The MLS Deal is Solid: A Wall Street Mogul Says So

Dan Petegorsky

Without any apparent sense of irony, the Oregonian this morning offers us up the following in vouching for the deal reached between city negotiators and Merritt Paulson:

Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioner Randy Leonard, who negotiated the agreement, said [the] city is getting solid assurances from a wealthy family. Paulson's father is Henry Paulson, the former U.S. treasury secretary and Wall Street mogul.

The timing of those "solid assurances" is, well, unfortunate, to put it mildly. On Friday the Congressional panel charged with overseeing the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) released its latest report, and this week the panel's chairwoman Elizabeth Warren has been making the rounds on tv and radio to discuss their findings.

Warren minces no words: she accuses then Secretary Paulson of lying to her and the panel about the ways in which they used public funds to bail out the banks. Warren had asked Paulson whether, in purchasing assets from the troubled banks, they were receiving assets "at par" - and he answered yes. But the panel's own investigations revealed that Treasury was receiving them often far below equivalent value - on average a third below.

Ironically, Warren herself says straight out that she's making no judgment on this as a policy matter: what she's objecting to is the lie. Subsidizing banks may be ok or not - but it needs to be debated for what it is. You don't get to call it one thing when it's something else.

So - this is the Henry Paulson whose backing of the MLS deal is supposed to reassure us. That make you feel any better?

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Let me get this straight...you're saying the former CEO of Goldman Sachs used the billions he was given carte blanche to dole out to help enrich his Wall Street buddies instead of serving the best interest of the public? Get outta here!

  • (Show?)

    There are only two basic questions regarding this deal, sadly, neither of which has been answered by the advocates or by the Oregonian's "crack" editorial, sorry, story.

    1) Is it worthwhile to divert tax dollars to service the bonds on this deal? I still have not seen an honest accounting of what this will cost us in basic city services on an annual basis. The only estimate out there is provided by Bogdanski on his blog.

    2) Is it valid to extend an urban renewal area to cover the area surrounding PGE Park and Memorial Coliseum? If this is such a good deal for the city, why not pay for this straight up, out of general revenue funds, and quit the bogus use of UR districts as a way to keep expenditures off the books?

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Only fools don't get assurances from Republicans in writing. Many of the fools in DC are Democrats, unfortunately.

    I'm among the biggest proponents of bringing MLS to Portland posting here. I don't accept any deal that doesn't have all the assurances that have been agreed to written down in specific language.

  • (Show?)

    Glad to see we're taking the "sins of the father..." approach here.

  • Garrett (unverified)
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    Good work "progressive" Blue Oregoner. I applaud your ability to blame the son for the sins of the father.

  • Dave (unverified)
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    What kind of stupid shit is this? Support the deal or oppose the deal, but this incessant inanity about Hank Paulson is frankly retarded.

  • (Show?)

    sins of the father,

    I see - so it's fine to invoke the blessings of the father when hyping the deal, but out of bounds to invoke the sins? Kind of like socializing the blessings/privatizing the sins, so to speak?

  • (Show?)

    Excuse me, Garrett, but Dan is quoting directly from the Oregonian and from the two chief proponents of this deal, both of whom reference the Paulson family:

    From the story:

    Paulson and his family have agreed to hold the city virtually harmless...

    Mayor Adams and Commissioner Leonard ... said the city is getting solid assurances from a wealthy family. Paulson's father is Henry Paulson .

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Nick, Garrett... be nice.

    The money that is backing the Timbers/Beavers deal originates from Henry Paulson.

    From the Oregonian story...

    "To get the money, Paulson AND HIS FAMILY (emphasis mine) have agreed to hold the city virtually harmless for paying most of it back."

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2009/03/major_league_soccer_deal_reach.html

    Honestly, the way I feel about it is I'd rather have the Paulson's family's money used to give Portland a MLS soccer team to follow, than have them spending that money on contributions to Republican Congressional candidates.

  • Sadie (unverified)
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    virtually harmless

    Just exactly what is the definition here of virtually?

  • (Show?)

    A better question is to ask Commissioner Leonard to defend this quote:

    We have insulated the city so general services and programs cannot be touched--it's not even possible.

    My question to the Commissioner is whether urban renewal / TIF do or do not divert resources from the general fund, as Commissioner Jeff Cogen has often argued.

    If true, then an accurate quote would be "general services and programs cannot be reduced beyond what is already being dedicated to service the annual debt."

    All I want is an honest accounting. UR funds are not some magical piggy bank.

  • (Show?)

    To quote the bard, Garrett doth protest too much, methinks.

    Virtually every story I've seen on this deal, from the Portland Business Journal to The Guardian, mentions Henry Paulson. He does, after all, own a 20% stake in the Beavers and the Timbers, right?

  • IIJT (unverified)
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    Portland, This money and Passionate for sports man exists. Use it to your benefit or wait a few years and see how he spent his money in another city. If his family guarantees the funding to improve two facilities, we would be fools not to let them open their wallets. Both PGE and MC will be needing renovating soon with or without the Paulson family. Open your eyes.

