Is Angels owner Arte Moreno just playing Long Beach for leverage or what?

Yesterday’s Long Beach Post had the most detailed timeline yet of Long Beach’s flirtation with the Los Angeles Angels over a new stadium, and it goes something like this:

  • A Long Beach councilmember emailed an Angels vice-president in 2014, when the team was first talking about leaving Anaheim for someplace else in Orange County or environs, “but the conversation went nowhere.”
  • A Long Beach official had a meeting with an Angels lawyer in 2017, but a followup meeting never happened, city economic development director John Keisler explaining, “We called a bunch of times, but they never responded.”
  • In October 2018, when Angels owner Arte Moreno abruptly decided to opt out of his Anaheim lease, Long Beach started preparing a stadium site plan in earnest, and in January of this year there were high-level meetings between city and team officials, shepherded by local real estate developer Frank Suryan.

So the question now becomes: Did Angels execs finally start returning Long Beach’s phone calls because they were seriously interested in moving there, or because they were seriously interested in Anaheim officials thinking they were seriously interested in moving there? In other words, is this a genuine possibility, or just a savvy negotiator trying to create leverage?

Unfortunately, the two tactics look pretty much the same from the outside, and it could always even be both: There’s no reason Moreno couldn’t have said, “Sure, go talk to Long Beach, either it’ll pan out or at worst it’ll help me play hardball in my talks with Anaheim.” So we have to stare really hard at the tea leaves to try to suss this out:

  • The Long Beach stadium comes with a $1 billion price tag, and no plan yet for how to pay it off. That would take $60-70 million a year in new revenues just to break even on, and it’s hard to see how a Long Beach stadium would be that much more profitable than the one Moreno already has in Anaheim, especially with no room for housing or other development on the site.
  • About that site: It’s still really damn small. The Long Beach Post published its own image of Angel Stadium superimposed onto the site, as provided by “the architecture firm Gensler,” but weirdly made it a narrow banner image that can’t be viewed in its entirety. Viewing the page source reveals it to be this:

    Which would overlap two major roads and the Long Beach arena, plus part of a park and neighboring lagoon. The site isn’t quite unworkably small, but it would at best take some extremely creative design to get it to fit.
  • Angels spokesperson Marie Garvey said in response to queries about Long Beach, “We get approached by cities all the time. This is nothing new.” She then added: “Right now we’re only talking to Long Beach and Anaheim.”

It certainly has all the ingredients of a leverage move, but crazier ideas have happened, so.

Moreno is still reportedly set to make a decision — whatever such a decision would mean, as plenty of other team owners have made stadium decisions then later backed out of them when they proved unworkable — sometime this year. Maybe by then Long Beach will actually have a site plan and financing plan in place; even more likely, by then former Anaheim mayor Tom Tait’s parting gift to the city of a new appraisal of the Angel Stadium parking lot land value will be complete, and Moreno and new mayor Harry Sidhu will have a starting point for figuring out what Moreno should have to pay if he wants to develop the lots and use the proceeds for stadium renovations (or, I guess, just stuff the cash down his pants). Watching slow-motion jockeying like this can be very frustrating not just for fans and interested followers of stadium negotiations but also for journalists, which is why we get long articles about who was talking to whom when, and then long blog posts about the long articles; it’s fine to rubberneck at it all, so long as you keep in your mind that talk is cheap, and steel and concrete are expensive.

Friday roundup: Nashville saves (?) $75m by giving Predators $103m, South Carolina offers to give $125m to Panthers practice facility (?!), Oakland A’s shipping cranes are multiplying (?!?)

Since last week I went off-topic to discuss a review (kindly) poking fun at some of the ridiculousness of Marvel movies, I should note that there’s a TV series that manages to create a fun, exciting superhero universe while simultaneously poking fun at the entire genre in ways that expose not just its ridiculousness but also its fundamentally Manichean politics, and which has now been canceled by Amazon, a company that has been at the forefront of scheming to shake down cities for subsidies in exchange for building its own facilities. Coincidence?!?!?!? Well, okay, yes, almost certainly, but here’s hoping The Tick ends up picked up by a less ethically compromised corporate entertainment giant, if that’s even a thing.

Where was I? Oh right, stadiums, what’s up with those this week that we didn’t get to already?

