Man who should know better says $500m Rangers subsidy made sense because “things happening” is good

And here’s your epitaph for the Texas Rangers owners’ successful stadium campaign:

[UTA political science professor Allan Saxe] said he believes another factor that influenced voters was last month’s groundbreaking for the $250 million Texas Live! entertainment complex, being built next to Globe Life Park and the new stadium site.

“When people can see things happening, I think they’re willing to go along with other projects,” he added. “I know it impacted me.”

Read that again: A political science professor says he was swayed to vote for a half-billion-dollar subsidy to help two rich guys tear down their 22-year-old stadium so they could have one with air-conditioning because of an entertainment project next door that was already going to be built regardless.

I can see we’re going to be here awhile.

11 comments on “Man who should know better says $500m Rangers subsidy made sense because “things happening” is good

  1. I generally think these are foolish efforts, but I’m pretty much on board with this one.

    1. Public referendum. Spending disparity is bad, but probably wouldn’t have made a difference.
    2. Costs basically fully known. That’s a lot of money. No hidden ball trick.
    3. Political economy obvious–free stuff for rich guys.
    4. Few outrageous economic development claims.

    Egyptians built pyramids. Texans build stadiums that are larger and more grand than anywhere else, and it’s their thing. I don’t agree with it as a priority, but so long as people realize that they are just getting a baseball stadium out of it, whatever.

    Egypt today gets tourist money because of the absurdity of ancient building projects. Texans will get no tourist money because they often tear the old stadium down. But maybe in 2000 years travelers will visit the Cotton Bowl like we do the Colosseum?

      • Stupid idea, but transparent as these things go. As long as it’s understood to be a luxury and not the basis of a bright new economy.

        • As with a lot of things this week: While it’s always better when things happen via a public vote, that doesn’t mean the entire campaign process isn’t farkakte.

          • I don’t necessarily think the campaign was perfect, but lots of purchases people make are kind of dumb and foolish in terms of opportunity cost. But people still do them.

            The proposition seemed fairly straightforward: Give a ton of tax money that could be spent on something else to two rich guys so that they can tear down a perfectly nice ballpark and build a more expensive one. The keep the rangers page outlines some of the usual ($77 million a year in spending!!!) but SPORTS is really the crux of the argument.

            No tenuous ties to police or “the children,” no promises of huge tourism increases or a bright new convention-oriented future. Spend a lot of money and everything stays the same and you don’t have to drive an extra 20 minutes to see a baseball game.

            By the standards of political horror detailed on this website–this proposal was almost Swedish in its directness and transparency.

  2. Can’t remember which was which, but either McKinley or Allen is building a $70m high school stadium “because the other one” built a $60m high school stadium.

    No word on whether the extra $10m will go to making sure the new one doesn’t have the same structural defects as the “cheaper” one though….

    There is really never a legitimate rationale for building modern sports palaces other than that “we want one”. It seems many people commission/buy new houses that they can’t afford based on the same principle, so maybe the sports world isn’t that far out of step with society.

    At least this was put to a vote, as was noted above. I think the people of Arlington are making a mistake, but so long as they were asked and had the opportunity to find out for themselves (neither side is likely to be honest when providing information) what the impacts of either a yes or no decision would be, it’s not an affront to public decency.

    It would be nice if people voting in favour were asked to check boxes on what public services they are willing to cut to fund the project, but now I’m just dreaming aren’t I?

    • Allen has the $60M stadium. McKinney is building a $70M stadium.

      Just curious: What dishonest information were the people opposing the stadium providing?

  3. We know the former owner had a history of steeling elections and is still a fan. Just can’t believe Texas voters are that dumb.

  4. Allan Saxe, an interesting 50 year institution at UTA,
    spent his money some years ago to build a new baseball park for the college team and it is, or at least was, named for him. Still don’t think the new Ranger Stadium was a good idea though.