don’t work in the east bay… where have I heard that line before?

  7. The petition gathering in Sacramento will start sometime this weekend. MikeM, you may get your petition to sign after all.

  8. FIFA is super corrupt the “bidding” process is not a process it means how much each bidding country bribed the voting members of FIFA… The criteria is simple have at least 8 modern stadiums with a large capacity (50k+ i think) and the transportation infrastructure.

    But the USA and England keep losing out to host the WC to countries like Russia, Qatar and Brazil who will spend 10s of billions to build new stadiums to make the requirement. Most FIFA members who vote for locations of WC as part of their bribes not only get money but also % of constructions contracts.

    Some British newspapers constantly brings these things to light but nothing happens..

  9. Unfortunately, Mike, that is standard construction practice no matter where you are or what you are building.

    About five years ago I was involved in a small housing project. We had daily discussions with the construction manager/company about staying on budget as there was “no more money”. We modified designs specifically to save money several times (yes, spending more money to save money… paper is cheaper than wood and concrete).

    Just a week before our tenders came back, the CM assured us that “we think we are right on the number, it all looks good”. A week later, we were mysteriously 23% over budget and it was too late to do anything about it as the tenders included starting dates for construction that are essentially guaranteed (tenders are not, as many believe, requests for estimates, they are firm offers of work).

    Construction management, it turns out, is a science. And they are at least as good at their business as used car dealers are at theirs…

  10. Dave: Exactly right. It’s all about getting the “customer” to the point where they are committed to finish (generally contractually, not necessarily with money in the ground).

    “Once you’ve got their b*lls, their hearts will follow…”

  11. Jason, their petition is an effort in futility. They’ve already wasted the majority of the time they needed to get signatures and have left themselves only a couple of weeks to get I believe it’s over 30,000 signatures plus extras for the inevitable invalid signatures they’ll get.

  12. The possibility is there that the Sacramento referendum may get on the June 2014 ballot if get’s the qualified signatures.

  13. re: Atlanta – The good news is that I don’t see any cemeteries attached to either of the churches. We’ve seen that movie before.

    The bad news is that the city chose what appears to be the much more expensive site. The “north option” is nothing but parking lots. The churches would be doing the people of Atlanta a favor by holding firm on their prices.

  14. One other thing that needs to be touched on is that the Saddledome in Calgary got wrecked by flooding:
    The debate on a new arena is going to become big because of this

  15. Actually, they’re going to need to do repairs to the Saddledome immediately, since the Flames season starts in only three months. (The Brooklyn Cyclones stadium got similar damage from Hurricane Sandy, and they managed to get up and running in not much longer than that.) So it’s not like the Flames will be able to argue “Let’s just build a new arena instead of fixing the old one” — if anything, it’d make more sense to say, “We just sunk all this money into the Saddledome, why replace it now?”

    “Sense” not being the usual operative word in these things, however, you’re probably right that the Flames will use this as an argument for a new arena. One with state-of-the-art features like an anti-gravity field where water doesn’t flow downhill.

  16. Considering the rising and falling of the sun, “we need more seats for our stadium,” and “we’re reducing the number of seats to create a more intimate feel/make more room for larger jumbotrons with more ads” are all considered arguments for a new arena, I think you’re right.

    Cleanup money is a sunk cost, since they have to do it to play their season. The Flames will just say most of the stuff they replaced was replaced with new-ish equipment that can be relocated to a new arena…. including the copy of their signed team poster that was flooded.

  17. Federal and provincial dollars will be made available to cover damages (at least the lion’s share of) to public and private buildings. One might think that insurers should be on the hook for such things as accidental flooding. However, our governments appear to believe that the profits of the insurance companies are of utmost importance, so they kick in tax dollars to ensure that the policy holders do not have to pay out any of the premium funds they take in for disasters like this.

    They do so because they believe it is easier to fund the repairs directly, rather than have insurers raise premiums in future to cover past disasters. That might be a reasonable action, if it weren’t for the fact that insurers raise premium rates anyway, even if they don’t pay out on things like floods (because, hey, how could an insurer possibly know that the building they’ve agreed to insure sitting just 40 yards from the banks of a major river is in peril?). Of course, you can always pay ‘extra’ for coverage on these perils (assuming an insurer will offer coverage, and many don’t), but then they’ll only pay if they can’t find a way to declare the flooding an act of terrorism, or somehow blame the insured person.

    The Saddledome will be repaired. Taxpayers will pay for the repairs… just like the construction and most of the renovations. And here I thought antibiotics were supposed to rid the world of parasites…

  18. Jason, the possibility is there that you’ll win the lottery next week too. Doesn’t mean it’s likely.