Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Quick Links for March 25th

Thank God for the Nasty Fetish Tournament because jack and shit is going on this week. And no, UOP advancing to the semifinals of the tournament is not news. Mostly because I'm pretty sure if I had tens of thousands of dollars to throw around I could grab the guys I play an occasional pickup game with and advance to the semis of that joke of a tournament.

Anyway, it's Wednesday and we haven't done a Quick Links yet this week. Which I'm pretty sure is a record or something. So yeah, Quick Links!

"Taxes? I thought that was part of our deal"

The plight of the Lexington Waterfront Plaza Hotel Bar and Grill and Feed 'n Fuel continues. This time they didn't pay a tax aimed pretty much directly at them. So not only are contractors not getting paid, but the city's not getting the revenue that was part of the reason they gave the old Sheraton such a sweet deal in the first place. Of course, they're blaming it on the fact that the hotel's still in bankruptcy court, which I guess is a decent enough excuse. But this whole situation does underscore how horrible of an idea building an upscale hotel in what's considered (correctly or not) one of the sketchier areas in town. That idea looks fucking golden though compared to the fact that the hotel's profitability hinged on the sale of multiple $700,000 condos on the top of the hotel. None of this is really new news, but like I said, jack shit's been going on this week. Although it is pretty funny that the VP of the hotel is also the chairman of the tourism board that the hotel tax presumably benefits.

Apparently we learned nothing from previous councils

We've said it before and we'll say it again, Arena's are not moneymakers! That being said we understand why the city's considering this. The Arena was maligned while it was being built, and 4 years later it has yet to turn a profit. Most people are ignorant to the fact that it's tough for any new arena to post a profit, especially when the tenants don't have a built in fan base. So Arena opponents have exploited that ignorance and have been calling for immediate action to rectify that. We're not Arena apologists, but immediate action is kind of what got us into this mess in the first place.

The major problem with the Arena and downtown redevelopment as a whole is that it all happened wayyyyy too fast. Podesto was eager to leave his mark on the city and wanted to get everything done before he was out of office. So everything got fast tracked. Want a movie theater? Boom! It's up. Ballpark? Booyah! Built whether we got the land through legal means or not. Arena? Why, that would be the crown jewel! Make it happen! And throw a hotel up there too while you're at it. What was missing in all of this? Well, for one, a chance to see if any of those things could actually succeed downtown. We all know how downtown was perceived pre-redevelopment. It was an area to be avoided unless you had a parking ticket or jury duty. The city did nothing to address those concerns outside throwing up some fences.

Instead of slowly coaxing us into checking out downtown they hijacked the Asparagus festival and forced us downtown. Instead of saying "Hey, we understand your safety concerns and we're doing something to address them" they said "Crime? What the fuck are you talking about? It's perfectly safe down there!" while stories in the paper told us about shootings in front of nightclubs and late night muggings. And while all of this is going on, they expect us to willingly go down there to support not one, not two, but four(!?) brand new venues/businesses. It's like they took the saying "put all your eggs in one basket" and shoved an 8-ball of booger sugar up it's nose.

If they had slowed down they would have seen that it takes time for any venue to be profitable by itself, let alone 3 of them. Instead the edict was clear "Get it done". And they did. And it's costing us big time when we can least afford it. And now it's causing us to consider horrible ideas to try and renegotiate a horrible contract.

We're not saying renegotiation isn't warranted. We're just saying that the city council needs to display the patience that the previous councils didn't. Learn from their mistakes. Immediate solutions aren't the best ones. The money to buy those teams has to come from somewhere. If it comes from bond dollars (not that anyone's indicated that's where it's coming from, but where the hell else is it going to come from, not a hotel tax, that's for sure), you're really just fucking the future to get shut done now. And if that happens have we really learned anything from this whole debacle?

Something for UOP to consider

This has no local connection but I thought this was pretty cool. Plus, we're featuring one reason the internet was created (the widespread distribution of porn), why not feature the other? Academic Earth is a project that feature lectures/courses from various prestigious universities that we have no chance of attending/affording. Of course linking to this kind of outs me as a huge nerd, but for those looking to further their education and don't have the financial means to do so, this site is a fairly good alternative. Even if it isn't worth some class credit. At the very least you'll feel better about yourself for not watching bootleg Simpsons episodes all night again. Plus if shit gets really boring you can just skip to the next lecture in the series. And you can totally smoke a bowl during class.

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