Friday, December 02, 2005

The terrifying specter of missing McCartney

All right, Voison. Now you've done it. I am steaming mad. I want to call you some bad names but this town is small enough (as you would be quick to point out, it's just an identity-less cowtown with a sub-par arena) that you might actually read this (it's not out of the question) so I'm going to resist the urge. You've come out again with one of your patented alarmist columns about the need for a new arena. You use the same framework every time and just switch a few of the words around. This time it's a direct plea to the fans to become activists and demand a new arena. Not the Sacramento citizens, just the rabid fans. Sorry, Ailene, but we have a pretty big population in this here cow-town, and of that population only a small percentage are fans of the type you are appealing to, and even some of those fans don't want the city to spend a ton of money building a fancy new arena to make the Maloofs and David Stern (and you) richer. You want the fans to speak, but the PEOPLE have already spoken, and continue to speak every fucking time you and a handful of others dredge this issue up. We don't want to pay. There is no public support. Figure something else out.

She trots out the same tired shit (Arco is "long in the tooth and built on the cheap" ooh nice turn of phrase there) and some new tired shit. This time we get the threat that Paul McCartney may not choose to play here. Excuse me? McCartney JUST PLAYED AT ARCO on November 16th. Are you talking about his projected tour in like 2007? Do you have some inside track on that? That is so pathetic that that's the only other argument that you could come up with. Try again, Voison.


Anonymous said...

Tusk! Well put Beckasac! I couldn't take reading her columns anymore once she could no longer contain her bone for Peja.


Stephen Glass said...

Write her! Everyone knows all these news people are snarky, pompous, constipated, sexually frustrated people who secretly crave and thrive on validation, rejection or any interaction with the world outside their insular, windowless, soundproofed bunkers.
And that's just half the matter -- billionaires bullying municipalities is a serious matter, and nothing to fawned over or encouraged. Let Ailene know and make 'er cry all weekend. Even worse so than that time Peja stood her up for that late-night get-together atop the parking garage.

beckler said...

I was anticipating a barrage of comments and then I was going to send her a link, but the comments are getting a little personal...but I still might do that later cuz it's easier than writing a letter.

Stephen Glass said...

Oh, Ailene -- Connie and I were joking about the Peja thing. And about our line of work (I think I'm just projecting). Nothing but love. Pull a MoDo and weather the ribbing.
I'm damn serious about everything else, however.

Anonymous said...

Arguably, a new arena makes the entire region richer, and not just the Kings or the Maloofs or the NBA. 41+ games a year helps hotels fill vacancies, sells newspapers, fills restaurants and bars, etc. - and subsequently creates jobs.

Corporations bullying localities, with the threat of leaving for another city / state / country, whether good or bad, is a reality. If you owned the Kings, would you stay? It would be like someone saying to you - "hey dude, if you move to (fill in the blank with the place of your choice) I'll give you a better and higher paying job with a bigger and newer and better apartment. Oh, and all of your friends can move with you too."

Full disclosure...I'm a big basketball fan. I like going to Kings games. But I also think that major pro sports teams benefit a city in non-economic ways. Anyone living in Sacto from 2000 to 2004 has to know what I'm talking about. You could walk down the street and high five grandmas and construction workers and doctors. The team was a great unifier. The Kings were an instant conversation starter with anyone. The city was friendlier (minus the guy going around on his bike punching out girls) and more optimistic just because of a basketball team. It seems so ridiculous, but that's how it was.

So yeah...that's my take on it.


Uneasy Rhetoric said...

Arguably, a new arena makes the entire region richer, and not just the Kings or the Maloofs or the NBA.

There's just not the economic research to back this up. Plenty of claims by boosters though.

But I also think that major pro sports teams benefit a city in non-economic ways.

This is true, and probably a better track for argument. Personally, I'm neutral on the whole arena deal. I want the Kings to stay, I think it's appropriate for the city to put up some money to keep them here, but there are also many more pressing public issues.

We need to be honest that it's about civic pride as much, or more than economics.

beckler said...

From my understanding there is no agreement among economist types who study the business of sports on whether pro sports have a positive economic influence. Some analysts say yes, others no. As for a non-economic influence, yeah I guess you can't quantify that but I tend to bond with other city dwellers over stuff like favorite neighborhoods, places to eat, etc. I don't follow the Kings anymore so I don't really care about that aspect. I know others do, but to me it makes more sense for Sacramentans to come together over things that are actually related to our city, not a team made up of people who reluctantly move here. I don't think what you said seems ridiculous, that's why people have played sports since the dawn of culture. I just don't know if that nebulous reason is something to hang a fat tax on. My dad used to be a giant Niners fan and it seemed to make him as happy as the Kings make local basketball fans, and he rarely went to SF at the time. It had little to do with the location. I wish we could end the argument forever that can be summed up as "we all know it sucks, and it's corporate blackmail, but we have to go along with it cuz we have no choice". Not true, because that is not how it always was. It is this way NOW because these people have rampaged over communities unchecked. Make them come up with alternatives.

Oh yeah, I forgot to laugh at Voison's other threat about Sac becoming the biggest TV market to not have a major sports franchise. Why would I know or care that we are the 19th biggest TV market in the nation? Is that supposed to be a source of civic pride? Maybe she should take one of those notorious cold showers are Arco and wake the fuck up.

beckler said...

uneasy rhetoric beat me to it. also, i meant to write "at Arco" of course. I blew my dis!

Anonymous said...

I only make this comment: It's Voisin, not Voison. Unless you want it to rhyme with poison.