  • The Nashville Predators have indeed agreed to a 30-year lease extension as first reported last week, and how good or bad a deal it is depends on your perspective: The team’s $8.4 million a year in tax kickbacks and operating subsidies will be reduced to just $4.9 million a year in tax kickbacks, which would be $75 million in taxpayer savings but on the other hand the tax kickbacks will be extended to 2049 now instead of 2028, so that’s $102.9 million in additional taxpayer costs. (Neither figure translated into present value.)
  • A South Carolina legislative conference committee has approved $115 million in tax breaks for a Carolina Panthers practice facility in Rock Hill. Yes, you read that right, a practice facility. State officials say that the 15-year tax kickbacks of all state income taxes will pay for themselves, a conclusion that state senator Dick Harpootlian determined was based on, in the words of the Associated Press, “every Panthers player and coach moving to South Carolina and spending their entire paychecks here and the team buying all the material for the new facility from companies in the state.”
  • Speaking of practice facilities, the Washington Wizards‘ new one is costing $1 million more a year for D.C. to run than anticipated, which is not good after the city already spent $50 million to build the thing for the team’s billionaire owner. D.C. officials recently booked three new concerts for the arena, but expects to lose money on each of them; an Events D.C. board member said they would let “people know that they have a place to go, that this is a fun place,” which I guess is another way of saying they’ll make it up in volume.
  • Omaha is spending $750,000 on hosting an Olympic swim meet, which on the one hand is a lot cheaper than $115 million for an NFL practice facility, and on the other is for a one-time Olympic swim meet.
  • Two unnamed sources tell The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal that New England Revolution owner Robert Kraft is “on the brink of securing a stadium site,” which tells us nothing about the state of the Revolution’s actual stadium plans since this could be a planted rumor to try to gain momentum, but does tell us lots about The Athletic’s poor grasp of the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethics policy on use of unnamed sources.
  • I wrote a thing for Gothamist about how the New York Mets banned backpacks because they have too many pockets to easily search, but not other bags with lots of pockets, pretty much on the grounds of “the light’s better over here.” The best argument either of the security experts could come up with for the policy is that fewer bags means faster lines which means less time queued up outside stadiums as a stationary target for any theoretical terrorists, which is frankly mostly an argument for staying home and watching on TV.
  • Journalist Taylor C. Noakes notes in an op-ed for CBC News that bringing back the Expos might be nice for Montreal baseball fans, but probably won’t do much for the Montreal economy since “the economic impact of a professional baseball team on a given city [is] roughly equivalent to that of a mid-sized department store,” which, yup.
  • The latest Oakland A’s renderings show it still oddly glowing amid a darkened rest of the city. Plus now there are shipping cranes on both corners of the site! I am about to start working on a theory that this entire stadium plan is just a dodge for John Fisher to build lots of shipping cranes.

Missouri approves $41m worth of renovations for Blues arena that St. Louis just paid $67m to renovate in 2017

The state of Missouri has approved $70 million in spending over 20 years for renovations to the St. Louis Blues arena — and if you feel like this just happened a couple of years ago, you’re almost right: That was $67 million in city money, and will cover scoreboard, sound system, and seat upgrades; the state money will pay for escalators, roofing and heating, and air conditioning, because apparently that’s what was left to buy on the Blues’ gift registry.

This will be totally worth it, say public officials, because competitiveness!

“Without renovations, and without public-sector support for those renovations, we run the risk of being less competitive in pursuit of national events,” said Frank Viverito, president of the St. Louis Sports Commission, a nonprofit organization that attracts and manages sporting events.

Also because hockey is fun!

The fact that the Blues currently are making a run in the NHL postseason was mentioned by more than one state lawmaker during House debate on Wednesday, including by some who eagerly described going to hockey games.

(I’m having trouble finding documents to confirm this 100%, but the Blues owners appear not to have agreed to any sort of lease extension in exchange for the subsidies, presumably because St. Louis and Missouri official are even bigger morons than their neighbors over in Indiana.)

