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You Can Always Find the Money If You Need It

[ 142 ] August 12, 2013 |

If a plutocrat comes calling…

While the state of Michigan appears to have no interest in “bailing out” Detroit, it is giving a substantial boost to the Red Wings, the city’s professional hockey team. Less than a week after Detroit filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in history, a press conference revealed a deal that will transform 45 blocks of the city with a new hockey arena (or “events center,” as the jargon goes) and a mixed-use entertainment district meant to link two of the city’s healthiest neighborhoods—downtown and midtown.

And the thing is, by the standards of a taxpayer sports arena ripoff goes this is one of the least unjustifiable ones. Illitch is no Jeffrey Loria — he invests in his teams and he’s not going to stuff the taxpayer money in his pockets and strip the team for parts, and he’s kicking in a fairly high share of this project. Public investment in an arena is marginally more justifiable in a situation like Detoit: while the entertainment revenue generated by the new arena is pretty much a zero-sum game as far as the metropolitan area is concerned, routing some money from the suburbs into the urban core is an actual value to the whole area. I can’t blame the city for taking the money, since it’s not as if the state will give them money to hire more cops instead. But even more someone who’s been a hockey fan for his entire living memory it still reflects a strange set of priorities.

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  1. sharculese says:

    There is, in fact, always money in the banana stand.

  2. LosGatosCA says:

    It comes down to the fact that people know the Red Wings are winners but anyone who actually lives in Detroit (as opposed to Oakland County, say) is a loser.

    Who would a Jackson County militia man or a Holland Hope-ite invest in? A hockey team where virtually all of the fans and in reality all of the team look just like them? Or in the education of a young Detroit adolescent whose family also needs bus service to get to work?

    Only one guess.

    • Informant says:

      Who would a Jackson County militia man or a Holland Hope-ite invest in? A hockey team where virtually all of the fans and in reality all of the team look just like them?

      Yep, because white folks definitely never support dubious taxpayer-supported financing for sports where a majority of players are non-white or that have a significant non-white fan base.

      • Linnaeus says:

        The Red Wings fan site that I read semi-regularly is pretty gung-ho for this area and its financing plan – or at least they’ve had a defense of prominently posted on the site. I thought about wading into the comments offering a critical viewpoint (in midst of all of the pro-arena comments) but then decided against it. I would have pointed out such things as the contextual factor you allude to here (race), but I figured I’d be tuned out if I tried.

      • Rigby Reardon says:

        Well, considering how the other two professional teams to be located in Detroit (the NBA’s Pistons are up in the suburbs) have already got new stadia within the last few years, it’s kind of a moot point.

        What is more important is the idea that the only form of “aid” to Detroit that is acceptable to a large number of Michigan voters has to come in the form of a large cash giveaway to a team of white guys who play a (mostly) white guys’ sport.

  3. Manju says:

    The only way to stop this shit is by preventing all the States from subsidizing sports franchises. No one’s gonna stop unless everyone does.

    But how do we do that? Does the Commerce Clause empower the Feds to enforce such a law. Maybe a law denying federal funds to any state that subsidizes the Welfare Queens?

    Worked for the drinking age. Worked for military recruiters on campus. Why not?

    I think this is doable liberals. You just gotta use the rhetoric I just used deployed above. Call the bill the “Ronald Reagan, Anti-Moocher, A-Rod-Sucks and so does State Socialism Freedom Bill”.

    My peeps eat that shit up like there is no tomorrow.

    • witless chum says:

      You’re peeps, unfortunately, are wearing their magic glasses which will allow them to read the RR,A-M, A-R-SasdSSFB as the Billionaire Harassment Act, which they will approve approximately never and zero times on Sunday. Plus, I’d rather harass all the billionaires, not just the ones that own sports teams.

      • Manju says:

        You’re peeps, unfortunately, are wearing their magic glasses which will allow them to read the RR,A-M, A-R-SasdSSFB as the Billionaire Harassment Act,

        Many do, but not the ones who make most of the decisions.

        Normally, I would agree with you. But take a look at the this:

        http://voteview.com/images/OC_House_113_Amash_NSA.png

        What you are looking at is the recent vote on the Amash Amendment to Restrict NSA Surveillance, mapped to demonstrate how votes correlated to ideology.

        “As the plot below illustrates, there is not a great deal of ideological structure to the vote.”

        http://voteview.com/blog/?p=862

        Long / Short: its the first time a major issue has shown signs of not aligning to the left-right ideological axis since Civil Rights for Af-Ams.

        So hope of the much ballyhooed but rarely seen libertarian-liberal coalition springs eternal.

        • The Dark Avenger says:

          Manju, many of your ‘peeps’ have their noses so far up the 1% asses that the tips are right behind their tonsils.

        • witless chum says:

          That would be an issue where no billionaire’s bottom line is at risk, unlike NFL owner bashing.

          Having a surveillance state run by a Muslim Socialist Democrat from Kenya creates peak conservative opposition and Amash types (check out the shape of his district sometime! It’s a masterpiece of gerrymandering that marries Grand Rapid’s suburbs to to Battle Frickin’ Creek in a freedom and liberty-loving bid to make sure that the cities of southwest Michigan can’t elect a Democrat to congress.) still couldn’t get enough support among their caucus to pass this bill that stood no chance of becoming law.

          • Manju says:

            Having a surveillance state run by a Muslim Socialist Democrat from Kenya creates peak conservative opposition and Amash types

            This is important…and why Nate Silver and others are treading carefully here.

            You need more datapoints. Specifically, you want to see how the same legislators react when a Republican is in office (presumably, there will be less lib-dems in support and more conservative-repubs in opposition)

            PS…thats why its stupid to use the final vote on the 1964 Civil Rights Act as the be end and end all determination of who was pro or anti-civil rights. There where similar roll-calls before that.

            • The Dark Avenger says:

              No, it’s stupid to ignore what Lee Atwater said about subtly using race as a campaign issue, and what side of the Civil Rights debate the Republicans have chosen since 1964.

              • Manju says:

                So, your position is that you want to ignore all the civil rights votes except the final one on the 1964 civil rights act?

                That sounds like erasing racism from American History.

                As far as Lee Atwater goes, I don’t ignore him. You shouldn’t ignore any of it. Your problem is that you do.

            • witless chum says:

              There were plenty of data points on approval of the surveillance state during the Bush Administration. Maybe there’s really been a shift that makes Paulism and Amashery more of a force within the Republican Party, but I think the smart money is on even the mild, inconsistent in the extreme libertarian streak being displayed disappearing if Republicans get the presidency.

              And, again, surveillance state stuff if the area where ideological disagreement is most permitted among the GOP. Any economic issues are going to look way different in the GOP caucus, which is why your example doesn’t make any sense.

              PS…thats why its stupid to use the final vote on the 1964 Civil Rights Act as the be end and end all determination of who was pro or anti-civil rights. There where similar roll-calls before that.

              I know fish gotta swim, Manju’s gotta ride his hobbyhorse, but it isn’t clear what the analogy is or why it’s stupid, other than that you’d like for liberals to crow about supporting civil rights less.

