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+ Stadium: House of cards
Congratulations for calling a spade a spade.
Sarasota’s experiment with baseball has been a costly blunder from the beginning.
First, the very idea that Sarasota taxpayers are called upon to subsidize the trophy assets (i.e., baseball teams) of billionaires (i.e., baseball team owners) and their payroll of millionaires (i.e., the 100 or more who are compensated at $1 million or more per year) is in itself an outrage.
Then, the sad tale of the stadium should have been a warning flag.
Built with bond money (borrowed funds) at an initial cost of $10 million, with about the same amount spent on interest on those bonds and maintenance of the stadium over the past 20 years, we come to total cost so far of some $20 million.
This asset, along with some valuable acreage, was sold by the city to Sarasota County for $1 under the terms of the 2009 baseball “deal.”
That is not the end of Sarasota taxpayer losses.
The city is obligated to pay for 50% of future maintenance of the stadium far into the future, a fact which is rarely if ever brought up during the discussions about the “benefits” of the Orioles “deal.”
Finally, Sarasota County did some “creative financing” — to borrow a phrase from Wall Street — to avoid the $30 million limit above which approval of taxpayers by referendum is required. That alone appears to prove that the majority of the commissioners who voted for the deal, knew and feared quite well that voters would have rejected such a deal.
Volumes could be written about the many other flaws of the deal, including the Orioles representative asserting last summer during an open hearing that the Orioles are bringing a new deal to the table, with the establishment of a baseball academy but soon thereafter refusing absolutely to make any commitment whatsoever to build such a facility.
What goes around comes around. Sadly, it will be no surprise if the entire house of cards (i.e., the baseball deal) will collapse under the weight of its multiple flaws.
+ Wrong kind of change
We’re about 15 months into the change promised during the Obama campaign, and I wonder how it’s going for most Americans.
I for one feel we were “short changed” — we, our children, our grandchildren and those yet unborn who will pay for the unsustainable generational thievery heaped upon us.
We learned what a trillion dollars is, and they embraced spending at a level that is so obscene and mind-boggling that it is impossible to put it in any kind of a context that would make sense. These are trillions spent on a “stimulus” bill that has not and will not stimulate anything but more employees in government bureaucracies and more burden for taxpayers.
It’s money we don’t have being spent on things we don’t need — 17,500 earmarks. Reading the list will make you want to throw up.
And then there’s the atrocious health- care bill that an overwhelming number of Americans do not want.
Our president, senators and congressmen showed their arrogance when they admitted they did not even read the bills!
And, of course, the stimulus and health- care bills were much more important than doing something that would actually stimulate the economy, such as cut taxes and spending and get out of the way of the private sector.
We got change all right, but my bet is no one in the electorate thought we would roar down the road to socialism and Marxism like a runaway train.
If we do not re-establish some semblance of the checks and balances our forefathers built into our government, we are doomed to remain subjugated by the troika now ruling in Washington.
Fellow citizens, please understand what has and is continuing to happen to this wonderful country and vote out those who are selling us into economic slavery.
If you are as tired of the lies and irresponsible actions of our elected officials as I am, get involved. Find a Tea Party group, a 9/12 group or a “Take Back Our Country group.” You will find people like yourself ready to save our country and to send new, honest people to Washington. God Bless America.
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Members of the Sarasota Seminole Club worked with Habitat for Humanity of Sarasota as part of Florida State University’s Seminole Service Day.
Piero Rivolta and his wife, Rachele, opened their home to the Pines of Sarasota March 26.