Vegas swing vote could be swinging back to support MLS stadium, because parks!

Remember how yesterday I wrote this about the proposed Las Vegas MLS stadium deal?

The please-let-it-actually-be-final council vote is set for next Wednesday; if past history is any guide, we won’t get much of a hint of the outcome before then, unless Bob Coffin tips his hand before then.

Bob Coffin has now tipped his hand, and it looks like he may be swinging back to the “yes, let’s give $90 million to a soccer stadium for a team that doesn’t exist yet” side:

Councilman Bob Coffin, a consistent opponent to using public money for the stadium, has softened his stance and appears ready to support a new financing plan that includes $25 million in city money to build the stadium. The key to Coffin’s shift is a new wrinkle in the plan that would guarantee about $25 million for improvements to city parks, something Coffin says is especially needed in older neighborhoods like the ones he represents.

“It’s not the same deal as it was. They’ve improved it a great deal,” Coffin said. “The debt potential is really minimized now. The raid on the revenues for the parks has stopped … It’s going to really help us.”

The Las Vegas Sun isn’t clear on exactly when Coffin said this, but given other quotes from Coffin included in their article, it’s pretty clear that his main concern was getting more money for parks, and now that the stadium deal includes some more money for parks on top of the $90 million for the stadium, he’s all, “Cool, more money for parks!” Which helps explain why the only revision the stadium proponents made in the deal since the council voted in October to “reduce or eliminate” public subsidies for the project was to throw some money at parks, because why worry about making the whole council happy when you can just placate the one swing vote?

All of which should be a lesson: If you’re an elected representative body and want to eliminate public subsidies for a sports stadium, you might want to actually vote down the public subsidies, rather than voting for “Here’s another two months, see if you can come up with something that will get one councilmember to defect from our narrow majority.” Just a suggestion.

4 comments on “Vegas swing vote could be swinging back to support MLS stadium, because parks!

  1. As a political strategy, being known as someone who will vote for a proposal if and only if they can something for themselves is very smart. When it comes to re-election, or if he wants to be more than just a city councilmember, he can point to the increased funding for parks as a point in his favor. Postponing the vote for two months was likely never about reducing or eliminating subsidies, and was instead likely just an opportunity for individual councilmembers to reap some personal advantage.

  2. I don’t think this has to go before voters, though it’s possible someone could try to get an initiative on the ballot. (I’m not up on Nevada referendum law.) Probably the most effective way anyone can influence things in either direction now is to call Coffin’s office and tell him what you think of this deal, before he’s publicly committed himself.

  3. Neil you are correct; the vote isn’t public because they know it will fail. If the general public was polled on this, I guarantee you the ratio between those who oppose versus support would be 10:1. You have Findlay who doesn’t even live in the city limits, and of course Cordish who claims to have $250 million earmarked for development on the condition the area goes through. But what about spending those dollars regardless if there is an arena or not? Ask that question and you would hear crickets.

    This City Council is not only corrupt, but completely inept. Anyone with half a brain knows the financial projections presented on the arena and parking for the TIF are outlandish. People in this town do not like Downtown or the Strip for that matter. The Strip is a free-for-all since they changed their business model to nightlife. Downtown is full of dreck, with no definitive plan on what it wants to be. Vegas is where Phoenix was 30 years ago – no plan, no money, no vision. Too bad we don’t have anyone as smart as Colangelo to bail us out.