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Welcome to Loserville There's one good thing to say about Hamilton and its city council: If Barnum and Bailey had clowns like this they'd never have had to fold the Big Top in the Greatest Show On Earth.
The only difference is that in the political arena the clowns hide behind obfuscation instead of face paint. Mayor Fred Eisenberger may be an idealist with dreams of revitalizing the West Harbour but there is also every suspicion that, while well meaning, he couldn't organize a booze up in a brewery. Last week city council recommended construction of a new 15,000 seat stadium at the West Harbour a site few outside of city hall deem suitable or sustainable. It is the culmination of a series of events since last November in which Hamilton has taken a financial and infrastructure windfall and turned it into scorched earth. While the city is now embroiled in a dispute with Tiger Cats owner Bob Young, the original idea behind getting involved in a bid to host the Pan Am Games has been lost. In return for its support, Hamilton was supposed to get the Games' ultimate draw, the track and field event. It would pay $60 million toward the new stadium with the rest of the $102 million cost picked up by the federal and provincial government. The only stipulation from the feds and the province was that the stadium provide a community legacy. In this case, that included the iconic Ticats' franchise. The Canadian Football League club, the centre of this blue collar sports community since the invention of smog, needs a new venue. Young agreed to throw in another $74 million to expand and manage the stadium to house the Ticats after the Games. So what happens? Mesmerized by its visions of a revitalized harbourfront, council has been mired in a snitfit with Young who wants the stadium built on the East Mountain. The city wants to use the stadium to breath new life (read money) into its downtown economy. Young wants the stadium to breath new life (read money) into a financially strapped football franchise. And, the twain, have never met. In a letter to Eisenberger and city council Young notes: "This proposed stadium would rank dead last in North America in terms of usability for tenants." In other words, he's not going there and neither are any of the millions he promised to expand the stadium from 15,000 seats and then manage it. So, how about those Moncton Tiger Cats? Burlington anyone? Milton? City council has opened a Pandora's box of eventualities. By failing to come to a compromise with Young it could lose everything. But, then, that's what this city does. Lose. And, lose again. It's pandora charm sale free shipping not because there are bad people here. Just people who make bad decisions. Worse, they never admit they were bad, but instead insist on repeating the idiocy. Hamilton is already home to one misguided political white elephant and folks in Hamilton get reminded every day driving by Copps Coliseum. It remains one of the Golden Horseshoe's greatest monuments to unrealized dreams; a tombstone to a stillborn National Hockey League franchise. Now Eisenberger is paving the road to a second hell insisting on building a stadium where no CFL team named Tiger Cats is willing to go. What is the point of that other than winning the war of wills. A stadium inhabited only by the ghosts of what might have been will not revitalize the West Harbour. City council can win its tug of words with Young. The 10 6 vote to ignore Young (who has the CFL's backing) and his preference for the more accessible, spacious and visible mountain site proves that. But in winning this battle council faces the prospect of losing the greater good. While Hamilton dithered, Pan Am Games planners were left hanging. and seething. Hamilton missed the May deadline for informing them where they'd like the stadium built. The track and field event has been taken from Hamilton already and replaced with some B rated soccer games. Everything sporting this city touches turns to dust and often it has only itself to blame. They had everything here: a golden international event with funding provided for a new stadium that they needed but couldn't afford themselves to make their CFL team sustainable. Instead they've made ashes of themselves and all those great intentions. Eisenberger may have got his ego massaged with a vote supporting the harbour plan but without Young and the Ticats it is an idea doomed. A fiasco. Eisenberger and councillors have clothed themselves in the mantle of public trustees, claiming they represent the best pandora jewelry rings sale interests of tax payers, not just the Ticats. Fair enough. Except it's difficult to see how this decision does anything but spit in the face of free money from McGuinty Harper Inc. Councillor Sam Merulla voted against the West Harbour site but he is also opposed to the Pan Am stadium and he told reporters after the vote that the city couldn't afford the Ticats. "We subsidize them $1.3 million a year and we make absolutely no revenue from them," he where can i buy pandora charms near me noted. He wants money to fight poverty. That's nice. Most people want to help the less fortunate but let's not get all weepy and take all the fun out of life either. The poor have always been among us; always will where can you buy pandora charms online be. Merulla's view seems a tad short sighted because there's another side to that "subsidy" ledger. A pro team brings people to town and to the games and they buy beer at pubs, eat, rent hotel rooms and buy gas. What the Ticats take out, they also invite back into the local economy. As for Young. He's put a lot of money into the team (some estimates suggest up to $30 million) to keep it in his native city. That said, he's a capitalist and he wants the East Mountain site so that he can make money or at the very least break even. But then you remember: The last time we checked that wasn't one of the deadly sins. Actually, it's what most of us try to do in life, isn't it. There's nothing wrong with a team owner making a few bucks. In Toronto, Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment does it by the buckets and nobody is making them leave town. There's nothing wrong with wanting to rebuild the Hamilton waterfront. There is something faulty with the way it is being orchestrated. In it's misguided attempts to push through the stadium site, council has lost the penultimate Pan Am Games event, it has alienated a loyal native son in Young, it is in peril of losing its one claim to fame as a major Canadian sports market.
The final blow could be that after all this, the city will end up not getting a new stadium at all. Of course then the Ticats wouldn't have any place to play after next season and they'd have to move, which I guess would clear at least $1.3 million for Merulla to give to those poor people.
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