Blazers ask for public money

The Trail Blazers won't rule out leaving Portland if they don't get some kind of public money. From the Oregonian:

Although Patterson refused to specify what the team has in mind, he said the NBA franchise, owned by billionaire Paul Allen, needs public aid in order to survive in the Portland market. When asked whether the team would consider moving if it does not secure public assistance, a spokesman said that was a question for Allen.

The team, which has lost hundreds of millions of dollars since Allen bought it in 1988, already met with Gov. Ted Kulongoski and Metro President David Bragdon. A Blazers executive also had a phone conversation with Multnomah County Chairwoman Diane Linn, and Patterson is scheduled to meet with Portland Mayor Tom Potter today. ....

Both the governor and Bragdon emphasized there was nothing financially they could offer. "I think (a public-private partnership) is a nice way of asking for a subsidy," Bragdon said. "I was pretty clear with them that would not be likely to be forthcoming from our agency."

Discuss.

  • (Show?)

    I've been a Blazers fan through thick and thin - since No. 22, Clyde The Glide, graced the Memorial Colliseum with his talent and outstanding sportsmanship and since The Portland Trail Blazers were a team to be PROUD of (we can all break into a chorus of Rip City Rhapsody here). But how the hell can these people who garner salaries unfathomable to the average Oregonian ask a state that is struggling to educate their children for money?

    Perhaps if they could start playing like a team again and start making national sports news for winning playoff games and winning the Western Conference (nevermind the championship which they haven't done since I was TWO) rather than midemeanor and felony charges they could sell out The Rose Quarter on a regular basis and start making some money on their own rather than asking for public assistance. This was a team that only 14 years ago actually completely disrupted my high school graduation for winning the Western Conference and parents who couldn't bring themselves to miss their kids' graduation brought radios to the event to make sure they didn't miss both. When they won, word spread like wildfire through the auditorium and my principal interrupted the commencement to announce the results of the game. That would never happen for today's team - mainly because they couldn't win the frickin' Conference if you paid them (pun completely intended). Those Trail Blazers are long gone and they want us to give them money???

    Shame on you Portland Trail Blazers. Shame on you. And if they honestly think they'll find fan loyalty anywhere BUT Portland? I don't know what they're smoking, but it won't make it through airport security.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Story I heard about why Jesse Ventura was elected Governor: There was a Gov. debate featuring Ventura, Humphrey, and whoever the Republican candidate was. Question was asked about a similar situation--sports team wanting publicly built stadium or they would leave.

    Humphrey gives 2 minutes of politician-speak. Republican gives 2 minutes of politician-speak. Ventura's turn. He says "I have studied the finances of the sports team, and they have enough money to build their own stadium!" The story goes that many voters were so thrilled with that level of candor that they voted for him.

    So far, Westlund has called the tax system in this state stupid and insane--same level of candor as Ventura, while Saxton has said "Oregon needs my leadership", Atkinson says the answer is funding schools first, Mannix compares Portland to Havana. At least Jim Hill's call for audits of school budgets is more specific than Kulongoski's "It is about jobs" as if that solves any problems without more details.

    My guess is that any politician saying "although we can't fund schools we have to keep the Blazers here" would be called stupid and insane. Will be interesting to see if anyone running this year engages in that folly.

  • Don Smith (unverified)
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    Blazers are leaving if they don't get public money?

    Uh, don't let the Rose Garden door hit you on the way out....

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    cc--

    Right on. I see we're of similar ages, since I was born the year after the Blazers won the championship.

    We can't afford the basics in this state. We definitely can't afford to subsidize a billionaire's sports team.

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    Paul Allen and company took a modestly successful business and ran it into the ground with one bad decision after another. They should feel free to take the team somewhere else. There might be someplace where people are stupid or desperate enough to subsidize them. Then someone else who has a clue can bring another team to Portland and we can go back to being enthusiastic about our b-ball team again. It'd be nice if the new team could get the rights to the Trailblazer name ala the Cleveland Browns--throw Allen a couple bucks for that on his way out.

  • Suzii (unverified)
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    Speaking of which, anyone know where a girl could download an mp3 of Rip City Rhapsody and whatever was on its B-side?

  • Ramon (unverified)
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    Paul Allen and company took a modestly successful business and ran it into the ground with one bad decision after another.