              • Manju says:

                I know fish gotta swim, Manju’s gotta ride his hobbyhorse, but it isn’t clear what the analogy is or why it’s stupid, other than that you’d like for liberals to crow about supporting civil rights less.

                Well, on NSA surveillance, if you use the last roll-call only, you might falsely peg a republican rep as opposed. But more datapoints might reveal his opposition to be weak, especially when a republican is in office. You just made that argument.

                So using one vote is stupid. Ditto for Civil Rights, where we have mountains of data. Carl Hayden (Sen AZ) for example is no civil rights hero, but his final vote on the 1964 cra fools people into believing otherwise.

                • witless chum says:

                  If you’re looking for Civil Rights heroes in the Senate, you’re playing a fools game and have already lost. I remain mystified by what you’re up to with that.

                  One vote examples might be stupid, but at least it’s one point. Your original notion that the GOP’s libertarian fringe on the surveillance might also become a libertarian fringe on economics in such a way as to disadvantage billionaires continues to seem like wishful thinking. The Tea Party ladies and gentlemen who actually mean this shit and would be as happy to mash errant billionaires as they are to mash errant welfare recipients are being being kept for the levers of power.

        • sharculese says:

          Long / Short: its the first time a major issue has shown signs of not aligning to the left-right ideological axis since Civil Rights for Af-Ams.

          Wow, it’s like that vote was more about trying to embarrass the president than actually achieve something, or something.

    • The Dark Avenger says:

      Or, you could be like those socialists in Green Bay and have the teams opened up to be owned by the public instead of rich owners, and thus make Manjus’ ‘peeps’ even more irrelevant than they are now.

      • Manju says:

        Or, you could be like those socialists in Green Bay and have the teams opened up to be owned by the public instead of rich owners

        That’s called a “stack market”.

        • Manju says:

          “stock market”

          • The Dark Avenger says:

            Nope, the shares I’m talking about aren’t traded on the stock market, in regards to Green Bay.

            Stock market is for lazy capitalists:

            MANGAN. People think I have. People think I’m an industrial Napoleon. That’s why Miss Ellie wants to marry me. But I tell you I have nothing.

            ELLIE. Do you mean that the factories are like Marcus’s tigers? That they don’t exist?

            MANGAN. They exist all right enough. But they’re not mine. They belong to syndicates and shareholders and all sorts of lazy good-for-nothing capitalists. I get money from such people to start the factories. I find people like Miss Dunn’s father to work them, and keep a tight hand so as to make them pay. Of course I make them keep me going pretty well; but it’s a dog’s life; and I don’t own anything.


            Bernard Shaw
            , Heartbreak House.

            • Manju says:

              Nope, the shares I’m talking about aren’t traded on the stock market, in regards to Green Bay.

              They are not traded on an exchange. They are Private Placements…neither are Socialist and the latter is even less so (since it avoids the regulations that come with being Publicly Traded).

              Shares offered in a Private Placement do indeed utilize a “Stock Market” (think “Venture Capital”).

              • The Dark Avenger says:

                Nope, there are sales of the stock now and then, hardly “Private placement”:

                The Packers, the NFL’s only publicly owned team, announced details Thursday about their first stock sale in 14 years and fifth in team history. The money will help pay for $130 million in renovations at historic Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

                Own just one share and technically you’re a team owner.

                But be aware that Packers stock isn’t like regular stock. The value doesn’t go up, there are no dividends and it has virtually no resale value. Stockholders do get a certificate, plus voting rights, along with invitations to attend annual meetings where they can meet Packers executives, tour the Packers Hall of Fame and stick around

                http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/perfi/stocks/story/2011-12-02/green-bay-packers-stock-sale/51587896/1

                • Manju says:

                  That just makes them thinly traded Private Placements.

                • Manju says:

                  Actually, on 2nd thought, I don’t know if they could be Private Placements, since the stock is indeed offered to the Public and not just accredited investors.

                  So they are some sort of thinly traded stock that does not trade on an exchange. Either way, i don’t know how you get to “Socialism” or why you’d want to embrace such as failed and oppressive ideology.

                  Do not allow the Right Wing to take credit for Capitalism (or anti-socialism). That was Keynes’ message, no?

                • The Dark Avenger says:

                  Manju, far from failing, Socialism is accepted in many ways in American life. We have socialized roads(except toll roads, which failed miserably here in CA), socialized power and water in some municipalities(DPW in LA), and it was a failure of capitalism, not socialism, that created the recession that started in 2008.

                  You’ll get it right in about 20 years or so, Manju.

                • Manju says:

                  Manju, far from failing, Socialism is accepted in many ways in American life

                  Thats not the macro. You’re talking about institutions that exist within a fundamentally market-based economy.

                  But you can’t have a fundamentally centrally controlled economy, because Socialism as a macro policy has proven to be a failure.

                  American Liberals really need to start taking credit for this.

                • It’s funny watching an anti-socialist have to come up with a reason why the Packers don’t count as a socialist enterprise. Especially since I’m sure he thinks Obamacare is socialism.

                • The Dark Avenger says:

                  Like the fact that America spends twice as much on medicine/medical treatment than European countries that have socialized medicine?

                  Yes, that’s a real victory, for the capitalists who make money off of the medical establishment here in America.

                • Anonymous says:

                  So where do the profits go?

                • The Packers are effectively run as a non-profit organization. Pretty sure that the money that can’t be put back into the running of the franchise is donated to local charities.

                • Bill Murray says:

                  But you can’t have a fundamentally centrally controlled economy, because Socialism as a macro policy has proven to be a failure.

                  That’s really why Eisenhower spoke against the Military-Industrial complex.

                • Manju says:

                  Especially since I’m sure he thinks Obamacare is socialism.

                  Why are you sure of this?

                • Manju says:

                  Like the fact that America spends twice as much on medicine/medical treatment than European countries that have socialized medicine?

                  Yes, that’s a real victory, for the capitalists who make money off of the medical establishment here in America.

                  healthcare is on outlier, for all the reasons Kenneth Arrow pointed out in his seminal paper on the issue.

                  But outliers don’t change the macro picture: that a market-based economy is much more efficient than a centrally controlled one. Economists are practically unanimous here.

              • witless chum says:

                If the Packers aren’t socialism, why does the NFL prohibit any of its owners from putting their teams into a similar arrangement?

                • Because it makes their owners harder to conspire with.

                • The Dark Avenger says:

                  There is a spectre haunting the owners, the one where they aren’t necessary for the sport to continue.

                • Manju says:

                  maybe they are fascism.

                • jim, some guy in iowa says:

                  the *Packers* are fascism?

                • Manju says:

                  the *Packers* are fascism?

                  Well, the regular folks fork over $$ for the stock but don’t get a cut of the profits. Whay thdo they do it? Green Bay Nationalism! ;-}

                  Seriously, I’m just goofing around. They are neither fascist or socialist. Its not an economic model that has any macro implications.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  Well, the regular folks fork over $$ for the stock but don’t get a cut of the profits. Whay thdo they do it? Green Bay Nationalism! ;-}

                  I laughed. That’s pretty good.

