The Austin city council held its first official discussion of a proposed MLS soccer stadium to host the relocated Columbus Crew yesterday, and apparently Leslie Pool isn’t the only councilmember who went into it having done her reading. Just check this out:
Council Member Alison Alter, who has aligned with Pool in the debate, cited an economic study by Stanford professor Roger Noll critical of most stadium deals cities strike with major league sports owners.
“Austin is wonderful, but we don’t defy the laws of economics,” Alter said. “According to this proposal, we’re giving away our land for free. I have an issue with that.”
Elected officials namechecking Roger Noll without prompting! Maybe we really are in the brave new world predicted by, uh, Roger Noll!
The council is set to meet again on Thursday, but soccer isn’t on the agenda, meaning the decision on whether to give Crew owner Anthony Precourt free land and a bunch of infrastructure money is likely to come down to one final winner-take-all debate on June 28 — though the opposition proposal is likely to be less “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” and more “open up the site for competitive bidding so we can see if we get any better offers.” Aside from Pool and Alter being opposed, and both Mayor Steve Adler and Mayor Pro Tem (vice-mayor, basically) Kathie Tovo being in favor, most councilfolk didn’t have much definitive to say yesterday other than this thing is 189 pages, we need to read it more carefully. Good thing they’re going to have two whole meetings to discuss it, because that sure is democracy!