    It's really unfair single out the Blazers. Allen has done the same thing with many companies - losing at least $12 billion in the process. So we can see that he has the basic qualification to be a public leader in Oregon - the ability to get behind one hugely expensive boondoggle after anther and stay the course for too long while keeping a smile on his face. Think Randy Leonard with PERS and PPFRDF.

    However - the Blazers are so integral to the Portland and Oregon experience that our leaders really should give long, hard consideration to stepping in with a big Urban Renewal-style subsidy. That won't cost schools and public safety a nickel, right? We could even finance the subsidy with a new tax on players salaries, thus creating free money from nothing. Just like the Baseball deal.

    Once Allen begins doing with our money what he's done with his, we could have a public vote on renaming the team - I'd go with the TramBlazers.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
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    It's no different than public subsidy of MLB, except basketball has an installed (and declining) fan base.

    Our city and state governments have no business propping up a failed business model. First, because they don't have the discretionary funds. Secondly, because it's bad public policy.

    If Paul Allen wants to move or sell the team, then let him. He will soon realize the threat value is nil, and quit making threats. If he chooses to leave, some other franchise (NBA or NHL) will realize the Rose Garden looks pretty good. I would be surprised if that took more than two seasons.

    Being the only "big" game in town is a huge advantage. Too bad the Blazers were unable to exploit their monopoly status to full advantage.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    "Paul Allen and company took a modestly successful business and ran it into the ground with one bad decision after another. They should feel free to take the team somewhere else."

    Agree - 100%, call his bluff. I am a NBA fan, but I can see some good teams on TV instead of sitting up front with salesguys and business owners.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    Why should the public bail Allen out for his poor business decisions? The Blazers are in financial trouble because he's alienated most of the fan base by bringing in a bunch of over-paid thugs for players. My interest in the Blazers died about the same time that Bob Whitsett and J.R. Rider came to town. Good riddance.

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    Get in a casual conversation over a beer in a major US airport waiting for a plane..the Blazers come up in conversation...pretty soon your eyes are looking down at your beer, grimacing, remembering the glory days....your kids ask why some of their heros smoke pot, carry guns, hit their wife, talk smack to the press or won't talk to the press..........players are transfered.......you apologize to the guy at the bar in the airport for living in the same town as the Trail Blazers. Dejected, you board the connecting flight back to what used to be known as Rip City...thank god for golf.

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    Speaking of which, anyone know where a girl could download an mp3 of Rip City Rhapsody and whatever was on its B-side?

    I heard Rip City Rhapsody and Bingo Bango Bongo Baby on the radio a while back - sometime within the last few months. I have no idea why, when, or which station though. It was a Z100 thing, if I remember correctly.... someone at that station might know (though that definitely wasn't the station I was listening to when I heard it recently). And I can't remember if BBBB was the flip to Rip City Rhapsody or if those were recordings in 91 and 92... I believe they did singles for both those years. I do still have my Clyde Drexler Wheaties box somewhere though!

    I just did a little searching and though I didn't find anywhere to download RCR, the flip was actually Bust a Bucket - which I did find:

    Bust a Bucket MP3 I'm sure you could find the rest with a little more digging.

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    this isn't about Paul Allen's failures as a business owner or the owner of a sports team. it's not about how far the Blazers have fallen (i still prefer our Blazers to Kobe's Lakers). it's about society and our values.

    if you follow sports, not just in American but around the world, you'll see that money is undermining almost all teams. there are a few select teams that can survive and prosper, and they have the big bucks to begin with. the Yankees, Man United, Real Madrid, the freaking Lakers, teams of that nature. they can pay the humongous salaries needed to finance big stadiums, to field playoff-caliber teams, to gain lucrative marketing and pay-per-view contracts, etc. everyone else struggles to play keep-up.

    late English Premier League soccer. Chelsea is now the top team, and why is that? a Russiain bazillionaire bought the team and has poured insane amounts of money into the team, buying not only top international players but the top manager. Man United, Arsenal and Liverpool continue to prosper; they have huge reserves of funds. and the other teams in the EPL? they watch their best players sign with Man United, Arsenal or the top European teams. then they stretch themselves to the limits, the absolute breaking-point, trying to achieve some kind of success. Leeds United, a team i've followed since the late 70s (thank you Wide World of Sports) almost imploded recently as their gamble to achieve top-tier status failed to gain the necessary on-field success needed to keep them from bankruptcy. the team survived, barely, and now is returning to quality status because ... new ownership has paid off the old debt and is buying, at a sensible rate this time, new quality players.