    • Linnaeus says:

      My peeps eat that shit up like there is no tomorrow.

      Many do, but not the ones who make most of the decisions.

    • Rarely Posts says:

      Read the Obamacare Supreme Court Opinion, and then get back to us.

      Also too — love the idea of one of the political parties campaigning against subsidies for sports franchises. That’s the route to a winning political coalition!

      • Rarely Posts says:

        Just to clarify: I disagree with the Obamacare Opinion to the extent that it put limits on Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause and Spending power. I only cite it because, of course, it’s relevant to whether the current Court would uphold any such law.

        I also don’t like the way that the government subsidizes privately-owned sports franchises. I much prefer the Green Bay approach of public-expenditure and public ownership rather than the crony capitalism of public-expenditure, private ownership. But, I just find the idea that the general public or Manju’s “peeps” would eat-up a campaign against public subsidization of sports ridiculous on its face.

        • 1. I think you’d be surprised how many people hate spending money on stadiums. Off hand, the only one I can think of that I know is overwhelmingly popular is the football stadium here in Baltimore, but even then there’s a bitter taste that the city/state was blackmailed into it by the NFL.

          2. That said, I think it’s pretty unlikely that you could mount a reasonable rationale for why the federal government can prohibit state/local governments from spending money on sports franchises if they “want” to. At most they could take some action against the leagues threatening to relocate teams, but I doubt that would be terribly effective.

          • NonyNony says:

            I think it’s pretty unlikely that you could mount a reasonable rationale for why the federal government can prohibit state/local governments from spending money on sports franchises if they “want” to.

            Congress could use their ability to refuse funds to states that decide to spend money on sports franchises – which is what Manju proposed above. It would be a perfectly valid use of Congressional power (though post-Obamacare Supreme Court Congress would probably have to jump through a few hoops to make this “new funding” instead of putting it on existing funding. But a Congress that wanted to do that could easily jump through that hoop.)

            A better question is whether there’s any compelling reason for Congress to do that. And the answer is “no – it’s stupid. Which is why Manju is trolling people with it. He’s not making a serious proposal. He’s goofing on you.”

            If people are stupid enough to vote for tax funding for a sports complex into their community – despite the fact that there’s zero evidence that such things are an economic benefit – I don’t see a compelling reason for Congress to step in and save people from themselves here. This isn’t really a case of failure of democracy like majority oppression of minority rights. It’s just a place where democracy is making a choice to value something (local sports team) higher than its true economic benefits would indicate it should be valued.

            • That seems like a stretch, though. I mean, if Congress can just punish states for intrastate spending they don’t like, then you’re making a mockery of the idea of state spending powers.

              • The Dark Avenger says:

                That’s how we got a nationwide ban on being able to buy/use alcohol until the age of 21, the Transportation Department refused to help fund any road projects in states that didn’t raise the drinking age to their standard minimum.

                • That seems a little bit different than letting the feds essentially micromanage how states spend their tax dollars (and even then, they have to put the veneer of being worried about drunk driving on it).

                • NonyNony says:

                  Brien you seem to be misunderstanding what the mechanism allows vs. what would be a good idea to do. The mechanism of Federal funding allows Congress the ability to cut off funding for whatever the fuck it wants to cut it off. It’s the “power of the purse” and there’s no reason why it should be found unconstitutional except that we now have a Supreme Court who will declare a ham sandwich unconstitutional if it will piss off liberals (and won’t piss off their plutocratic friends).

                  The fact that this would be a very bad idea most of the time is what stops Congress from doing anything like this except in extreme cases – like when they decided to raise the drinking age as Dark Avenger points out. If Congress suddenly decided, say, that it was going to block funding to states that didn’t have state income taxes in order to force all states to have an income tax, shit would be flipped and a new Congress would be on the agenda. That’s pretty much one of the checks-and-balances of representative democracy – when your representatives start to overreach, people are supposed to flip their shit and replace their representatives.

                  (I’m honestly somewhat surprised that the raising of the drinking age didn’t come with a massive “state’s rights” shit flipping. But I put that down to the fact that 18-21 year olds in the 1970s and 80s didn’t vote in rates high enough for the folks in Congress or in the states to worry about them, and sticking it to young people has always been a fun pastime of those with even a moderate amount of power at every level of government. Youth is wasted on the young, so fuck ‘em.)

                • To take this seriously you have to assume we would read the Constitution with less scrutiny then we’d read a generic contract. That would be a very weird standard to apply.

          • That said, I think it’s pretty unlikely that you could mount a reasonable rationale for why the federal government can prohibit state/local governments from spending money on sports franchises if they “want” to.

            I see no reason whatsoever that such a bill should be held unconstitutional. Congress can regulate interstate commerce; sports leagues are interstate commerce; the end. But it’s all moot, since the political checks on the commerce power are in fact (for better or worse) extremely effective, and there’s less than no chance such a bill would ever pass the Congress.

            • Wait, what? How would you get “state government spends money to build a structure in their state” to be interstate commerce in such a way that wouldn’t make everything interstate commerce?

              • elm says:

                Because it’s part of a league that is interstate. Sports owners claim that having an old stadium puts them at a competitive disadvantage; thus, having a new stadium will give them an advantage over other teams, which are located in other states. Hence, the building of stadiums is part of interstate commerce. A league located entirely in one state might be exempt from this, so if franchise owners in the Florida State League can seek government funding for stadiums without ever fearing that Congress will stop them.

                • This proves to much, though. If you take this expansive view of interstate commerce seriously, then Congress can just ban it by statute, and they don’t have to do it round-aboutly through putting conditions on money going to the state.

                • And as a practical standpoint I don’t see how you could write such a regulation to apply to physical buildings that are owned and operate by the state/local government.

                • elm says:

                  Yes, I think Congress could (not to be confused with should) ban it by statute. I’m not locked in to Manju’s framing of the discussion. As Scott said, sports leagues are interstate and they are commerce: hence, any regulation of them is constitutional under the interstate commerce clause. (Some regulations could still run afoul of other constitutional provisions, of course.)

                  You’re also right that, from a practical standpoint, such a law would be a mess to enforce. But we’re talking about whether the law would be constitutional, not whether it would be effective or in any way a good idea.

                • Erm, I think it would be impossible to enforce. To wit, even if you could forbid them from giving money to private owners of stadiums, to say that they could prevent Baltimore from owning M&T Ban Stadium and leasing it to the Ravens for use would require a reading of the Commerce Clause so broad as to make its existence unnecessary in the first place, since in effect there would be no such thing as state power or autonomy at all.

              • Scott Lemieux says:

                Wait, what? How would you get “state government spends money to build a structure in their state” to be interstate commerce in such a way that wouldn’t make everything interstate commerce?

                As it happens, I’ve addressed this argument today! I don’t think that declining to place arbitrary limits on the congressional power to regulate interstate commerce gives the federal government unlimited powers. And even if you think it’s an invalid exercise of the commerce power, as elm says you could just structure it through the spending power, horrifying as the tyranny of a national drinking age is to contemplate.

