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February 6, 2009

Build the arena — with fed money!

The Brooklyn Paper Publisher Ed Weintrob thinks Federal stimulus aid should go to build the new basketball arena for Bruce Ratner's NJ Nets.

Yes, The Brooklyn Paper has repeatedly argued that the financing scheme for the Nets arena was unfair to New York taxpayers. But if Washington money is channeled our way, that argument over subsidies to the project would be muted.

Bottom line: If we don’t get the money, Peoria will.

Just as we need to move past finger-pointing and blame-throwing in Washington and on Wall Street, we need to look forward in Brooklyn and remove vitriol from all sides of the Atlantic Yards discussion.

Constructing the arena and bringing the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn would quickly create construction jobs, boost the commercial district along Flatbush Avenue, and restore the spirit of optimism that built Brooklyn.

Isn’t that what an economic stimulus package is supposed to do?


NoLandGrab: Hey, don't stop here! The lucrative business of professional sports is having as tough of a time as any industry. Maybe we can funnel some stimulus bucks to the new arena for the Orlando Magic and use Federal tax money to stimulate a new arena for the Sacramento Kings.

Atlantic Yards Report, Shocker: Brooklyn Paper editorializes for federal bailout of Ratner's arena

In his point-by-point examination of Weintrob's editorial, the "Mad Overkiller" Norman Oder calls it a "shocker" and notes that, "The editorial is signed by publisher Ed Weintrob, an unusual move, so we don't know if the sentiments are shared by editor Gersh Kuntzman, who has written many of the other editorials...."

Weintrob's argument is essentially that the money's there, so, why not throw some to Brooklyn. Our pork is better than theirs. And while some others--say, Yonkers--decorously request federal money for infrastructure to support private development projects, Weintrob wants the project itself to get a bailout.

NoLandGrab: Aside from setting a bad precedent, one problem with Weintrob's argument is that the Feds would be bailing out a pro sports team, whose value would skyrocket if moved to a new arena in Brooklyn. Perhaps, as in the bailout of the banking system, US taxpayers could become shareholders in the team?

Posted by lumi at February 6, 2009 6:05 AM