  • Nosliw (unverified)
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    Dan,

    If you have another project that we can begin immediately that will create several hundred jobs, return revenue to the city on an ongoing basis for decades and leverage over $50m in private money, tell us now please. I mean, you're not suggesting that the council just take this money and put it under their mattress. What kind of fiscal moron are you?

    Stop these desparate attempts to torpedo this. Shut up for the good of Portland and Portlanders!

  • bradley (unverified)
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    People who don't want soccer here will invoke any argument to assault this deal. I didn't expect to find Blue Oregon home to the typical anti-soccer drivel but it has greatly disappointed. The City gets a deal where taxpayers such as myself are protected and the bonds are backed with personal wealth as opposed to a corporate entity and super progressive then attacks the source of the backing. There are those who wouldn't be happy with soccer coming to portland if the city had to use only the spare change in the it's petty cash to fund the stadium.

  • gl (unverified)
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    How can you possibly recieve the mbs at par when the security is marked to market? I would actually be alarmed if the mbs were received at par.

  • (Show?)

    Nosliw: Weatherization and energy efficiency programs can provide hundreds of jobs, provide return, leverage private dollars, etc.

    We're working on it at the state legislature; a couple of different bills. Stay tuned.

  • billb (unverified)
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    Buried in the O story is the mention of tearing down Memorial Coliseum. Since we know that Commish Leonard visits this fine site , let's all tell him to save this excellent Modern Architecture AND our Veteran's Memorial. If you want to site a ballpark over there , [and it is a good area due to mass transit,freeway access and parking]then the logical site is the PPS site just down the hill. The building/site is publically owned , and it would be stunning to have a ballpark open on to the River!

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Billb...

    There's going to be money in the deal for a new Veteran's Memorial that will be updated to include Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    I am getting the feeling that this is the same argumentaion and NIMBYism that quelled the Delta Dome and prevented Portland from gettting the, then, bad franchise known as the Oakland Raiders.

    I guess if we don't learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.

  • (Show?)

    There's still nothing quite like circuses to detract the public's attention from the barbarians at the gate, is there?

  • (Show?)

    I'm feeling one of those sublime convergences coming on of the kind where MLS folds amid a crappy economy and general American indifference to professional soccer just as the paint is drying on the new soccer stadium, at which point you can cue the news stories about how (1) the city now owns the soccer stadium equivalent of Wapato and (2) after the "hold harmless" assurances on cost overruns proved worthless (if there's one thing you can take to the bank is that a family of investment bankers will figure how to skate on this kind of liability), the city is going to end up paying the unbelievable sum of $x million, when the cost overruns and cost of finance are added on to the original price tag.

  • George Anonymuncule Seldes (unverified)
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    The important thing to note in the Oregonian headline about "city protected" is what it didn't say: the result on the county.

    The folks who keep lashing out at people questioning this deal keep ignoring that we don't just live in a city -- the way government works is that there are multiple, overlapping jurisdictions that provide services within cities -- there's the city itself, the county, and lots of special purpose districts (Metro, schools, fire, soil/water conservation, etc.)

    A bad feature of the urban renewal district law is that it lets cities designate these districts---cutting off tax revenue to all the other jurisdictions from within the district---without any input or approval from those other jurisdictions. So, while you may be "protected" as a citizen of the city, you're getting hosed as a resident of the county and a resident within those other special purpose districts.

    But we're not supposed to think about that---we're supposed to be all pro-sports testosterone and plow ahead.

  • TmcG (unverified)
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    "The important thing to note in the Oregonian headline about "city protected" is what it didn't say: the result on the county."

    Get your facts straight. Urban renewal dollars that go to the project are the increment of tax increase that result from increase in value due to the investment in the area. It's not as if all of those tax dollars being collected on day one are all of a sudden taken away by the project. In these areas where the UR is taking place, without the initial investment there would be little or no improvement there and hence no increase in tax revenue or possibly decline. It's a non issue and an excuse for the County to whine. The County has huge funding issues that need to be addressed but this issue is not the problem.

    "But we're not supposed to think about that---we're supposed to be all pro-sports testosterone and plow ahead."

    Thanks for revealing your true issue. Arts, Parks, open space, concert venues, those are all okay with the typical PDX liberal crowd but sports? Oh that's bad like TV. If this deal were to bring a new concert venue so that Celtic Women or the Three Tenors would come to town more often it would sail right through. This I know because I too am a PDX liberal and I know how you people think.

  • (Show?)

    TmcG writes: Get your facts straight ... In these areas where the UR is taking place, without the initial investment there would be little or no improvement there and hence no increase in tax revenue or possibly decline. It's a non issue and an excuse for the County to whine.

    You present the theory of TIF as a fact.

    What the County argues, and I think many agree, is that the Pearl, Goose Hollow, and other areas that will fall under this urban renewal area are far from blighted.