    and why do they do this? why do the Yankees and Man Uniteds exist as massively successful business enterprises? because society shells out the bucks. because in terms of demonstrating values, society places sports before education, before health care, before national security. i love sports, and i'm not about to suggest the Dodgers unilaterally stop being a successful team by imposing their own salary cap. but it's obvious to anyone who takes even a rudimentary look at the numbers that there are two significant problems here.

    one, player salaries are insane. A-Rod is a terrific baseball star, but $25 million a year? in international soccer, Man United can shell out thirty or forty million just to gain the contract of a top star, and then they pay him tens of millions more to play. just as no CEO is worth $60 million a year, no jock is worth tens of millions. yes, a successful team adds both civic pride and economic value to a city, but not at that rate, and not when it requires huge investments from the taxpayers (cf: Seahawks). at some point, some league is going to collapse and we'll watch some sport demolished because of this stupidity. (and it's not about player greed, although that is a major issue. the owners and media people are just as guilty, knowing that they can gain vast wealth as part of the system.)

    second, the citizens of a city, a state or a country have to demonstrate that their values lie in something other than winning a Super Bowl or European Championship. somebody demonstrate to me that this is not so. based on what we spend our disposable incone on, what choices we make in non-work activities, tv watching, interests and such, what matters in terms of attention paid to college -- does our country not care more about sports than almost anything else? someone show me that education really does matter more to Oregonians than how the Beavers do in the Civil War or the return to glory of the Blazers. maybe we should spend the money on the Blazers. maybe that is what Oregonians want. close a few schools, and you get a few hundred protestors. think what the outrage will be if Paul Allen tries to move the Blazers -- especially when the team becomes a contendor again.

    we're the politically active here, and our values are the ones that are skewed from society's. sports and entertainment do matter more to most people than do education or foreign policy. it's not a good thing, but it's the way it is. that's the real problem here. not Paul Allen.

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    Here's my suggestion. If Paul Allen - the world's seventh richest man - really wants to make friends with the fans again, he should do this: Make a single large donation to Portland Public Schools (or, heck, all the region's school districts) to 100% fund all P.E. programs. While you're at it, emphasize the point by giving every single kid a Blazers t-shirt to wear during P.E.

    Now we're talking community support for the team. Taxpayer dollars? Yeah, right.

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    Paul Allen is the seventh richest man in the world, with an estimated a href=http://www.forbes.com/static/bill2005/LIR1217.html?passListId=10&passYear=2005&passListType=Person&uniqueId=1217&datatype=Person>$7 billion in personal wealth. So losses of $100 million over three years would amount to less than a 2% share of his total wealth--which of course it wouldn't because much of those losses would be hidden or protected.

    But more to the point, Paul Allen is a businessman successful enough to become the world's seventh richest man. Am I to believe that he never considered the Blazers might lose money? Thems the facts when you do business: sometimes you have a bad year. Why should we bail out Paul rather than, say, Freightliner?

    I have a proposal. Since Paul thinks we ought to buy some of his losses, I think we ought to get some of the team. If Paul is willing to transfer ownership for his losses, I'm willing to pay. That way, when they inevitably rally in the future, I'll get some of the windfall.

    Otherwise, let the team blaze a trail to a new city.

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    Hmm, I apparently messed up that linking. He's got 21 billion, and my math is wrong--it's one half of one percent.

  • Rob Salzman (unverified)
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    I'd be willing to toss some money in the hat if they'd guarantee moving out of the state!

  • David (unverified)
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    First off, the Blazers are not going to leave because they are locked into a lease until 2025. I have no sympathy for Allen, he essentially is bitching because he lost a major source of revenue that was the result of a lease he signed with himself (since he owned Oregon Arena Corp). Also, he has priced middle class fans out of going to games (not that he's alone there). As I said to someone when I was at the Jax game recently, "If I were sitting in this same seat for a Blazers game it would be six times as expensive but I'd hardly be having six times as much fun."

