Friday, April 27, 2007


Sixteen Candles: Update

An unsigned editorial in today's Edmonton Journal makes some interesting, familiar points:

When, exactly, did the legitimate discussion about the merits of a downtown arena suddenly become a question of whether public money should help pay for it?

But until Mandel oversees the extension of the LRT, upgrades to transit services, an easing to the housing crunch and repairs the moonscape that doubles as city streets, harnessing any source of scarce public cash so that Northlands and Oilers owners (of which the Journal is a part) can get new digs more cheaply seems just as debatable -- or at least deserving of thorough, open debate before the train gets moving too fast.

The issue is not whether Edmonton needs a new downtown arena, it's whether the taxpayer should take a piece of the action in some way or other.

Then, with the facts in hand, Edmontonians deserve a chance to vote on it. If Mandel believes wholeheartedly, he should make it the cornerstone of his re-election platform -- a vote for Mandel is a vote for a downtown arena that includes however many millions of public dollars. Or, if he thinks such political linkage is a little on the risky side, he could consult the community through a genuine referendum question on the municipal ballot.

In the words of Marv Albert: YES!!!

Of course, Scott McKeen then goes and ruins my happy day by writing this. Guess what Edmontonians? You don't buy every single ounce of spin Mayor Mandel and the Oilers feed you? YOU ARE A PENNY PINCHING CRY BABY. That's right. Just ask Scott McKeen, who seems to know every minute detail of this plan. A question, Scott. If you already know the plan, that means somebody else knows the plan. Which then begs the question, why is there an "arena feasibility committee" in the first place? Oh, and doesn't the mayor already have a public relations staff to do this sort of work for him? Is he outsourcing, now? I have many more questions, starting with why McKeen thinks it's okay to insult taxpayers for wanting to see their money properly managed, and ending with a concern about what kind of clothes he must wear if he thinks that adding the Baccarat Casino to the stadium is the height of urbanity, but it's a Friday, and I've got better things to do than continue to point out to writers at the Edmonton Journal how terribly wrong they are. Who hasn't written on this issue yet, by the way? Isn't there, I dont know, non-manufactured news to talk about? John MacKinnon pulled a Terence Mann ("people will come, Ray") today too. Now we shouldn't think of the new arena as revitilizing the area. Nor should we think of it as just another hockey rink. Nope. Now it's all about magical synergies. And now it should be a hockey rink, swimming pool, track, roller rink, gladiator pit, and mud wrestling ring, and the building will be made of licorice, jujubes and smarties, and Edmonton is going to be the most-happiest sporting nirvana in all the world. And people will ask, "Hey, is this heaven?" And we'll say, "No, it's Edmonton." And then we'll all walk off into the field of casinos together, and fade away like ghosts.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Stay classy.



I guess Scott McKeen and John MacKinnon have all the EMPIRACAL FACTS about this issue. I wish they'd share with us commoners...

Arena issue is to Andy Grabia as blowing Dave Coulier in a theatre is to Alanis Morrisette.

Arena issue is to Andy Grabia as blowing Dave Coulier in a theatre is to Alanis Morrisette. oughta know

Welcome to McKeen's alternate universe.

In his realm, "penny pinching" is defined as:

A complaint about soon-to-be-fleeced taxpayers, who are going to have to fork out a HALF-BILLION-DOLLAR subsidy to private business.

Perhaps Scott could share with us the reality-warping drugs he's on because they sound really interesting.

Sorry for name-calling, but what a total dumb-ass.

I think the arena would boost Edmonton's image a little bit. It might make it easier to book some big name acts, but other than that I don't see many likely benefits.

- Wilson Schaumberg

Oh and sorry for not staying classy.

- Wilson

I'm not arguing the fact about any of the issues involved in this, but LaForge does have a point about room on the concourses. I have been to a number of the newer arenas in the NHL and there is a huge difference in bathroom capacity and ability to move on the concourses and food areas etc, when compared to Rexall.

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