Since the payments are deferred a bit, the state’s $70 million in nominal subsidies is worth more like $41 million in present value, so that reduces the sting a bit. Though the legislature also tacked on approval to pay another 10 years’ worth of $3-million-a-year lease subsidies to the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, which adds to the sting, though at least those are subsidies that were planned for all along, so it’s not really a new waste of cash, just an agreement to keep up with the commitment to an old one? Maybe it’s best just to say Who can put a price on state-of-the-art escalators? and leave it at that.

Long Beach Angels stadium would cost $1B, be paid for by ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The city of Long Beach’s plans for a Los Angeles Angels stadium may be hampered by a cramped site and lousy transit options, but apparently they’re serious enough to have priced out how much it would cost. The answer: a buttload.

A new baseball stadium on a proposed 13-acre site known as the “elephant lot,” just east of the Convention and Entertainment Center downtown, would cost $900 million, according to a report Long Beach staffers drafted on Oct. 25. That report presented officials with different bond options for financing the project — over 20, 30 or 40 years. Each option, the report said, would push the total cost to roughly $1.1 billion after interest.

In addition:

New parking garages would cost about $30,000 for each stall, according to recent estimates – or about $105 million for the 3,500 new spaces at the stadium alone, staff wrote in a report.

The 556 pages of documents turned over by Long Beach this week in response to public records requests also revealed that the Bay Area legal firm Quint & Thimmig LLP noted that the city could potentially avoid voter approval of any stadium deal by using “new financing districts [or[ public-private partnerships,” notes the Long Beach Press-Telegram, or such dedicated revenue streams as naming-rights fees or increased rates for parking at city lots. They also revealed that a Long Beach councilmember had first reached out to Angels execs way back in 2014 during the Great Tustin Footsie Episode, though talks didn’t kick off in earnest until last fall.

It’s not really fair to add in financing costs as if they’re cash being paid out now, but even assuming $900 million in present value for stadium costs, those parking garages (for only 3,500 cars, which is not a lot of cars for a 50,000-ish seat stadium) would push the total cost past $1 billion. And while it’s nice to suggest using naming rights or stadium revenues to pay off part of that cost, that’s all money that Angels owner Arte Moreno would be wanting to boost his own profits — otherwise why else move? Add in that his negotiations with Anaheim have all been about getting free or cheap land to build housing on, and the Long Beach site currently can’t have housing built on it because it’s designated “tideland,” and yeah, this is not looking like a great proposal.

If Moreno is mostly continuing talks with Long Beach to shake loose a sweet deal in Anaheim, though, then it doesn’t really matter how serious the Long Beach proposal is so long as headlines keep showing up about it. (Sorry about perpetuating that.) Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu at least seemed to take the Long Beach report in stride, saying Tuesday that “Anaheim has an incredible advantage as the best stadium site in Southern California, with great freeway access, integrated public transit, easy in-and-out and a proven experience for fans for more than 50 years now,” and snarking that “we certainly understand [Long Beach’s] ambition but do not envy the monumental task presented by financing, government approvals, traffic planning and environmental review.”

Six months after Sidhu’s election, though, we still have no idea what he’s offering to Moreno, something that Councilmember Jose Moreno, the hospitality workers’ union Unite Here Local 11, and the community group Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development this week called for remedying by making the negotiations public. City spokesperson Mike Lyster retorted that the model is the city’s Anaheim Ducks arena deal, which was made public about a month before it was voted on by the council — which is either just enough time to have a comprehensive public debate or just enough time to avoid one, depending on your perspective. It’s going to be very interesting to see what that new land appraisal for the Angel Stadium property comes in at, let’s just leave it at that.

Friday roundup: Predators sign possibly non-sucky lease extension, NYCFC stadium rumors reach code orange, and why are we laughing at fat Thor, anyway?

Sorry if I’m posting a bit late this morning, but I started checking Deadspin for any last-minute news, and ended up having to read all of Anna Merlan’s best Avengers: Endgame review ever. If you’re tempted to click that and go read it now, please wait until after reading this post because it will make you forget all about wanting to know about soccer stadium zoning regulations or whatever, and anyway this week’s roundup is relatively short and will let you get back to thoughts on Thor fat-shaming in due haste; if you’re not tempted to click that at all and are wondering how this post went off the rails so quickly, just skip ahead to the bullet points already:

Bill would let A’s owners use tax money for Howard Terminal infrastructure they said they’d pay for themselves

Oakland A’s owner John Fisher has been trying to build a new stadium forever, and for just as long he’s been insisting he’ll do it entirely with private money. So, ruh-roh:

Legislation that would help the City of Oakland finance infrastructure and transportation projects for a new ballpark at Howard Terminal was approved Monday by the State Senate…

The bill would allow Oakland to create an infrastructure financing district for the roughly 50-acre waterfront property where the Oakland Athletics intend to build a 35,000-seat ballpark, 3,000 units of housing, in addition, to retail and office space.

