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 #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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