    You're also going to have to argue that a 33 million dollar conversion of PGE from its current mixed use to a soccer only facility will be the sole or primary source of property tax increases in the area. Do you really believe this?

    The City Club did a wonderful study of the use of TIF financing, available here: http://communique.portland.or.us/documents/050113/pdc_2005.pdf

    To quote from this report:

    In determining whether to create, amend or extend the life of urban renewal areas, City Council must more carefully consider and evaluate the impact tax increment financing will have on the operating budgets of the city, Multnomah County, schools and other jurisdictions that rely on property tax revenue. In addition, City Council must assure that complete and objective financial-impact statements are made available to all affected jurisdictions and the public well in advance of consideration and approval of urban renewal area action.

  • conspiracyzach (unverified)
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    Sounds like Sam Adams must have a new boyfriend who likes soccer. I am so happy for him.

  • (Show?)

    How can you possibly receive the mbs at par when the security is marked to market? I would actually be alarmed if the mbs were received at par.

    The Congressional Oversight Panel has noted consistently in its reports that in fact Treasury is receiving a lower value of assets on its investments than are other investors. The February report, for example, valued "investments by Buffett, Mitsubishi, and Qatar Holding (in Barclays, BCS) at $110, $102, and $123 in value per $100 invested."

    Again, Warren's point here is not to argue that the subsidies are necessarily wrong - she's simply insisting that they be called what they are.

    Urban renewal dollars that go to the project are the increment of tax increase that result from increase in value due to the investment in the area.

    That's right. But consider this: If a renewal area sees growth as a result of such investment, but all additional tax revenues are dedicated to a new facility (whether it's a stadium, concert hall, hotel, whatever) the city, county, school district, etc. may still be on the hook for providing additional services necessitated by that growth, but from a tax base that's frozen at pre-growth levels.

  • Zygote (unverified)
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    In these areas where the UR is taking place, without the initial investment there would be little or no improvement there and hence no increase in tax revenue or possibly decline.

    Interesting how these ignorant claims are so often preceeded by sentences like "Get your facts straight." Apparently the Timbers Army are full of experts on public financing and economic development, and everybody else just doesn't understand how these things work.

    Your claim that increases in property tax receipts wouldn't happen in NW23rd without the urban renewal investment is patently unfounded, but does get to the main issue in the urban renewal debate. When urban renewal funds are used to create real economic development that wouldn't have happened otherwise, the investment makes sense.

    But we're looking at a project here that can't make such a claim. First of all, the stadium itself isn't on the tax rolls: it's City-owned. So the $15M or $20M or $25M (pick a number at this point) that's spent from this new urban renewal area only makes for a sensible investment if collateral development in the stadium area can repay that much, plus interest, and can be varified to be increases that wouldn't have happened otherwise.

    Since we're talking about an existing soccer team being upgraded to a higher league, we're putting a lot of faith into new bars, restaurants and hotels gaining loads of new business because there's an MLS team instead of a USL team.

    This claim TmcG makes hasn't been studied, and is exactly the type of thing that should always be studied carefully before a new URA is created. It isn't, because there are other agendas at work that don't want it to be studied. Without having done this groundwork, urban renewal becomes a convenient way for pols to fund projects that can't be justified when weighed against other funding priorities.

  • Don Smith (unverified)
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    TmcG:

    You are right and wrong - the TIF programs slowly choke funding from various jurisdictions including the City and the County by removing the growth in the tax base from the rolls for decades. The argument typically is that an area that becomes an Urban Renewal Area is stagnant, or "blighted," and therefore, there would be no growth in the tax base but for the proposed URA.

    Unfortunately, TIF has been used so liberally, that the jurisdictions that provide services are getting squeezed even more than they normally would under Measure 5.

    A hypothetical: you have a $100 tax base that's currently valued at $150, but because of Measure 5, it goes up 3% per year. After 3 years, you've grown the tax base to about $110, but the City makes a sweetheart deal with a developer to take over this "blighted" area whose appraised value is still at $150 (not that the City would EVER do something like that - it is a hypothetical only, of course). Now, you as the county have an area whose tax base was growing at 3% per year, per Measure 5, and now it goes dark. You're stuck at $110 for the next ten years.

    Now, the promise is that the URA will be sunsetted in ten years and you'll get the growth in the tax base again. The reality is that the URA will continue to be extended indefinitely, leaving you stuck at the $110 for decades (Eastside Airport URA, Pearl, etc.). Then someone comes in and wants to make the ENTIRE downtown area a URA, from 23rd and Thurman all the way to PSU, to pay for a private facility. Is downtown blighted? I don't think so. And, in fact, the proposed project is outside the "blighted" area!

    If this is such a good idea for the City, make it a general obligation bond issuance, and put it to the people. See what happens then. See how many people care enough about MLS to vote for a $60MM obligation when they are closing precincts in North Portland.

    TIF is the playground of the influential. How's South Waterfront working out? What about the $27MM still owed on the PGE Park renovation? What about this little nugget - "To get the money, Paulson and his family have agreed to hold the city virtually harmless for paying most of it back."?

