• Arena, Part II

    by  • July 27, 2011 • Post, Uncategorized • 36 Comments

    My old criminal law professor Barney Sneiderman took a great interest in the Robert Latimer case. One of his more memorable lectures in law school involved him telling a story about writing some justice of the Supreme Court of Canada after they upheld Latimer’s murder conviction. Barney had an interest in end-of-life issues and was convinced that the Court had fudged the facts about the condition that Latimer’s daughter lived in, which then made it easier for the Court to conclude that the defence of necessity didn’t apply to Latimer’s situation. He had a funny story about raising this with one of the judges on the court; the judge was not impressed.

    Judges aren’t the only ones who might sometimes fudge facts (assuming, of course, that Barney was right; at the very least, it was a fine story, told well). David Staples’ opus magnum the other day summarizing, for the benefit of Ed Stelmach, why he should fund this project, is another excellent example. I’m going to leave his second point for the time being and go straight to his third point.

    3. The proposed downtown project enjoys popular support

    David explains his rationale here:

    It’s no reach to suggest most Edmontonians — other than a vocal minority such as the few handfuls that showed up at the recent anti-arena protest at city hall — want Stelmach to support this project. The vast majority of almost 30,000 responses to the city’s online questionnaire last fall supported the project. This finding was validated by a scientific phone survey of 800 Edmontonians, where people again made it clear they want a better downtown, they believe a downtown arena will help, and they are willing to accept reasonable public financing. Edmonton’s city council is now firmly on board for hammering out a deal here.

    Now, I’m not a journalist, paid to cover this issue and familiar with the nuances of every point, so I had to get up to speed on the polling. In the course of doing so, I Googled something like “Edmonton arena polls.” Oddly, it turns out that there have been a bunch of them done.

    2007 poll commissioned by the, uh, Edmonton Journal: “Around two-thirds of the respondents think that the Oilers should continue to play at Rexall Place as it is today and around the same percentage are against putting any taxpayers’ money into a new arena.”

    August 2009 Ipsos Reid poll: 76% of Edmontonians disagree (46% strongly/31% somewhat) with the statement “The City should provide taxpayer’s money for a new Hockey Arena.”

    September 2010 Ipsos Reid Global TV poll: 74 per cent of Edmontonians do not agree that the city should use taxpayers’ money for the construction of a new hockey facility downtown

    October 2010 Ipsos Reid poll: 72% of Edmontonians oppose the City of Edmonton providing taxpayer’s money for a new downtown arena.

    December 2010 Return on Insight poll: 67% of people think that the City of Edmonton should contribute funds to a new downtown arena as long as it does not raise the property tax rate or reallocate infrastructure funds.

    : 71% percent of Edmontonians oppose the use of taxpayer money for a new downtown arena.

    I don’t know how you can say what David’s saying: “…most Edmontonians — other than a vocal minority such as the few handfuls that showed up at the recent anti-arena protest at city hall — want Stelmach to support this project.” It’s a shocking thing for a journalist with any respect for the truth to write, without, at the very least, acknowledging all of the polls that seem to disagree with the one poll he’s citing and attempting to reconcile the distinction. His castle of public support has, at the very least, a questionable foundation.

    It’s interesting to me how tightly grouped the opposition to the arena is when it’s phrased in terms of putting taxpayer money into the arena. Every poll that phrased the question that way (which, in my view, is an economically accurate way of describing what is proposed) produced a result of somewhere between 67% and 74% against.

    There is but a single poll that concludes that a majority of Edmontonians think that the City of Edmonton should contribute funds to a new downtown arena. Note that the question is phrased differently – while Ipsos Reid asks about “taxpayer dollars”, the poll commissioned by the City of Edmonton from Return on Insight asks whether the “…City of Edmonton should contribute funds to a new downtown arena as long as it does not raise the property tax rate or reallocate infrastructure funds.”