    Note to Paul Allen: F-k you, any financial losses are largely the result of your complete ineptitude. Only you could screw up the biggest market in the country with only a single top-level team. Sell the damn team and never come back. You got lucky and hitched onto Bill Gate's rocket to the moon. There is a reason you have lost $12 billion in the past few years, you're not that good with business.

  • Jeff Bull (unverified)
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    Some details of Allen's idiocy are worth the mention. I go into them here. Otherwise, the message to Allen is pretty simple: get bent.

  • Sally (unverified)
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    Note to Paul Allen: We at the PDC are keenly familiar with troublesome investments and public-private partnerships. It is possible for you to mitigate some of your financial losses by way of joining forces with our staff. If there is going to be any screw ups in this large market-single top-level team town we want to be involved. There are many ways to lesson your financial burden. The PDC could purchase your interests, invest some Urban Renewal free public money, then sell it back to you for a song. Tax exemptions, fee waivers, low interest loans and other "incentive" programs are also available. Throw in a few hundred subsidized condo's with our other partners and it will be clear that you were lucky when you invested in a city with these programs available and politicians who don't watch too closely. There are reason you have loses in the past few years, but there is no reason it has to be you're money when we have so much public money available.

  • theberle (unverified)
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    The article says Allen's lost "hundreds of millions of dollars since he bought [the Blazers] in 1988."

    According to Forbes, the team is now worth $227 million (although I read in Sports Illustrated that the Sonics are valued in the high $300 millions, so I wouldn't be surprised if Allen could get at least $300 million for the team). Allen bought the team for $70 million in 1988. So, he's also made "hundreds of millions of dollars" since he bought the team, but obviously, until he sells the team, he can't realize that profit.

    Sports franchises take money to run, but they appreciate in value much more than most other investments. That doesn't mean owners are "losing money" on the team, as they'd like you to believe. Just ask Duhbya about his Texas Rangers' profits.

    Also, I don't know all the background on this, but according to that same Forbes article:

    Blazers owner Paul Allen controlled Oregon Arena Corp., which owns the Rose Garden, until filing for bankruptcy in 2004. Portland Arena Management took over the assets of Oregon Arena, including the Rose Garden. This frees Allen and the Blazers from the onerous debt load on the building, but also means the team doesn't collect any arena revenues like suites ad signage.
    Who's to blame for that? The taxpayers?

    Finally, I bought Rip City Rhapsody on tape a year ago at Everyday Music. Since I don't have the CD, I can't make an MP3, but if you really want the song, you can probably find it at EM for cheap.

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    Is it just coincidence that David Stern and the Starmegabucks owner of the Sonics made essentially the same threats in Seattle yesterday?

    Maybe we could work something out--the Sonics could leave Seattle in frustration for Portland, and the Blazers could depart for greener pastures in Seattle! We get to keep Nate, though. :)

  • Swanny (unverified)
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    I hate to say this...because I love my Blazers but, there are two things that should be noted:

    First, in a non-scientific or econ saavy analysis, let's say Paul Allen loses 100 million on the Blazers, that would be like someone who makes $50K per year losing $416. Sports franchise for Billionaires are like a bade weekend in Vegas for the average Joe.

    Second, the Blazers have lost the magic that they had when they sold out over 800 straight games. Yes, the Rose Garden is a lot harder to sell out but, who wants to pay that much to go see this team? If we had the quality and caliber of the ol' Blazers, or at least the entertainment value they would be watchable. They need a star.

    So, Mr. Allen, bring back the good ol' days and we will bring back the profits. There was even a time when Paul Allen, not some lame emcee or cheerleader would get the crowd on their feet, those were the good old days...

  • Chris Drashner (unverified)
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    An open letter to Paul Allen:

    Dear Mr. Allen,

    Please feel free to take your Blazer’s organization to any other city in the country and witness the incredible amount of money that will not come pouring in to watch one of the worst teams with the worst images in the NBA. For whatever reason the oddball’s in Portland aren’t willing to shell out their hard earned money to watch a bunch of overpaid players lose yet another game or to buy their merchandise.

    However, I have an immediate fix for you. Fire all of your overpaid players and replace them with average Portland residents. Your team will continue to lose but I guarantee that attendance will be higher and you will have the added benefit of not having to pay those high salaries. As a matter of fact, you could make money by offering an opportunity to play against the NBA’s elite in a bidding Ebay type environment. And who wouldn’t want to come out and watch their neighbor go head to head against Kobe? You could single handedly be responsible for a revolution in the NBA and take it back to where it should be: the people’s game. And just think of what would happen should one of your scrappy teams defeat the best of the best in the NBA!

