I've written a lot of posts about the thefts required to build the new stadium. A few months ago, this comment appeared beneath one of them:
I'm not angry or offended, just curious :)
I came across your page while Googling images of the new stadium.
I'm curious as to why you seem so angry about the stadium.
I know people had to move from their homes, but this new stadium is for a lot more than just football.
We will have concerts there which will bring in money for the city and the stadium has created a TON of new jobs.
I also noticed your profile states you live in Ft. Worth, and not 5 miles away from it like I do. So the traffic probably won't even effect you.
I look at the stadium as an investment in Arlington's future, a way to keep our city "alive".Email me back ok?
amy@removed to protect her privacy.com
Here's one of the more popular images in question that Amy found on her Googling expedition. It won't hurt my feelings at all if you right-click on it and email it to everyone you know.
My friend Dr. Ralph, who sees attacking my worldview as his job, came to my defense:
Amy Anonymous - that's not anger, that's righteous anger.
The Whited Sepulchre takes great pride in his righteous anger and never misses a chance to spew a little.
Trust me -- he's much nicer in person, and thankfully not near so righteous.
So.... in honor of the 1.15 billion dollar stadium that you've all paid for, here is my response to Amy's comment and email. Perhaps slightly edited for clarity, and with the beer goggles removed.
1) "I'm curious as to why you seem so angry about the stadium."
I don't just seem angry over the new stadium, I am angry.
2) "I know people had to move from their homes...."
Yes, and think of the outrage that would've gone down had the city taken the homes to put up a Wal-Mart, a business that would return far more tax dollars per theft dollar to Arlington.
One of the things that has made America great, and a safe investment for people all over the world, is a concept known as property rights. If you own something here, the government can't take it away from you except in truly extraordinary circumstances. Unfortunately for us, Big Business has ridden roughshod over property rights for the last 20 years, and our reputation is declining.
3) "....but this new stadium is for a lot more than just football. We will have concerts there which will bring in money for the city...."
I heard Van Halen and Tom Petty at Reunion Arena. I heard The Dixie Chicks at American Airlines Center. The Beach Boys at the old Arlington Stadium. Now, close your eyes and think of all the economic development that sprang up around those venues after they were built. Having difficulty? It's because the development hasn't happened. The Ballpark in Arlington had the most development, but even those retail strips have struggled (I used to manage retail there. Look at the vacancies at Lincoln Square, I-30 and Collins.)
5) "....and the stadium has created a TON of new jobs...."
To use an analogy that is about to become tiresome on these pages, if someone breaks a window in your house, it creates a two hour job for somebody. If someone breaks all the windows, it creates a couple of jobs for an entire day. If someone breaks every window in the City of Arlington, it creates a TON of jobs. That doesn't mean that the jobs are worth more than the activity they are replacing.
Money has been moved, thanks to the vandal, from your wallet to the repair man's wallet.
In the stadium example, assets have simply been moved from the Taxpayers' wallet to the City's wallet to then be given to contractors and Jerry Jones.
5) .... "I also noticed your profile states you live in Ft. Worth, and not 5 miles away from it like I do. So the traffic probably won't even effect you...."
I'm not concerned about the traffic. But if you get a chance, check out David Cay Johnston's book "Free Lunch", which covers this topic at great length. The Chapter titled "Pride and Profits" explains why most sports stadiums are surrounded by economic dead zones. Ask a restaurant owner around the new stadium if the traffic around their business hurt or helped on Saturday night. Regular traffic = good. Erratic killer traffic 30 times a year = bad.
6) ...."I look at the stadium as an investment in Arlington's future, a way to keep our city alive."
Lemmee tell you a story, Amy. Waaaay back when George W. Bush was just a pup, he was the front man for a group that bought The Texas Rangers baseball team. Bush brought a 2% share of the team using borrowed money. ($600,000.00) They wanted a new ballpark. Bush's buddies could've built a new ballpark themselves, but why should they? You were there for them. Bush threatened to move the Rangers out of Arlington. His cartel spent about $125,000.00 campaigning for a 1/2% increase in the Arlington sales tax. The voters approved it. Bush and Company then trampled property rights, seizing land via Eminent Domain.
All in all, the Bush gang profited from a total subsidy of $205 million dollars. (Did he send you a thank-you note? Me neither.) They had paid $86 million for the Rangers. They sold The Rangers nine years later for $250 million. The team still stunk. So what was different? Why the added value? It was all in the stadium that YOU bought for them. The $164 million dollar profit was $38 million dollars less than the money that we put into the team ! ! !
Your fellow commenter Dr. Ralph likes to refer to the Iraq war as one of history's worst "bait-and-switch" deals.
Well, the following is also from Johnston's "Free Lunch", pg 79: "What followed (after the Rangers purchase) was an early indicator of Bush's extraordinary success at marketing. Bush is arguably the greatest salesman of our time, having sold not just friends but political opponents on a war costing more than a trillion dollars and thousands of lives with the kind of pay-no-attention-to-that-pool-oil-under-the-engine polish that used car salesmen only dream about."
Guess which city should have, and could have sounded some warnings ahead of time about Bush and his buddies, but didn't?
Why didn't they? Embarrasment? Shame? Didn't feel truly humble enough? Not enough righteous anger? We'll never know.
But that's why I get angry over the City of Arlington taking away peoples' homes and giving the land to Jerry Jones.