Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Politics Vs. Profit (a.k.a. The Real World)

So I'm sure you know about the new study that says that although dozens of big cities across the country are planning downtown convention centers, the need for these is plummeting and many lose money. You can read the whole thing here. This report was done by the Brookings Institute. Now, according to Mayor Jennings he has a report of his own from Strategic Advisory Group (done in 2001) and the author of this report says, "the city's [Albany's] market was one of the strongest he had ever seen". This report was "updated" this year. So we have conflicting reports. One current, national, and independent that conflicts with what the city says and one paid for by the city that is 4 years old that supports what the Mayor and his construction company campaign donors want. Of course the Mayor dismisses the new report and says it doesn't apply to Albany because we are "unique". Care to bet $185 million in tax payer money on that? He does.

Remember when they were building the Pepsi Arena and some critics said it would end up losing money. Well the numbers are in and in 2004 we are using tax payer money to help pay off the Arena debt. Encouraging?

What does Assemblymen McEneny think:

"This is a public service, something the city needs. Its not supposed to make money, unless you judge it with tunnel vision."

Only a politician could recommend spending $185 million and say that the project wasn't supposed to make money. Try that in the business world some time. How about we get the answer to this question: Have you looked at other ways to spend $185 million in downtown Albany that might actually help the city and NOT LOSE MONEY? I think "tunnel vision" is exactly what we have here on the part of the politicians. The politicians want a convention center and refuse to change course. Does Albany need one?