Sign in / Join

"The last cartel"

Steve Fainaru writes in the Washington Post on baseball's franchise monopoly game: Selig Plays Hardball on Stadium Deals. It's the first in a three part series, which should be required reading for any public servant involved in putting together a "private-public partnership" that is a stadium deal.

The first installment is lengthy, but gripping, focusing on the negotiations to build Miller Park in Milwaukee. Commissioner Selig does not come off well. The views of people involved in negotiations with the Brewers are not kind to the financial or political integrity of the operation. It's fair to say that many of them believe they were fleeced.

The carnage left behind is full of remorse and bitterness. Former Governor Thompson has vowed to "never step foot again in the park he helped build." During the stadium campaign, two other Republicans shed any pretense of a conservative approach to public finance. Radio personality Charlie Sykes made "an exception to the principle that you don't raise taxes for corporate welfare," and "used up a lot of my credibility" broadcasting support for a deal "that turned out to be not real." In a late night drama at the capitol, Rep. George Petak from Racine switched his vote at the last minute, allowing the stadium bill to pass. His constituents held a special recall election and voted him out nine months later.