“Any financing that emanates from the district would not be used for the actual stadium itself. That is going to be privately financed,” [state Sen. Nancy] Skinner said on the state senate floor. “but rather for the other transportation and other infrastructure that may be needed at the site.”

So, okay, if you’re new to this whole development subsidy thing, “transportation and other infrastructure” could mean stuff that genuinely has nothing to do with an A’s stadium, or at least only tangentially benefits it while also benefitting the whole area; or it could mean “everything about the stadium that isn’t actually holding up the seats.” It’s always tough to say until you see the actual funding plan, and we don’t have that for the A’s. The actual bill appears to leave it up to the city of Oakland how big to draw the tax increment financing district, and what to spend the money on, so that’s no help either.

(And if you’re new to tax increment financing, it’s basically kicking back taxes from a new development to help pay for part of the development’s costs. It doesn’t usually work out too good.)

The A’s planned Howard Terminal site will have lots of environmental cleanup costs, but team execs say they’re going to pay for those; in fact, team president Dave Kaval went so far as to say back in February, “There are going to be a lot of infrastructure costs on the site, whether it’s transportation, whether it’s sea level rise, whether it’s environmental mitigation. Those are all things that as part of the project, we’re willing to pay for.” And by “the site” Kaval meant the whole site, including other development, so … beats me, man.

As for how much tax could be redirected to this infrastructure fund, it depends on how big a TIF district Oakland approves. If we wild-ass-guesstimate a $1 billion development, though, and the effective property tax rate in Oakland is a little under 1.5%, then over 30 years, in present value … we could maybe be talking about $200 million or more. Probably less than that given that you’d have to deduct the current value of Howard Terminal land, but still, likely somewhere in the low nine figures. Maybe.

This is all exceeding hand-wavy, obviously, and really you’d want an Oakland City Hall reporter who’s on the scene (or at least in the right time zone) to be asking these questions. All we know for sure is that Zennie Abraham claims he gave Kaval the idea for TIFs last year, though given that 1) the A’s owners were talking about TIF-like structures way back in 2006 and 2) Zennise Abraham has claimed lots of things, probably best to keep several large grains of salt on hand for that one as well.

 

Would-be Portland MLB owner must start paying for would-be stadium land, or go back to drawing board

How’s that Portland baseball stadium with the tram and the private beer taps but no actual team or money to pay construction costs going, you’re wondering? Let’s check in on the plans, courtesy of The Oregonian, aka Portland’s city newspaper by default even if it’s mostly staffed by empty desks these days:

By the end of the month, the pro baseball boosters could have to start paying the Port of Portland hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for the exclusive negotiating rights to the Northwest Portland terminal where they hope to build a 32,000-seat stadium. The bill for the first three months will come to $375,000.

It’s definitely time to get serious, then: $750,000 a year is a chunk of change to pay just to keep dibs on a site that may or may not ever get a stadium for a team that may or may not ever exist. (Reminder: MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has said that there won’t be any expansion until the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays get new stadiums, and the latter, at least, seems unlikely before 2027ish.) So is the Portland Diamond Project — main owner, former Nike exec Craig Cheek, main names added to the group’s “leadership” page to sex it up, Russell and Ciara Wilson — ready to make a commitment?

The Diamond Project has only just begun to sort out thorny issues around transportation and zoning that could keep the field just a dream…

Marshall Runkel, chief of staff for City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who oversees the city’s Transportation Bureau, said there’s been little progress in addressing the challenge of getting thousands of fans to and from the games.

“It still looks very difficult or impossible from a transportation standpoint to make Terminal 2 work,” Runkel said.

That’s not so good.

There are plenty of questions still unanswered, including who would pay for the venture. The group has shown Mayor Ted Wheeler pledges from big-money investors, but it hasn’t released their names.

