Monday, July 17, 2006

NBA Musings

by SonDog

-- Bonzi Wells better make a decision soon. I know he's holding out for more money, but in turn it appears to be handcuffing the Kings in their search for new talent. Granted, all we've heard to this point is Darius Songaila.

-- Whither Kenny Thomas? Is Geoff Petrie going to be able to trade his massive contract? Has he even bothered to call Isiah Thomas at this point? I mean, Thomas has cornered the market on undersized power forwards, so you would think he would be drooling over Thomas. And if Petrie does trade Thomas, can SAR be a defensive presence. There were times last year where I swear I could have out-rebounded Shareef.

-- I'm still questioning the Quincy Douby draft pick. LSU's Big Baby weighs more than Douby, Francisco Garcia and Kevin Martin combined.

-- I will have plenty to say between now and November regarding the Sacramento arena ballot issue. According to my sources (OZ), several groups that plan to protest the measure are already forming. They site, among other things, the San Francisco Giants' ability to build a privately-funded park, as well as the San Francisco 49ers' proposed privately funded park. This, of course, is a fallacy of reasoning, but those who are closed-minded tend not to care about such things.

7 comments:

bh said...

Which part is a fallacy of reasoning, specifically? If you plan on insulting a large group of people, it would probably be good if they had some idea why you took exception to their point of view, rather than simply and with finality stating that they are "close-minded." Plus, I'm not sure a person's stance on the Kings stadium financing proposal is a legitmate and large enough sample size by which one might determine the degree of another person's level of open-mindedness. Are you saying all people who oppose tax increases are close-minded? Or just those who don't want to see a tax increase for a basketball team's new arena? Do you mean all fiscal conservatives? Maybe if you were to write something like, "Traditionally, those who have opposed public stadium financing have also opposed abortions, legalizing marijuana, war, peace, affirmative action, stem-cell research, steroid abuse, farming in short sleaves, illegal immigration, immigration, revenue sharing, peace accords, the United Nations, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Jews, GMO foods, pesticides, organic beef, the existence of aliens, folding your toilet paper, and Al Franken," then I would at least be able to give you credit for not thinking of yourself as one of only two people capable of having thought through this issue and arriving at a logic-supported conclusion. Please, you're not a 19 year-old liberal arts major, who's just completed her first philosophy class at Chico State, realizing that her parents are ignorant boobs.

Here are some highlights from a Minnesota Public Radio report. Interested in the Twins prospects of a new stadium, the station looked into the Giants and their approach to financing:


"Why would we use tax money if they could get people to invest money, private money?" said Palmquist. "They make profit on it, and that's good. I wanted it to go private, and it did."

A publicly-financed stadium would have been fine with Marty Palmquist, who said the higher taxes would have been worth it. But for her, the stadium debates are distant memories now that the intimate, sunny SBC Park on San Francisco Bay has replaced the impersonal, chilly, foggy and blustery Candlestick Park, where the Giants played until 1999.

"I love the new park, and I'm glad it's sold out almost every time they play," she said. "Not only the location, but that fact that we don't have all that wind? It's wonderful."

There just weren't enough Marty Palmquists for the Giants to get a taxpayer-funded stadium. Owners tried four times over two decades for a large public subsidy to pay for a new park, but each time voters rejected them, once by only 2,000 votes.

The Giants had hit the wall. In 1993, the team was sold to new owners who said they were committed to head off a move to another city.

"We found that the only way that a ballpark was going to be built in San Francisco is if the Giants were to do so privately," said Stacy Slaughter, Giants vice president.

While the team fought long and hard for a handout, Slaughter said paying for the stadium on its own has been, for the most part, a good deal. Without the layers of bureaucracy that would have come along with public money, the Giants were able to get the design they wanted, to complete the stadium on time and under budget, and are free to rent the park for rock concerts, college football bowl games, and monster truck rallies.
We found that the only way that a ball park was going to be built in San Francisco is if the Giants were to do so privately.
- Stacy Slaughter, San Francisco Giants vice president


"We are paying more for our stadium than most other teams do," said Slaughter. "We have an annual debt payment that we have to pay. But at the same time, other teams around the league are paying rent for their stadiums in excess of several million dollars. And they don't necessarily generate the revenues we do. So at the end of the day it's pretty much a wash."

