Friday roundup: Election Day could have big consequences for Rays, Blue Jackets, Clippers

Happy last week before Election Day! Unsurprisingly, we lead off with a bunch of vote-related news:

  • Tampa Bay Rays president Brian Auld says he’s confident team execs will be able to meet a December 31 deadline for stadium funding without having to ask for an extension, even though right now there’s currently a $300 million funding gap. Frequent FoS commenter Scott Myers has theorized that the Rays ownership is hoping Hillsborough County voters will pass a 1% sales tax hike for transportation on Tuesday, which would free up other public money to pay for transportation improvements for a Rays stadium; that doesn’t seem like it’d provide $300 million, but every hundred million dollars counts, so everybody watch the ballot results carefully. (Which you should be doing anyway. And voting!)
  • The Columbus Blue Jackets owners, who have been criticized for being the main beneficiaries of a proposed 7% ticket tax in the city because their arena would get the lion’s share of the proceeds, surprised everybody this week by coming out against the tax, saying it “would materially harm our business.” Maybe this is reverse psychology to get residents to vote for the bill, since they’ll no longer think it’s a sop to the hockey team? Okay, probably not.
  • Madison Square Garden has given $700,000 to the campaign of the chief challenger to Inglewood Mayor James Butts in an effort to block plans for a new Los Angeles Clippers arena that could compete for concerts with MSG’s Forum, and the Clippers have fought back with $375,000 in spending to support Butts’ campaign. Poor grass.
  • In non-electoral news, the University of Connecticut is building a $45 million hockey arena on campus even though its team will continue to play most of its games in Hartford’s XL Center, just because its new NCAA conference requires an on-campus arena. (It also requires that the arena have at least 4,000 seats, but UConn got a waiver to only build 2,500 seats.) Since UConn is a public university, this technically means that public money will go into the project (though the university says it can pay for it from its own reserves), but mostly it’s bizarre to see an entire arena being built just to meet a technicality — what do you think the carbon footprint will be for this?
  • Transit experts are worried that the 2020 Olympics will overwhelm Tokyo’s already-crowded subway system, though they may not be anticipating how much the Olympics tend to cause anyone not interested in the Olympics to stay the hell out of town. The government has been encouraging local businesses to stagger work hours and open satellite offices to accommodate Games traffic, since “everybody call in sick for three weeks” would be anathema to Japanese work culture.
  • Opponents to Nashville SC‘s stadium plans are seeking a court injunction to block construction of a new expo center to replace the one that would be torn down to make way for the soccer stadium on the grounds that it would interfere with parking for a flea market, which is a first in my book.
  • Louisville is officially not bidding for an MLS franchise (yet), which unofficially makes it the only city in the whole U.S. of A. that isn’t. How is MLS ever going to meet its dream of a franchise for every individual person in North America if these keeps up?

That’s all for this week — go vote! And try to fight your way past the journalism extinction event to educate yourself about all those downballot races and initiatives and such, since as we cover here every week, they can have huge consequences.

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8 comments on “Friday roundup: Election Day could have big consequences for Rays, Blue Jackets, Clippers

  1. “The government has been encouraging local businesses to stagger work hours and open satellite offices to accommodate Games traffic, since ‘everybody call in sick for three weeks’ would be anathema to Japanese work culture.”

    I’m not gonna lie, that would def be something i would look into doing if i was working in Japan *and* was absolutely swimming in vacation days.

  2. The idea that passing a sales tax increase to pay for transportation, thus freeing up more public money for private development, is maddening.

  3. “just because its new NCAA conference requires an on-campus arena.”

    That’s just bizarre all the way around with the icing on the cake being they could get a waiver over the size of the arena but not a waiver saying they didn’t need it at all. Even though they have no plans of using it regularly.

    It makes you wonder what they technically could have gotten away with. Could they just build some multipurpose facility that theoretically could host hockey someday and never even put ice in the building?

  4. Funny how the bluejackets first surveyed their fans before coming out against a tax that is being imposed just for them. Did they come out against the arena bailout ? Or the the Casino taxes for operating subsides ? At least the people of Columbus are seeing this organization for the Welfare queens the are.

  5. Go extremely extreme Eastern Mandan, ND FC. Note, I live about a half-mile from Bismarck near the Missouri River.

  6. If you want to know more about Nashville’s fight against MLS here is a link -
    The city is trying to push out our Flea market (Top 10 rating for the US, over 2,000 vendors) and the FAIRGROUNDS SPEEDWAY NASHVILLE Est.1904. and The Tennessee State Fair.
    (WIKIPEDIA) In 2009, Mayor Karl Dean announced the Metro government’s intention to redevelop the fairgrounds into a mixed-use neighborhood, displacing the state fair amid financial struggles.[6] Opposition to the closure prompted a citywide referendum in August 2011 that would amend the Metro charter to continue existing activities at the fairgrounds site. The amendment was passed by over 70 percent of voters.[7][8]
    In 2016, mayor Megan Barry proposed demolishing several buildings on the fairgrounds to make way for community parks and soccer fields. The plan, which also includes a new soccer stadium for the new Nashville MLS team, would displace the fair by 2019.

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