The Charlotte Coliseum came crumbling down Sunday into a pile of stone and concrete, the final remains of the once-popular sports and entertainment facility. Hundreds of spectators started lining up a couple hours before the 10:30 a.m. blast, where demolition crews used about 550 pounds of explosives to knock down the 19-year-old building.Now, I want you to pay close attention to the final four words in that blurb. "19-year-old building."
What does that say about our country, our mentality as a people? That within 2 decades of its completion, after spending millions of dollars on an edifice that houses athletics performed by millionaires for the profit of billionaires, paid for by taxpayers in a nation where hundreds of millions go without adequate health care, where we cannot find the money to adequately house the destitute, what does that say about us?
I know the money for the Sonics' proposed arena doesn't come out of the mouths of the poor, at least directly. And I know that as a citizenry we don't have to be ashamed about spending money on entertainment. But when the majority of that citizenry says they don't want to spend money on another building, when our elected officials - who ostensibly represent us - say they don't want another building, how can we look in the mirror after spending $500 million on another sports facility, knowing full well that the "Best By" date on these complexes is somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 years?
What does it say about us?
It says that our priorities are hopelessly messed up. Stopping short of a big initiative for season ticket holders (and other regional types) to buy up the team (ala Spanish Premiere league soccer, which by the way have some of the highest valued pro franchises in the world), our loyalty and love for pro clubs will forever leveraged to one very wealthy, frequently ruthless, owner after another. At the time, Paul Allen's First and Goal PR machine seemed incredibly manipulative-- but the deal he got after a big campaign is mild compared to the bitter pill suggested by Sonic's ownership. And Clay Bennett is just one of many people who were interested in buying the Sonics from Shultz... and assuming that Starbuck cared in the slightest (I think he did) -- he probably thought that Bennett wasn't an insidious type-- nor one of the worst potential owners for Sonic fans. Can anyone else imagine a worse situation right now? (Outside of having the number 5 pick, I can't)
I don't mind spending some public money on the stadium, and I think most people would agree. It's just that when a businessman like Bennett or Schultz asks the public to spend more than 75% of the cost on a stadium to enhance their own enterprise, it bugs me too.
Let's all hope this Muckleshoot scenario works out. That would be a best-case situation (with the exception of having to drive to Auburn to watch a game).
I posted an article on my blog regarding Tacoma. I am surprised that they are not in the mix to be the home of the Sonics!!!
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