By Ken Reed
A plan to build a new football stadium in St. Louis is moving forward and the city’s citizens won’t be allowed to vote on it.
“We should have the right to check a box yes or no,” says St. Louis resident Mark Kustelski. “Whatever the city decides I’m fine, but it’s the democratic process I’m really a fan of.”
Stephen Conway, chair of the Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee, which is considering a bill to fund part of the new stadium’s construction costs, said a public vote was out of the picture because the NFL required funding to be in place before voters return to the polls.
I guess the NFL is running St. Louis these days …
According to St. Louis Public Radio, under the terms of the legislation and a financing plan, the city would issue about $70 million in bonds that would be paid off over a roughly 35-year period. The city would pay between $4.5 million and $8.99 million a year in debt service through 2051, which amounts to a little more than $233 million when accounting for interest.
“I’m confident that we should be able to move it through” the Board of Aldermen, said Board of Aldermen member Tammika Hubbard.
Many St. Louis residents say they have nothing against sports but are upset about what they see as warped priorities in St. Louis.
“This is about the financial impact of the residents of the city of St. Louis, who all of you are elected to represent,” said St. Louis resident Andrew Arkill.
“I don’t hate sports. I don’t hate football. I don’t hate the Rams. I don’t even hate the idea of building new stadiums. What I am concerned about is the public financing of these stadiums, especially when the financing package doesn’t offer an attractive return on investment.”
Not every Aldermen agrees with Hubbard when it comes to using public dollars to help fund the new stadium.
Count Alderman Christine Ingrassia as one who questions the rationality millions of public dollars going to a football stadium.
“I think people are upset because we have critical infrastructure needs that we’re not addressing with respect to bridges and roads in the 6th Ward – parks, rec centers and levels of crime,” said Ingrassia.
“And we keep telling constituents and residents that we don’t have the money to fix those things, but somehow we’re going to come up with money to indebt the city for a number of years and still not address those needs.
“When you have people living in third world conditions and squalor, and we find revenue and resources for a stadium Downtown when we already have a stadium, shame on you, shame on you, shame on you.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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