SBC Park cost $315 million. After selling the naming rights for $50 million and raising about $90 million through personal seat licenses and corporate sponsorships, the Giants borrowed $175 million for construction. The team pays about $17 million annually to service that debt, and will for another 15 years.

So far the Giants have had no trouble paying their stadium debt. A post-season regular the last few years, the Giants have 28,000 season ticket holders and regularly sell out their games.

Quentin Kopp opposed public financing for a new Giants stadium as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and later as state senator. But he led the charge for a successful ballot initiative which promised the Giants would build a stadium on their own. He says the way the new park was built proves the value of private enterprise.

"From the standpoint of the integrity of taxpayer money, that simple notion of letting public monies be used for police, fire, the other regular services of local government, has been preserved -- not using those monies to pay for an enterprise that's able to generate its own profits," Kopp said.

While the team did pay for construction of SBC Park, it also benefited from significant public contributions. The park sits on city-owned property at the foot of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, near downtown. It's probably some of the most expensive real estate in the country, and the Giants get to use it for free. The city also kicked in $80 million in infrastructure improvements.

Joel Ventresca headed up a citizens group called "Committee to Stop the Giveaway," which opposed public financing of a baseball stadium in San Francisco. He says residents are paying indirect costs -- for city services to the park, and the loss of land that could be used for housing or industry that would generate more tax dollars than baseball.

"For PR purposes they claim it's privately financed," said Ventresca. "In reality when you look at the hard numbers, the stadium in San Francisco is heavily subsidized by the local taxpayers. And that means tax dollars are going to support this sports team and their sports palace instead of those tax dollars going for public education, public parks or other types of high-need services that exist here in San Francisco."

It's a mistake, agrees Stanford University economist Roger Noll, to think of SBC Park as purely private. Noll, who studies sports economics, says the Giants' $175 million investment is paying off for now because the park is bringing in more than enough money to cover debts. But Noll sees signs the new-park honeymoon may be coming to an end. The Giants are having an off year on the field, and for the first time some games are not being sold out. Noll says trouble looms.

"Most likely, as one gets out past 10 years, the interest costs will in fact exceed the revenue enhancement," said Noll. "The reason teams have in fact asked for public subsidies is that these stadiums aren't worth it. They actually cost more than the incremental revenues they generate over their lifetimes. And that's why they go for public subsidies. It's not really a good business investment over the long run."

Noll says that means the Giants could come calling on taxpayers again when SBC Park turns from asset to financial burden. But as for the present, Noll says there's a lesson to be learned from San Francisco for cities struggling with stadium issues.

"If the political system refuses to provide a large subsidy, as happened in San Francisco when the Giants lost four consecutive ballot measures to get a subsidy, then it may be the case that the team will find alternative sources of financing to pay for most of the stadium," he said.

The problem with that strategy, said Noll, is that more cities want baseball teams than there are baseball teams. Force a team to go private and you may lose it to another city -- if that city is willing to provide a big taxpayer subsidy. In the current market, though, there doesn't appear to be a surplus of cities willing to pay the price.

In Missouri, the Legislature took the risk, rejecting a bid by the St. Louis Cardinals for a hefty subsidy for a new stadium. Like the Giants, the Cardinals are paying for a new stadium mostly on their own. St. Louis-based sports economist Patrick Rishe said St. Louis and San Francisco could spell the end of the massive public stadium subsidies of the 1990s.

"I think it's going to be harder and harder for any team to expect to get, say, over two-thirds of their funding -- or even 50 percent of their funding -- say through a sales tax," Rishe said.

For their part, the Minnesota Twins say the level of private financing seen in St. Louis and San Francisco is not feasible in the Twin Cities. The team points out that San Francisco benefited from the dot-com boom when the city was awash in money; and that the Cardinals already own land where the stadium will be built, and have much higher attendance than the Twins.

SonDog said...

"Your comments evoke a skepticism in me that I choose to convey smugly." -- Stephen Colbert's Buide to Expressing Like a TV Journalist

"If you plan on insulting a large group of people, it would probably be good if they had some idea why you took exception to their point of view, rather than simply and with finality stating that they are "close-minded."" -- BH, circa 10 minutes ago.

Did you miss the "I will have plenty to say between now and November regarding the Sacramento arena ballot issue?" Maybe you can be patient and wait for the next installment, you closed-minded boob.

