Wednesday, March 23, 2005

An unfair bidding war?

It is still far from clear that the bidding process on the Far West Side's railyards, the proposed stadium site, is a fair one.
When I saw that summary of a New York Times editorial, I expected a rehash of how Cablevision is supposedly the big opponent of the proposed West Side Stadium. I have always opposed the stadium for strictly economic reasons.

Surprisingly, though, the article details the advantage New York City has:
Further, the Jets are still expecting at least $600 million in city and state assistance to build a platform over the yards and a roof for the stadium. That's an enormous amount of public money for a team playing in one of the most lucrative sports markets on the globe. The Jets have also been assured of getting the zoning needed for the stadium and that the team won't have to pay the freight if there turn out to be environmental problems at the site that need to be fixed. These sweeteners, which considerably detract from the value of the team's offer, were not available to other bidders.

Small wonder, then, that there were only three bids. The only one other than the Jets' that has a fighting chance came from the stadium project's archenemy, Cablevision, which owns Madison Square Garden. If nothing else, the company deserves credit for helping the M.T.A. see the light and encouraging the public to ask questions about the entire stadium deal.
I'm speechless: not only does the Times not criticize Cablevision, not only does it suggest the bidding war is unfair because of City Hall's muscle, the Times praises Cablevision for raising questions about the stadium? Whoever wrote this editorial probably won't last long.

It's only noon, and I might need a drink already. On an issue for which I criticize the New York Post, I'm agreeing with an unsigned New York Times editorial.

The New York Post, despite a conservative and pro-Bush reputation, has no problem supporting big government using taxpayer money for a stadium that only a relative few will use. But this is the same Post that unhesitatingly endorsed Chuck Schumer last year, either, citing what he's done for New York. In other words, "He brought home the bacon, let's send him back for more." Fiscal gluttony, after one's appetite is whetted by a taste of the public treasury's trough, is the process that turns "limited government conservative" Dr. Jekyll into "big-government conservative" Mr. Hyde.


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