    I’m astounded by the difference in result between the polls. I assume that it’s something to do with the language and structure of the polls because I don’t understand how one poll could generate such different results. The questions on the Return on Insight poll are interesting. They were as follows:

    1. What is the most important issue facing the City of Edmonton?”

    2. Are there other issues of importance you think the City should address?

    3. Have you read, heard or seen anything in the past year about a proposed plan for building a new hockey arena in downtown Edmonton?

    4. What benefits, if any, do you think building a new arena in downtown Edmonton would bring for the City?

    5. There are many different opinions about building a new arena in downtown Edmonton. For each of the following statements I’d like to know if you agree or disagree and is that strongly or somewhat?

    a. It is important to keep the Edmonton Oilers in the City

    b. Building a new arena with an entertainment complex will provide economic benefits to downtown

    c. It’s important that a new arena include a second community ice surface

    d. Building a new arena downtown will help revitalize the area

    6. “Do you personally support or oppose some of the following ideas about how to fund the building of a new downtown arena?”

    a. Funding it partially through user fees like a ticket tax, or levies on concessions and sales in the new arena complex

    b. Having a mix of private and public funds to build the new arena

    c. Designating a special area around the arena and dedicating the tax revenue from property value increases in the area to pay for the new arena

    7. “When the City of Edmonton conducted consultations about the idea of building a new arena, some
    people stated they would like to see certain assurances made. For each of the following assurances that
    could be made, do you think it is very important, somewhat important……..?”

    a. People in the area would be consulted about integration & benefits

    b. Public private agreement on financial risks and benefits

    c. A location agreement keeping Oilers in town for life of agreement

    d. A plan for what happens to Rexall Place afterward

    e. Public investment goes into arena not retail areas of new complex

    8. “If the project were to proceed, do you think the City of Edmonton should contribute funds to a new
    downtown arena as long as it does not raise the property tax rate or reallocate infrastructure funds?”

    (The question numbering is a bit dodgy in the post.)

    A few things jump out from that, most of which is covered in a fine Edmonton Sun editorial. Yes, really: a fine Edmonton Sun editorial.

    I emailed Bruce Cameron, the owner of Return on Insight, to ask if he’d mind having an exchange about the survey that he performed. I didn’t get a response. I note that Return on Insight’s website describes the business as follows:

    Prior to establishing Return On Insight, a strategic communications and research consultancy, Bruce worked for some of the most well known names in the polling and advertising business: Gallup Polls, Decima Research, Young & Rubicam Advertising, and the Angus Reid Group. He also founded and managed his own market research firm, Cameron Strategy for over a decade, prior joining NRG Research Group, where he is a Senior Advisor.

    He has been a keynote speaker at conferences in North America, the Middle East and Asia on a variety of topics such as public opinion trends, tourism, technology, gaming and the environment. His expertise in qualitative and quantitative research is extensive, including developing proprietary models for concept testing, market segmentation and branding. Most recently he developed a proprietary audience engagement approach called the Integrated Feedback System, featuring a hybrid of tools ranging from traditional polling to online surveying and onsite feedback collected via touch screen kiosks.

    Emphasis added. In short, Mr. Cameron seems to be in the business of doing more than just opinion polling. I don’t know precisely what his brief was here, how the questions he asked came to be the questions he asked, why they were worded the way that they were, why questions that weren’t asked weren’t asked or the extent to which his expertise in other areas informed the wording of the questions, although I would have loved to discuss this with him.

    At the very least, you have to wonder about the difference between the various polls. They both use torqued language to a degree – the City poll seems to ask people if they agree with a free lunch while the other polls use the phrase “taxpayer money” – you could just as easily say “Should the taxpayers invest…” although, in all fairness, it’s unlikely to be an investment in the sense of one that generates an economic return.

