Posts tagged ‘Yakima Bears’

November 29, 2011

Clark County Commissioners Comments as Admissions Tax Goes Down In Flames

by lewwaters

November 29, 2011

Admissions Tax Defeated, Proposal Does Not Even Receive a Vote

by lewwaters

In a move that seemed to surprise many this afternoon, Clark County Commissioner Marc Boldt sided with Commissioner Tom Mielke in not supporting slapping a 5% admissions tax on county entertainment venues to pay a significant portion of a proposed new stadium.

Boldt had previously indicated support for this project and the tax, but today stated he simply could not support it due to concerns of whether or not the Vancouver City Council would also sign on to it.

In a lengthy public hearing this morning and into the afternoon, citizens were pretty evenly divided over support and opposition, much support coming from members of Identity Clark County, The Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, the Columbia River Economic Development Council and the Downtown Vancouver Association as well as a few private citizens. Nearly all opposition was expressed by private citizens who would be left on the hook for this stadium, should it turn into a white elephant as did the Amphitheater, the Hilton and a golf course in North County.

Seeing Identity Clark County and many others with high hopes of reaping personal side benefits from construction of a stadium with taxpayers taking the risks is not unexpected. We see much of that with Identity Clark County and their “vision” for our community, often leaving us, the struggling middle class out of the loop, but holding the bag.

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September 1, 2011

Commissioner Stuart on the Admissions Tax

by lewwaters

We can block Chuck’s Produce from building a store beneficial to the community, we can impose tolls for a new bridge before it is built, we can slap a tax on all purchases to fund Light Rail, we can beg the federal government for funding to reopen Fire Station 6, but don’t you dare think an admissions tax can be used for anything other than building a Baseball Stadium in a cramped space, whether citizens want it or not.

July 26, 2011

Show The Yakima Bears the Door

by lewwaters

[Updated to reflect a major correction by the Columbian in who owns the stadium]

[Update 2: More on specific ownership of the stadium from Stephanie Rice added]

Vancouver’s city council got their first formal presentation for the Class A ball Team, Yakima Bears planned move to Vancouver. All council members except Pat Campbell have given City Manager “Erik Holmes the OK to research the issue and engage in potential discussions with Clark County” for adding a 5% entertainment tax throughout the county pay for construction of a $23 Million stadium adjacent to Clark College.

The Columbian

There are several pros & cons to relocating a Class A ball team to Vancouver, a large con being that 5% entertainment tax added to movie tickets, golf courses and several other forms of entertainment.

Although Clark County taxpayers will be on the hook for 70% of the costs of the proposed stadium, we were told “the stadium would be owned and maintained by Short Season LLC.” Stephanie Rice, the writer of the article posted this morning, “Key correction: the sentence should read (and now does) ‘the stadium would be publicly owned but maintained by Short Season LLC’.”

UPDATE 2: Comment from Stephanie Rice, “Lew, to be even more specific, the team would own it while the debt was being repaid, then it would be publicly owned. Here’s what I was told by the team when I asked why in documents it says the team would own it: ‘Ownership is during the period in which the facility is indebted. It secures the asset until the debt is retired. Then it is free and clear a public facility’.”

City council members Larry Smith and Jack Burkman asked to hear alternatives to the entertainment tax and were told of none.

Asked why taxpayers should pay for the stadium, Mike Thiessen of Short Season LLC said that “the team would be putting up 30 percent of the construction costs for a stadium it would use 13 percent of the time.”

That’s not exactly reassuring.

I have kept an open mind on this proposal, even though voicing concerns over its location next to the Vancouver Campus of the Veterans Hospital, but reading “After the workshop, co-owner K.L. Wombacher said the team does have alternate plans, but they don’t involve the city of Vancouver seals it for me.

It’s time to close the books and show these people the door.

We do not need to be threatened into coughing up tax dollars for a new stadium to be owned by a private enterprise “at a time when public services are being cut, a fire station closed, federal grants used to keep cops on the street and the city lacks money to fill all its potholes,” as expressed by Tim Leavitt’s former campaign manager, Temple Lentz as she “questioned the rationality of raising a tax for a stadium.”

Ms. Lentz expressed, “The terms political will and vision were used as qualities to make this happen. But giving $20 million of other people’s money to the first guy who comes up and asks for it is not political will or vision.”

July 12, 2011

Minor League Basebrawl at its Finest

by lewwaters

What with so many saying they want a Minor League baseball team to locate to Vancouver, is this what we can expect to see?

From the description at Seattle Weekly, runner Rougned Odor is tagged out at second base, then walking back brushes short stop Jon Berti.

From there, the fecal matter comes within direct contact with the rotary oscillator.

You just have love the sportsmanship.

May 17, 2011

Giving Jack Burkman Credit When It Is Due

by lewwaters

As critical as I often am of council members, I also enjoy giving credit to them when I feel it is due. Such is the case with council member Jack Burkman for taking his time at last evenings city council meeting to address the issue of the proposed acquisition of the Yakima Bears and the proposal of a brand new stadium built adjacent to Clark College to be financed in part by an entertainment tax on nearly all admissions tickets throughout the county.

Mr. Burkman mentions some of the concerns many in the community have, especially the haste being put on a commitment for this to move forward.

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May 14, 2011

Baseball Team or Another White Elephant? If We Don’t Ask, We Don’t Know

by lewwaters

For several years many Vancouverites have longed for a pro-baseball team to be located in Vancouver and it looks now as if their cries might be answered. Mayor of Portland’s Vancouver, Tim ‘no show’ Leavitt has announced the likelihood of the Yakima Bears relocating to our community after several years in Yakima.

Many are elated and ready to jump headlong into the project while strongly objecting to others who raise questions about the move, especially where a portion of the project will require the use of tax dollars. We hear comments like “I am not quite sure why every aspect of this project needs to be so thoroughly parsed and vetted” from many of the same people who strongly object if a company like Wal-Mart announces plans to build a store with all private funds.

The Yakima Bears is a Class ‘A’ team affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks and has been playing out of Yakima for 21 years. Financially, they have been losing money for at least the last 9 years, a loss the team owners claim is due to an undersized stadium resulting in “to low in-stadium spending” according to Team Owners.

While game attendance is said to have been increasing, the Yakima Herald reports that game attendance averages less that 1,800 per game, about half of that of other Class ‘A’ Teams.

The Portland Beavers left due to their attendance averaging less than 1,900 per game.

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