Sunday, August 13, 2006

Letter to Russ Lemmon

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.

Maggie Thurber
County Commissioner


Do said...

Maggie - EXCELLENT response. Hold your ground.

This arena plan is nice, but there are some VERY valid concerns about the money. If Pete and Tina were truly concerned about the dollars that are being talked about and less about hamming it up for the camera, then perhaps an intelligent conversation with them could be held regarding this project.

I love Toledo, but I'm beginning to feel like I'm living in a cheerleading camp. Not a lot of concern for the long range, just cheer for the team in the here and now.

Only time will tell us how this all bears out.

Maggie Thurber said...

do - thanks...As I've said elsewhere, too many people in the past have operated on optimism to the exclusion of sound fiscal policy. I believe the two need to be balanced so you get a good project that is supported by the fiscal plan.

BrianInVero said...


I was truly amused at Russ' column.

His column today is just another example of his ineptness to follow up with facts. It's been widely read throughout Toledo's blogworld your stance on the Arena issue. If I recall, you also had the Arena issue on your fill-in spot on WSPD, something I would figure Russ would have been paying attention to, seeing what his claim to fame at the Blade is.

I listened to your concerns and it was pretty clear there of how you felt. How Russ missed that is beyond me. I guess Russ really isn't as informed as he claims to be.

I also consider the source and how Russ got his fleas.

Kate said...

I have to admit I didn't read that column. But then I never do. I read it for the first few weeks I took the Blade upon moving to Toledo and cancel'd my subscription.

Isn't this the same guy that was quoted as saying he didn't go to the local board meetings before writing a column about those meetings because he didn't need any facts?

I think it is.....

Lisa Renee said...

Being optmistic is a great thing, even I have my moments of idealism but there is also logic and reality.

Logic and reality dictate you look at the cost and also look at the real facts as given not optimistic goals. To do that you have to ask questions.

I wasn't able to listen until your last hour on air today but you did an excellent job in covering the information and had some very good callers. I hope people do show up for the public meetings on the arena, maybe Russ will actually attend one...


Hooda Thunkit said...


Don't take Russ too seriously, hardly anyone else does ;-)

He is known for, and prides himself on, never letting the facts ruin one of his stories.

historymike said...


Agreed about the creator of the Lemmon Droppings. He's light on content and heavy on drivel, as well as the antithesis of everything that is good about the Blade.

On the rare occasions I make it through an entire Russ Lemmon column, I end up questioning if I am secretly masochistic.

There is no other explanation for my persistence.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Excellent points Mike ;-)

Kate said...

You know my Gr'ma used to say God was fair. He either doled out brains or looks.

Anybody ever seen this Lemmon guy? He must be one handsome dude....

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