                • I think “arbitrary” is doing a hell of a lot of work here. I mean, the mere existence of the commerce clause suggests that there is, in fact, some limit on it. You’re either going to have to settle on a somewhat arbitrary (depending on personal viewpoint) limit on the power, or you have to take the view that there’s no limit on it whatsoever…which makes the existence of the commerce clause completely superfluous. If the federal government can tell Maryland that they can use M&T Bank Stadium for U2 concerts and the Loyola-Calvert Hall game, but not for Ravens’ games, then there’s basically nothing you can’t construe as interstate commerce.

    • Warren Terra says:

      Maybe we can stop public financing of sports through the Establishment clause. Gawd knows Sports are treated like a civic religion, complete with seasonal bonfires and constant morality plays.

    • TribalistMeathead says:

      You start with DC, because Congress loves to tell DC how it can spend its state tax revenues. Then the other 50 states just fall like dominoes.

  4. As an aside, it’s weird that people are paying so little attention to the Marlins and to the Blue Jays that we’d still be citing that trade as Miami “stripping” its team. I mean, which of the players they got rid of would you take back for $0.75 on the dollar right now?

  5. joe from Lowell says:

    A good revitalization project to set the city on a sustainable course is probably a better use of money than paying current bills and going into bankruptcy a little later.

    We’ll see if this is a good revitalization project to set the city on a sustainable course, or just plopping an arena in a location that could have had a good revitalization project.

    • “A good revitalization project to set the city on a sustainable course is probably a better use of money than paying current bills and going into bankruptcy a little later.”

      That seems very unlikely.

      • joe from Lowell says:

        Unlikely, but not impossible. There have been good revitalization projects that centered around an arena.

        Not many, but some. The Camden Yards/Inner Harbor project for one.

        • This is like the 10th time someone here has insisted this to me, but for the life of me you couldn’t really see how if you’re, ya know, actually in Baltimore. And I would trade the Inner Harbor for an increase in police manpower and better mass transit in the city in a heartbeat.

          • joe from Lowell says:

            So an area of vacant and underutilized warehouses isn’t full of jobs and tax paying commercial space?

              • joe from Lowell says:

                I’m talking about revitalization projects, and your response to addressing vacant and underutilized space, and its redevelopment into busy commercial space, is “Huh?”

                • Yeah, because I don’t know what you’re asking. I mean, I assume you didn’t mean to seriously ask if vacant buildings were full of jobs.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  Yeah, I could have written that more clearly.

                  The project took a grossly underused warehouse area suffering from delayed maintenance and urban blight and turned into a very successful commercial district, bringing jobs and tax base to a city that needed them both.

                • What the fuck are you talking about? The stadiums are predominantly surrounded by vast parking lots and…underutilized warehouses.

                • Okay, that’s unfair…there’s also some highways!

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  So this doesn’t exist.

                  The fuck.

                  And this doesn’t the fuck exist.

                  Okay, Brien. Whatever. There has been no new construction or addition of commercial space in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

                  You’d better let the American Planning Association know about this.

                • Power Plant Live is by no means near the football stadium, and it’s blocked off from Oriole Park by the Convention Center complex.

                  Seriously, I don’t mean this in a negative way, but it’s pretty obvious that you just aren’t that familiar with what the place looks like on the ground.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  Nor is the “South Boston Waterfront” directly in, or next to, the South Boston neighborhood as the people who live there know it. Nonetheless, the redevelopment of both have gone hand in glove, both conceptually and functionally.

                  The urban context of a project includes many levels: the block, the neighborhood district, the neighborhood, the section of the city, the city, and the metro area.

                • You;d have to start with “the city, loosely stated” to connect the stadiums to the inner harbor.

              • jim, some guy in iowa says:

                I think he’s saying there’s property/sales tax potential in these sites when converted to event/sports facilities. Myself, it seems the gains here are offset by cuts elsewhere so that *you* never see *more* cops or better transit. Sort of a shell game. No doubt there are exceptions

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  You’re engaging in zero-sum thinking.

                  When a declining black hole gets turned into a successful district, the pie gets bigger.

                • Go tell the people who live in the old Memorial Stadium neighborhood that.

                • jim, some guy in iowa says:

                  okay, then I suppose the reason Brien doesn’t see more cops and/or better transit is that, even with a bigger pie, the city is just able to maintain its current levels?

                  I gotta run. I’ll look back later

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  If you think cities are so doomed that there’s no value in redevelopment efforts – that revitalizing one part of a city can only ever come at the expense of somewhere else, and the city can never be made more sustainable overall – then I don’t know what to tell you.

                  it’s been done all over the country. You’re living through the era of America’s great urban renaissance, and you can’t even see it.

                • So, what, I’m wrong that the old Memorial Stadium neighborhood has gone to shit? That there’s nothing around the stadiums (particularly the football stadium) of any note? I mean, I’m happy that you love my city and all (so do I!), but holy hell the place ain’t perfect by any stretch, and most of the building projects in the stadium/harbor area have done very little to actually help the people who live there.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  jim, Brien can’t even manage to see that any commercial space has been built in the Inner Harbor.

                  Not.

                  My.

                  Problem.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  holy hell the place ain’t perfect by any stretch

                  No, Brien, Baltimore isn’t perfect by any stretch.

                  Therefore, there has been no redevelopment in the Inner Harbor.

                • jim, some guy in iowa says:

                  as you well know, joe, because you do it yourself quite often, asking questions to clarify something isn’t the same thing as condemning that particular something. catch you later

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  jim, you’re adding nothing, go away.

                • No, Joe, the problem is that I can see that the Harbor and Stadium districts are, in practice, two different things (And you cited the fucking Hilton as a good thing, which, yeah) because, again, I live here!

                  Remember that I never said the Harbor was nothing, just that the city would have been better off with more cops and routine public service and no Harbor than what they have now.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  Remember that I never said the Harbor was nothing, just that the city would have been better off with more cops and routine public service and no Harbor than what they have now.

                  If someone is six months behind on his electric bill because he can’t fix his car and get to work, and he finds $900 somewhere, should he fix the car, or pay his electric bill?

                  If he pays his electric bill for six months without fixing the car, what is his electric bill going to look like in a year?

                  The way old industrial cities were built, and the changes since then, guarantees that they will never be able to provide adequate public services. They need redevelopment projects to change them into entities that can sustain themselves – and that requires capital.

                  The idea that Baltimore 1987 + some more money for the cops and roads would attract private capital is just wrong. Baltimore and Lowell didn’t decline throughout the 50s-90s because their police and roads budgets were too small. Their police and roads budgets became to small because the cities declined. To save them, it is necessary to address the causes of that decline.

                • Which totally explains why the city can’t afford decent public services for residents and everyone thinks the place is a dangerous, crime-ridden hellhole if you aren’t standing right next to a stadium or the aquarium!

                • Oh yeah, and analogizing core services to a utility bill is supremely fucking stupid.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  Which totally explains why the city can’t afford decent public services for residents and everyone thinks the place is a dangerous, crime-ridden hellhole if you aren’t standing right next to a stadium or the aquarium!

                  Well, if the revitalization of Balitmore hasn’t been perfectly successful as of 11:32 EST on August 12, 2013, then that must mean the effort has been a total waste.

