directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: 'Sin Tax' DOA

Countdown to Rick Nash's contract expiration:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

'Sin Tax' DOA

No surprise to learn this morning via the Dispatch that the 'sin tax' has likely been shelved.

That thing never had a chance, especially the way it all went down.
What I did like where some of the quotes in the various articles from some power players then/now that recognize just how important this team has meant to this city both from the cold hard economic facts to just how the general perception of it has changed.

Here's a quote from Greg Lashutka who was mayor when the original deal was struck:

"If we would somehow lose the Blue Jackets, we'd be a lesser city."

Or how about this one from former Nationwide CEO Dimon McFerson:

"I think the bigger story here is what has to happen to solve this problem. We need to do whatever we can to keep this franchise in our city. Think of all the jobs that have been created. Think of the economic development. Think of how the face of Downtown has been changed."

Or what about this quote from current Commissioner John O'Grady:

Still, O'Grady said, he wants to help the Blue Jackets and the arena. "I don't want to be a county commissioner when that thing closes."

I think the general message here (and I believe its widely shared throughout the political and business community) is that the Jackets are an extremely good thing for this city. Hockey fan or not, those who actually take the time to think the situation through certainly recognize the wide ranging benefits that a professional hockey team has brought to this city and the notion of them leaving cannot be an option.

Of course one of the articles goes on to say how poorly this entire thing has been handled form the outset. Its clear that the Jackets were not ready for this to become public when it did and to me that's unacceptable. That seems to be a re-occurring theme this offseason with the business side (think broadcasters). You can't tackle a problem of this magnitude without a plan and a PR strategy.

Of course this has opened flood gates for the naysayers and the bad press this has created has been significant. While ultimately some of it would have been inevitable, if properly planned it could have been relatively controlled and reduced.

It really does seem that as of right now all the momentum built up from last season has been lost. That's not to say some of it couldn't be gotten back and that will start with a Rick Nash extension.

For now its damage control time.

I've been invited to a Blue Jackets "town hall" type event tonight along with some other bloggers and certainly plenty of other folks. It will be the Jackets turn to tell their side of the story and give their view of where the state of the franchise currently stands.

I will certainly go into this with an open but cautious mind. One very clear message I'd like to take away is just how committed ownership is to the long term stability of this franchise. What is the end game here? At what point would John P. consider putting the team up for sale?

There are quite a few folks who have invested a lot both emotionally and financially, I'm certainly one of em, who would like an honest explanation of exactly where this thing is headed.

Will they come right out and say what the plan is? Doubtful...but there will be room for interpretation from what they do say (again, its what I do here right?!).

I'll have a detailed post of what was discussed with my reaction either late tonight or early tomorrow morning for you all.

Stay tuned!



rocket said...

Can't wait for the update from this meeting... But definitely take some of the things they say with a grain of salt, i doubt there will be a lot of honesty from the organization. It is in their best interest to hide some of the facts.

That being said, even though I have been an emotional wreck lately, I really don't think the jackets are going anywhere... too much to lose and too much emotional attachment from the city.

JAL said...

Anxious to hear what they have to say, LTL. I got invite as well, but was in meetings all day, and did not check home email until 5:45, too late to go.

Based upon what the Dispatch reported this morning, I think it's clear that nobody wants to see the CBJ go anywhere, and that they will work together to find other solutions.

A Shot From The Point

Max said...

Holy crap. Hope you told it like it is, just like always, LTL. I'm on the edge of my seat for your recap.

snappy said...

I agree with LTL that this has been a PR nightmare for the CBJ and some good will has been lost. There is certainly a large faction out there that has no time for government "bailouts" for sports franchises (or most anything else really).

But, the CBJ are great for the community. As publicized, the CBJ are responsible directly and indirectly for about $2 billion in economic development in C-bus. The community power brokers have to understand those kind of numbers it its impact if lost.

Finally, the city just gave Chase, Morgan/Stanley a $20 million tax break to create more jobs here. So, for those who think government support for economic development (by the CBJ) is bad policy, how would they explain the above? Happens all the time.