Friday, September 10, 2004


Ok, so if you haven't yet, read the "what a weiner" post first.

Lo and behold, Mark Kreidler wrote back to me, and quite quickly, too. Here it is:

Becky, thanks for your note. I don't expect you to take my word for the fact that I have read innumerable studies related to the benefits and disadvantages of arena construction, including a raft of Roger Noll's fascinating work at Stanford. I have written several times already that I believe the public discussion over what constitutes an acceptable expenditure of its tax dollars to be both worthwhile and important.
Though I found "Field of Schemes" to be informative and interesting, I'd also caution you against swallowing whole the authors' remarkably ignorant blanket assumption about the base intelligence level of local journalists. I live here, yes. Doesn't make me stupid.
Respectfully, Mark

If you read my letter first, and then his reponse, you'll notice that he doesn't really address most of my points. I'm a bit puzzled about the last two sentences. I never asked if he lived here or said that he was stupid (well, I guess I implied it). Presumably, those two sentences refer to the previous sentence about the book, "Field of Schemes". I didn't think that that book questioned the intelligence of local journalists, I think that they studied the reporting in different cities on arena issues and found a lack of investigative journalism and a willingness to print whatever the owners and developers were saying as fact. He doesn't answer my question about whether he investigated the report that concluded that Arco could not be remodeled. I like how he name drops Stanford to sound smart. Now, if you read his column from yesterday and note the desperate tone, you will see that it doesn't really match with his statement about public discussion being "worthwhile". He has already made it clear that this discussion cannot include the possibility that there will be no new arena, or that we won't pay for it. So really the discussion must just take the form of how much we will pay, and it would be "naive" to think it could be as low as fifty percent.

By the way, speaking of naive, when I was talking about the local government doing something about air quality, I realize that that is more of a county issue, or even a multi-county issue, but my point was that if people put the energy and money into that that they put into the arena issue, some progress could be made.

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