                  Oh yeah, and analogizing core services to a utility bill is supremely fucking stupid.

                  Well, I’m convinced. Have you ever noticed that you use the word “fuck” in place of arguments when you have none?

                  You’ve gone into total dick mode. I’m done with you.

                • I’ve gone into total dick mode because I actually think having sufficient levels of basic public services like law enforcement is a critical aspect of having a successful city? Really?

                  I’m guessing you live in an area where this isn’t a problem, and don’t spend a ton of time in, well, Baltimore! Either that or you get some sort of weird adrenaline rush of adding “plan your walking route and be extremely vigilant of what block you’re on at (literally) all times” to your nights out with friends.

                • And you do realize that the Camden Yards/Inner Harbor area is 20-30 years old now, right? How long does it take for the people who actually live in the city to reap the bounty of these things, exactly?

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  I don’t know exactly why (the fuck?) you’ve gone into total dick mode, but it certainly has nothing to do with that banal observation.

                  I’m guessing you live in an area where this isn’t a problem

                  Uhhhhhh….what? What am I, joe from Lexington?

                  Brien, not only do I have a masters degree in this shit, not only did I spend years working as an urban planner in a formerly-declining, historic industrial city that has turned itself around, but, oh yeah, I’ve been a resident and homeowner here for a decade, the decade in which this effort has so dramatically paid off.

                  How long does it take for the people who actually live in the city to reap the bounty of these things, exactly?

                  It’s going to vary from city to city, obviously. Baltimore is already reaping the bounty from this project, but there are obviously other factors that influence the city’s direction.

                • Wow, with that mealy mouth double talked you should ditch whatever you’re doing and hit the corporate world, stat!

                  (That, for the record, is much closer to my total dick mode).

                  Simply put, I’m no longer amused by your belligerent ignorance about this. From trying to tell me what the city looks like, to not even knowing the physical layout of the place, to laughably insisting that the stadiums have been a windfall for the place (seriously, there’s really no argument that moving the football team, at least, downtown has been anything but a net negative for the people), to implying that the single biggest problem facing the people who actually live in and enjoy being in the city is some sort of luxury that shouldn’t distract us from how great we should feel about looking at shiny building like the Hilton (which is as much an asthetic blight as anything here)…you really just need to let it go and admit, at least to yourself, that you don’t know fuck all about this city.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  Just because you can’t follow something, Brien, doesn’t make it doubletalk. Yes, this is fairly subtle, complicated stuff. No, that does not reflect on my integrity or argument.

                  You throw your tantrum if it makes you feel better. I’m not saying anything that anyone who has seriously looked at the issue of urban revitalization doesn’t already know.

                • jim, some guy in iowa says:

                  joe, when you get your name up on the masthead, you can impose your version of Stalinism on me. til then, I’ll say what I want and when. Learn to live with that.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  Wow, Stalinist.

                  And to think I accused you of not contributing anything.

                • “You’ve gone into total dick mode. I’m done with you.”

                  Hilarious, coming from you.

                • But see, if you’re at a football game you can get on 395 and drive away from the Inner Harbor, which totally proves that the two are so connected and I’m a dick for pointing out that Joe doesn’t know what Baltimore looks like!

              • joe from Lowell says:

                The Urban Land Institute – one of those nerdy policy wonk shops only city planners care about – called Baltimore’s Inner Harbor ““the model for post-industrial waterfront redevelopment around the world.”

                • Okay, but:

                  1. I thought we were talking about the stadiums (though I realize that most non-Balmerians think the two are the same because of all of the Inner Harbor shots on the teevee).

                  2. the Inner Harbor hasn’t done much of anything for the city’s perception with burbers, who mostly make fun of it for being over run with Scary Black Teenagers (which isn’t wholly without merit). So, again, nice or not no amount of “revitalization” would help the city nearly as much as an increase in police manpower would. Hell, if people perceived the city as safe you might even get private interests to pay to rebuild shit!

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  I thought we were talking about the stadiums

                  We’re not. We’ll see if this is a good revitalization project to set the city on a sustainable course, or just plopping an arena in a location that could have had a good revitalization project.

                  Only asking yourself whether or not there is a stadium involved is blinkered thinking. The Inner Harbor project is an example of a holistic district revitalization project that included a stadium, as opposed to a different thing: just plopping a stadium into a district without implementing a holistic revitalization project.

                  As for two, fuck ‘em. Make the city a good place for the city. People who hate cities can’t tell the difference between a good urban district and a bad one anyway, and shouldn’t be your target anyway. People who can tell the difference are the ones who will make or break your city and your redevelopment district.

                  Chasing the hearts of people who are passionately devoted to the suburbs has been at the heart of many failed urban revitalization projects. It’s a dead end, and their opinion is not the measure of successful revitalization.

                • 1. If you don’t know the difference between the Harbor and the stadium area, I’d suggest reminding yourself that I actually live in the area and might have a better feel for what the place looks like than you do. ;)

                  2. Fuck the burbers is a fine enough sentiment…except the whole fucking point of the Inner Harbor is to bring burbers into the city to spend their money there! It certainly isn’t the place the hip young city-lovers go to spend their nights and money.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  If you don’t know the difference between the Harbor and the stadium area

                  The two areas were redeveloped in conjunction, to feed off each other. Again, (and again, and again, again, until it sinks in) looking only at stadiums in isolation, instead of looking at them within the surrounding urban context, is exactly the wrong way to think about these projects, and is exactly the distinction I was talking about in the comment you replied to.

                  Fuck the burbers is a fine enough sentiment…except the whole fucking point of the Inner Harbor is to bring burbers into the city to spend their money there!

                  I tried to make clear, I’m talking about “fucking” not people who live in suburbs, but that subset of them who are passionately anti-city and would refuse to go to a district like the Inner Harbor because it’s full of city folk. Not all suburban dwellers like that, though there is a subset of variable size who are. As a project is successful in appealing to people who are not in that subset, perhaps they talk to their neighbors, and that subset gets smaller.

                • 1. Seriously Joe, you really want to stop telling me I don’t know what the “surrounding urban context” of these places are since I go there quite frequently. Saying that the two were rebuilt together is fine, but in no meaningful way are they the same thing, and there’s a very real physical barrier/distance between the hub of the Inner Harbor and the Camden Yards area that includes a) a pretty large Convention Center complex, b) a pretty hefty walking distance (especially to the football stadium), and c) a large and not easy to cross city street.

                  2. Going along with this, you continue to miss the point that the entire area is (explicitly!) designed to accommodate those burbers who don’t like the city. THAT’S WHY THERE’S SO MUCH HIGHWAY AND PARKING!! Really you’re just talking past yourself here since the conclusion you’d have to reach from the points you make about the areas here is that they’re a massive failure and boondoggle from the conception. I don’t actually think that, but then I don’t think they’re a smashing success either.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  1. I don’t think you aren’t familiar with the surrounding urban context. I think you don’t understand how cities work as systems. This is not the same thing as local knowledge.