    Would you buy this bond? "We give you our assurance that we will virtually pay you back most of the money you loan us." Are you KIDDING me?

  • gl (unverified)
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    "The Congressional Oversight Panel has noted consistently in its reports that in fact Treasury is receiving a lower value of assets on its investments than are other investors. The February report, for example, valued "investments by Buffett, Mitsubishi, and Qatar Holding (in Barclays, BCS) at $110, $102, and $123 in value per $100 invested"

    great article, still did not address the issue.

  • gl (unverified)
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    "The February report, for example, valued "investments by Buffett, Mitsubishi, and Qatar Holding (in Barclays, BCS) at $110, $102, and $123 in value per $100 invested."

    Thats a value assigned by the CBO, not a secondary market... Moreover the subsidy was expected. I digress, this thread is about the MLS stadium. cheers

  • (Show?)

    "What about this little nugget - "To get the money, Paulson and his family have agreed to hold the city virtually harmless for paying most of it back."?

    Would you buy this bond? "We give you our assurance that we will virtually pay you back most of the money you loan us." Are you KIDDING me?"

    No. "Virtually" refers to the first $2.5million in cost overruns. Beyond that, there's no public money being used that hasn't now been guaranteed to be paid back, that I know of.

  • (Show?)

    "What the County argues, and I think many agree, is that the Pearl, Goose Hollow, and other areas that will fall under this urban renewal area are far from blighted."

    The Pearl wouldn't be part of the URD; it's on the wrong side of 405 (and it's already part of the River District--and of course it WAS blighted).

  • Don Smith (unverified)
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    "Beyond that, there's no public money being used that hasn't now been guaranteed to be paid back, that I know of."

    That's precisely the point, Torrid. That you know of. Or that the City knows of. What if Shortstop, LLC folds? Is there a personal guarantee from the Paulson family? How is it secured? Have they procured a performance bond? Have they pledged personal assets? Have they posted any form of security other than the LLC, which, if it all goes bad, can easily go bankrupt and not hurt the family?

    The City's experience with negotiating with developers has been less than stellar, and their grasp of the complex financing mechanisms woefully inadequate. They are more impressed by the ribbon cutting than the number crunching.

    And even if it is $2.5MM in cost overruns, what value does an MLS franchise bring to this city? What, does it "put us on the map" in some way? Will it bring in out-of-towners for us to get sales taxes from? No. The ticket revenue will go exclusively to paying back the bond. That's it. We can't support two minor league teams in one stadium now. How on earth do we expect to support two minor league franchises in their own stadiums?

  • JerryB (unverified)
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    TorridJoe, how do you come up with Merritt Paulson paying the taxpayer's funding back? The rent Merritt Paulson pays only covers some of the operating costs of the stadiums. The ticket tax is only going to generate about $300,000 a year. Players are paying no more in taxes to pay for the stadiums than every other taxpayer in the state pays. At best Merritt Paulson is only paying a tiny amount of this debt back.

  • Andrew (unverified)
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    Obama is ACTUALLY the same person as Sadam Hussein, you know, cuz their name is the same.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    We definitely need to turn a big chunk of downtown (DOWNTOWN!!) into another urban-renewal zone to suck up more property-tax revenues that are desperately needed for other things, such as schools.

    Oh sorry, mentioning this makes me small-minded and parochial.

    Folks, there are three current city commissioners who were part of, amongst other things, the aerial tram fiasco. Two of them are Adams and Leonard, the guys pushing the Paulson stadium scheme. Caveat emptor.

    Is there a mechanism for the public to overturn a council vote for the stadium scheme?

    And to the editors: Please check IP addresses in this thread. It sort of reads as if we have some sock puppetry.

  • (Show?)

    "That you know of. Or that the City knows of. What if Shortstop, LLC folds? Is there a personal guarantee from the Paulson family? "

    Yes, there is. And I'm not in the negotiations; what Randy Leonard knows is more than what I know about them. Are the guarantees secured? I certainly hope so; there are no shortage of equities for the family to draw upon.

    The $2.5mil cost would already be outweighed by the $3mil apparently promised in direct money to the City for recreational facilities. Add in Special Olympics, additional community events, exhibitions of a larger scale and draw than USL can achieve (ie, the international teams MLS plays in exhibitions are world class), and the additional permanent living wage jobs, and that's the start of "what you get."

    MLS is a major league team, not minor league. Minor league soccer is what we have now, and it's VERY well supported.

  • Don Smith (unverified)
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    This article in the Mercury says what Bojack has been saying - revenue projections are highly unrealistic.

  • JerryB (unverified)
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    As the Merritt Paulson team has stated, there is no guarantee that the team will not move out of town once Merritt Paulson gets a team.

