On Tuesday, Denver voters approved measures that authorize the Denver government to issue bonds for public transportation upgrades, parks renovations and homeless shelters.
Only one part of Mayor Michael Hancock’s $550 million bond proposal was rejected by voters: The one that would have used $190 million to finance construction of a multi-purpose stadium in the City’s River North area. The stadium subsidy was rejected by 58 percent, even though the four first parts of Hancock’s proposal were supported at least 60% of the time, the report shows. The Denver PostThe election tracker.
Most contentious bond issue was the stadium project. Hancock repeated the familiar arguments, asserting that the new stadium, along with upgrades to the National Western Center, which is a rodeo facility, would “create jobs all year and provide funding for community programmes and projects vital for the well being of the surrounding communities.” However, the results of the elections would indicate that city residents are not in agreement. The stadium proposal would have taken up 35% of the money in the mayor’s proposal. Many people feel that the money could be spent better elsewhere if it was approved. Colorado PoliticsReports
There are many more efficient ways of wasting $190 million than putting it in stadium projects. These often fail to live up to the promises about creating jobs and tax revenue as well as business opportunities. Voters are less likely to believe these promises if they have the chance to stop them.
The public voted against three other similar proposals for Denver’s new stadium during the week-long elections. A proposal to spend $50 million public money in Albuquerque for a $70million stadium was rejected 65 percent by voters. That happened despite Mayor Tim Keller—a vocal proponent of the project—winning reelection and despite voters approving all the other bond measures on the ballot, The Field of Schemas blogger Neil deMause notes.
“The people of Albuquerque also made clear they want their public resources used to support other communities and social priorities,” Stop the Stadium said in a statement. This group was opposed to the Albuquerque Project.
In Augusta, Georgia 65 percent rejected the same bond issue. This would have allowed the city to borrow money for the construction of a stadium worth $235million. The future tenant (possibly an minor league hockey club) is yet unknown. The cost of the new stadium was projected to add about $100 to the average property tax bill in the city—all to create “a handful of new permanent jobs,” according to Augusta Chronicle It would be a shame to not vote. ThisWhich?
Augusta voters might not be able to decide if their pockets are raided in order to finance the project. Brad Usry was vice-chairman of the county authority responsible for the construction. Chronicle The authority stated last month that “a no” vote will “only delay project implementation so it can be funded elsewhere.”
The stadium was approved by the voters, and they were not asked to reject it. Augusta, what a cool democracy!
For the proponents of stadium boondoggles, however, Tuesday’s results are probably just one more reason to prefer backroom deals—like the super swampy agreement that brought the newly crowned World Series champion Atlanta Braves to their home in Cobb County, Georgia—over an open, democratic process. It’s why other cities should adopt the Boise idea two years back and require that all stadium projects be subject to a referendum.
There would be plenty of stadiums if they were as lucrative as the cities claim. private They will receive funding. After all, cities don’t need to use public funds to build commercial properties like warehouses and office buildings—because those projects can be reliably trusted to turn a profit.
The results of Tuesday’s game showed that the majority of taxpayers don’t want to pay their taxes (or borrow funds) in order to fund the dreams of sportsball executives and politicians.