                  2. I haven’t missed a single one of your points. I’ve just disagreed with them. Those are two different things.

                  Also two different things: “hating cities” because of the “black kids” and wanting to be able to drive there. Tell me, Brien, do you think the people who, in your words, “make fun of it for being over run with Scary Black Teenagers.” Tell me, Brien: do you think people who make fun of a district for being overrun by Scary Black Teenagers want to drive there and hang out? The idea that the project was a boondoggle is entirely yours, has nothing to do with my argument, and you can only project that opinion onto me if you don’t understand what I’m saying. I’m doing my best here to overcome that deficit, but you’re gotten your back up.

                • And, again, you just have no idea what this city looks like. The stadiums don’t work with the harbor “as systems” in any way. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. There’s no meaningful amount of foot/business traffic between the two at all. And you continue to miss the point that the Inner Harbor was built for the people you say don’t matter. Which is fine, in places. The stadiums and the aquarium, and even PPL to an extent, does bring those people in, but there’s no direct multiplier to that activity, because they’re coming in for events and leaving.

                  In the meantime, the crime problem actually is real, and the “revitalized” Harbor area is one of the more dangerous areas in the city to go walking around in if you don’t know what spots you want to avoid. So, for that matter, is the immediate area around Johns fucking Hopkins, and basically any area of the light rail. Why? Because the city doesn’t have enough cops!

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  The stadiums don’t work with the harbor “as systems” in any way. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. There’s no meaningful amount of foot/business traffic between the two at all.

                  This is where actual knowledge about urban planning and the metropolitan system becomes useful.

                  The people coming from outside the city take the same route in. They get used to taking that route in for one destination, and from your typical “Which exit is it?” suburbanite, they’ve already gotten used to going “there,” even though the city-dweller on foot doesn’t conceive of the two places as “there.”

                  There is also the matter which you (understandable from the pov of a local, but not inclusive enough of the view of people in the metro area) blew off as so unimportant – the image that outsiders have of the city (the pictures during Orioles games), of the two districts being “the same thing.” While the stadium area and the waterfront district are geographically distinct, they are conceptually and visually (think of that iconic shot of the bricks and windows over the outfield fence) the same. They come to define what “that area” is. In turn, they come to define what Baltimore is, in the minds of the rest of the world. Do you think that’s meaningless?

                  And you continue to miss the point that the Inner Harbor was built for the people you say don’t matter.

                  Asked and answered already:

                  I tried to make clear, I’m talking about “fucking” not people who live in suburbs, but that subset of them who are passionately anti-city and would refuse to go to a district like the Inner Harbor because it’s full of city folk. Not all suburban dwellers like that, though there is a subset of variable size who are. As a project is successful in appealing to people who are not in that subset, perhaps they talk to their neighbors, and that subset gets smaller.

                  You’re looping back to arguments you’ve already dropped.

                  In the meantime, the crime problem actually is real

                  Baltimore’s crime rate has been, like the rest of the country, falling for years.

                  Because the city doesn’t have enough cops!

                  And until the city is on a sound footing, with a sufficient jobs and tax base, it will never have “enough” cops for the problem. If I’d used the “teach a man to fish” cliche instead of the car and the electric bill example, would you have been able to figure this out?

                  Tell me, Brien, did Baltimore’s decline over the late 20th century happen because of the police budget? Or because of something having to do with how the city was built, its economic base, and its position within a larger metro area?

                  Oh, btw, Baltimore has been receiving millions of dollars in DoJ money for decades for more police, as it should. This is a tail-pipe approach to the problem of urban decline, and as necessary as it is, it doesn’t turn anything around.

                • “The people coming from outside the city take the same route in. They get used to taking that route in for one destination, and from your typical “Which exit is it?” suburbanite, they’ve already gotten used to going “there,” even though the city-dweller on foot doesn’t conceive of the two places as “there.”’

                  Oh please, Joe, tell me how to drive in to the football stadium. I need to know where I’m going Thursday night!

                  “There is also the matter which you (understandable from the pov of a local, but not inclusive enough of the view of people in the metro area) blew off as so unimportant – the image that outsiders have of the city (the pictures during Orioles games), of the two districts being “the same thing.” While the stadium area and the waterfront district are geographically distinct, they are conceptually and visually (think of that iconic shot of the bricks and windows over the outfield fence) the same. They come to define what “that area” is. In turn, they come to define what Baltimore is, in the minds of the rest of the world. Do you think that’s meaningless?”

                  Except no one in the Metro area is under this misconception, and the stadiums are of no real cultural significance to an area that still mythologizes the old one (and the neighborhood as it used to be!).

                  “Baltimore’s crime rate has been, like the rest of the country, falling for years.”

                  Which makes…not a lick of difference on the ground!

                  “And until the city is on a sound footing, with a sufficient jobs and tax base, it will never have “enough” cops for the problem. If I’d used the “teach a man to fish” cliche instead of the car and the electric bill example, would you have been able to figure this out?”

                  Maybe if they’d taken the money spent on unnecessary sports stadiums and done something else with it they’d be getting a bigger bang for their buck 20 years later!

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  “The people coming from outside the city take the same route in. They get used to taking that route in for one destination, and from your typical “Which exit is it?” suburbanite, they’ve already gotten used to going “there,” even though the city-dweller on foot doesn’t conceive of the two places as “there.”’

                  Oh please, Joe, tell me how to drive in to the football stadium. I need to know where I’m going Thursday night!

                  Yes, Brien, I was giving you directions to the stadium. Do the constant expressions of admiration you receive for your perceptiveness and insight ever grow tiresome?

                  Total.

                  Dick.

                  Mode.

                  Which would be fine, if you hadn’t just put a giant “I totally missed the point” sign on your forehead.

                  Except no one in the Metro area is under this misconception, and the stadiums are of no real cultural significance

                  Okay then. The Inner Harbor, ballpark, and related projects haven’t produced any alteration in the perception of Baltimore. That must be why people are no more willing to visit those areas today than they were 30 years ago.

                  I can’t believe anyone would put their name on this argument. This is just empty stubbornness. There isn’t even an argument or principle you’re defending with this. The entire universe of “Television perceptions don’t really matter” arguments are available to you, but you’re so wound up that you can’t backdafuckup even a millimeter. I have to be wrong about everything, including even the point that the projects have brought about a change in how people who aren’t from Baltimore perceive it.

                  Which makes…not a lick of difference on the ground!

                  A 20% reduction in violent crime since the early 90s has made “not a lick of difference on the ground.” OK, Brien, whatever you so. You do realize that this assertion just completely demolishes the substantive argument you made (back when you were interested in that kind of thing) about how more money for police would have helped the city, right?

                  Please stop. You’re just being contrarian for it’s own sake now.

                  Maybe if they’d taken the money spent on unnecessary sports stadiums and done something else with it they’d be getting a bigger bang for their buck 20 years later!