    From the task force notes of January 6:

    "Q: It seems as though the big money comes from the sale/relocation of the team. Are there guarantees not to sell the team if it is successful? A: Why would you sell a successful team? The City will decide that"

    http://www.portlandonline.com/omf/index.cfm?c=49495&a=227946

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Quite simply, our city government is out of its effing mind if it signs on to this deal. Good gawd, what will it take for people in Portland to wake up and realize they're being treated like chumps for the benefit of wealthy developers and financier types? How can anyone who considers himself politically progressive favor this urban-renewal, tax-increment-financing scheme that's just going to take property-tax revenue away--FOR YEARS--from public functions that really need the b ucks, like schools?

    Sports seems to be like sex in the way it makes normally rational people into blithering idiots.

    "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."--PT Barnum

  • Mister Tee (unverified)
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    Let's not forget that the City of Portland is still on the hook for $27.5 million of borrowed money for the 2001 PGE Park upgrade: if you add that sunk cost to new deal (and exclude the interest payments on the bonds), the total public subsidy of MLS and AAA baseball venues will exceed $130 million. Add in the interest payments and the total subsidy exceeds $220 million. $220 million for a minor league baseball stadium and a soccer stadium.

    How many jobs might be created if we offered a $130 million public loan to Intel or Vestas at 5% interest? Would they produce something more valuable than a new stadium (and two years worth of construction jobs) and long term food service, maintenance, and janitorial jobs?

    All of the previous negotiations with Paulson referred to his company as "Shortstop LLC". The resolution on tomorrow's City Council agenda refer to Shortstop LLC, and references "Peregrine LLC" instead.

    Does anybody know why businesses operate under multiple LLC's? Does anybody know what LLC stands for? Does anybody believe that Henry Paulson and/or Merritt Paulson will "personally guarantee" City of Portland subsidies worth more than $100 million if they were able to find a legal escape clause?

    Does anybody think those benefitting from tomorrow's vote will be encouraged to donate to Sam Adams' legal defense fund?

  • Chuckster (unverified)
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    And now on The Evening News (Channel 8) we learn Paulson wants to tear down The Veterans' Memorial Coliseum to make room for his new MLS stadium in The Rose Quarter.

    What about a Veterans' Memorial doesn't this jerk understand?

    And, it is estimated to cost us taxpayers at least $3 million to dismantl The Coliseum building.

    No problem deciding againt this boondoggle scamjob.

  • JerryB (unverified)
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    Here is what the MLS task force said about the Veterans' Memorial Coliseum:

    "A major reinvestment program in Memorial Coliseum has not occurred since the building opened nearly fifty years ago. Plumbing, electrical, HVAC, ice floor, etc are original systems."

    The Memorial Coliseum has been running fine and required no upgrades for fifty years. This has got to be torn down.

    From: http://www.portlandonline.com/omf/index.cfm?c=49495&a=227943

  • Steve (unverified)
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    “Are the guarantees secured? I certainly hope so; there are no shortage of equities for the family to draw upon.”

    Mr TorridJoe, your naivete is distressing. Paulson is way smarter than City Council. The weasel wording on this whole thing like “virtually” is distressingly similar to Gardiner/Glickman Jr who schooled Vera. And their combined IQ wasn’t above room temp (in centigrade.)

    The problem is that Randy and Sam wanted it. Paulson knows Randy has an ego larger than this town, so he flew him back to New York and made him feel important and I’m sure Randy made some promises to look even bigger than he is.

    In sum, why can’t anyone outside of this smoke-filled room see anything written? We have Randy’s and Paulson’s (along with his buddies Vera, Mazziotti and Steve Janik) words. Randy is easily on the short end of the stick of that deal.

    “Beyond that, there's no public money being used that hasn't now been guaranteed to be paid back, that I know of.”

    Again, what guarantee?

    Paulson’s father covered his $700M mostly in Goldman-Sachs stock with TARP money, so they know how to manipulate public funds to their own benefit. Is a slightly better soccer team really worth $100M?

    Just go thru the math on his two promises – Pay the city back and 300 new jobs:

    $85M @ 6% = $6.2M/yr 300 new “living wage jobs” @ $50K each = $15M

    Those two items and no other expense or profits are $21.2M/yr

    Divide it by 28 games * 15,000 fans = 420K tickets

    Those two items / ticket = $21.2M/420K = $50.47/ticket

    Puh-leeze.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    As I said late on the other MLS thread, for the sake of posting volume, BO had better hope the Mayor never kisses a guy at PGE park!

  • Jim (unverified)
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    I like soccer, particularly playing it, and I enjoy watching it on television. But if you all want a major league team, don't use my tax dollars. They should go to schools; etc. I enjoy reading how every time a question about how guaranteed the payback is comes up, the answer exposes further cracks in an already unsteady argument.

    Then there is this: " Minor league soccer is what we have now, and it's VERY well supported." I guess if we capitalize words, we can create reality. I have been to more than a handful of Timbers games, and if that is what counts as well-supported, then I guess the traffic on I-5 at 3 AM is a massive traffic jam.

    Major League Soccer probably would bring in some more fans, but there is no need to exaggerate things.

  • (Show?)

