Russ Lemmon is usually pretty good about covering letters and emails he gets. But just in case there's a space issue, I wanted to post my response to his column in today's paper:
Russ - Just for the record, I'm not opposed to an arena. As a long-time Storm fan, I'd LOVE for them to have a new home. But I am also not in favor of what I've seen, so far, in terms of a fiscal plan for a new arena. The two questions I have consistently asked are: 1) Is this a sound fiscal decision that won't end up being a drain on the taxpayers of Lucas County and 2) if so, where should this fit in our priorities of major projects?
The title of your column, "Questions surround arena plan," is very appropriate - the report raises more questions than it answers. However, it seems that I'm the only one willing to ask the tough questions about the financial stability of the project. This 'new' plan is a re-arrangement of the old ones with a new price tag and a new site analysis. It presents an extremely optimistic picture, but doesn't support that optimism with realistic facts and figures.
Rather than criticize me for failing to be optimistic, why are you not criticizing Commissioners Gerken and Wozniak and Mayor Finkbeiner for failing to be realistic with public dollars? Unlike my collegues, my concerns are not personal nor political - they're financial!
If this project is truly going to be the 'slam-dunk' success that everyone claims, why do Pete Gerken and Tom Chema fear my questions and exclude me from conversations and input? If all is truly well, then such questions, honestly answered, should do nothing but strengthen the perception that this is a good project worthy of public dollars.
You wrote, "When "credit" for the arena is dispersed, she won't deserve any..."
I don't make decisions with other people's money just so I can take credit for them. But if my concerns about the financials prove valid, then assigning blame or credit will be the least of our worries, as the taxpayers will be footing the bills - yet again.