Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Latest Letter to the Edmonton Journal Pertaining to the Proposal of Building a New Downtown Hockey Arena for the Oilers Using Public Funds

I love indoor Rock Climbing. I would love to open a new facility in north-east Edmonton, but I simply can not afford to do so. It's a shame as there is a large climbing community in Edmonton that would benefit from a new facility. If I offered to run the operation, would taxpayers and the government be willing to fund my endeavor? Methinks no.

Enter this whole downtown arena issue. A sports franchise that pays it's members millions, is owned by a billionaire and is only accessible live to the affluent members of society, wants tax payer support to build a new, bigger facility that will earn them greater profits and, as a plausible residual affect, re-vitalize downtown. Why would we, the public, even consider entertaining such an obtuse request, given the greater needs of this fair city?

The Oilers are an important organisation for many Edmontonians, but that passion is based on our national identity of being hockey loving people. You either love your team and the game or you don't. If Katz wants an arena, let him pay for it and recoup the costs from those who support the franchise and businesses that wish to sponsor it. I am incredibly frustrated with tax dollars going to bail out things like hockey clubs, Indy Car racing, etc. When my friend's video store could no longer sustain itself a couple of years ago because of the declining rental industry, he had to take the hit with no taxpayer's assistance. It's time we truly make the distinction of private funding for private industry and public funding for public industry. If the Oilers were accessible to the public like Art galleries, libraries, bike paths, roads, parks and swimming pools, or provided emergency services like EPS, EMS and the Fire Department, this may not be such an issue (though few employees in any of these industries make millions each year). As it stands, the Oilers simply strike me as greedy, spoiled children with little sense of life's priorities.



  • At 4:37 p.m. , Blogger Minister of the Masochistic Truth said...

    Published in the Edmonton Journal on Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

  • At 11:20 a.m. , Blogger Minister of the Masochistic Truth said...

    From the paper:

    Downtown arena would benefit entire city

    Edmonton JournalDecember 17, 2009

    Re: "Let rich pay for their playground," by Ed Meers, Letters, Dec 15.

    If Ed Meers' rock-climbing venture were able to draw crowds of 18,000-plus for 40 nights a year, and the venue could be converted quickly to accommodate everything from a concert to a rodeo, the sheer amount of infrastructure, staff, food, beer, parking, transportation, security, etc. would increase the risk and complexity such that he would have no choice but to find a partner like government.

    As for his friend's business, a video rental business is hardly comparable to a facility for large public venues. Also, Meers should keep in mind that the Oilers are not the only tenant of an arena. While Meers may not be a hockey fan, Rexall is home to dozens of events that drawn thousands of Edmontonians per year. I will never attend many of the events and facilities Meers advocates for. Can I get my tax dollars back? Of course not; I am happy to contribute to a better Edmonton.

    As for Meers' comment that "the Oilers simply strike me as greedy, spoiled children," The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation raised $1 million this year for local charities. The members of the team and their families donate both money and personal time to advance many causes around this city. Meers should keep that in mind before he "elevates" the discussion with name-calling. It is precisely what is wrong with public discourse in this country.

    Brent Winter, Edmonton
    © Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

  • At 11:21 a.m. , Blogger Minister of the Masochistic Truth said...

    Again, from the paper:

    Zero-sum game

    Edmonton JournalDecember 21, 2009

    Re: "Arena could bring $1.25B in wages; Katz proposal supplies 'critical mass' to transform downtown, city agency says," The Journal, and "Downtown arena would benefit entire city," Letters, Dec. 17.

    The propaganda continues, both on the front page and in the letters to the editor.

    So, letter writer Brent Winter says the Oilers are good guys because

    they "raised $1 million for charity"? Not donated, mind you -- raised.

    The Oilers' total salary for 2009-10 is $60 million, with top players making more than $5 million per year. Not quite in Daryl Katz's league yet, but pretty nice.

    And then the city's Economic Development Office weighs in by estimating that the new arena will generate "$1.3 billion in wages." No mention that this not new money.

    Building an arena downtown is a zero-sum game between the new arena and the old one at Rexall Place. Move the Oilers from one to the other: New arena -- plus; old arena -- minus.

    This will turn Rexall Place into a wasteland, LRT station and all.

    The only people to really benefit from building a new arena will be the people who own and operate it.

    If they need a bigger stadium and a bigger slice of the profit (the real Katz motive), why not rebuild Rexall Place? Or, hey, I've got it -- build it at the City Centre Airport site.

    Now, why didn't the mayor think of that?

    Alan Ball, Edmonton
    © Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal


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