    The Pearl wouldn't be part of the URD; it's on the wrong side of 405 (and it's already part of the River District--and of course it WAS blighted).

    My mistake, but the larger point maintains. Who is ready to argue that the areas comprising this proposed URD are really blighted?

    The Pearl district has long outlived its reason for being, yet is still in existence, with resources not being redeployed to pay for a school in David Douglas.

    I just want honest accounting, TJ. If this stadium pencils, then fine, let's pay for it with general revenue, and not phony URD schemes that simply hide the true costs to the taxpayers.

  • Lee (unverified)
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    [email protected]:39PM, you're definitely right about "weasel words", and they are only the ones in the press. Steve Janik, who seems to be representing every flip side of this coin, is a master of employing weasel words. I remember the time when a neighborhood association attempted to save the Willamette from a tall building on the waterfront. They employed the state statutes and city codes regarding Greenway Regulations. The regs said that a new building had to be "similar in scale to nearby buildings and have a step down in height to the river". Janik was representing the developers/architects that wanted to build a building in Johns Landing three times the height of any building that anyone would consider "nearby". Janik got up before City Council and argued that the nearest building downtown that was ten storys met the conditions of "nearby". The two sites were two miles and 45 blocks away. Guess who won with these "wiggle words".

    An atrocity, and this is one reason we have 350 ft. buildings in SoWhat right on top of our river. Janik is a master at "wiggle".

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    joel dan walls:

    Is there a mechanism for the public to overturn a council vote for the stadium scheme?

    Bob T:

    I hope so, Dan. Personally, if this scam passes I want to see a recall of those voting for it.

    Bob Tiernan Mult Co.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Frank:

    Only fools don't get assurances from Republicans in writing. Many of the fools in DC are Democrats, unfortunately.

    Bob T:

    Fair enough, sort of.

    Frank:

    I'm among the biggest proponents of bringing MLS to Portland posting here. I don't accept any deal that doesn't have all the assurances that have been agreed to written down in specific language.

    Bob T:

    Again, forget the "Republicans" in the deal -- it's a progressive city council that provides the force to make this deal happen. Paulson can't take a dime from you, but the progressive "hero" ("the first gay mayor of a major city--oh, we're so proud!") and two or more other corporate welfare flunkies can and will use tax dollars for this. And they'll probably get re-elected. This should be a no-brainer, but progressives are proving themselves to be frauds yet again, despite my best hopes.

    Bob Tiernan Mult Co.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Did anyone hear the audio of what Randy Leonard said today at a meeting on this issue? The same old crap used to justify all kinds of scams. He said oh gee, there'll be businesses popping up all around the new stadium, and because of that and the new jobs created and stuff there'll be more tax dollars collected for use in paying for firefighters, and schools, and filling pot holes. In short, all of the boiler-plate scat these crooks use to play your emotions like a violin so you stop opposing (if not outright support) yet another corporate welfare scam.

    And Sam Adams spewed garbage at this meeting, although I've forgotten his exact words. I hope you people realize that if these scam goes through, the real villains will be the city council members who vote for it. And then you'll re-elect them. Unbelievable! But there's still time. I think one thing that san stop this will be a very large turnout of opposition voices in City Hall on Wednesday morning which might be enough to scare the other three council members into staying out of the Yes column.

    Bob Tiernan Mult Co

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    The best and the worst of the Oregonian today.

    The best: kudos to Anna Griffin for perhaps the best analysis of the soccer / baseball deal. While you may disagree with her conclusions, Griffin effectively argues that the merits of what she believes is a very good deal should not be overshadowed by the continuing lack of courage shown by our City Commissioners and Mayor. Griffin calls the City out for cravenly taking advantage of the Lents neighborhood and their ongoing refusal to be honest about urban renewal districts.

    The worst: the Oregonian's terrible lead editorial. The edit board contrasts the best case and worst case scenarios. (Dear Oregonian proofreader: no one knows what the term "best sense" means!)

    The best case is easy: the deal is a success, the bonds are paid off, Portland's worldwide profile is raised.

    But the worst case? The worse case of course is that the deal is a success, in another town, and Portland is "nowheresville."

    Really? That's the worst case? How about this one: MLS is not successful, the Beavers continue to draw poorly, the City is on the hook for $100 million in bonding for poorly conceived athletic facility projects, and the schools and public services continue to suffer.

    The O Board may not think that scenario is likely, but it is surely the real worst case, not their phony baloney worst case.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Here is the isue in a nutshell - should ANY city use extremely aggresive URD interpretations in order to finance stadia renovation and building? The courts have recently said NO to other schemes to build schools in other URD's.

    Some issues of fact - where are the alleged new 300 family wage jobs going to come from. If the timbers already exist, merely moving up to MLS status will not create any jobs. It may mean roster changes and more in player salaries, however current Timber players will be displaced and forced to leave the area. Ditto the AAA Beavers who would remain in their respective league but move to a brand new statdium. Certainly concession workers are not considered family wage jobs as they are not even full time. I suspect that the same workers will work at both stadia unless there are scheduling conflicts.