    I don’t think any fair person looking to accurately summarize the public feeling as revealed by the various polling would conclude that most Edmontonians want Stelmach to support the project (assuming, of course, that David implicitly means that they also support the project). I think that you can reasonably say that people are ok with contributing funds to an arena if it doesn’t involve raising property taxes or reallocating funds, but that question says nothing about what sort of a return they might expect – I’ve seen a lot of people talking about rents the City might collect, which sort of seems pointless to me – any rent the City collects will be less than the cost to the City, otherwise Katz wouldn’t be bothering with this.

    There’s a neat non-partisan site in the United States called Public Agenda that tries to understand how Americans feel on a variety of issues. They have a statement on the bottom of their various issue pages that reads as follows:

    Public Agenda uses several indicators to judge when survey results should be reported and used cautiously:

    * Results change when survey questions are reworded slightly.
    * Results change when implications or trade-offs of a policy are pointed out.
    * Results may be misleading if reported in isolation or out of context.
    * Other research suggests that people have incomplete or inaccurate knowledge in this area.

    This seems to me to be a prime example of that. It’s pretty clear that when the phrase “taxpayer dollars” is used, people are overwhelmingly opposed. When it’s expressed differently – and, I would argue, not entirely accurately or fairly – a different result is obtained. Reading through the results of the City’s survey, I noted that a lot of people think that there will be big economic benefits for downtown Edmonton as a result of the new arena. This raises a red flag for me as to the extent that people are informed on what arenas do and the impact that they have.

    I would concede that just asking a question about taxpayer dollars may well generate a skewed response. If there are benefits, supported by solid evidence, people should understand those before they are asked the question. The same thing goes with costs.

    I do not accept that, on the evidence available, you can say that Edmontonians overwhelmingly support the project. At best it’s uncertain. It is undeniably shameful cheerleading to say such a thing without acknowledging all of the data points to the contrary. Say what you will about guys like Pat LaForge, at least he presumably gets a paycheque from Katz for his work. I’m not sure what David gets out of pretending that other surveys showing a consistently different result don’t exist or that there might not be methodological questions about the one performed by the City.

    About

    36 Responses to Arena, Part II

    1. Tyler Dellow
      July 27, 2011 at

      @WG:

      If their main concern was keeping the team in Edmonton, then a local billionaire pledging to spend to the cap, build a new practice facility and extras at the UofA and also pledging $100MM towards a new rink isn’t a bad decision.

      They could have told Katz that part of the deal was signing a new 30 year lease with the City on the same terms. That would have driven their price down. They took the inflated price and now Katz wants your tax money or the team is gone.

    2. The Other John
      July 27, 2011 at

      Not sure the methodology on the Return on Insight survey but some of the material cited for broad support of the new arena is filling out a survey with no restrictions on who or, worse, how many times a survey could be filled out.

      I raised this with, I think, someone at Journal and was told what are you complaining about— you can fill in as many responses as you want.I tried to point out that survey results with multiple responses from a single person is not an indicator of strong support, rather it is just one persons response repeated ad nauseum or, heaven forbid, a paid staff that could fill out surveys all day long. Not sure who would have a vested interest in that type of activity?

      Do not know Staples but suspect that he, like Tambellini with his signing of Khabbulin, is not the type that likes to admit his repeated reference to strong support for a downtown arena may be a freaking mistake!!

    3. NewAlgier
      July 27, 2011 at

      One other way to look at polling data is the strong for vs strong against percentages. This is a handy ratio to figure out where public opinion stands without the dross of don’t know/don’t care.

      If 25% of people are strongly opposed to taxpayer funding, and 5% are strongly for it, a ratio of 5:1 means it won’t happen. This, to some extent, might help deal with the biases/question wording of polls: to be strongly in favour/opposed, you have to know at least something about it.

    4. rubbertrout
      July 27, 2011 at

      Any poll can be manipulated to suit the needs of the person who is commissioning it. Just about all poll questions are based on the concept of “push polling” which creates a hot button reaction depending on its target audience.

