That’s what this little essay is. We’ve always held to the principle of avoiding obscenities and profanities. (The editor - our beloved bride of 64 years - even clamps down on excessive sarcasm!) But today’s issue of the IBJ brings two stories with unbelievable ideas in them.
The first concerns continued subsidy of our professional basketball franchise. Despite an increase of some $15 million per year from the league - the NBA - we're told the team will still lose money from having to operate the building in which it performs.
We are told by a Mark Rosentraub, identified as a University of Michigan professor and "sports business expert," that the expected revenue increase is to be spent only on players’ salaries to "maintain the overall competitive balance." By 2020, "...the average NBA player salary is expected to be $8 million...."
This is the same gentleman who, a few years ago, wrote publicly proclaiming that professional sports were an economic non-factor for a city. Recent years have seen him traversing the country, with a complete change of heart, helping to create these "public-private partnerships" for sports franchises. At one point he was a member of an organization like the CIB in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.
The president of the City-County Council (CCC) is quopted as saying, "All the councillors understand the benefits of having professional sports teams in the city...."
We’re still waiting for someone to specify who receives these "benefits" and why the municipal government should be paying for them. We started this boondoggle 38 years ago when Market Square Arena was built for basketball - specifically to keep the team from moving.
During this subsequent time period, the political/business "leadership" of the city has "invested" hundreds of millions of tax dollars more, always with claims of forthcoming "benefits" to the "city."
The result has been the current situation in which the same president of the CCC is trying desperately to find funding for adequate public safety functions of the city government. To say nothing of libraries, parks, etc, which citizens have every right to expect from their tax dollars.
The president of the CCC also says, "This is not a party issue." Maybe we should at least be happy that in this era of bitter political division we have agreement here - even if it is based on dis-information, mis-information, and intentionally mis-leading public statements which seem never to be questioned by the local news media.
We’ll be brief on the second article. It concerns the decision as to who will "...handle design and engineering..." for a new downtown "transit hub" at a cost of more than $30 million.
We have to wonder how much of that could be committed instead to actual people moving. But what the hell! The mere name of the winning bidder "...will bring prestige to the project and to Indianapolis...."
And not to worry about the cost. 80 percent will be covered by that wonderful, free Federal money, hot off the printing press. After all, a lousy little $24 million in Washington is like one grain of sand on a 1,000 acre beach. What’s a "fiscal cliff," anyway?
One more comment. The next to last sentence of this article says, rather casually, "City officials expect to seek a new round of bids for development of the Market Square Arena site in the next few years." (Our emphasis.)
That land is near the proposed "hub" site. We’re glad to see the effort to get that property back on the tax rolls whizzing right along. After all, it’s only been 11+ years since the building was razed.
Way to go, gang!!!