    The next issue of fact is the construction jobs. Sorry, but renovation of the current PGE Park would take less than 12 months and building a new AAA park would also amount to less than a 12-18 month blip. That isn't 300 new family wage jobs.

    I love soccer. I have played, coached and watched the sport since I was about 10. MLS soccer is not anywhere near world class soccer. The money is not made from folks in the stadium folks, it comes from TV deals. even the 3 current MLS teams with positive cash flow will admit it is local TV deals that help them get profitable. As an example, last Saturday Coventry City played Chelsea in the FA Cup quarterfinals. Their stadium was filled beyong capacity (est > 31,000) however over 3-4 Million watched the match across the globe. MLs will never have that television draw.

    The first falacy is that Portland "needs" the Timbers in MLS to become a world class city. The second fallacy is that URD public financing should ever be considered for stadia, regardless the sport. The third fallacy is that MLS has a proven financial model or track record. The fourth fallacy is that MLS will allow the Timbers to fail as a USL team alone out here on the west coast. They need the Timbers to be successful in order to anchor the West Coast soccer base. The fifth fallacy is that the city leaders actually believe that city voters will actually sit still for this boondoggle.

    At least when Seattle went against the will of the voters and built Safeco Field they did it in the light of day without stealin in the guise of a URD.

  • MistCharisma2 (unverified)
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    http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?play=1&video=1054585552 please view : (

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    Really? That's the worst case? How about this one: MLS is not successful, the Beavers continue to draw poorly, the City is on the hook for $100 million in bonding for poorly conceived athletic facility projects, and the schools and public services continue to suffer.

    Not possible under the agreement. The City stands to be "on the hook" for $2.5mil in the worst case scenario.

    The next issue of fact is the construction jobs. Sorry, but renovation of the current PGE Park would take less than 12 months and building a new AAA park would also amount to less than a 12-18 month blip. That isn't 300 new family wage jobs.

    Thank you for making a strong argument for the proposal as desperately needed job stimulus on a shovel ready project!

    The fourth fallacy is that MLS will allow the Timbers to fail as a USL team alone out here on the west coast. They need the Timbers to be successful in order to anchor the West Coast soccer base.

    Um, you have this a little backwards. Without this deal, the Timbers aren't likely to stay around. Why? Because Seattle and Vancouver BC will lose their USL teams, and Portland will be the only Cascade franchise left. They can't survive travelling 1000 miles for every road game.

    However, if Portland gets a team, then you'll have a brand new, high-quality soccer rivalry in the MLS...because they'll immediately be rivals to Seattle and Vancouver.

  • (Show?)

    Oh, and it should be said that without the Timbers in PGE Park, the Beavers likely can't survive either.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Per Anna Griffin's column in the O today, after all that criticism, she STILL said the city should give Little Lord Paulson his stadium. COGNITIVE DISSONANCE.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Oh, and by the way, per Anna Griffin's column, she has one thing completely ass-backwards. Even assuming that major-league sports somehow improve a city in some overall fashion--and I see no reason to assume that--she made this argument: we should support the Paulson/Leonard/Adams deal, because otherwise Portland would never see more major league sports until it somehow attracted Fortune 500 companies...meaning never.

    Got it? A backwater like Portland has to bend over for Little Lord Paulson because otherwise we'll never get the sports teams we REQUIRE for communal, community self-esteem.

    I have two things to say:

    --Portland's attractions as a place to live have nothing to do with professional sports. I would quite gladly bet that if one surveyed migrants to Portland, the number who would check the box next to "I came here because of the Trail Blazers" is negligible. --In response to the Fortune 500 claim, I have three words: Green Bay Packers.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    joe dan walls:

    Got it? A backwater like Portland has to bend over for Little Lord Paulson because otherwise we'll never get the sports teams we REQUIRE for communal, community self-esteem.

    Bob T:

    Yup, and don't forget ('cause I won't let you) that Paulson can't get a DIME without the government doing it for him, which means bending over for Sam Adams and any other city council member who has the power to take your money to give to Paulson. Got it?

    Gee, what a progressive mess. They have no credibility.

    Bob Tiernan Mult Co.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Go to the Oregonian and read the live blog of this marathon session and exercise in hand wringing. It is hilarious!

    In the end Saltzman takes the creation of a new URD out of the picture (too bad for the Beavers AA new home) but they leave the option in to raid the existing URD for the PGE Park soccer specific upgrade. Then in a stunning 3-2 vote the council votes to move forward, creating a gaping $15MM hole for somebody, presumably in government, to fill said hole.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    "Not possible under the agreement. The City stands to be "on the hook" for $2.5mil in the worst case scenario."

    Mr TJ, you need to take some more time off of work and go over to your bosses at CoP and ask them to show you said agreement. There is none.

    Unless you count CoP saying we'll give Paulson some money for a park for a a franchise that Miami, Atlanta and Montreal told to get lost.

