Crafton wants referendum on convention center financing

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 4:20am

With deliberation on a proposed convention center nearing its final month, Councilman Eric Crafton says he plans to file a resolution that would allow citizens of Davidson County to weigh in on financing for the $585 million project through a referendum.

Though still in its drafting stage, the resolution would likely be heard at the Council’s Jan. 19 meeting, the same night the body is expected to vote on a finance package to bankroll the convention center through a combination of taxes and fees that target tourists.

“It’s time for the Council to step up and give the people a chance to vote on this project,” Crafton said. “I know the argument against it is, ‘the Council is elected to make decisions and we should make the decision on that,’ but the problem is this is an intergenerational commitment to spend about a billion dollars worth of debt for the city.

“Why don’t we just let the people have an honest chance to express what they feel about it?” Crafton said. “I think that’s very reasonable.”

Davidson County Election Commission Administrator Ray Barrett said he estimates the countywide election would cost $300,000, a figure based on the approximate cost it took to hold January’s special election on two Metro Charter amendments, which included Crafton’s controversial “English-Only” referendum.

In October, Crafton proposed legislation that would have given voters the final say on issuing bonds for all projects in excess of $250 million not considered “necessities.” The six-member Charter Revision Commission disapproved the resolution unanimously, and the bill was deferred indefinitely last month.

The councilman’s latest push for a public referendum would pinpoint the proposed Music City Center specifically, while relying on a section of the Metro Charter that states the Council may call an election “for the purpose of ascertaining the will of the qualified electors” with respects to issuing any government bonds.

Council attorney Jon Cooper believes the resolution would not be binding, as state law obligates only the Council authorize the nine-member Convention Center Authority to issue bonds for the project.

“It would, in my opinion, not have any legal binding effect on whether the Council could approve the issue of bonds for the convention center,” Cooper said. “Under state law, that discretion is solely with the Council and it cannot be delegated to the people.

“That doesn’t mean that the Council couldn’t call for a referendum to ascertain the will of the people to see if the citizens of Davidson County think this is a good idea or not,” he said.

Crafton’s resolution comes as Nashville’s Priorities, a citizen-led group opposed to the convention center, announced plans Monday for a petition drive, the goal also being to hold a referendum on the issue based on the same “will of the people” Charter clause cited by Crafton. The group plans to turn in petition signatures at a Jan. 11 public hearing.

But calling the proposed convention center “Nashville’s economic stimulus,” Music City Coalition Chairman Ron Samuels suggested Nashvillians already expressed their view of the matter two years ago when they elected a new mayor.

“There has been a referendum on it, quite frankly, because all five mayoral candidates, including Karl Dean, had this as their economic platform,” Samuels said.

58 Comments on this post:

By: idgaf on 12/15/09 at 8:24

I would question the legality of appointing the board in the first place when the project wasn't officially approved. (only they can approve bonds)

How honest is that when dizzy appointed the board?

They serve us we don't serve them and supply our money for their folly.

By: TN4th on 12/15/09 at 8:46

I would like to see a refendum on Crafton. He has been an obstructionist embarrassment. His alignment with white supremacists on the English only debacle was bad enough. Now he's against the well researched MCC and for saving the money-losing fairgrounds. His only guiding principle seems to be obstructing Mayor Dean and insulting other city officials including Chief Surpas and Rich Reibling, two highly qualified professionals.

By: Floyd2 on 12/15/09 at 8:52

So Crafton wants to waste $300,000 on a stunt - a stunt that has no legal authority to bind the Metro Council. I have a better idea. Let's get stuntbabies like Crafton out of the Council.

As for the authority, idgaf, the Metro Council overwhelmingly voted to approve them after the mayor appointed the members.

There's an old saying, "When you have no power, stall." That's all the Music City Center opponents are trying to do. They don't have the votes on the Council, so they are trying to stall.

By: willtw on 12/15/09 at 8:54

Do the citizens of Nashville realize that this City Administration is committing us, our children and our grandchildren to a 20-30 year plus debt of almost $1 billion dollars? Almost every resource available supported by history indicates this is a BAD MOVE by Nashville! Are there not other areas of the Nashville economy that could use a fraction of this money and not put a severe debt binder on it's citizens for years to come?????? I have opposed this project from it's beginning and in both this paper and The Tennessean my remarks have been censored and removed. Have the vote! Let the people decide whether they want another arena and the enormous debt that will accompany this pork (not pork, LARD!).....nO MORE PUBLIC DOLE!

By: joe41 on 12/15/09 at 8:56

Would Mr Crafton offer to pay for this referendum? Maybe the Nashville Priorities Group would pay for it if they feel so strongly. Otherwise no.
Joe

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 9:00

willtw
right from the script of Nashville Priorities. At least have something to say that is your own, not the same lies and innuendos from this of misfits. Lets count the false statements:
1. 1 billion dollars..... lie
2. committing our children and grandchildren (my fav) ... lie
3. Public Dole .... lie
Let's have Nashville Priorities open their books and let us see who is financing this. Don't be like Crafton and lie to the public, tell us who is paying.....

By: Anna3 on 12/15/09 at 9:17

To Joe4 and all of the other Crafton "misdirection" artists...(and Crafton obsessionists...boy Crafton really gets in your head doesn't he? Ha, Ha).....BE VERY CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR...GAYLORD COULD BANKROLL THIS REFERENDUM AND YOUR PROJECT WOULD BE VAPORIZED! The sentiment in this community is running 10 to 1 against this project with the average citizens...all of the "Smoke and mirrors" and bribes paid to corrupt officials would be exposed quickly and most of those taking the cash under the table would run for their political lives. The fact is that this thing would have NEVER made it this far if the public EVER had a say in it to begin with....and all you arrogant jerks know it. This is just the thing we need to do (Hold a referendum) if all of you supporters think this thing is so badly desired by the public... then you'll encourage the vote on it....if not, you'll continue to attack Crafton, Evans, Holliman, and Jamieson. Lets just tee it up and play ball! (At least we KNOW Crafton can generate 45,000 votes against this..only a few thousand votes less than Dean was elected with!) This is gonna be good. Dean and his ilk will do ANYTHING but allow this.

By: JeffF on 12/15/09 at 9:42

The head-in-the-ground, horse and buggy convention center folks can distract from the point with the best of them. They have already distracted the press into believing that state law protects them from hearing from the people on this issue. Next up will be Floyd telling us how Crafton's baby sitter also sat for the secretary to the VP at Gaylord or some other 6-degrees allegory. They all have duties on the news sites. On a day with one or two stories that are bad for the cause these four AV guys are able to team up. On days like last Thursday where the bad news comes hard and fast they disappear until the heat is down.

Will cowardice cause them to prevent the elected officials from hearing from all of us? Will they again substitute the controlled environment of public meetings which they can pack with PR interns? They have a lot of personal fortune riding on the task of keeping the serfs out of the castle.

By: idgaf on 12/15/09 at 9:52

They promised there would be NO PUBLIC LIABILITY on this project and intended to finance it with revenue bonds.

They can't do that so they should keep their word and throw this project on the trash heap where it belongs.

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 10:01

more scare tactics JeffF? Cowardice, distracting the press? sounds like EXACTLY the tactics used by Crafton doesn't it. Who lied when asked how the EO referendum was financed? Who used scare tactics to try and get the voters to pass that piece of @#%& legislation? Now you are using the same tactics because you can plainly see you are not going to win this battle. Good luck my friend, we are aware of you blind allegiance.

By: JeffF on 12/15/09 at 10:02

I forgot about the revenue bond promise. That was a lie. Good point there Gaf.

By: JeffF on 12/15/09 at 10:06

Win what battle? The battle will be fought in court and will come form a taxpayers rights organization. I will take a prolonged court battle. The mayor delayed this thing for over a year (remember when the financing would be presented in the fall, of 2008?), I say it is the people's turn to delay it for another year. Its not like all those prebooked groups were actually going to pay to use the convention center. They were probably being paid to come. And they all fit just fine into the current facilities in town. Yes they are a bigger average, but that just means that the current center was manipulating its numbers.

By: idgaf on 12/15/09 at 10:15

Say what you want about Crafton but if an election was tommorrow and it was he against Dizzy dean Crafton would have my vote.

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 10:36

Again JeffF, more scare tactics? It will go to court? Taxpayers rights organization? Would that be Nashville Priorities? You are turning very bitter as defeat nears...

By: taxed2much on 12/15/09 at 10:41

A referendum on the issue of using Metro bonds to finance a convention center is authorized under Sec. 7.05 of the Metro Charter.

taxed2much

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 10:55

Section 7.05 deals strictly with tax bonds which these are not. Sections 7.17 and 7.18 are more appropriate for this bond issue and even with the addition of potential general fund pledges, section 7.18 clearly states that only ad valorem (property tax) issues provide for a provision of a referendum.
Sec. 7.18. Combined tax and revenue bonds.
The council may also issue combined tax and revenue bonds if deemed advisable, or pledge any other security permitted by law to the payment of such revenue bonds in addition to such revenues from such utility or other revenue producing enterprise or facility; provided, however, that if ad valorem taxes are pledged for the payment of all or any part of bonds for which such revenues are also pledged, the provision for a referendum on petition on issuance of tax bonds provided herein shall apply to such revenue bonds for which ad valorem taxes are also pledged.

By: Anna3 on 12/15/09 at 10:56

Crafton would have my vote too! Lets vote on it! I believe that the proponents of the Music City Center do not have the courage to hold a referendum...so you'll see them engage in the politics of personal destruction as they attack Jamieson, Crafton, Evans, and Holliman so they do not have to discuss this thing on its cost or merits to the average Nashvillian. Crafton really hit a nerve this time with all you Dean apologists didn't he?

By: Anna3 on 12/15/09 at 10:58

Producer2...Do you work for the proponents? You seem to know every spin tactic on this that there is! Whom else would know all this crap and then mischaracterize what it says?

By: Anna3 on 12/15/09 at 11:00

I just heard Crafton say to the news that he had the referendum option cleared by the Metro Council attorney and its legal and permitted.

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 11:05

Who els? Try JeffF, or any number of opponents who use the same info for the advancement of their cause. No I do not work for the City or the CVB. I do work in the meetings industry as I have stated all along. Believe it or not there are thousands upon thousand of us who WANT this facility. This vote on it tactic is just a stall tactic and totally unnecessary as it would be to vote on everything someone doesn't like (see English Only) In the end it just costs taxpayers more and it totally does away with our form of government. We elected these representatives now let them do thier jobs. They know far more about this than you and I.

By: frank brown on 12/15/09 at 11:06

Anything the fiscal responsible can do to make life miserable for this spendthrift mayor and his chamber pals is just fine with me.

By: Walter Sobchak on 12/15/09 at 11:21

Oh God not this guy again. Another waste of time and money that would yield the same results as his last bullsh*&t resolution and susequent vote. Why waste another 300,000.00 on a vote that wouldn't be binding under state law? All of this debate over a facility that will clearly generate billions of dollars for the city.

Even under these neanderthal's worst-case scenarios (The center itself is a complete bust and Metro dips into the general fund to cover operating costs) the Davidson taxpayer would be on the hook for a staggering 20.00 per year. Oh God tell me it isn't so!

And that's absolute worst case. 20 bucks a years. I, for one am willing to take this gamble on a facility that will create jobs and bring hundred of millions to billions of dollars per year into our city.

All of this whining in a state with NO INCOME TAX, NO TOLL ROADS etc. what a joke.

By: Magnum on 12/15/09 at 11:32

Just a pointless thought here, but It wouldn't be politics as usual if half of the posters here didn't allow their devoted hatred of Crafton to supersede any intelligent consideration of the topic. Yeah, I know...it is Crafton we're talking about.

Maybe I missed the debate, but Producer, you noted that the $1B price tag on this project was a lie formulated by the other side. I'm trying to figure out how you got there. Let's assume the project comes in on budget at $585M. What will the interest costs be over it's life?

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 11:38

$612 million is the amount proposed including predevelopment and interest. I think that is close to $400 million less than $1 billion but maybe my math is off...

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 11:42

Sorry, you meant amortization over the life of the loan. That I an not answer but that is not what the Nashville Priorities ads are saying. The specifically list the COST of building the MCC at $1billion dollars. Do you list the cost of your house based upon interest or base cost of the house?

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 11:47

And let's not forget that the funding being proposed will save over $5 million a year in interest vs. standard financing. Many actually believe the Mayor has done an outstanding job of trying to keep costs in line and making moves that will be cost saving over time. This why the hotel is currently not on the table, there may be a better deal out there.

By: Magnum on 12/15/09 at 11:49

I bought my house based on cost + interest, don't most people. Why should the city use taxpayer money any differently? And just an FYI, on 20 years at 5% interest (I just made up these inputs as I don't have any idea), that's about $925M (one more disclaimer: that's based on a rough amortization calculator I found so don't sue me if it's wrong).

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 12:05

If most people bought their house in that manner we would have far less of an economic tailspin than we currently do. I am not here to quibble with your assessment but there have been more than one study that shows that the city can pay for this facility utilizing the proposed revenue streams. this includes the interest. Did you have a revenue stream that you were unlikely to contribute to to pay for your house?

By: Magnum on 12/15/09 at 12:08

At the end of the day producer, I don't know. Maybe this thing will fly...maybe it won't. I suspect it depends on who is running the numbers. I'm just trying to point out that it is a hell of a lot of money and all of this bickering about whether it is $1B or not is a waste of time. Will it cost $1B? Yes, one way or the other, it will. Will it bring in enough true tax $'s to provide a positive return vs. its investment, interest and operating costs, I don't know. And I don't think many other people know no matter how adamant (and that goes for the politicians making the decision to spend the money...and that's the part that scares me).

By: Magnum on 12/15/09 at 12:13

To your 11:05 post (I was writing), touché. I was actually thinking the same thing about my statement that most people considered the total cost (interest and payment) when they bought their home. Maybe I should have said, most people should consider....

And you are right. The cost is only a piece of the puzzle. The revenue stream is the more critical piece and unfortunately, it is the hardest to validate.

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 12:18

Magnum,
First let me thank you for you open and honest debate. Nothing is guaranteed but my question has always been what is the motive for the proponents to put their city in jeopardy? Very few of us if any win if this project is not a success. NONE of us win if it is just built and fails and this includes the Mayor, Council, CVB, etc. So if we are not bullish on the idea then why would we do it?

By: Magnum on 12/15/09 at 12:23

Two thoughts. I think a lot of these politicians get into a sort of "arms race" and get caught up in comparing themselves to their neighbors. The other issue I have is that these decision makers will be long gone in 20 years when we really know whether or not this was a mistake or a sucess so there is little political risk. Otherwise, I would have to agree.

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 12:34

Yes but the decision to be a "destination city" was made years ago and it has been proven to work. As with any industry if you don't continue to grow in a meaningful way then you industry withers and dies. No matter how much some would like to have tourism go away, the numbers do not lie. It has been progressing at a solid pace for years. Gaylord was helpful in some regards and the city itself was helpful to Gaylord. The question is how much is the city willing to lose to allow private industry (with taxpayer help from Its citizens) continue to reap the benefits of a city such as Nashville without participating in many of the revenue and job markets?

By: lisaleeds2008 on 12/15/09 at 12:53

Stop this Madness lets Vote on MCC

By: Anna3 on 12/15/09 at 1:01

Magnum,
Where the $1 Billion comes in is that the proponents promised not to use funds that would put the taxpayers at risk of "Holding the bag" If this thing fails to cover its costs currently and for its life. Generally... everyone on both sides of this concedes that the Convention Halls will cost $585 million and the adjoining hotel will cost $350 million, thus the "Over $1 Billion Dollar" figure. The proponents have now backtracked on their promise, and not found... financing for the hall that does not expose the taxpayers and they further will not define the status of the hotel portion of this project while conceeding they will be unable to provide any source for financing other than the public. Producer@ should be very aware that most hotels in Davidson County have a BIG problem with using the tax dollars that they generated from their businesses to build DIRECT competition to their business, unless they can derive a personal financial benefit. Some believe that the proponents of this have zero credibility due to the fact that various financial models that they have floated left out such "Small" items such as operating expenses for the life of facility, vastly understated cost, overstated revenues and have changed almost by the hour. By not defining the hotel component nor being accountable for its failure to materialize any interest from the private sector while slowly moving forward...incrimentalism?...you bet! Its the old frog in a pot of water ...boil him slowly approach which many resent from our own Mayor that we elected to look out for our interests...not those of the meeting industry. Many think that schools, police, fire, and other issues are more important. Also...Mayor Dean had a study quietly done last year that came back to show that this thing would not make a penny in its first 23 years of existence...that report was buried and the Dean Administration shopped for a "favorable report" to be obtained and finally found one...that they could crow about (Its funny what $300,000 will buy these days). The proponents have stacked audiences at public hearings, controlled who and what could be asked at these "Public Hearings" and were caught trying to skew the WSMV News poll red handed...and they are still assasinating the character of the little guys whom simply want a few answers that are "Inconvenient truths" for these same proponents. All this in the face of a project that most whom are objective say is a $1 Billion Dollar investment in a dying industry. Currently Las Vegas will give groups free meeting space and $69 hotel rooms to bring your group to Vegas so they can realize the gambling revenue....and our proponents are arguing that we are "stupid" to question spending $1 Billion to compete with free space and $69 hotel rooms. Go figure.The corporate meeting market had been shrinking for five years prior to last years economic downturn. Ask yourself....Is your company spending as much on travel as they used to? Do they plan to increase travel expenditures in the face of the massive losses to their own stockholders 401K's...and the firing of corporate executives whom engage in what has been characterized by President Obama as "Fat Cat Junkets"? As for the Association Market in meetings... almost universally, their number of attendees has tumbled because their membership has less disposable income these days...if they have a job at all....and those Associations holding big conventions are beating up hotels and convetion centers for big, big price reductions. So, you see...the best Mayor Dean's "Leadership" can provide is a $1 Billion Dollar expense to taxpayers in a declining industry.... in a down economy. Is this the highest and best use of $1 Billion Dollars? I think not. ....and the proponents want us to simply quit being stupid and TRUST THEM." This in my opinion is poor leadership and Nashville deserves better.

By: CityProgress on 12/15/09 at 1:41

"Every $1 billion invested in public transportation capital and operations supports an average of 36,000 jobs. These 36,000 jobs result in roughly $3.6 billion in business sales and generate nearly $500 million in federal, state, and local tax revenues."
-publictransportation.org

By: CityProgress on 12/15/09 at 1:43

Nashville is suffering an automobile induced health epidemic.
Nashville is number 1 in the country for air pollution from vehicles, third for the most miles driven, per capita, among large cities, and received an "F" grade from the American Lung Association for its air quality, according to a 2004 report by Public Interest Research group. We have the 6th worst carbon footprint in the country. Nashville has the highest incidents of respiratory infections, and is the third most expensive city in the country for driving, according to a 2005 study by Sperling's Best Places. The authors of the PIR report suggest "federal and state officials allocate a greater share of transportation resources to programs to reduce the number of cars on the road and encourage alternative modes of transportation, such as transit."

"Common revenue sources [for transit] usually consist of taxes on vehicle registration, HOTEL ROOMS, or RENTAL CARS." http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/nashvilles-brt-lite-alternative-alternative-transportation

"Every dollar invested in mass transit has a $4 to $9 return in economic activity" -publictransportation.org

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 2:19

Anna3,
Let me try and digest that mess you call a post.
First no one has backtracked on the financing for the MCC. It is still slated to be paid using the proposed revenue streams that more than one study have found to be sufficient to cover the costs. What they did do was find a potion of the funding that will save $5 million a year in interest payments and does include a moral obligation that will be backed with non tax revenue should that ever come to pass. Which means your property tax dollars will never be used for this project as promised.

You are correct in that most hotels would prefer that the City not own the anchor hotel and that is why the Mayor is still trying to find a public/private scenario for this portion of the project. If that does not work I think you will still see the hotel built but maybe smaller than the original 1000 rooms.

Not sure what you mean by not showing operating expenses, etc. as this has been on the table all along. In fact the one rallying cry from the Heywood Sanders crowd was that Convention Centers lose money. In fact they do but Cities make millions and easily offset the operating expenses of the facilities so we all know going in that the building is a lost leader. No hidden agenda here...

as to your assertion that a report of failure was "buried" please prove your statement. What possible good would come from doing something like that?

"Proponents have stacked audiences" humm. maybe there are just more proponents who actually care. Did you see the 12 people who showed up for the great Steve Gill debate? And seriously are you worried about a non scientific poll from a local TV station..

As for giving away space, this is and has been done all over the country for ever (see lost leader above) the space is negotiable in order to get people in hotel rooms, bars, restaurants, etc. where the real money is made. Now if you are one of the half dozen or less cities than can get away with always charging retail for your space like VEgas then great, but it does not mean your city will lose money if the building is cheap and 6000 people are in it for a week.

Your last point has a ring of truth to it and that is why it is more important than ever for Nashville to be able to compete. Nashville is one of the most affordable cities in the US for meetings because of our right to work laws and good inexpensive air and hotel packages. There are more groups than ever who want to come here BECAUSE they can no longer afford to go to Vegas or Chicago, etc. and pay the heavy union labor fees and hotel and airfare costs. This is the very reason we should be running not walking to the finish line and make our city an even better place to live.

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 2:20

Cityprogress,
Where is that $1 billion coming from because the MCC project will get it from folks using the facility. How do you propose funding your idea?

By: willtw on 12/15/09 at 3:13

producer2, the self appointed monitor of this blog, I have read nothing as you gibberish....My statements are mine...Try assaulting the message, NOT the messenger! Convention centers, especially those intended for national conferences, have been struggling for business. Before September 11, 2001, only two cities in the United States -- Las Vegas and Orlando -- had public convention centers that at least broke even. The rest were losing money annually for their communities. And since 2001, national attendance at Tradeshow Week 200 events has fallen to early 1990s levels. Nevertheless, consultants still return rosy predictions that generate unwarranted confidence in a proposed center's potential for economic impact, and if heeded, would result in an immense burden on taxpayers when the structure remains empty.

Charlotte and Asheville have made disastrous convention center decisions. Asheville's civic center had a predicted debt of $400,000 in 2006; in past years (2000, 2002, 2004), its debt passed $1 million. It lost sports teams in 2006, but the City Council continued to funnel it money. In 2007, the Council approved a six-year, $3.6 million capital improvement plan.

Charlotte's $148 million facility should have had 751,000 attendees annually. Instead, it has had yearly deficits because it can attract big conventions only by using deep discounts and large subsidies. Its best booking in 2007 was the Shriners convention (25,000 visitors) -- but the Shriners were given a discount and a $50,000 subsidy from the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which markets the center, to underwrite costs. Nevertheless, the center was due for $2 million improvements in fiscal year 2008.

Since visitor spending is convention centers' only economic benefit, cities enact "visitor taxes" on rental cars, prepared food, and hotels. But those taxes hurt residents and local businesses who also pay them (e.g., eating out or renting a car), and it also hurts local businesses since taxes decrease tourism.

The private sector could fulfill any convention center task -- without taxpayer money. The Koury Center in Greensboro is one example. It successfully competes with subsidized city convention centers while making a profit and paying taxes that, among other things, are used to support its competition.

By: border collie on 12/15/09 at 3:13

We use to vote for things in this city besides political offices. OFTEN! the majority should rule. I am tired of reading this and already know we are going to get stuck with a big $$bill then a lot of the people for it will have moved on to another city. it doesn't matter how much a vote will cost....that is why we are a democracy....WE HAVE A FREAKING right to vote...like it or not people! YES, LET MAJORITY RULE! Bad as i hate to say it. no-one cares about the debt we will incur just the "potential" gains if every component fits perfectly....which it never does... washington is broke, America is broke...we sold our banks to foreign countries.... keep on piling up the debt....

***THis is NOT about NOT wanting to promote tourism, etc....we have hosted country music fans for years and years and welcome them! they have a lot of fun and like Nashville....and we appreciate them... we do not need this big chunk of metal debt and our priorities are out of line. MONEY MONEY MONEY.....it is easy to spend someone else's is it not????

By: willtw on 12/15/09 at 3:31

Further, the $ billion number included the hotel which is likely now off the table. I do not work in the hospitality nor convention business BUT I do live, and work in a private business in Davidson County/Nashville. To the ones promoting this convention center, ever wonder how many even live in Davidson County much less Nashville???????? We are talking about millions of dollars of potential public money being spent and denying a few hundred for a referendum and a public vote? Is committing this amount of money in these economic times wise? or is it just politics? I am an individual taxpayer not belonging to anything but The American Legion and the VFW....and until the County infrastructure is improved, I say NO CONVENTION CENTER!

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 3:50

willtw,
You are right you don't have a clue how this works... especially when you make statements like this:

"Its best booking in 2007 was the Shriners convention (25,000 visitors) -- but the Shriners were given a discount and a $50,000 subsidy from the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which markets the center, to underwrite costs. "

What do you think the economic impact for the city was with 25,000 visitors? Can you add $25,000 times an average of $200 per day (very conservative figure) that is $5 million per day spent in Charlotte. How many days was the convention? Would you trade a $50,000 subsidy for $5 mil a day?

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 3:52

should read 25,000 people times $200 per day = $5,000,000

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 3:56

border collie get a grip. You did get a chance to vote and you elected the officials that will make this decision. You don't get to vote on every issue that comes before your government. Could you imagine the chaos if you did. How much do you really know about this project other than what you hear on the radio or read in the paper? do you really have a handle on how this works or what your real obligations will be with the financial package? So far none of your answers or comments have been in line with reality.

By: Walter Sobchak on 12/15/09 at 4:13

Producer,

I agree. It's simple math. Convention Centers lose so cities can win$$.

I'm amazed that people can't seem to get away from what seems to be scripted comments in reference to the fact that this center will "lose money".

Of course it will. We all know this.

It seems none of the opponents want to go anywhere near addressing the economic impact to the city. Rather, they want to focus on the municipal structure itself.

And some continually ask: "is this the best use of public money?"

What public money?

By: producer2 on 12/15/09 at 4:18

It is always "what else can we do with this money" but they never seem to realize the money is made from the Center so without it THERE IS NO MONEY. Self supported funding is hard to find so why not take a chance and use it?

By: CitizensWin on 12/15/09 at 5:14

Back to the subject:

300K is a bargain to have the right to vote on 30-50 years of civic debt.
________________

A Modest Proposal:

What better public relations campaign for the Music City Center, than a vote paid for by a the 'Public Relations' firm hired by Metro to lobby the city and council. McNeely Pigott and Fox has enough promised Metro funds to pay for the entire election out of pocket.

(Note: The city retained this PR firm for MCC promotion, promptly over-spent their 75K budget by 350K, paid back 19K and then was granted another $825K to cover the $350k shortfall and retained for 'other services' . Reported in The Tennessean on 'Black Friday'.)

Regardless of who pays for a special election, it would be in the best interests of proponents and opponents to take this measure all the way to the polls. Despite the plain and obvious legal maneuvering by the Mayor and Metro Legal to block a public referendum, an up or down vote to settle this matter would forever add legitimacy and remove doubt from either side. We have done it before to great effect.

______________

Problem Solved.

Vote On It!

By: border collie on 12/15/09 at 5:14

prod2: You obviously have a lot to personally benefit from this project or you would not push it so fondly. good luck in your financial endeavors. i don't have anything to gain...only loss. maybe i am wrong....but with the economy the way it is today....no-one can predict the future......we will surely never see an 8% return on certificates of deposit like in the 80's for years and years...the freaking banks are broke. the stock market is shaky....whatever....build this sucker.....i hope i am wrong

By: Walter Sobchak on 12/15/09 at 5:19

Citizenswin- You're advocating spending 300k on a vote that wouldn't be binding under state law?