That’s also not so good.

Prediction here, based on no inside info other than a gut feeling about how these things usually go: As we get closer to the end of May, Cheek will try to negotiate an extension on the land option, maybe paying a smaller amount to push back the decision date by a few months. Given that nothing much is expected to happen in the next few months, though — maybe the Rays owner will make some kind of statement about where he’s hoping to build a new stadium, but that won’t make a new Rays stadium appear overnight — it’s hard to see what that would get Cheek other than delaying the inevitable. At some point, he’s going to have to decide whether being able to wave “We’ve got a stadium site!” in front of a nonexistent MLB expansion committee is worth paying $750,000 a year to reserve a site that may not even be a good one for a baseball stadium; if he punts and throws a dart at a map to pick another pretend site, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised by that either.

Friday roundup: IRS hands sports owners another tax break, A’s accused of skimping on Coliseum land price, Rays could decide this summer on … something

Happy Friday! Here is a fatberg of stadium and arena news to clog up your weekend:

  • San Jose Mercury News columnist Daniel Borenstein says the Oakland A’s owners could be getting a discount of between $15 million and $65 million on their purchase of half the Oakland Coliseum site from Alameda County, which is hard to tell without opening up the site to other bids, which Alameda County didn’t do. You could also look at comparable land sale prices and try to guess, which shows that the A’s owners’ offer is maybe closer to fair value; it’s not a tremendous subsidy either way, but still oh go ahead, just write us a check for whatever you think is fair is probably not the best way to sell off public assets, yeah.
  • St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman says he expects to hear by this summer from Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg whether Sternberg will seek to build a stadium in St. Pete or across the bay in Tampa. Of course, Sternberg already announced once that he was picking Tampa and then gave up when nobody in Tampa wanted to pay for his $900 million stadium, so what an announcement this summer would exactly mean, other than who Sternberg will next go to hat in hand, remains unclear.
  • Fred Lindecke, who helped get an ordinance passed in St. Louis in 2002 that requires a voter referendum before spending public sports venues, would like to remind you that the soccer stadium deal approved last December still has to clear that hurdle, not that anybody is talking about it. Since the soccer subsidies would all be tax kickbacks and discounted land, not straight-up cash, I suspect this could be headed for another lawsuit.
  • Cory Booker and James Lankford have reintroduced their bill to block the use of federal tax-exempt bonds for sports venues, but only Booker got in the headline because Lankford isn’t running for president. (Okay, also it’s from a New Jersey news site, and Booker is from New Jersey.) Meanwhile, the IRS just handed sports team owners an exemption from an obscure provision of the Trump tax law that would have forced them to pay taxes on player trades; now teams can freely trade their employees like chattel without having to worry about taxes that all other business owners have to, thank god that’s resolved.
  • Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, for some reason, revealed that “Seattle is having a meeting to try to bring back the Sonics,” but turns out it’s just Chris Hansen meeting with a bunch of his partners and allies from his failed Sodo arena plan, not anyone from city government at all, so everybody please calm down.
  • The rival soccer team that lost out to David Beckham’s Inter Miami for the Lockhart Stadium site in Fort Lauderdale is now suing to block Beckham’s plans for a temporary stadium and permanent practice facility there, because this is David Beckham so of course they are.
  • Publicly owned Wayne State University is helping to build a $25 million arena for the Detroit Pistons‘ minor-league affiliate, and Henderson, Nevada could pay half the cost of a $22 million Las Vegas Golden Knights practice facility, and clearly cities will just hand out money if you put “SPORTZ” on the name of your project, even if it will draw pretty much zero new tourists or spending or anything. Which, yeah, I know is the entire premise of this site, but sometimes the craziness of it all just leaps up and smacks you in the face, you know?
  • The Philadelphia Union owners have hired architects to develop a “master plan” for development around their stadium in Chester, because they promised the city development and there hasn’t been any development and maybe drawing a picture of some development will make it appear, couldn’t hurt, right?
  • Wannabe Halifax CFL owner Anthony LeBlanc insisted that “we are moving things along, yeah” on getting federal land to build a stadium on, while showing no actual evidence that things are moving along. “The only direction that council has ever given on this is ‘dear staff, please analyze the business case when it comes,’” countered Halifax regional councillor Sam Austin. “Everything else is media swirl.”
  • Never mind that bill that could have repealed the Austin F.C. stadium’s property tax break, because its sponsor has grandfathered in the stadium and any other property tax breaks that were already approved.
  • Hamilton, Ontario, could be putting its arena up for sale, if you’re in the market for an arena in Hamilton, Ontario.
  • And finally, here’s an article by the Sacramento Bee’s Tony Bizjak on how an MLS franchise would be great for Sacramento because MLS offers cheap tickets and a diverse crowd who like public transportation and MILLENNIALS!!!, plus also maybe it could help incubate the next Google, somehow! And will it cost anything or have any other negative impacts? Yes, including $33 million in public subsidies, but Tony Bizjak doesn’t worry about such trivialities. MILLENNIALS, people!!!