    Show me what exactly Paulson has signed and agreed to. He skated - He got what he wanted and no commits.

    This story was changing so fast between which URD, are we going to take all of the URD, are we going to Lents, no we are going to the Memorial Coliseum, there is nothing firmed up at all besides CoP saying we'll give you money.

    CoP got duped again. At least PFE was only $35M, but Randy/Sam will make Vera look like a genius yet.

  • JerryB (unverified)
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    It's interesting that the Visitor Development Fund, originally set up in large part to pay for transportation and the Max Fareless Square is now being tapped mostly to pay for soccer while our mass transit system is on the chopping block.

    http://www.tricountylodging.com/pdfs/VDF_guidelines.doc

    We are more world class by trading one second rate soccer league for another than with a good Mass Transit system?

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Steve "Mr TJ, you need to take some more time off of work and go over to your bosses at CoP and ask them to show you said agreement. There is none.

    Unless you count CoP saying we'll give Paulson some money for a park for a a franchise that Miami, Atlanta and Montreal told to get lost.

    Show me what exactly Paulson has signed and agreed to. He skated - He got what he wanted and no commits."

    FAIL.

    I was at the City Council meeting today. I've got a copy in my hands of the 8 page agreement that was introduced, amended, and passed by a 3-2 vote as amended this afternoon.

    Merritt Paulson is signing a personal guarantee for the entire amount of the rents for both PGE Park and new minor league stadium for 25 years out, as well as for any possible construction cost overruns minus the 1st 2.5 million.

    <hr/>

    Kurt Chapman "in a stunning 3-2 vote the council votes to move forward, creating a gaping $15MM hole for somebody, presumably in government, to fill said hole.

    After the meeting, Randy Leonard said on 95.5 FM they had been prepared for if the URD money was removed, and had started looking into other sources.

  • Mister Tee (unverified)
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    Portland just got rolled.

    We're going to spend more than $130 million dollars (including financing costs) to get fewer than 150 new FTE jobs and build a new ballpark that will generate no ticket sales on 5 nights out of 7. And it will generate zero income for the general fund for at least 20 years.

    If they had let the tribes build a casino at the Rose Garden, they'd be paying us $130 million a year in royalties.

  • JerryB (unverified)
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    A verbal guarantee, what we have now, is worth nothing. A written guarantee often has the same value.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Mister Tee: "Portland just got rolled.

    We're going to spend more than $130 million dollars..."

    When someone's numbers are in error by more than 100%, they FAIL.

    Are you guys just making stuff up. That's the only way you could be so wildly off target so consistently.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Jerryd "A verbal guarantee, what we have now, is worth nothing. A written guarantee often has the same value."

    FAIL SQUARED.

    I told you guys I've got the Timbers/Beavers agreement in my hands. I went to the meeting.

    Your lame attempts to lie about this agreement are going to continue to FAIL.

    Paulsen will be signing a written personal guarantee with the city for 25 years of rent payments for 2 stadiums, and for construction overruns greater than $2.5 MIL.

  • JerryB (unverified)
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    You vouch for the guarantee yourself Frank? That's worth the per ton value of scrap paper.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    I can vouch for the fact that I was at the meeting today. I got a copy of the agreement like a lot of people who were there today. I read through the agreement, and subsequently busted you for lying about the contents of that agreement.

  • Zygote (unverified)
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    Well goll dang... we got FRANK's personal guarantee that Merritt's personal guarantee's gonna guarantee everything! With a 100% certifiable interweb-credible guarantee like that, how could it FAIL?

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Zygote "Well goll dang... we got FRANK's personal..."

    Well, goll dang, you sit on your butt, while other people go to meetings and try to do their little bit...

    ...you're gonna have to be happy with someone else's 2nd hand version of events.

    You want your opinion taken seriously? That takes hard work. Read up on the issues. Show up to important meetings. Get off your butt.

  • Zygote (unverified)
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    Must be great to be at all those meetings all by yourself, Frank. I mean, since you're the only one who ever goes to meetings and educates yourselfs, and all. The rest of us is just gonna have to take your analysis for gospel, cause we're all lazy and stuff.

    Thank you thank you, St. Frank.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Here's some analysis you could use right now.

    Sarcasm requires subtlety.

  • Frank (unverified)
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    Here's some analysis you could use right now.

    Sarcasm requires subtlety.

  • Zygote (unverified)
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    What do you mean, Frank? You said you were the only person who's ever gone to a meeting. I'm just thanking you, is all.

    I thought about going to a meeting once, but then there was this guy who kept saying I FAILed on the internets, so I didn't bother, cause FAILure makes me feel bad.

    But I thank you for your selfless and uplifting service to us all, Frank.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    Show me what exactly Paulson has signed and agreed to. He skated - He got what he wanted and no commits."

    FAIL.

    My, someone has an issue with unresolved rage. You should try spectator sports they unite us as a city.

    <h2>If you have a document Paulson has SIGNED, I'd love to see it. Otherwise, NO SOUP FOR YOU.</h2>

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