Friday, September 21, 2018

Bigger Pie Forum: The Shuckers Shuck & Jive

Note: This is a sponsored post by Bigger Pie Forum. 

When a city hires a consultant to perform a feasibility study for a stadium or a convention center, it’s obvious that the result is a foregone conclusion. The game at hand is not football or baseball, but cronyism.

These studies almost always provide justification for local governments to spend taxpayer funds on projects that might not have the economic value that local leaders think will result from the project.

These studies are nearly always a rubber stamp because if a consultant told the government that “spending money to make money” isn’t a good option, they wouldn’t get a chance at the contract.

A great illustration of this is the minor league baseball park built in Biloxi using local borrowing and state funds from the BP settlement and a Tourism Rebate program administered by the Mississippi Development Authority.

The study commissioned in 2013 cost $25,000 and told city leaders what they wanted to hear. According to their predictions, the ballpark would have 280,000 fans go through the turnstiles annually and other non-baseball events would provide an additional economic boost for the city.

The real numbers haven’t been close, as the prediction turned out to be off by more than 40 percent. This year, the stadium drew 160,364 fans, the lowest since the ballpark opened in June 2015. Not once since it opened has MGM Park reached the 280,000 figure predicted by the study.

The predicted development around the stadium hasn’t materialized either.

This is a great example of why local governments need to be wary of “spending money to make money” with taxpayer funds. Countless studies have shown that building professional sports stadiums usually don’t have the economic impact that their proponents suggest they will have.

Also, spending money on expensive ballparks takes away funds that could be used on less flashy, but more vital purposes such as critical infrastructure, policing and fire protection.

So the next time you see a study that claims that an arena or stadium will draw X number of fans and contribute Y amount of dollars to a city’s economy, be skeptical. The rosy predictions likely won’t come to pass and it’ll be taxpayers left holding the bag when the bill comes due.


Anonymous said...

C.H. Johnson is little more than a snake oil peddler moving from town to town, city to city, preying on unsuspecting civic leaders and communities with his allusions of grandeur and promises of massive tourist tax infusions that will ostensibly boost, or save, a local economy.

Johnson was the same consultant who pushed the multi-million dollar red-ink gulping Jackson Convention Center. All the parties, especially "journalists" like Fiona Ladd, who said at the time that they possessed long memories and would hold people accountable should the convention center blue skies not arrive are nowhere to be found now.

America is littered with under- and non-performing convention centers, ballparks, downtowns and the like because of people like C.H. Johnson and creative class bullshit artist Richard Florida. C.H. Johnson truly is the Porter Bingham-like shyster of his market niche on a national scale.

Anonymous said...

To spend lots of "free" money or not to spend lots of "free" money. That is the question. What's lucrative about saving the stupid taxpayers money? On the other hand showing the ability to sell a project and get it funded is bread and butter for so called "consultants". They are no different than any other paid experts. They advocate for whatever will put the bread on THEIR table. Their expertise is judged by their ability to "document" their bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Wonder what Brandon spent on "feasibility consultants" before deciding to build its amphitheater? To my knowledge, Brandon got zero help from the state with its project (aside from permission from the legislature to vote on a couple of tax increases associated with food and beverage). The county chipped in some land in the area, but the City had to tote pretty much the whole load. And, so far, it appears that the City's gamble is going to pay off in the short term. Remains to be seen whether competition for acts will catch up with this location and whether the City has the wherewithal to keep the facility fresh and cutting edge. Also remains to be seen whether the City can carefully add lodging and food offerings in the vicinity to make the venue more attractive. If so, Brandon may have demonstrated that one does not need the usual "experts" to do something special.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the economic impact analysis for the aquarium that is being built in Gulfport.

Anonymous said...

Well, what do expect from Phil Bryant & the republicans who run this state with a super majority. Expect to see a multimillion dollar football stadium at JSU in the near future. How does the Mississippi Development Authority figure into all of this? Hospitals in small towns Magee, Batesville, Amory & Clarksdale are going belly up while nice Jackson Convention Center is costing the taxpayers millions. Now, if I was an elderly citizen in one of these above towns which do I want? A Hospital close by or a baseball park. No Brainer! What the voting public let's these politicians get away with to vote along party lines is incredible!

