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Monday, September 24, 2007

Louisiana: Putting Our Money Where It Counts

I think it is fair to say for myself--and all the contributors to this blog--that sports are a crucial and integral component of our society. Teams provide a positive entity for communities to rally behind and support. Sport programs can provide crucial arenas for kids, from learning about teamwork and hard work to providing a safe and positive activity for them to participate outside a difficult family life, bad neighborhood, etc.

None of that is a stretch by any means. With all of that said, the State of Louisiana brings you this:

"BATON ROUGE, La. -- A new training facility for the New Orleans Hornets will receive $14.5 million in state financing, under a plan approved Thursday by the State Bond Commission.

The state will spend $1.5 million on the practice center this year and the rest in later years.

The dollars were included in Gov. Kathleen Blanco's recommendations for construction projects to be funded with state dollars, and those recommendations received unanimous Bond Commission approval."

Now, keep in mind: this does not include the $6 million-plus that the City of New Orleans is pumping into the facility. So let's add this up:

Total Cost of Hornets' PRACTICE Facility: $20+ Million
Cost Picked Up By State of Louisiana: $14.5 Million
Cost Picked Up By City of New Orleans: $6 Million
Cost Picked Up By New Orleans Hornets' Ownership Group: $0.00

Um, I think there may be something wrong with this picture. There's also this "aside" at the end of the article (bolded by yours truly):

"In the meantime, the Hornets are practicing rent-free in the state-owned Alario Center in suburban Westwego, where they also practiced for their first three seasons in New Orleans before being temporarily displaced to Oklahoma City by Hurricane Katrina before the 2005-06 season."

Alright. So there's that. Let's pick up with historian (and former Tulane professor) Douglas Brinkley as to where the city is right now:

"...Brinkley added, noting that devastated neighborhoods like the Lower 9th Ward still lack schools and essential services. Banks, Brinkley said, are reluctant to grant loans for rebuilding in those areas, insurance companies disinclined to write policies."

"With 350 miles of levees needing attention and huge expanses of wetlands needing restoration — 1,900 square miles of wetlands have been lost since the 1930s — nothing less than a New Deal-magnitude public works project can save the Crescent City and coastal Louisiana, Brinkley said.

"I promise you," Brinkley told his audience, "New Orleans is not prepared for even a Category 1 hurricane."

Now, one could argue with his belief that it will take a "New Deal" approach to fix New Orleans--as a card-carrying Libertarian, I personally don't believe that is the case. That said, it doesn't really matter, because $80 billion (or whatever the number is--something like that) has been pumped into New Orleans alone to fix what happened with Katrina. And there is little positive progress to be shown for it. $80 billion!

Now, I know that to the government, $20 million of tax payer money is a drop in the bucket. But to be putting those type of funds towards a freaking basketball teams' PRACTICE FACILITY is simply unbelievable when one considers the juncture that the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana is at right now. Actually, "unbelievable" is the wrong word. "Unacceptable" is probably more appropriate. How do millionaire--check that, BILLIONAIRE--ownership groups sleep at night knowing that their practice facility is being paid for by a city and state that is, for all intensive purposes, bankrupt at this point? When the basic--basic!--fundamental needs of a port city whose complete infrastructure was destroyed and is desperate need of rebuilding? How is this possible?

I know that this was part of the original contract between New Orleans and the Hornets' ownership group in 2002. Since the City cannot fund the project due to the circumstances of the storm, the State jumped in to save them. I get that. But considering the city was COMPLETELY DESTROYED, you would think that perhaps the ownership of the Hornets might go ahead and "live" with practicing in the venue that the City is providing RENT FREE.

This is just a sad story that received no pub at all, which is amazing to me. The only reason I even knew about it is due to all the classic games and shows I have been recording on the NBA Channel, and it crawled across the news ticker. No one supports free enterprise, and I understand that businesses would be idiotic not to use state- and city-incentives to advance their company/organization. However, with that comes corporate responsibility and ethics. And the New Orleans Hornets' ownership group is CLEARLY devoid of this, and should be properly called out about it.

Unfortunately, the media and the public is too busy worrying about hard-hitting topics like CNN.com's 5th-highest e-mailed story "Town accepts role as Scientology's mecca," or stories about acupuncture.

But hey--what's $20 Million, right?

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Maybe they figure they are killing two birds with one stone. Since the Super Dome served as a refuge for so many during Katrina, this new facility will double as another storm shelter for future hurricans.

And to be honest nothing really suprises me anymore about New Orleans and its response to Katrina. I think seeing people spend their FEMA dollars on Saint's playoff tickets pushed me over the edge.
Why would this surprise you? Over $1 Billion in aid given directly to the State of Louisiana can't be accounted for anymore. The government just doesn't know where that money went. How in the hell do you lose $1 billion. Its insane! That state and city are so morally bankrupt and moronic that there's no hope anymore.

The state's educational system is close to the bottom in every ranking. No wonder they can't get anybody worth a shit to direct safety and policy issues in that state.

Of course the ownership group is going to get as much cash as possible out of this situation. Why wouldn't they? They don't want to be in New Orleans anymore but can't actually make the transition to Oklahoma City because it would be a PR nightmare. They're getting offered all of this fringe so that they don't pull out in five years when their lease is up. The city and state can afford to pay because their entire state budget is basically being subsidized by federal funds. I wouldn't feel bad for New Orleans or exclusively blame the ownership group, they're both responsible for exploiting the rest of us.
Good defense by the New Orleans Hornets drama boys, if only we could patch up the difference, this will be a New Orleans good season. They are running, switching in defense, rebounding see those efforts. We don't have yet the Hornets team down.

I which I could see some Hornets games live. I was looking for tickets all the good seats on ticketmaster were taken I had to check broker. And man you don’t want to do that especially for the New Orleans Hornets. Thanks god there sites like Ticketwood which work as comparators here is the site
Hornets Tickets

I like slam dunks that take me to the hoop my favorite play is the ally-hoop,
I like the pic n roll,i like the given goal its basketball yo, yo lets go!
Go Hornets Go!!!
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