      As well, the so-called “random” samplings are often anything but that. You ask a question in a lower middle class neighbourhood where one response implies that property taxes will go up thus impacting on the disposable income for the household and you already know what the answer will be.

      Polls are almost without exception cheerleading

    5. ranford4life
      July 27, 2011 at

      Given what we know about the historically high quality of David’s writing, especially as it pertains to civic and judicial matters in Northern Alberta, I think it is prudent to consider the pressures that he may be feeling from his publisher to churn out pieces trumpeting support for the downtown arena.

      Over the past number of years, the Journal’s sponsorship presence with the Oilers has decreased notably. I recall them having prominent signage in Rexall Place, presenting a text-to-win trivia game during TV timeouts at Oiler games, using the “Oil Country” word-mark for a monthly pull-out magazine in their paper, and sponsoring the silver pom-poms on the run in 06. This advertising presence with the Oilers is no longer there. Now, this may have to do with penny-pinching at the Journal, as I assume they were not impervious to the implosion of CanWest, but you can rest assured that it did not go unnoticed at Oiler HQ.

      Perhaps in an effort to curry favour with Rexall Sports Corp as the eventuality of the downtown arena begins to take shape, the Journal has decided to publish primarily fluff promotional editorials in support of the project and lend credence to those pieces by attaching the name of one of their most notable critical writers.

    6. July 27, 2011 at

      ranford4life: Don’t forget that the Edmonton Journal was part of the Edmonton Investors Group and owned a slice of the Oilers before Katz bought them out. Their decreased presence may simply be down to the fact that they’re not ownership anymore.

    7. ranford4life
      July 27, 2011 at

      Lord Bob: You may be right, and I’m sure that their history may play into it, but CanWest entered bankruptcy protection in Aug 09, before being acquired by Postmedia last summer. The old ownership that was tied to EIG is gone, and some bridges may have been burned between the Journal and Rexall Sports Corp in the meantime. Maybe David’s puff pieces are simply an olive branch.

    8. July 27, 2011 at

      Sidepoint:

      Tyler, I think you’ve convincingly made the case that many people don’t believe the city should provide taxpayer funds to the arena.

      I suspect the answer to similar questions, but listing ‘the province’ of ‘the federal government’ might generate different answers.

    9. July 27, 2011 at

      Whoa, you’ve got a seriously busted tag about a third of the way in.

    10. July 27, 2011 at

      Given what we know about the historically high quality of David’s writing, especially as it pertains to civic and judicial matters in Northern Alberta, I think it is prudent to consider the pressures that he may be feeling from his publisher to churn out pieces trumpeting support for the downtown arena.

      Have you read his Twitter feed? He’s a fucking zealot.

      Speaking of Twitter, Michael Parkatti has been killing it the last week on this subject. Among the objections he raised that haven’t been mentioned here yet: why the everloving hell is this arena $450M, when recent arena projects have averaged over 1/3 less ($267M overall, $265M since 1991, and $285M since 2000, all dollar values adjusted based on CPI).

    11. Chris Cziborr
      July 27, 2011 at

      “I think it is prudent to consider the pressures that he may be feeling from his publisher to churn out pieces trumpeting support for the downtown arena.”

      This is possible, but whatever happened to objective journalism? If this is true, it’s yet another example of why fewer and fewer people are reading newspapers.

      Publishers have been treating their journalists with contempt for decades now.

    12. July 27, 2011 at

      What I find amazing about that Return on Insight poll is question 4. Am I misreading those results, or does that show that when directly asked to list the benefits of a downtown arena, a full 32% of the responses they got either couldn’t or wouldn’t name a single positive benefit for the city, or ignored the question altogether and instead listed negative results of a new downtown arena (12%)?

      When a third of the respondants don’t have anything positive to say about a downtown arena when asked directly, I don’t see how you can then say that the survey “made it clear” that people believe an arena will make the downtown better.

    13. FastOil
      July 27, 2011 at

      Doogie2K

      Being a cynic about how governments overpay for everything, I’d imagine it’s a play to squeeze more tax dollars out of the city and whoever else gets drawn in.

