Gabriel Rosenberg has a fairly brutal opinion piece in the Indianapolis Star entitled “Learning to Hate the Pacers, a Team I Have Long Loved.” Reading the title, I thought it was going to be some superficial rant complaining about the Pacers’ change in fortunes and level of performance toward the end of the season.
Nope. He clearly loves the Pacers and Indianapolis, but he’s pissed about the decision to give the Simon family $160 million to support the Pacers and Banker’s Fieldhouse at the same time the roads are crumbling and the police seemingly don’t have the resources they need to keep order.
The latest handout is a craven abdication of responsibility by the city’s leaders. The Simons squeeze the life from the city. But the mayor and the council fear the immediate political wrath of fans. Why pay a grievous political price now when the human cost can be amortized by decades of crumbling infrastructure, winnowing public services, violent crimes and shuttered schools?
. . .
I rage at something I love. I try to reject something that is a part of me and always will be. I can’t really ever walk away from the Pacers, but my stomach is knotted in anger and sorrow when I think of them. I’m saying things I don’t really believe. But I must learn to believe them. I hope Paul George misses his next 160 shots. I hope the Hawks outscore the Pacers by 160 points. I hope they lose the next 160 games. How else will I count the 160 million lacerations the Simons leave on the body of the city?
I once loved a city that bled blue and gold. Now I love a city that simply bleeds.
Paul K. Ogden says
It was a terrific column.
Be sure to include the Colts in your ire and adversion, Gabe. I’d rather have an intact ball joint and an inflated tire than a silly sports game.
A number of points:
I am jealous of the money that sports owners make too, but they have a seller’s market.
The $160 million that Rosenberg cites comes from a special fund set aside by the Legislature. It is comprised of sales taxes and hotel taxes collected in downtown Indy. If the sports teams leave town tomorrow, the leftover money won’t go to the police.
The presence of sports teams makes the city a more pleasant place to live. Indianapolis is the fastest growing city in the Midwest. This means that more taxpayers will be coming to the city to pay for the police.
I concede that the stadiums are paid for by a 1 or 2 per cent restaurant tax in the metro area. I think it is a terrific deal, however, to pay 2 cents extra for a hamburger and then go watch a game on TV. I pay a substantial amount more for other forms of entertainment.
Mr. Ogden, above, went to Law school at Indiana University. The IU Law school admits only a privileged few of those that apply. Since IU is a state operated institution, however, the taxpayers subsidize approximately 75 per cent of the resident students’ costs. If Mr. Ogden is principled in favor of free enterprise and against taxpayer subsidies, then he should offer to pay his student subsidies back and support the efforts of places like the Indiana Tech Law School, which is 100 per cent supported by users (students).
Or, maybe, we find more value in subsidizing some things than others; thereby making some subsidies more acceptable to our individual selves and/or society as a whole.
Case in point: I find subsidizing the college-educations of Hoosier kids far more valuable to society as a whole than I find in subsidizing a privately-owned sports franchise.
“The presence of sports teams makes the city a more pleasant place to live. ”
Are you nuts?They make it a worse place to live. Even if I grant your point, the Rally’s on South Madison makes Indy “a more pleasant place to live.”.Are they deserving of tax dollars? I make Indy “a more pleasant place to live.” Am I deserving of tax dollars?
“I think it is a terrific deal, however, to pay 2 cents extra for a hamburger and then go watch a game on TV. I pay a substantial amount more for other forms of entertainment.”
Because you’re a thief. I think it’s a horrible deal to pay for your entertainment merely because I need my daily bread. “Pay for my sports, or you can’t eat” is the most vile of thief.
Your attempt to force an equivalence in public benefit between the Colts and Indiana University is truly desperate.
How about instead of taking these tax districts and giving the money to the For Profit teams, we use that money for infrastructure cost. Maybe a better bus service, more police presence, better sewer system. Why are we subsidizing these teams? Why can’t they figure out how to be profitable. We are practically giving them the space for free and they are getting all the money out of it.