                  Maybe. Exclamation point. No project is ever going to be perfect, and spending that revitalization money on other capital projects that addressed the causes of Baltimore’s decades-long decline might have well produced more bang for the buck. For instance, doing the stadium and waterfront projects in a manner that made the two areas more cohesive – the best point you’ve raised in the entire thread – would likely have generated greater benefits for both. Nonetheless, the point remains that there were structural problems in Baltimore’s built environment that were dragging it down and causing the redeveloped areas to function as blighting influences, and capital projects were necessary to reverse that problem, and turn them instead into assets for putting the city on a sustainable footing.

                • 1. Yeah, I missed the point that you think there’s terrific benefit to the places you don’t go by or through driving to the stadium from having people driving to the stadium. What a dick I am for observing that you don’t know what the highway exits around here are after you referenced them! Please make another generalized and meaningless point that demonstrates all that urban planning learning you have but has nothing to do with Baltimore!

                  2.

                  Okay then. The Inner Harbor, ballpark, and related projects haven’t produced any alteration in the perception of Baltimore. That must be why people are no more willing to visit those areas today than they were 30 years ago.

                  This is cute, but this actually is something of a zero sum game. Yes, there’s a lot more people in the land the football stadium is built on (but no businesses anchored there!) on football Sundays, but there’s a lot fewer people in the area of Memorial Stadium (which, fwiw, actually was structured relatively similarly to what you seem to imagine the current stadiums are built like. There wasn’t even any place to tailgate because there were businesses around the stadium instead of parking lots!).

                  And again, you’re just being obtuse in insisting on lumping the Inner Harbor area in with the stadiums at this point.

                  Maybe. Exclamation point. No project is ever going to be perfect, and spending that revitalization money on other capital projects that addressed the causes of Baltimore’s decades-long decline might have well produced more bang for the buck. For instance, doing the stadium and waterfront projects in a manner that made the two areas more cohesive – the best point you’ve raised in the entire thread – would likely have generated greater benefits for both. Nonetheless, the point remains that there were structural problems in Baltimore’s built environment that were dragging it down and causing the redeveloped areas to function as blighting influences, and capital projects were necessary to reverse that problem, and turn them instead into assets for putting the city on a sustainable footing.

                  This isn’t that difficult, really. The best thing to do would have been to rebuild the Inner Harbor area, refurbish Memorial Stadium, and put the difference in funds towards better public services for the city. But that wouldn’t have made Angelos and the NFL as much money, so fuck that I guess.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  Yeah, I missed the point that you think there’s terrific benefit to the places you don’t go by or through driving to the stadium from having people driving to the stadium.

                  Yes, you did. That’s because you missed the underlying point about the difference in the way the suburbanite in his car views a city differently from how a resident on foot views it. While “He didn’t go to this part of the neighborhood, but that one” may be very important to you, the family from 30 miles outside the city is thinking, “We went into that revitalized section near the waterfront and had a blast. It’s not like we thought it would be at all! We should go back there,” using there is a way you totally laugh at. Yep, you missed the living hell out of that point, and I have a sneaking suspicion you’re going to miss it again.

                  This is cute, but this actually is something of a zero sum game. Yes, there’s a lot more people in the land the football stadium is built on (but no businesses anchored there!) on football Sundays, but there’s a lot fewer people in the area of Memorial Stadium

                  I’m glad you found it “cute.” The important part is that there are more people going in overall. The zero-sum thinking is your assertion, not mine.

                  And again, you’re just being obtuse in insisting on lumping the Inner Harbor area in with the stadiums at this point.

                  Sigh. Depressingly predictable in your determined obtuseness.

                  This isn’t that difficult, really. The best thing to do would have been to rebuild the Inner Harbor area, refurbish Memorial Stadium

                  But you were just complaining – and, in fact, have been acting as if you were making a substantive point – about the lack of interaction between the newer stadium district and the area around the waterfront, so your solution is to have even less of a connection between the sports area and the waterfront area. The conceptual connection – even if it’s not walkable enough for you, Brien! – between the ballpark and the Inner Harbor has been an essential part of both areas’ appeal.

                  The amount of money that would be saved in your scheme – a one-time amount, keep in mind – would be penny-wise and pound-foolish if it came at the expense of the Inner Harbor revitalization effort succeeding.

                • “Yes, you did. That’s because you missed the underlying point about the difference in the way the suburbanite in his car views a city differently from how a resident on foot views it. While “He didn’t go to this part of the neighborhood, but that one” may be very important to you, the family from 30 miles outside the city is thinking, “We went into that revitalized section near the waterfront and had a blast. It’s not like we thought it would be at all! We should go back there,” using there is a way you totally laugh at. Yep, you missed the living hell out of that point, and I have a sneaking suspicion you’re going to miss it again.”

                  This has nothing to do with the stadiums.

                  The important part is that there are more people going in overall.

                  Assumes facts not in evidence, and for no real reason either.

                  But you were just complaining – and, in fact, have been acting as if you were making a substantive point – about the lack of interaction between the newer stadium district and the area around the waterfront, so your solution is to have even less of a connection between the sports area and the waterfront area. The conceptual connection – even if it’s not walkable enough for you, Brien! – between the ballpark and the Inner Harbor has been an essential part of both areas’ appeal.

                  And here, again, we run into the problem of you knowing nothing about the city since:

                  1. No matter how often you claim otherwise, there is no conceptual connection between the stadiums and the Inner Harbor for people who actually live in the area (I’ll grant that people catching Ravens games on Sunday ticket might think that, but so what?)

                  2. Putting the stadiums closer to the Inner Harbor is impossible, since the convention center opened 13 years before Camden Yards. So yes, given that, refurbishing the stadium that was in a part of town that already had a neighborhood built up around it that thrived on the traffic the stadium brought made a hell of a lot more sense than building two new stadiums that are, in effect, completely isolated from everything else in the city except for three bars across the street from Oriole Park.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  This has nothing to do with the stadiums.

                  On the contrary: going to the stadiums has everything to do with getting people into the revitalized section of the city. As predicted, you are stuck on your perception of the two areas as distinct, and missing the point that non-residents’ perception is different from yours.

                  I know what you’re going to write now: “But the stadiums aren’t near the waterfront! You totally have to walk a long way!” You will continue not to understand the point. Such determination! Go ahead, Brien, tell me the stadiums aren’t near the water. Sigh.

                  Assumes facts not in evidence, and for no real reason either.

                  Well, there’s the jump in attendance at Orioles games by a million people per year which just happened to line up with the opening of Camden Yards. But I’m sure that jump is more than offset by there being a million fewer people per year visiting the Inner Harbor than were visiting the neighborhood around the old stadium.

                  No matter how often you claim otherwise, there is no conceptual connection between the stadiums and the Inner Harbor for people who actually live in the area

                  I’m sorry, Brien, but you don’t even seem to realize that more people visit Baltimore than did before the projects. Nor do you understand that people who drive into a city see it differently than people who live there. I’m not terribly inclined to take you at face value when you assert, against all evidence, what people outside the city think.

                • On the contrary: going to the stadiums has everything to do with getting people into the revitalized section of the city. As predicted, you are stuck on your perception of the two areas as distinct, and missing the point that non-residents’ perception is different from yours.