      Or if I’m an optimist, Katz is a pessimist and thinks that building an arena with the gov’t involved will cost overun a third.

    14. Woodguy
      July 27, 2011 at

      They could have told Katz that part of the deal was signing a new 30 year lease with the City on the same terms. That would have driven their price down. They took the inflated price and now Katz wants your tax money or the team is gone.

      That’s an awful lot of monday morning quarterbacking.

      You are stretching awfully hard to tie this to the EIG. I can’t see why.

    15. Kris
      July 27, 2011 at

      WG,

      Isn’t any criticism after the fact, “Monday Morning QB’ing?”

      “Khabby was a bad signing” is Monday morning QB’ing.

      That’s hardly relevant.

      Couldn’t Tyler say your working awfully hard to defend the EIG?

      No disrespect to you intended.

    16. Darren
      July 27, 2011 at

      The Journal was affected by the CanWest bankruptcy and they endured some big cuts in the office. If it’s relevant to Staples or not, I couldn’t say but possible.

      The Return on Insight poll called my house incidently. Got so frustrated with the type of questions and the leading on in the wording that in the end did not allow them to use our questionarre in the poll.

    17. Woodguy
      July 27, 2011 at

      Kris,

      Re:MMQ – its more of an attempt to show not so obvious consequences that really shouldn’t have been a concern at the time. Khabby’s contracy however, was derided at the time it was signed, most notably in Tyler’s “Loser move by a loser organization” post.

      As for defending the EIG, I just find the charges a little incredulous and am noting it.

      I don’t think that buying the Oilers was “good investment” either. It seemed the income barely covered the expenses for years and while there may have been a somewhat viable exit strategy (selling to someone who wanted to move the team, still a horribly illiquid asset), forecasting the change in the economy, CBA, and US exchange to turn the investment into a winner long term would have taxed even the best crystal ball.

      Even after they all cashed out under the best of circustances (investment wise) they still only made a 10% annualized return.

      For the first 5 years their money would have been better served in a savings account making the minimum.

      If it was such a great investment on the surface of it then Cal Nichols wouldn’t have had to beat the bushes for investors.

      I guess I just see some of what is written as revisionist history so I’m speaking my piece.

    18. Woodguy
      July 27, 2011 at

      Kris,

      There is rarely disrespect in decent debate, none taken or given sir.

      Also,

      Gary Lamphier (sp?), Paula Simmons and others at the Journal are anti- current rink deal, I doubt David Staples has “marching orders”

      As far as I can see the polls Tyler sites has it right. Most in Edmonton see value in a new rink, nut not if public dollars subsidize Katz, like the current deal is structured.

    19. beingbobbyorr
      July 27, 2011 at

      This is possible, but whatever happened to objective journalism?

      Objective journalism has been abandoned because it can’t be achieved. The trend in journalism now is to permit subjectivity, but attempt to provide some degree of disclosure/transparancy so you’re readers can weigh the writing appropriately. See Brooke Gladstone’s neat little Graphic-Novel-like book “The Influencing Machine”.

      But your point still stands: where is Staples’ full (or partial) disclosure?

      If this is true, it’s yet another example of why fewer and fewer people are reading newspapers.

      People aren’t reading newspapers any less than before due to falling journalism quality. They read newspapers less because discrete electronic distribution renders aggragated paper distribution unnecessary.

    20. July 27, 2011 at

      Some more specific criticisms of the CoE’s survey:

      Q6. Do you personally support or oppose some of the following ideas about how to fund the building of a new downtown arena?”

      They only gave 3 scenarios for funding the arena: a ticket tax, a mix of private and public and a CRL. There was no chance to choose total private funding (or for that matter, total public funding).

      Q7. “If the project were to proceed, do you think the City of Edmonton should contribute funds to a new downtown arena as long as it does not raise the property tax rate or reallocate infrastructure funds?”