Friday roundup: Wild get $55m to extend lease, A’s seek to buy into Coliseum land, Calgary will own Flames arena (maybe, whatever that means)

Friday! Let’s see what else has been happening this week:

  • The owners of the Minnesota Wild have extended their lease for ten years, through 2035, in exchange for cutting their rent from $9 million a year to just over $3.5 million. That may sound like a $55 million gift (or an $88 million gift — the Pioneer Press wasn’t clear about whether the rent reduction starts now or in 2026), but St. Paul officials say it won’t cost the city any money, because they renegotiated the public arena bonds so that they can be paid off over a longer time. No, I don’t get it either, this is just what the newspaper says the unnamed city officials said, go ask them.
  • The Oakland A’s owners have a tentative agreement to buy Alameda County’s half of the Oakland Coliseum site for $85 million. (The public landowners previously turned down a purchase offer of $167 million when it looked like the Raiders might stay put there, and other indicators put the market value of the site in the same range, so the price looks reasonable, at least.) No, that doesn’t mean the A’s owners will necessarily build a stadium there — they say Howard Terminal is still their first choice for that — but they could, or they could just build other development there, or they could be prohibited from building anything, given that Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has been complaining that the county selling its stake without consulting the city, which owns the other half, could be illegal. Check back again in about a month, when the deal is supposed to be finalized, maybe.
  • Calgary councillor Jeff Davison, the main proponent of a new arena for the Flames, says that “the City of Calgary will own” any arena, which could mean, well, anything really: Will the city own just the deed, or the revenues from the build as well? Who will control non-hockey events? Who will pay maintenance? Will the building pay property taxes? Rent? The Calgary Herald says that “an official with the Flames said there was ‘nothing to report’ when asked for comment,” so we’re flying blind here, at least until Davison drops some more hints about what he thinks is going to be approved, if he even knows what will be approved and isn’t just trying to boost his plan’s prospects by talking it up in the press. Stenography journalism is hard!
  • Eastern Illinois University is looking at building an esports arena in a second-floor classroom, and now I really don’t get why Comcast Spectacor needs to spend $50 million to build one in Philadelphia.
  • This week in vaportecture: One of the ghostly figures projected to attend Worcester Red Sox games has now wandered onto the imaginary field’s imaginary second base and is celebrating an imaginary double; the F.C. Cincinnati stadium will now feature a “grand staircase” that is supposed to echo the Spanish Steps in Rome and the front steps of the New York Public Library, which are 174 steps and (roughly, I can’t find a count online) 25 steps respectively, whereas these look like they’ll be seven steps max, but okay; and the Tampa Bay Rays stadium in Tampa that will never be built has finally turned around its field so the giant gap in the grandstand isn’t behind home plate but is now in center field, which is more reasonable but, remember, not going to be built anyway, so never mind.
  • And speaking of Tampa, newly elected mayor Jane Castor has declared, “I will do what I can to have the Rays move to Tampa.” Rays owner Stuart Sternberg can’t move anywhere until 2027 without the permission of St. Petersburg, and the term Castor was just elected to expires in 2023, so good luck with that one, mayor.

Friday roundup: Jacksonville mayor says “whatever Jaguars want” on stadium renovations, that’s it, I’m done, I can’t even finish this headline

Running late on the roundup this week — I just published two new articles on the wastefulness of film tax credits and New York’s probably fruitless attempts to fight off sea level rise, plus I have another major writing deadline today — so let’s get to it: