Open Thread for Tuesday, February 18, 2014

This promises to be another busy day on my end, so I thought one of these would be in order.

Possible topics, both on the metro front:

  1. New police chiefOur own Kathryn was quoted in the paper as saying, in advocating for Rub.en Santiago, “If you’ve got a horse that’s winning the race, why do you want to change horses?” Meanwhile, some want to scrap the whole process, just as the five finalists prepare to go before the public.
  2. Bull Street/ballpark — There’s a lot going on with regard to that this week as well. Here’s a story from The State today.

Of course, y’all can talk about whatever. Just be civil…

17 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, February 18, 2014

  1. Doug Ross

    Interesting that the “concerned citizens” who are opposed to the ballpark are really only opposed to losing their funding for arts programs. It’s not about baseball, it’s about keeping their own interests funded by other people’s money. If you can’t get people to give money freely, you gotta use influence to take it.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      The meeting covered by the article was for arts organizations. Plenty of ordinary decent taxpayers are opposed as well. This has been thoroughly discussed previously on this very blog.

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    I don’t think the opposition to spending city taxes on the ballpark is limited to arts advocates. Kathryn, someone? Correct me if I’m wrong on that…

    1. Doug Ross

      The article specifically quotes two people in the arts and preservation community who are worried about losing funding.

      It’s not just a baseball field anyway. It’s a venue where they expect to hold 300 events per year… and I would bet many of them would be arts related — just not the arts the people on arts committees care to see tax dollars spent on.

      1. Silence

        As someone who is opposed to the proposed ballpark plans, I’ll take this one!
        Many local arts groups and similar organizations that do receive H-tax money are understandably concerned. The ball park as proposed could indeed suck up an enormous amount of H-tax funds, and this seems the most likely funding pool.
        I do not receive, nor am I a part of any organization that receives or applies for H-tax funds. I oppose it for two reasons:
        1) I think it’s going to be an expensive boondoggle, leaving Columbia with a white elephant stadium that taxpayers are going to foot the bill for.
        2) I live near enough to the proposed site that I will hear the noise from the stadium.

        One of the ways that the stadium is going to be able to cash flow is by booking lots of other events – concerts included. I think the concerts may be very problematic for the neighbors, myself included.

        1. Doug Ross

          What percentage of your opposition is based on NIMBY? If it were five miles away, would you have the same level of opposition?

          Done right, there is a high probability of the stadium being a success. It works in Greenville, Charleston, Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Myrtle Beach. What makes Columbia so different?

          I’m more than willing to see the issue of funding put to a vote by the public. Let us make a choice – arts or baseball? or neither… (which would be fine with me).

          1. Silence

            I’d say that it’s about 75/25, with the 75% being the location. If it were 5 miles away, I wouldn’t be able to hear it. Occasionally I am unfortunately able to hear noise pollution/concerts from the following venues:
            concerts at Finlay Park
            concerts at The Tin Roof
            PA and marching band music at Charles Johnson (Benedict College) Football Stadium
            Drumming and marching band music from the CA Johnson High School and/or WA Perry Middle School

            All of those are a lot farther away than the proposed Columbia baseball stadium site.

          2. Mark Stewart

            Doug, the part that’s problematical is that Columbia is 1) paying the full cost to bring minor league baseball to the market, giving the team owner and developer a huge subsidy, and 2) paying far more than the city has available to spend.

          3. Doug Ross

            There is a return on the investment that is both measurable (taxes, parking, etc.) and not-so-measurable – attracting more development that brings in more revenue. It would seem like there could be some type of funding based on those two pools of money — using conservative estimates for each.

            A decent stadium with a minor league team will attract a minimum of 150,000 fans. Start with how much tax revenue that could generate.

        2. Bryan Caskey

          Is there a market for musical groups that would pay to use a baseball stadium, but wouldn’t pay to use the Colonial Life Arena? Seems about the same to me.

          1. Doug Ross

            Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews for two… lots of smaller acts that can’t sell out 20,000 seats. Music festivals with multiple acts…

            Here’s the details on the Fort Wayne field, the park run by the potential owner in Columbia. They do weddings, receptions, luncheons, corporate events. Concerts by Bob Dylan, Zac Brown Band, Christian groups,



            Add in high school travel baseball tournaments that would probably bring revenue in any free weekend…

  3. Bryan Caskey

    File this under “Interesting if True”:

    “We believe we’ve found an iron clad way to extend the run-off period in the South Carolina primary. Right now it is at a paltry 2 weeks and we believe we’ve discovered something that will extend that to 60 days.”

    Link thingy

      1. Doug Ross

        If Graham is so good, he should have nothing to worry about. If he’s not what the majority of people of South Carolina want, then he should be worried.

        He’ll win easily. Unfortunately. And we’ll be subjected to seeing him bouncing from Sunday talk show to Sunday talk show every week for six more years… occasionally acting conservative when it suits his needs but mainly just doing what the corporations who keep his campaign warchest funded want.

  4. Doug Ross

    Gee, it’s okay to waste $60K of taxpayer money on a street party… amazing how generous politicians are with other people’s money. I’m sure plenty of well connected people got paid rather than take a loss.

    “On Tuesday, Columbia City Council voted 6-1 to give the New Year’s Eve street party $50,000 in hospitality tax money to help offset the debt and to start planning the 2015 party. Councilwoman Leona Plaugh was the lone “no” vote.

    In council’s meeting, Mayor Steve Benjamin said the event had run a deficit but he did not say how much.”

    Read more here:

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