      For starters, the very premise of the question doesn’t address the CRL, because the CRL does raise the property tax rate or reallocate infrastructure funds. So, the results can only really be taken as an endorsement of a ticket tax. And now that we know that the Mayor wants to use MSI funding, which is absolutely, 100% a reallocating of infrastructure funds, this question is even more ridiculous.

      Secondly, of course people are going to say yes to this. They’ve created a magical hypothetical situation that cannot exist. It’s like asking someone if they’d like to take a free magical pill that has no side effects and causes no harm to you and overnight you’d lose 20 lbs. Of course you’d be in favour of that. Except it doesn’t exist in reality.

      Q9: Considering all of the factors we have discussed, such as the cost, the potential economic impact and the agreement that might be reached between private and public sector partners, overall do you support or oppose building a new downtown arena?

      Nowhere in the survey did they discuss the cost (ie. $450 million) or how much taxpayers could potentially pay ($250 million) and they’ve only told people that there’s going to be no cost to them (no tax increase).

      Secondly, the question hints that there is a potential economic impact for the arena, which studies have time and time again shown that there is not.

      So, again, the question is grossly misleading. Would you want a new free arena that will be a huge economic boon to the city? Of course people are going to say yes.

    21. July 27, 2011 at

      Where’s Staples to tell you that you’ve horribly misrepresented all his points, that Taxpayer Funding Is The Only Way, and/or that your opinion is irrelevant because you’re in Toronto?

    22. July 28, 2011 at

      and/or that your opinion is irrelevant because you’re in Toronto?

      Oh, he claims that was a one-time, minor thing with Tyler. But if he tries it again, point out that Mark Rosentraub doesn’t live in Edmonton, either. And that Staples himself grew up in Devon and lives in the suburbs. If we’re going to go down that ridiculous road, it’s gonna get ugly for him fast.

    23. chartleys
      July 28, 2011 at

      Kent: Mr. Simpson, how do you respond to the charges that petty vandalism such as graffiti is down eighty percent, while heavy sack-beatings are up a shocking nine hundred percent?

      Homer: Aw, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. Forfty percent of all people know that.

    24. Ribs
      July 28, 2011 at

      Have you read his Twitter feed? He’s a fucking zealot.

      It’s kind of funny. Yesterday I was chatting with a buddy that I had introduced to twitter a few days ago. He complained “This dstaples guy keeps tweeting about Edmontons new arena. It’s kind of annoying.”

      It has been a bit much lately. But then again, I don’t live in Edmonton so maybe it just doesn’t interest me enough.

    25. Mr DeBakey
      July 28, 2011 at

      “I don’t live in Edmonton so maybe it just doesn’t interest me enough.”

      Neither does Staples, its not slowing him down.

      The other day on Gregor’s show, he, Rishaug & Spec were discussing the idea.
      Surprisingly, all three were in favour of the new building.
      But, like Ribs & Staples, none of the three lives in Edmonton.

      Thanks for spending my tax dollars guys!

    26. July 28, 2011 at

      Do you know who else didn’t live in Edmonton? HITLER.

    27. Mr DeBakey
      July 28, 2011 at

      Bad analogy
      Hitler never advocated that the City build the Flyers a new artificial ice arena down on the Walterdale Flats

    28. July 28, 2011 at

      The funny thing is that, actually, Hitler was all about the publicly funded stadia.

    29. FastOil
      July 28, 2011 at

      Gretzky for hockey and Hitler for any reason should never be casually used as examples or reference because both are extreme examples, and Hitler is extremely offensive to a lot of people, a blight on humanity. Kind of like using “rape” outside of it’s context – not funny at all, actually callous.

    30. Kris
      July 28, 2011 at

      Gretzky would totally rape Hitler.

    31. Ribs
      July 29, 2011 at

      Once he gets in his office behind you… He’s unstoppable.