                  The only way this makes sense is if you mean “people who don’t reside anywhere in the Baltimore-D.C. metro area.” Because you literally don’t go into, through, or even have any idea you’re near the Inner Harbor if you’re driving to the stadiums unless you’re driving there from the Inner Harbor. Again, you’re probably best off not insisting you know more about the particulars of a metro area than someone who actually resides in said metro area.

                  I know what you’re going to write now: “But the stadiums aren’t near the waterfront! You totally have to walk a long way!”

                  And, again, you show off your skills at not paying attention to anyone when you just know you’re right. It’s not that it’s a long walk (it’s not that long if you’re really determined, at least from the baseball stadium), it’s that they’re completely isolated from one another by Eutaw Street and the convention center complex (and the massive expanse of parking lots in the case of the football stadium). To say they’re connected is to say you have no idea what the area actually looks like.

                  Well, there’s the jump in attendance at Orioles games by a million people per year which just happened to line up with the opening of Camden Yards.

                  Yes, they opened a new stadium and then had a run of very successful teams, and that equated to higher attendance. Of course, last season they made the playoffs for the first time in 14 years yet still had lower attendance than each of their last three seasons at Memorial Stadium, so it’s almost like there isn’t some automatic connection here!

                  I’m sorry, Brien, but you don’t even seem to realize that more people visit Baltimore than did before the projects. Nor do you understand that people who drive into a city see it differently than people who live there. I’m not terribly inclined to take you at face value when you assert, against all evidence, what people outside the city think.

                  Except for the part where there’s lower attendance at Camden Yards now (and Memorial Stadium would certainly sell out every Ravens game) and I drive into the city myself, then sure, I guess.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  So what you’re saying is that the ballpark isn’t next to the waterfront.

                  Hmmmmm. Strokes chin. That changes everything.

                  facepalm

                  Yes, they opened a new stadium and then had a run of very successful teams, and that equated to higher attendance.

                  Um, yeah, you know that everyone can click on the link and see the million-person jump in just one year, right?

                • Wow, dude, you discovered that attendance jumps when a new stadium gets opened in MLB. This is earth shattering stuff no one has ever noted before!! I guess we just open a brand spanking new stadium every 5-10 years to keep things fresh, then, right?

                  But at least we got you to stop pretending to know more about the traffic patterns around here than I do, I guess, even if moving to baseball economics isn’t much of an upgrade for you there.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  Or that, with a little calculator work, they can find that the lowest year of attendance since Camden Yards is higher than the average attendance in the 20 years before it opened?

                  Anyway, apparently, the ballpark isn’t actually on the waterfront, thus completely invalidating the existence of Route 395, or any perception of linkage between Camden Yards and the Inner Harbor.

                  I think you need to make more noises about how you live in Baltimore.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  So now we’ve gone from “There are no more visitors” to “So what if there are more visitors?”

                  Also, way to skip right over the difference between the visitorship to the Inner Harbor and the visitorship to the neighborhood around the old Country Stadium.

                  It’s getting to the point where I feel like I’m bullying a child, so I’ll let you have the last word.

                • Um, Joe…395 takes you through the city without having to use the roads around either the Harbor or the stadiums. You’ve literally just cited a bypass as proof that they’re very well connected, so…yeah. (And to be helpful, Oriole Park is at the beginning of Pratt Street, it’s just that you don’t go through the Harbor at all if you’re going to the stadiums, so there’s no traffic overflow between the two unless you plan to go to both. M&T though, might as well be across town, because you have to go past Oriole Park on either Russell or Eutaw and fight your way down Pratt, and that’s assuming that the cops are letting you take the direct route down after the game which is highly unlikely!).

                  I won’t even bother to guess why you’re citing a hotel that caters primarily to out of towners doing business at the convention center as proof of what area residents think of the city’s districts, though.

                • “So now we’ve gone from “There are no more visitors” to “So what if there are more visitors?””

                  Well, no, I pointed out that relying on the well-known bump in attendance when opening a new stadium isn’t much of a strategy for urban development. Nor, for that matter, is relying on overall trends in MLB attendance.

                  Meanwhile citing highways that separate the two is central to your point that they’re the same thing, I’m sure.

                • witless chum says:

                  I thought I was going to find out that Joe had killed a guy with a trident by the end of that, given how quickly it escalated.

        • TribalistMeathead says:

          The Verizon (nee MCI) Center for another.

          I mean, you could conceivably argue that revitalization was inevitable, given the neighborhood’s location and transit links, but having ~20,000 people in the neighborhood for an event most of the year probably helped quite a bit.

    • Murc says:

      A good revitalization project to set the city on a sustainable course is probably a better use of money than paying current bills and going into bankruptcy a little later.

      I will note that those “current bills” include the pensions that Detroit is trying to weasel their way out of paying.

      • Well that’s a mighty uncharitable way of putting it. Are they faking bankruptcy or something?

        • Murc says:

          Well, the bankruptcy is real enough, but I expect this to go down exactly the way it’s gone down with the automakers Detroit learned the trick from: mismanage your operation, plead financial hardship, use that execute to force people who worked for you in good faith to take haircuts on their benefits while making sure bondholders are as protected as humanly possible.

          • Well my understanding is that one of the biggest reasons they filed for bankruptcy is to make bondholders take a haircut too. Wall Street of course wants the creditors to be paid in full and the peons to pay all of the price of fixing the city’s finances.

            Also, saying Detroit “mismanaged” things sort of elides the crux of the matter: that the city’s population is half of what it used to be. There’s basically nothing they could do differently that would change the situation in a meaningful way given that reality.

          • joe from Lowell says:

            mismanage your operation

            You sound like a Republican explaining that Detroit is in bad shape because of Democratic mayors.

            There actually have been forces other than mismanagement between the decline of old industrial cities.

            • Murc says:

              This is entirely true, but there’s been a ton of mismanagement involved as well.

              • joe from Lowell says:

                There’s no question, there is mismanagement, and it’s a problem.

                But the problem of the decline of America’s historical industrial cities, and the policies needed to reverse it, are no more based in mismanagement than they are in police budgets. Taking care of those problems is just good housecleaning, but good housecleaning isn’t going to do all that much for a two-bedroom house in a four-bedroom market.

  6. c u n d gulag says:

    Uhm…
    Wasn’t it. “Bread AND Circuses?”

    All I see is political clowns.

  7. rw970 says:

    Hey, if it were any other team than the Red Wings, I would oppose it. But they’ve delivered over twenty years of excellence. After that, rules don’t apply to you. They should get Mike Babcock and Ken Holland to run the city.

  8. Mike Schilling says:

    The city of Oakland, which can’t afford enough cops, is talking about spending hundreds of millions on a new stadium to keep the Raiders. Because if they leave, as the A’s and Warriors are planning to, says the mayor, it won’t be a major league city anymore. Idiocy.

  9. Not that Joe needs anything like expertise to challenge his preconceived notions, but for everyone else, here’s actual research to the effect that Camden Yards (and Baltimore in general) is not the exception to the “Stadium funding is bad” rule.

  10. [...] out of bankruptcy (which is allowing the city to stiff workers on retirement benefits) but it will support a new sports stadium. •Charles Pierce looks at how some stories disappear from the media. •Yet [...]

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