Thursday, June 07, 2007



Hey, look! It's Gary Lamphier, back at being a patronizing a**hole in today's Edmonton Journal! It's hard to take the guy seriously, really, as he advocated the building of a new hockey arena on the basis of not having to deal with homeless people. But Gary has more for people who might oppose his plans:

What I don't understand is the narrow-minded, knee-jerk negativity that so often afflicts the people of this city. It's tedious. It's tiresome. And just so yesterday.

The best part? Lamphier lashes out, despite acknowledging that Mayor Mandel and "key proponents" of the arena haven't answered the important questions.

Questions like: How much would it cost? What would such a project include? How would it be financed? Where would it be located? And above all, why is a new downtown arena important to the city and to the Oilers?

Amusingly enough, Lamphier doesn't include himself in the list of "key proponents," and his entire article attempts to ignore and circumvent the most important question of all: do we have hard, factual evidence that an arena in the downtown core will revitilize the area, or that it will revitilize the area more than any other development? Saying that Denver, Vancover, Boston and Seattle and Detroit are thriving cities because they have arenas in their downtown core is not enough. On the one hand, my bet is that those cities have other elements in play that are the more likely reason for any supposed economic might in their downtown core. And secondly, even if it was the case that it is the arenas that turned these cities into Bohemian Shangri-Las, I want proof. And by proof, I don't mean, "well, I've been there, it's awesome, and you should believe me, hill-billy." I mean numbers that support the claim. The sorts of evidence that actual economists publish, not just journalists and professors with physical education degrees. Because until that time, no matter the insults that Lamphier vomits from his pen, the argument for a new hockey arena in Edmonton's downtown core isn't an argument at all. It's tedious. It's tiresome. It's also so damn yesterday, it isn't even funny.



Go grabia, go!

I'm telling you, keep at it.

That's the most patronizing article I think I've ever read.

If these numpties want a new arena, make them work for it. And by "work for it" I don't mean "badger the public by repeatedly calling them bumpkins"

And yeah, the whole Journal/EIG ownership thing stinks more and more.

Man, if Detroit is being held up as an example of successful urban development, you know Lamphier's reaching.

Besides, if the Joe was built in 1979, how come Detroit's downtown didn't start to revitalize until now? (allegedly) Guess we can look forward to a revitalized downtown sometime around 2035.

So many great things about Lamphier's article. He mentions Seattle, while failing to note that citizens there just turned down publicly funding an arena for the Sonics. He doesn't call them small-minded and backwards. He mentions downtown Detroit, which looks like a scene out of a post-apocalyptic zombie movie. He criticizes people for preferring to spend public money on things like potholes, totally ignoring that public money is OUR money, and we have the right to see it spent wherever we see fit. He also fails to acknowledge that many people would rather spend the money on potholes not because that is a far as their imagination can stretch, but because they aren't interested in using their money to buy things for millionaires. There's just so much, really. It's quite a delight reading the guy.

He compares Edmonton to DETROIT?? I could get no further than that second paragraph.

Andy, were there riots up there last night that I missed? Army called out? White police pistolwhipping black rioters? Hundreds dead, many burned?

Thought I would read about it in the Globe, but if the Journal says it, it must be true.

Downtown arena motto: "Prevents race riots."

Wow, I can't remember the last time I read so many rhetorical questions in a newspaper article. What a piece of trash. Didn't I hear about a 4 metre by 4 metre sinkhole opening up in Edmonton a few weeks ago? I think potholes ARE a problem worth considering over an arena.

Sorry Andy, but I'm going to give you an "I've been there" story. I lived in Denver for a considerable amount of time, and I can tell you that Pepsi Center did nothing to revitalize it's surrounding area. Since it's been built, they have added two mammoth parking lots and a gas station acting as a vast concrete ocean surrounding the island nation of Pepsi. Well, actually there is one adjacent restaurant/bar (Brooklyn's) a short "swim" away, but it's only really ever utilized on game nights (I've been to 100's of games at Pepsi Center and even worked there for a few months and I've NEVER been to that bar).

The only downtown stadium that's had an impact is Coors Field, but it's impact is severely localized and could hardly be compared to the effects of a hockey arena. The area immediately surrounding Coors (an old warehouse district) has improved, vastly. A nice strip of bars and restaurants (about a half dozen) and a few high density residences have popped up, but beyond those borders (like ONE block -- especially north and east), the downtown is as crummy as it's ever been. And the only reason the "new" restaurants and bars are successful is because Baseball is a summer sport with 81 home games. Of course I'm going to spend some time at the surrounding businesses on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. The dead of winter, however, is a different story. So anytime someone points out the success of Denver's downtown arena (Pepsi Center) in revitalizing the area, ask them to prove it, because it really hasn't.

If you want to see for yourself, check out's new feature "street view." You can actually see images of the surrounding neighbourhoods.

I don't think I need to mention anything about Detroit or Buffalo, but I can't believe that Lamphier did.

The city of Baltimore, Maryland has a baseball park (Camden Yards) and a football stadium (some corporate BS name) right across from each other, on either side of the light rail line, in the downtown. The downtown area HAS been revitalized, but it has been a result of upscale shopping at the Inner Harbor, putting a Hard Rock Cafe and Borders superstore in a vacant building on one of the piers, promoting the Maryland Science Center and the Baltimore Aquarium in the area as tourist attractions, and encouraging young professionals to move into some of the surrounding neighborhoods and rehab historic old rowhouses.