(Note to reader: Before I write this next paragraph, please note this one paragraph is not a summation of thoughts on this issue. Rather, it's one small, no, minute portion of the overall debate. So, please, before lambasting it as if it were the overall arguement, note that it is merely a small sample)... The 49ers stadium calls for massive re-zoning which, in a gross over-simplification, gives land, for free, to the Niners. This land could be used to generate revenue for the public good. However, the proposal is to use it to generate private money. Thus, it's not necessarily being built entirely on private funds, which is already being used as an arguement. I'm not saying it's right or wrong. Rather, I'm saying it's a FALLACY OF REASONING to suggest it is/will/maybe be built entirely with private money.

Enjoy my picture.

bh said...

This, of course, is a fallacy of reasoning, but those who are closed-minded tend not to care about such things.

Did you miss the "I will have plenty to say between now and November regarding the Sacramento arena ballot issue?" Maybe you can be patient and wait for the next installment, you closed-minded boob.


Sorry. I guess was unreasonable for the reader to take exception to your Micheal Tucker-ish punch-and-run technique. Thanks for recognizing that your statement needed a little validation, or at least, a sign of reason. Now, how 'bout a little love for those closed-minded people who think AT&T Park is privately financed.

bh said...

One more thing...

The 49ers stadium calls for massive re-zoning which, in a gross over-simplification, gives land, for free, to the Niners. This land could be used to generate revenue for the public good. However, the proposal is to use it to generate private money. Thus, it's not necessarily being built entirely on private funds, which is already being used as an argument

((Note to reader: Before I write this next paragraph, please note this one paragraph is not a summation of thoughts on this issue. Rather, it's one small, no, minute portion of the overall debate. So, please, before lambasting it as if it were the overall arguement, note that it is merely a small sample, bitch) The part about "gross over-simplification" might lead one to believe that maybe, an under-simplification would show us that the land is, in fact, not being given to the 49ers for free. But let's say for the sake of debate,that the land is being given to the Niners for free. You're neglecting to mention that the stadium deal is part of a larger plan to get the Olympics to San Francisco, which would bring a gazillion and a half more people who will probably spend some money in the Bay Area and have a lasting impact on tourism dollars in the area. Seems like the revenue generated by a deal like that might be used for public good. I know it's not your whole argument, but how can you write that the City of San Francisco could be using the area at Candlestick point to generate revenue for the public good (by the way, I'm not sure how this could or would happen since this area is a pit), as if it were a negative, when you are for voter approval in regards to the Kings' new arena. In the Kings' case, they are proposing putting an arena downtown, an idea not conceived with the public good in mind, and in an area in no need of increased traffic to spur revenue, unlike the proposals surrounding a new park in Bayview. From SignonSanDiego.com, "“We know there is public concern about using the bond money approved by the voters, so our goal is to find alternative ways to finance the new stadium,” team co-owner John York said in a statement. The 49ers have proposed the construction of a retail, entertainment, and residential development complex next to the stadium to pay for the project. The team's development partner, Lennar Corp., plans to present its proposal for the Candlestick Point property in the city's Bayview-Hunter's Point neighborhood later this summer."

sondog said...

Your arguements are sound and well said.

However, your objection to my original statement, which led to this debate, still confuses me. The article's intent wasn't to discuss the stadium issue to this point. Rather, it was to primarily discuss the Kings. My inflamatory remark regarding closed-minded people clearly struck a nerve, but I don't agree with your original claim that I should have backed up my remark, in part because that's not the intent of such a post.

You stated, "If you plan on insulting a large group of people, it would probably be good if they had some idea why you took exception to their point of view, rather than simply and with finality stating that they are "close-minded."" Fair enough, but it is very much contradictory to your statement last week, regarding the protests, "Um, fuck you and your "passing the fast daily" relay team." In that post, you merely re-printed an article, and used that statement and that statement only to insult a large group of people. In that particular post on a topic that is of a much more important nature, it would probably have been good if you had given them some idea as to why you took exception to their point of view.

My point is that we've regularly said such things in the history of the blog in order to inflame. It has not been a requirement to go to great lengths to back up such remarks.

Again, enjoy my picture, and then comment about Shea Hillenbrand.

bh said...

"In that particular post on a topic that is of a much more important nature, it would probably have been good if you had given them some idea as to why you took exception to their point of view."