    Hopefully you’re a smart man, I’d hate to think that Microsoft was a fluke and that the $12 billion you’ve lost over the last decade is not indicative of your true business sense. However, I have proven myself by building two businesses from ground floor up into highly profitable operations and feel that I could assist you in rebuilding the Blazers into an organization that Portland could be proud of. Please feel free to contact me anytime.

    Best regards, Chris Drashner

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    Chris --

    OH. MY. GOD.

    That's brilliant.

    Take it further - make it a reality TV show.

    -kari.

  • Robert Harris (unverified)
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    I think if the public hires someone from the Nuggets to negotiate for us, by the time they're done, Nash and Patterson will be offering Portland money to let the Blazers stay.

  • Sid Leader (unverified)
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    I have one word Paul Allen, world's richest troll:

    No, non, nein, no, nao,ingen.

    No in any language means no.

    But, now I know why KXL is reportedly priced to sell! Seen their ratings, lately?

    Big Al Franken (Harvard '72) is crushing Lars (Tillamook HS, 1974) in the Arbies, baby.

    And it ain't even close.

  • jim (unverified)
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    Paul Allen with a TIN CUP on the side of the public highway. A sight to behold. Does he have a CARDBOARD sign?

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)
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    Did any of you guys see Paul Allen waving the 12th man flag at the Seahawks games?

    He's moved on.

    The Blazers may have been Allen's first mistress, but that relationship has gone from stale to venomous.

    Look at his new paramour, the Seahawks. They win, the fans are estatic, financial prospects look great. In other words, they really put out.

    If you had two girlfriends: one working hard to keep you happy and the other constantly guilt-tripping you, would you keep spending money in order to keep them both?

    If I was Allen, I'd have dumped the Blazers years ago (but it is always easier to make relationship decisions for others, who knows how much he still cares for his first love).

    Why would he want to waste anymore time or resources on the Blazers?

    They consistently underperform, they are always causing trouble, the fans don't like them - they're bleeding him for money and giving little in return.

    He doesn't even go to most of the games anymore.

    Face it. The Sugardaddy is going to leave. Portland should be happy if he leaves a little money on our dresser on the way out.

    As for today's meeting - Allen knows that there isn't going to be public money available (read the paper) he's just going through the motions so he can tell the League he did everything he could.

    If he can't find a buyer (and who would want to buy this money losing franchise unless you need an enormous tax writeoff) or move it himself, then he's left with a couple of choices:

    1. Continue to lose money with the franchise, or,

    2. Seriously cut expenses. Make silly trades to rid the team of long term contracts if you have to. Bring the team payroll down to about $25 million a year so, and become the new Clippers. They've shown how an every-year lottery pick team can play in an empty arena and still make a little profit off of tv revenues.

    If he keeps the team, I imagine Allen will still fly down from Seattle a couple times each season for quickie.

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    Well, TA, I think you're outnumbered.

    In a sense every problem is about the larger society's values. Unquestionably there are problems with how the NBA structures things generally--but of course being an owner Paul Allen has some say in that too.

    Still, the buck for the debacle with the Trailblazers most definitely stops at Paul Allen's desk. It's been a case study in mismanagement for a long time. The only place the piper should be looking is Paul Allen's wallet.

  • jim (unverified)
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    Ponchopdx: funny with the ring of truth. It does seem Allen has started to move on emotionally.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    From the better side of the Cascades I see it this way --

    Everything costs more in Portland. (Schools, water, sports - everything - even a cup of coffee)

    So, here's the big solution. Portland borrows whatever it takes, but claims a percentage of the Blazer's revenue. Then everyone in Portland crowds into the Rose Garden for every game, win or lose. Then Portland pays off the loan, and remaining profit goes to the schools. -- then you will be able to afford your schools, and afford the Blazers, and well, I didn't solve the high cost of water. Next time.

  • MarkDaMan (unverified)
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    What's the deal with the 2025 contract? If they leaves do they have to pay Portland a bazillion bucks?