    32. July 29, 2011 at

      “Gretzky Raping Hitler” would have been a great name for an Edmonton-based metal band in 1988.

    33. Newalgier
      August 2, 2011 at

      Nassau County voters told the Isles to hit the bricks tonight. Explain to me again why Edmonton’s mayor wants to support a stadium in any manner at all? It’s almost a crime to waste such a strong bargaining position in exchange for a couple free tickets and the chance to have Kevin Lowe throw your chair through a window.

    34. CM
      August 3, 2011 at

      http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/polls?pCat=46&sCat=2354

      The telling poll here is that only 56% of sports fans who frequent ESPN would be willing to have their taxes raised to keep their favorite team in town. I would have to imagine that this number would be far lower for the general population.

    35. GRETZ99
      August 4, 2011 at

      There are many good arguments for and against

      My problem with this deal is Katz gets 100% revenues!

      The city owns the rink and Katz pays no property tax

      I could go on and on, there is many more details that don’t pass the smell test, they out right stink!

      If we do the deal, we should get some percentage of revenue, shouldn’t we, David Staples and John Mackinnon!

      The CRL will take years to develop to pay off, and Katz will now contribute building in the area only if he deems market conditions to be favorable, huh?

      So much for the original Katz proposal, 100 mill arena, 100 mill building contribution to promote CRL area!

      Not to Mention Northlands Loss and viability,
      they operate many buildings for the city, functions that if they didn’t exist, the city would have to run.

      Northlands also has big existing loans with the city for development of that convention area, which is needed in any city to function.

      What a way to treat a tremendous Landlord for the Oilers,the investors group wanted no responsibility of running rexall place, because it was a financial loser. Northlands changed that, to make it what it is today, the 31st most booked arena venue int the world!

      So the city negotiates a deal with the tenant for a new arena, despite Northlands partnering with the EIG to save the Oilers in the first place since that was the deal to buy the team from Pocklington. Now Katz comes along and Northlands is shut out, wow, hows that for thanks for helping keep the team here, classy.

      If We take away their concert business, how are they going to pay off to us, the taxpayor, their city loans?

      And Katz current proposal is the deal is off, if Northlands decides to compete in the concert business, are you kidding me?

      If public money is used, A fair deal should be a goal, shouldn’t it?

      The devil is in the details, and they’re absurdly all in favor for Katz, on virtually every account

      A fair deal by NHL standards?

      Oh what standards are those? Use public money to pay for the majority of the arena cost, and get zero Revenue, and property tax for it, wow what a deal, and that’s fair? LMAO

      Let’s see, the cost break down is this:

      125 mill by the city, 125 mill in ticket tax (by us, the people, public money David Staples, not private, don’t call that private money David staples, that’s public money essentially!)

      It also can’t be assumed a ticket tax prevents the Oilers to charge more for tickets,
      someone paying $5000 – 10,000 dollars in season tickets is not going to balk at paying more, by what $250, $500, $800 etc..

      As for the rest of the folk that don’t pay that insane rate for season tickets, if they can’t afford them, in this crazed hockey market someone else will.

      Even if you believe Katz can’t charge more due to a ticket tax, it can’t be assumed that it’s a dollar for dollar reduction by whatever the ticket tax amount is.

      Isn’t it amazing, that if don’t get into the details, and just keep generalizing, you can make this arena deal look good, yet when you look at it, it makes no financial sense, just pure corporate welfare.

      Especially when you consider the city also has to buy Katz’s land and there’s been no public disclosure how much that amount will be?

      Heck, Katz might even make an instant profit by selling the land! That would then be his total financial contribution, making the Arena 100% publicly funded yet handing over 100% of the revenues

      Wow great deal, let’s do more of these, BOHICA BABY!

    36. David Staples
      August 29, 2011 at

      Good post.

      If your point is that loaded questions get loaded responses, I would agree, but that cuts both ways. We certainly see that in the Northlands-commissioned poll.

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