The baseball park and football stadium came later, and took advantage of the easy access to transportation and the foot traffic that was already there from previous years and years of work in improving the area.

Having lived in both Edmonton and also Seattle, you can't compare Seattle to Edmonton. It is apples and oranges. I love both cities, but for very different reasons. Downtown Seattle has been revitalized and sure it is great to have Safeco and Quest Field, but certainly they were not the key factors in building the downtown. Do both stadiums bring in a considerable amount of money to the area, yes, but not without a pricetag as well. We voted to pay for Safeco, but it was because we had a decaying MULTIPLE use facility for both Professional Teams. It was a choice as a community we made, not because it was forced upon us. I have spent many and evening in Rexall, do I think it would be *great* to have a new updated Arena? Hell yeah. Do I think that it is necessary, I don't think so, nor do I think the community at this point is willing (or needs to) make the sacrifices to have a new arena. If the city wants to revitalize the downtown, then get started, you don't need a new arena to get that going.

-of course we turned down the Sonics, because Key Arena (their current home) is still a viable arena to house their team, why pay so that they can claim to have something "new and better". Not to mention - nobody gives a damn about the Sonics!

A swing and a miss. Never before have I seen so much anti-growth, anti-business rhetoric coming from Albertan voices. Then again, we are talking about socialist "Redmonton" here.

Small-thinking, small-dreaming.

Clubforgrowth. More like Clubforbrain.
Asking business owners to pay for their own facility is not socialist thinking. Quite the opposite.
There is no proof a monolith plunked down in the middle of downtown will promote growth except for the bank accounts of the PocklEIGton group. Like the Skeptics Group that has for years offered a million-dollar reward to anyone who can prove telepathy, ESP, spoon-bending, etc., Grabia has repeatedly asked someone - anyone - to produce a verifiably independent study proving that stealing money from taxpayers and giving it to robber-baron hockey team owners is of any net value to a community.
As for Lamphier, he's obviously never been to Buffalo (unrelenting s***hole), Detroit (hollowed-out wasteland), or GM Place in Vancouver where at least one side is so heavily populated with crackheads they ought to rename it Crystal Meth Park.
I'm from Northeast Edmonton. I'm just old enough to remember when the area dug up to make way for
Capilano Freeway was a real neighbourhood. Until they bisected it so that the new hockey team playing out of the new arena would have a road run through it (and then pretty much end in a dead-end at a hog-rendering plant for the next 15 years). In the 30+ years since, 118th Avenue has only got worse, with derelicts, hookers, pimps, drug dealers and a host of undesireables both east and west of the Coliseum. So open your eyes to the reality in front of you instead of the horse-s*** being peddled by a part owner of the franchise with an obvious self-interest in promoting a taxpayer-funded half-billion-dollar Home For Spoiled Millionaires.

Whenever someone starts using "growth" like a talisman, that's when you lock up the silverware. Like the term "pro-business," its a tell-tale code for an agenda, the primary focus of which is to socialize costs while privatizing the profits. This arena rubbish is no exception.

clubforgrowth said...
A swing and a miss. Never before have I seen so much anti-growth, anti-business rhetoric coming from Albertan voices. Then again, we are talking about socialist "Redmonton" here.

Yeah, damn all those socialists. They never want to waste taxpayers' money. Oh wait...

Alberta needs to slow down rampant, unabated growth toute de suite. That is the problem.

Small-thinking, small-dreaming.

Personally, I think this is exactly what Albertans do on a regular basis. Proceeding head-long into massive projects with little or no planning and absolutely zero foresight is truly small thinking at its finest.

Small dreaming? Never. It is a pretty big dream to think that you can constantly give it all away and hope that something is left over. Alberta is all about paying for dinner and then begging for table scraps. It's small-minded and it's disgraceful.

Important note: the actual Club for Growth is an anti-pork, anti-tax, limited-government lobby group. Sneering at opposition to the use of public dollars for an entertainment enterprise under the name "ClubForGrowth" makes as much sense as signing onto JDate as "CuteHitler33".

Well, the one thing these two "clubs" have in common is that they're both batshit insane.

From a 2000 Ralph Nader article: "Consider the case of Cleveland, Ohio. The city has earned renown for a downtown featuring two new publicly financed stadiums, a publicly financed sports arena, a taxpayer-supported rock-n-roll hall of fame, and glittering new buildings receiving millions in tax abatements that come directly out of the school system's revenue stream. At the same time as the city has doled out millions to developers, almost a quarter of the city's schools are so shoddy they should be replaced rather than repaired, according to an architectural and engineering report commissioned by the city school board. Decaying sewers led to a massive downtown flood in January 2000 after a sewer pipe burst. In 1991, one day after the city approved $300 million in financing for a new baseball stadium and basketball arena, the Cleveland school district announced it was phasing-out scholastic athletics for lack of money to equip students and pay coaches and referees."


Not to try and resurrect the site or anything - but I see the Flames may hire Mike Keenan as coach.
Matt? Are you out there?

Mike Keenan?! Lets get CFP and Eric Lindros, plus we can dig up Ken Linsman and Marty McSorley and the Flames can become the most hated team in Alberta.. oh wait.

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