Wow. If you had a hard time understanding why I wrote "fuck you and your pass the fast relay team," or would like to quibble about whether demonstrating that some research was done into why I felt the way I did, then I'm sorry. I truly am. Not because I feel that I have done a poor job, but because I have either severely over-estimated the amount of faith with which you and I debate or over-estimated your ability to compose thoughts as a rational, fair-minded person. I'm a little confused about how comparing Cindy Sheehan and her convenience protest and a guy WHO LIT HIMSELF ON FIRE IN PROTEST could leave you wondering if I was making it clear why I felt Sheehan and friends were out of line. It should have been, and I believe was, clear why I had reprinted that article. By recognizing that I was posting the piece on Mr. Morrison as support for my comments about the protest, you recognized my intentions. Your effort now to pretend as though you didn't recognize those intentions, that they in any way contradict what I have written in this post, or that they in any way relate to my response to this post, once again leads me toward the idea that this is a bad-faith effort on your part.

"My inflamatory remark regarding closed-minded people clearly struck a nerve, but I don't agree with your original claim that I should have backed up my remark, in part because that's not the intent of such a post." Calling a group of people closed-minded without giving them the benefit of explaining why is a cheap, lazy way to compose a post. I honestly didn't know which part of the group's support of the 49ers and Giants "privately funded stadium" and had some interest in why you felt that way. Also, as we had previoulsy discussed the Kings' new, partially publicly-funded arena proposal and I had voiced objections to it, I felt as though you were grouping me into the closed-minded category. As a potential respondant, I'm interested in knowing the basis of statement and the points from which one is planning to argue so that I might avoid being ambushed later when I write something about the Niner's stadium being privately financed. I can't see why it's such a hardship to furnish the people with whom you are going to debate with at least some sort of common denominator. I know, it's your post and we don't really have any rules, but at least respect the people you are insulting enough to demonstrate why you are ripping them so that they might defend themselves. Had I, in my Sheehan post, neglected to research the name of the man who lit himself on fire then posted the article I found, then I would have violated this idea. You, as the reader and potential respondant, were given the information regarding, in this specific situation, some of the reasons I felt the way I did about Sheehan and her group of followers. Solely based on the article I posted, you knew why I had written what I had, and you could have responded. I'm not sure why this is something that seems to be raising the ire of the Sondog, since as a former sports editor of a respected college newspaper this would be common practice. I can't even come close to pretending I've been perfect in regards to backing up everything I've written. However, you have no business writing or even pretending that my post about Cindy Sheehan lacked a definitive aspect of why I felt the way I felt. Perhaps in that both comments were inflammatory they were similar, but that's probably it.

Finally, your latest comment continues a disturbing trend of abandoning the focus of a debate in favor of another aspect of a subject in which you feel you have a stronger point. On several occasions you have abandoned the natural course of debate and, in some attempt to disprove my argument, have tried to demonstrate that I have contradicted myself, though not with information contained in the debate at hand. Rather, you provide quotes from posts that were about different issues, involving different situations, and required different reactions. I'm not sure what the deal is with that. I have looked forward to thoughtful and reasonable debates with you whether the subject has been Bode Miller, Pete Rose, or Eric Gagne. When they weren't public, there tended to be a little less focus on saving face since it was just the two of us exchanging emails. Now, there seems to be more of a focus put on scoring points rather than actually collecting thoughtful viewpoints that further our collective understanding of a subject.

Once again, I'd like to reiterate that your quote, "You stated, "If you plan on insulting a large group of people, it would probably be good if they had some idea why you took exception to their point of view, rather than simply and with finality stating that they are "close-minded. Fair enough, but it is very much contradictory to your statement last week, regarding the protests, "Um, fuck you and your "passing the fast daily" relay team." In that post, you merely re-printed an article, and used that statement and that statement only to insult a large group of people," is infuriating horseshit, and is the very definition of the issues I have been having regarding debate with you over the course of the last six months. You knew exactly why I asked you about the fallacy in my very first comment following this post and you know, You. Know. why comparing this to my Cindy Sheehan post is wrong.

Fuck. If you're going to respond to this by bringing up irrelevant shit, don't bother. Honestly, I will probably never look at this post's comment section again, because I expect nothing more than an effort to be made to look the fool. Take your fucking medicine and learn from it.

sondog said...

I choose not to bother.