By Steve Croyle
TOPIC: Crew move
Ginther, where’s your head at
It’s not at all a shock that Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt has put the relocation gun to Mayor Ginther’s head in hopes of scoring a downtown stadium. Ginther is claiming that the city was blindsided by the news that Precourt has been discussing his options with Austin, Texas, but Crew Fans, even the casual ones, have been lamenting the horrifically bad location of the Crew’s digs for years. The fairgrounds, quite simply, suck. There is no apre futbol feel—no bars or restaurants. Just a massive vacant lot, you hustle in and out of. The State of Ohio was happy to lease the land for virtually nothing, because they knew they were going to rob people blind on the parking. People tempted to circumvent the parking hassle by shimmying across the railroad tracks are met with aggressive law enforcement. That’s understandable given the safety concerns, but why not acquiesce to public demand and create a pedestrian crossing?
Mike Coleman ignored the issue for years, but Mike Coleman spent two full terms in an ego-induced fog. We’re talking about a guy who didn’t realize how important craft brewing is until Stone came knocking with an opportunity our city leaders fumbled. Stone founder Greg Koch wanted to bring everything back home to Central Ohio, but we weren’t ready. Coleman and his cadre of buffoons didn’t realize that craft beer is a tourism draw, just as they didn’t realize that plunking a stadium on the North End of the Fairgrounds set the Crew up for failure when it comes to attendance.
The city didn’t even look into revitalizing the skanky stretch of Linden some of the braver Crew fans park in on game day. This location is so bad, the city is missing out on the potential to make hundreds of thousands of dollars when we host Team USA games, because the people who come from all around the world to see these games, don’t have anywhere to go to blow money before and after games.
It’s true that Major League Soccer is the global soccer equivalent of Mexican Winter League baseball, but that doesn’t stop other cities with MLS franchises from packing the house on a regular basis. It’s all about location, and Columbus never corrected a horrific error in judgement. It’s not like anybody broke the bank on that stadium, by the way. It was a relatively cheap build. That said, it’s actually a great venue for the State Fair, and the State of Ohio should be willing to pay a fair price for it.
Now the pressure is on. If Ginther wants to keep Major League Soccer in town (and he should), the city needs to move quickly on a downtown-oriented arena. A modular, multi-use arena with a retractable roof would be wise, because Columbus could then put itself in position to host a Final Four, or a college football bowl game. You’d want extra seats to accommodate the increased demand of those World Cup qualifiers.
Going forward, we need our city leaders to be proactive rather than reactive. If you’re into betting, you should probably bet on the Crew packing up and heading to Austin. You can’t blame Precourt for this. The city has demonstrated a history of taking so many things for granted. Maybe that’s because our last two mayoral administrations have been distracted by insulating themselves from the legal consequences of taking bribes, and selling out the city’s poor.
If Precourt does move the Crew, Ginther needs to get back to the table with Major League Soccer to see if there’s a possibility of getting a do-over. Columbus built a strong relationship with USA Soccer, and we can’t afford to lose that if the Crew leaves. A larger venue with world class amenities could put Columbus in the mix as a World Cup site the next time the event comes to Columbus. There’s no reason we can’t be a soccer town, aside from poor leadership.
Hopefully Ginther has the ability to move quickly and salvage the relationship, but the fact that he claims he didn’t see this coming doesn’t bode well.
QUICK TAKE I
Kasich’s sneak attack
Topic: Kasich’s campaign
John Kasich isn’t a nice guy. He’s a staunch conservative with right-leaning social values. He’s recently positioning himself as a moderate, but it’s difficult to trust him if he assumes power where a legislature would lean hard to the right as well.
Nevertheless, he’s executing a brilliant campaign to run for the White House in 2020.
By packaging himself as a moderate who regularly criticizes Trump, Kasich will secure mainstream support from the GOP. With Democrats effectively sitting on their hands doing nothing, Kasich will have ammunition to present himself as the only meaningful option.
That’s not a bad scenario, if there is enough of a progressive coalition in the House and Senate to keep Kasich in the middle, but Democrats are not setting themselves up for gains in the House or the Senate any time soon.
The most effective complaint against Democrats will be their inability to present any options for fixing the Affordable Care Act. While the GOP has failed to present the better deal they promised, Democrats have turned a blind eye to loopholes that allow insurance companies to abandon exchanges, as well as the unsustainable nature of the subsidies that offset the failure of the ACA to control premiums, which would make coverage affordable.
Our government depends on a balance of power. Liberals and Conservatives meet in the middle to forge compromise to pass legislation that is required, while the other, idealistic concepts are argued over until they can be whittled into something both sides find acceptable. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Right now, the Democrats are no holding up their end of the bargain.
If you think Trump is bad, wait until you have president that can unify the right, while the politicians on the left are still checking the weather.
QUICK TAKE II
Put up or shut up, Columbus
Topic: Off year elections
Columbus has a chance to send a strong message to the Democratic Party, as well as city officials this November. There are three council seats up for grabs, and the incumbents who are vulnerable are three of the worst sycophants in city hall. Hardin, Brown, and Tyson have signed off on tax abatements, and worked against economic diversity for years. They’ve been selling this city out to the highest bidders, and it’s time to make it stop.
Yes We Can is a progressive movement intended to hold Democrats accountable for straying from traditional progressive values. It represents a recommitment to the middle class. Rather than artificially inflate downtown luxury unit occupancies with generous tax abatements that place an increased burden on other communities, Yes We Can will level the playing field and spread some of those generous incentives to people who can’t afford million dollar condos.
They offer two candidates: Will Petrik, and Jasmine Ayres. Both are on the ballot for City Council, and both will prove to be a thorn in the side of an Administration trained to gorge itself from one trough. Two council members standing up for the regular joe is a big help, but if you’re willing to be bold and use your pencil, you can send a third working class warrior into the the fray.
Joe Motil is blue collar guy who lives in Clintonville and openly wonders why his property taxes are higher than those of his friends in Bexley, Upper Arlington and other suburbs that have better schools, and services. He actually doesn’t wonder, because the answer is clear: the city hasn’t been treating everybody fairly.
Voters often overlook these odd year elections. We ignore these city council seats, and then wonder why the only people running for President are scumbags.
Well, the scumbags get in at the lower levels. Most of our current city government was appointed. They retained their seats in reelection bids, but they weren’t initially elected. That’s probably why they don’t respect the voters.
Now’s your chance to make them pay for it.