    Pauly, it's your hobby, if you don't like the way it looks you only have to look in the mirror to see the problem behind it, and your wallet to figure a way to fix it.

    However, if Pauly will say publicly, "In order for me to fix my poor mismanagement of this team, I am supportive of taking money out of Portland School's classrooms" I say lets give him a little.

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    I agree with most people, don't give them a dime. Maybe the city should consider giving them the option to void the contract and leave if they want. The team has gone down the toilet in terms of public support, image and winning record.

    Don't let the door hit you on the *** on the way out Paul!

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    If Paul Allen is willing to sell, the citizens of Portland should band together and buy the team - like the Green Bay Packers.

    Of course, that's not allowed under current NBA rules, but Earl Blumenauer's Give The Fans A Chance Act would change all that. More here.

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)
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    I didn't know the NBA outlawed Green Bay-style ownership, though I knew baseball did. That scuttles one solution. By the way, if it could happen--and Allen is bleeding money--he should just give us the team.

    The three most-feared words to any attentive taxpayer are "public-private partnership." Brings back the memory of PGE Park and, of course, the aerial tram [rimshot--gotta do it here because Jack Bog is having nice week over there].

    Does anyone else think that if Allen hadn't been buddies with Bill Gates, he'd be skulking the aisles of Fry's with a bold black nametag on his white shirt, and that his high point in life would be getting elected president of the Amiga users group?

    So, if Portland doesn't pony up, where is Allen going to move the Blazers? Buffalo? Kansas City? San Diego? Syracuse? All the best markets are already taken and Portland, with community minded management, is a better market than most.

  • W. Bruce Anderholt II (unverified)
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    Gil: that's a great visual (working at Fry's), but I believe Paul Allen would probably be managing the returns department after all these years. He's a very bright guy.

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    Jealous, boys?

    Paul Allen earned his money every bit as much as Bill Gates did. He's the guy who pushed GUI's at Microsoft and grew Windows out of DOS compatibility. That was not only a very astute business decision at the time, it's also a very under-rated technical accomplishment.

  • Sid Leader (unverified)
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    Uh, Doretta, you seem to have forgotten the most important fact on Paul "The Beggar" Allen's ragged resume -- he has lost $11,000,000,000 and counting... the vertically-challenged Vulcan couldn't make money selling ice water in hell... even with long-time Hades resident Lee Atwater running the ad campaign.

    He hasn't made a single dime since saying bye to Bill.

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)
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    <h1></h1>

    Just sayin' ... some impressions may be backward -- Allen played Wozniak to Gates's Jobs. That is, Allen was the programmer and truly could crank code, and, yes, Billy could, too, in an imitative manner ... whatever Allen taught him. Gates's contribution in Microsoft's overinflation was lawyeresey-squeezey (a chip off his old man) and enforcing the non-copy contract clause which computer industry convention had never minded to enforce. Allen was the technical brains of the gang, Gates was the cold-blooded front-reptile.

    As often seen in the true geek unintegrated personality, Allen has a tin ear for sociality and can't clap in time with the music of life, perhaps shown in his enthrall in the Jimi Hendrix cacophony. (Similar to Seattle's effusiveness for grundge and Cobain ... like the locals think a 'sound' is where fish [email protected])

    Why Portland angrily turns thumbs down on Blazerlove, is because Portland turns thumbs down on any community comity anymore: the wellspring of civil waters is poisoned. It only takes one dead varmit in the well to make all the entire resource toxic and ruin it for everyone. Of course, the skunk in the well is Liars Larson, Paul Allen's other bequeathment to Portland. Allen's two sides of Jekyll and Hyde, as in his broadcasted schizophenia of Jammin' 95 and Klux Klan 750 under one roof, proves once again no matter how many enjoyable meals I've had at my local burger shack, it only takes one time, one bloody chicken head in the chili and I'm never going back. The chain of love only binds us together until the weak link snaps.

    Allen can plant all the roses and rose gardens he wants here in magnanimous municipal beneficence, but his one cretinous pervert Liars Larson single-handedly pissing salt on the landscaping kills it all for everyone.

    Same as Reinhard has fairly much single-handedly -- one bad apple in a barrel of good -- rotted to ruin the newspaper.

    <h1></h1>
  • wj (unverified)
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    Bailing out the Jail Blazers? This is a chance for a master stroke of American "socialism": socialize the risk and privatize the profits.

