Monday, January 11, 2010

Not a celebrity, but get me out of here!

Two closely-related topics revisited over the Christmas dining table were
  • which daughter, son-in-law and brood would be daft enough to want to occupy Redfellow Hovel over the 2012 Olympic period?
  • what place of refuge, well away from Redfellow Hovel and North London, might shelter the Lady in his Life and Malcolm?
Chez Redfellow is totally tolerant of numerous perversions between consenting adults, so there is no active resentment of things athletic and sporting. It's just the endless boosting, ballyhoo and the bounty of billions.

All of which was reinforced by Carl Hiaasen's weekend piece for the Miami Herald.

The [American] National Football league are taking the hump over the facilities at Miami Dolphins stadium, where the annual Super Bowl is regularly held. The NFL are threatening to take their business elsewhere if the stadium is not upgraded to their requirements:
at a cost of $250 million, give or take.
Hiaasen is not convinced:
It's old-fashioned extortion, but the NFL has no shame. You'd have better luck negotiating with the Gambino family.

Forget the recession. Forget the fact that our boneheaded politicians just committed $490 million to a new baseball park that is doomed to be a budgetary suckhole for decades.

And forget the fact that the football stadium was renovated just a few years ago for $200 million-plus, and that the Dolphins admit they don't need any upgrades for regular-season games.
Remember: this is Hiaasen. We're in safe hands. It inevitably gets better:
Virtually every independent economic study, including one by the Florida Senate in 2005, has shown that publicly funded sports stadiums are a rotten deal for taxpayers.

Philip Porter, an economics professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, said that having an occasional Super Bowl in a major winter tourist destination such as Miami amounts to basically a hiccup.

"If you wanted economic impact,'' he told The Herald, "you'd do a lot better taking the money you would spend on a stadium and drop it out of a helicopter.''
The punchline comes from much, much nearer home, close to where (literally and metaphorically) Malcolm lives:
... based on recent history, there's good reason to worry that local leaders will surrender to the NFL's clumsy arm-twisting. If that happens, they deserve an angry flogging by fed-up voters.

Any officeholder who feels inclined to waste tax dollars on another stadium makeover should take a cue from The Who, the iconic rock band that will perform at this year's Super Bowl halftime.

Don't get fooled again
Err, yes. If those helicopters currently sowing the seeds of urban renewal over east London happen to lose direction, and shower Muswell Hill with green fertility, things might seem different. Meanwhile, there's always some consolation:

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