Among downtown Wilmington advocates who promote taxing many for the benefit of a few, the StarNews Editorial Board (Robert Gruber and Tricia Vance) often use their OPINION page to that end. They want city voters to approve a $37 million bond debt and property tax increases for another “fun factor” (in editorial words)—a baseball stadium for the Atlanta Braves. (link)
Editors describe this as “another amenity.” Many of us believe that this will be a pleasure for some, but an extravagance in the lives of most Wilmingtonians who have better uses for their money.
If approved, this downtown project will take wealth from residents and business owners; it will divert public funds that should more appropriately be spent on the City’s deteriorating infrastructure and crime problems; and it will compete unfairly with some existing businesses and baseball teams.
Editors refer to this as “a gift from the community to itself” and “an investment.” Please. Spare us more government “gifts” and “investments.” We can’t afford anymore handouts and risky ventures. This is a gift to Mandalay Baseball and highly speculative for taxpayers. Worse, it’s immoral.
City council members have abused their power by initiating and negotiating this fast-track project with little public input. In fact, they would have arbitrarily pushed along the scheme with Mandalay but for a large citizen protest that they could not ignore. City officials finally (and I think reluctantly) agreed to a vote on the issue.
Then, there are a number of selfish supporters that want government power-players to seize the wealth of fellow citizens to fund their pleasures. They won’t invest their own money in this venture, but they will likely show up at the polls in force to assure that others pay.
The downtown elite- and political-class show distain for the majority of Wilmington’s citizenry. If they win this one I predict that people who believe that they should have a personal choice of spending their money on function or fun will be scalped by the Braves—and their scalps will hang in the City Council lodge.
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