    More seriously, as Paul Allen, when not lost in his electric-guitar fantasies, knows full well that there is absolutely no chance of public financing for the Blazers, this whole business has to be some sort of well-thought-out, if cynical, ploy. Perhaps we can convince the Blazers management to take their cast of Bad Boys elsewhere. I've got no interest in reading in my local paper about yet one more player getting busting for dope, sumggling guns on planes, whatever.

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    He hasn't made a single dime since saying bye to Bill.Don't be silly, he's made more since saying goodbye to Bill than all of us here will make put together in our lifetimes unless one of our anonymous posters is Phil Knight--and even then it might be close. He's just lost even more.

    Anyway, that's completely irrelevant to whether or not he earned the original pile to begin with. He's apparently a true geek, with no passion or talent for business. Without Bill, he probably wouldn't have had those billions to play with. Nevertheless, without Paul, Bill very likely wouldn't either. They were the right team for the right time. The history of business is full of such fortuitous partnerships.

  • Sid Leader (unverified)
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    I do not think Paul's business deals, outside of Microsoft stock, have made much money. Blazers have blown hundreds of millions. His cable TV sports network lost billions. He ended up giving the games to Fox for free. Blazer ratings on KXL are way down. His "Hendrix" Museum is lightly-visited, despite the worldwide popularity of the title star. Many of his Vulkan corporate ventures went south. How is that chip company doing? They ever beat Intel? Over and over... but the Seahawks did well and that was fun.

    As for how it all got started, according to the book "Pirates of Silicon Valley", Gates knew IBM needed an operating system in early 1980's. Bill and Paul did not have one that worked, but Bill knew that the small Seattle Software Company had a operating system called DOS. Bill bought it for $50,000, convinced IBM he should be allowed to sell the os to everyone else too and the rest if history. Or so they say.

    Kari has the best idea. Paul should give a ton to PPS and NW schools to show he cares. Or, at the very least, give us all a spin in that yacht the size of Cleveland High's field. For charity.

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)
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    Sid wrote:

    Kari has the best idea. Paul should give a ton to PPS and NW schools to show he cares.

    Boy isn't it fun to lecture other people about how they should spend their money in ways that would please you?

    I wish Paul Allen would hire a troop of mimes to follow Sid and Kari everywhere they go in public and make fun of them.

    I'd want them in black spandex with white face paint, the whole nine yards. For a measely $300k I could have a dozen mimes stalk each of them for a whole summer.

    It would really help demonstrate that he doesn't care much what Kari or Sid think (and why should he?).

  • Sid Leader (unverified)
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    I like your idea, PP. Here's $25 for you and Paul to be "playpals" since HE'S FLAT BROKE.

    I love you Momma's boyz! You so funny.

  • Ted (unverified)
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    Just checked, as I've been out of the Portland news for awhile...

    Latest article I could find has Paul Allen listed as worth $21.7 billion. That's right, BILLION. Now, I've made some bad decisions in my life, too, Paul. I bought a lemon from a used car dealer who, as a matter of fact, looked kinda like Bill Whitsett. Anyway, at that time I still owed on my student loan and credit cards. My bad decisions cost me about $5,000 in repairs I could not afford. It wasn't even a fraction of my net worth, it just added to my indebtedness.

    Let's say Paul got taken for a ride by Whitsett, Patterson, and Nash (and Charter Communications and Lycos and...). It's gotta hurt, huh, Paul. You may have lost 2-3% of your entire net worth on the Blazers. That's gotta hurt, Paul. For me that lemon car deal meant a lot of overtime at work--probably a year's worth--then I was still in debt. You can walk away with a cool $21 BILLION left in your pocket to spend on things like, oh, yachts with two helicopter ports. U2 were watching your yacht when they did last year's Rolling Stone cover story. "What's he need two helicopter pads for?"--U2. Oops, so much for The Edge exhibit at the EMP.

    Hey Paul, if Jimi Hendrix were alive today he'd slap your face!! You don't deserve to own a guitar like the one Jimi played at Woodstock. You don't get the spirit of his music and I will never got to EMP again OR buy any of your stocks OR go to Dreamworks films. As a matter of fact, I'll buy Chinese bootlegs and give them to all my friends.

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