Anonymous said...

good points.

while i acknowledge that there are differing opinions as to whether a new arena makes a region richer, i do not think there is any doubt that the retention or acquisition of a major professional sports team makes a region richer. and that is what the argument turns on because without a new arena, i think the team moves.

i think a smart move by the city/team/supporters of a new arena would include improvements to the city's infrastructure. why not propose to include lightrail to the airport with a new arena? if it was a choice between a new arena or lightrail to the airport, i'd take lightrail to the airport. but why not include both? lightrail to the airport is a necessity and i think a lot more people would get behind the idea. and it is something that has been batted around.

this is america - who is marketing this thing!? don't call it a deal for a new arena for the it a sacramento region infrastructure and development project.

another interesting idea is to also tax the people who don't live here and use that money to help build the arena. in miami, they were going to add a tax to people who take cruises out of the port and use that money to help build a new baseball stadium. ultimately it was rejected by governor jeb. sacto doesn't have the tourists that miami does, but i think any little bit helps. increase a hotel tax, assuming there already is one, and use the excess toward a stadium. they talked about some sort of "downtown / midtown" tax on restaurants a couple of years ago. that's a bad idea. make out of towners pay for the stuff that we get to keep.

Anonymous said...

Yes, raising taxes to make Sacramento (everyone's least favorite spot to visit) will really help bring in more conventions. Even the governor doesn't like being here.

The team was a great unifier. The Kings were an instant conversation starter with anyone.

Like me saying, "No, I'm not going to let you move in with me because you're a Kings fan". Fuckin' basketball.

We should get the Raiders to move here since we're slumming up the place. Elk Grove, that's a slum already in progress. That'll give gangsters a place to live.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how it is relevant whether or not you like the Kings or sports.

I don't have kids; I don't even like kids. But I am still ok with my taxes going toward childhood education if that is going to benefit my city.

Stephen Glass said...

Full disclosure from me -- in additon to being a bitter old crank, I'm a big Kings fan and I think they're great for Sacramaento. I also think as sports owners go (and this is rather faint praise, since 95 percent of them are scumwads), I think the Maloofs are pretty decent.
But that said, I'm tired of cities jumping on the bandwagon of these $300 million dollar arena/stadium projects that end up costing a whole lot of public money. Some of these things are the sparks to revive blighted downtown neighborhoods; yet some just bring in a whole lot of Hooters and Virgin megastores with Dockers-clad suburbanites who wiz in and out, and they cal also gentrify neighborhoods, drive up rents and tear up historic properties. And despite being such a gee-whiz big TV market (which is deceptive, because that market encompasses a huge chunk of the Central Valley -- Stockton, Modesto, the foothills) if you look at its physical dimensions), Sacramento is not Miami, Boston, Dallas or Atlanta. It's in the shadow of the Bay Area, L.A. and San Diego when it comes to sports franchises and yuppie-stuffied Paul McCartney shows. It does not have the corporate clients like, say, San Jose or S.F. who will line up to buy hundreds of luxury suites (it has, say, CalPERS, not Intel and Google). The NFL, Major League Baseball, the NHL and the Olympics are not coming to Sacramento to fill up the other 324 nights of the year. The city could get stuck with a multimillion dollar white elphant.
Yes, The Kings will eventually leave without a new arena being built, and that will be very upsetting to me and many other people (and also would mean nothing, I think to just as many people). But an arena can be built away from downtown. It can be financed privately or at least almost all privately. David Stern and the NBA have an interest in the Kings staying in a fast-growing city with a rabid fan base. Let the league, the Maloofs and the other basketball-lovin, cowbell-ringin' tycoons of the greater Sac area figure it out. I'm really just belaboring points here that have been made earlier more coherently, but you know how much I love the sound of my own typing.

Beth said...

But without a decent arena, where will we put all the poor people when the levees break?

Anonymous said...

Poverty hill silly!


Anonymous said...

I'm not certainly not Ailene's biggest fan (I thought her Tuesday column was hysterical in a bad way), but she's on point in today's column. You guys are right in that we, the most dedicated fans in the nation, shouldn't need to convince the powers-that-be that we want to keep our Kings here, and we shouldn't have to foot the bill... But at this point, what's wrong with getting loud about this?

It's fucked up that this team is even considering leaving - it's seriously "The Cleveland Browns II." But it's a possibility, and we shouldn't let it happen without yelling and screaming. We built this fucking franchise, you know?

Stephen Glass said...

Yes, that arena (the oldest in the NBA, as the 'oofs are fond of saying (although MSG and the Meadowlands are older -- oh wait; they've been REMODELED since that time and are clearly completely different buildings) is clearly not up to snuff as a theoretical site to house evacuees from 100-year flood. Guess they'll all have to stay at Peja's pad in Granite Bay.
Didn't mean to get personal with the comments earlier, Ailene. Connie started it -- that woman's got a more juvenile sense of humor that even myself. I'm generally a fan of your columns here and there.

Anonymous said...

There are many other ways to attract suckers, I mean tourists, and their money that are not explored or exploited. This is a town that cares not one bit about her history. But it is a fascinating place in that regard. I have spoken with city people about making the old city (underground) accessible so we could charge money to check out the old smugglers tunnels and opium dens, but the response is always, "how are we gonna pay for it?" Then again, the people I spoke with don't usually question putting loads of public money up when the maloofs come calling. Beckler is right. The teams have no loyalty. An economy based on Sacto selling herself would be totally stable _and_ build more civic pride.