Madison County Take Note said...

Madison County Board of Supervisors should take a close read of this thread and realize how lucky the county is that the two Rudy Warnock Studies did not actually result in an airport. All those two studies did was put several million in Rudy's pocket which is a drop in the bucket to what would have been spent had that poke-pig been bought.

The current board is quite attracted to 'studies' too, so all of the citizens in Madison County need to remain aware.

We have the Griffin Lake Study which is already costing millions. Road studies that are looked at and ignored are popular up that way. In fact, one of the best ways for a Board to shirk its responsibilities and distance themselves from studies that sink ships is to later claim "We had a study done by a professional group who knows these things".

Anonymous said...

Remains to be seen whether competition for acts will catch up with this location and whether the City has the wherewithal to keep the facility fresh and cutting edge

There will be no issue at all lining up acts. The wherewithal will prove out, or not, over time. Yes, the wherewithal is probably the most crucial item. More so than additional lodging and food as an adequate supply of both is already available nearby.

Anonymous said...

Darn! I thought this was going to be a story about Shuckers on The Rez!

Anonymous said...

The Clarion Ledger, Donna and Todd, Harvey Johnson, Ben Allen, all of Jackson's upper-crust business leaders, the dedicated elected servants on the city council, etc.
They all assured us Jackson needed a convention center and that it was a guarantee for the security of our "Bold New City's" future aka "the city with soul" aka our "radical new city".
The consultants study was proof!

Anonymous said...

10:02 Guess again. JSU will be playing at Hughes field or it's equivalent. Remember USM ain't exactly playing in the Superdome and the pecking order MUST be maintained. Memorial Stadium was never intended for JSU. JSU's "leadership" selected by the hostile college board will go along with anything. Next subject.

Anonymous said...

Shuckers? You know that's a great idea! Shucker's could get one of Mississippi's 'cultural retail' loans and build ShuckerWorld where the 'Development of Eternal Hope' was going to be built but has never materialized. Ask any Republican how to get on that sugar tit (contribution to GOP PAC required but no purchase necessary).

PittPanther said...

The Brandon amphitheatre averages 2 concerts per month! I'm supposed to believe that is enough traffic to offset the cost? Two concerts per month is about equal to how many conventions Jackson holds. The amphitheater doesn't look like a grand financial success.

Anon-E-Mouse said...

@ 09:59. Gulfport used to have an aquarium (Marine Life). It was wiped out in 2005 during Katrina. ML was a tacky tourist trap where trained sea loins, porpoises and such would perform. They may have also done marine biology studies there too.

So, Gulfport wants one back for sentimental reasons.

In the meantime, Jackson needs a monorail from Brandon, to the airport, to downtown to Clinton’s Wal Mart for business development. Donchaknow

Anonymous said...

You didn't have to be a "business" consultant to know this was a bad deal for taxpayers. All the locals new it. The only ones who wanted the taxpayers on the hook for this bad deal were the ones involved with the team, the law firm handling the bonds, the Beau and some fans. (not enough fans to turn a profit)

Now the city and the team owners have reached a settlement over the money the city was to be paid by the team and they want to keep the terms a secret.

The Mayor and city council were a bunch of damn fools to allow taxpayer money to fund this.

Anonymous said...

What galls me is that most of the " research" government contract out at ridiculous costs could given to our universities where students do the research with the supervision and oversight of professors.

You will get an unbiased report.

Indeed, many states have an " Institute of Government", that carries out such research for the entire state.

The great side benefit is producing students who can later work in local government to prevent lame ideas and bogus proposals from ever getting off t he ground and prevent mistakes and omissions in the designs, structure,i and construction. locations and implementations in the projects that have merit.

Anonymous said...

You will get an unbiased report.

Damn you're naive.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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