Friday, August 19, 2011

The Real Meaning of “Community Involvement”

 August 19, 2011

There was a column in the paper the other day from the Better Boise Coalition, which says that the owner of Boise’s baseball team thinks that the team would do better if we had a better stadium and more community involvement. 

To that end the Boise Hawks’ owner is proposing that a stadium be built closer to downtown, as he feels that it’s too far away right now. (It’s 10 minutes from downtown, with ample parking, and is far and away the easiest ball park to get to that I've ever visited.) 

Now, I'm not saying that the stadium couldn't stand some refurbishing, because it could. So, if you're concerned about it, get cracking, Mr. Team Owner.

But I think that one reason that Hawks attendance isn't greater is that there's so much to do in Boise in the summertime. The community is plenty involved, just not exclusively with the Hawks.

Furthermore, I suspect that, in this case, the definition of “community involvement” means, “Everybody but me will pay for the stadium.” (If you doubt me, read the column.)

Other businesses have to front their own costs, lining up investors, taking out loans, and doing other business-owner-type things. What is it about team owners that makes them whiny money-grabbers?

“They add jobs.” So does every other business—seriously—and the jobs are often better-paid than ball park jobs. And the other businesses don't demand that the state or city pay for their construction costs, etc., and then walk off with the profits.

I hope that, for once, “community involvement” means that people will stand up and say, “Enough. We as a state can't afford Medicare and education—pay your own business costs.”

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