NOWHERE IN THE NATION HAS $ 3,000,000.00 in campaign funds failed to push through a vote for a stadium or arena, except in Kansas City. "THINK BIG" lost for 3 reasons, Arrogance, Greed, and Dishonesty.
Before the campaign started, Pete Levi bragged
repeatedly that, "We have plenty of
Apparently $3.3 million was not enough to overcome the $23,000 spent by opponents.
During the campaign, Levi bragged repeatedly that, "We have the support of the key people." Apparently, not enough key people voted.
The financial numbers all began with the Royals. They presented a wish list of stadium changes costing $180 million. With total disregard for need, the Chiefs demanded $180 million also. To prevent counties from backing out of Bi-State, it was necessary to lock them in by borrowing the full $360 million as soon as possible. The costs of borrowing $360 million doubled the principal for an additional $360 million. With the teams now seeking $720 million, the ballot required that arts get the same amount for another $720 million. This is how the cost became $1.4 billion.
Greed was everywhere. There was no need for $180 million for Kauffman Stadium. Current tax proposals call for well under $100 million for both of the stadiums. There was no need for $180 million for Arrowhead Stadium. Like a sibling rivalry, the Chiefs demanded $180 million because the Royals would get $180 million. There was no need for the arts to get $720 million. Had they agreed to the same $360 million the stadiums asked for, the total Bi-State tax bill would have been only $1,080,000,000. There was no need for $720 million for arts. The only arts venue ever mentioned as a recipient of Bi-State money was the Performing Arts Center (PAC), which was slated to get $50 million. Recent news reports reveal that Union Station was in line for a $1 million per year subsidy.
Current news reports have revealed that the opera, the symphony, and the ballet had all signed contracts with the Preforming Arts Center that would have funneled Bi-State money into the Preforming Arts Center. The PAC is now in financial trouble because, as their leaders have stated publicly, "It's not the loss of the $50 million that has hurt us as badly as the loss of money from the three arts groups that were to perform here." So much for the competitive grants lies!!
It is now apparent that the bulk of the Bi-State arts money (probably about $500 million) was slated for downtown Kansas City, a fact never disclosed by Bi-State proponents.
Refusal to disclose information was a basic tenet of the proponent's campaign. Both teams presented the sports authority with proposed work lists for their stadiums. The lists were presented to the Jackson County legislature and were thereafter kept from the public. The Clay County Commission could not get a copy of these lists and stopped their meeting to copy lists an opponent had obtained.
Refusal to accept debate challenges made by opponents was an attempt to prevent voters from learning about the issues. The record of the proponents in communicating with the public was dismal on every front. There was one debate early in the campaign, but after that, no proponent would appear on any forum with an opponent. So adamant were they that they refused to be in a building when opponents were speaking. If both sides appeared on a radio program, proponents insisted on being last and came on only after opponents had left the building. All counties placed the issue on the ballot in June, but it was September before any proponent answered a single question from the general public.
Proponents continued to claim that the teams were contributing $65 million to Bi-State. That was, and is, totally false. The teams were using the $65 million to build luxury suites, from which team owners get all the revenue. Their contributions to themselves did not change the total amount of the Bi-State tax by one penny.
Would Bi-State II have passed if the Arrogance, Greed and Dishonesty would not have been rampant?
NO -- the opponents would have had to spend a lot more money.
Just remember the next time you hear some voice say something about "KEY PEOPLE" or when you hear some voice say "WE GOT THE MONEY" you should automatically VOTE NO it will make our job easier.