Friday, August 26, 2016

The Fourth Estate

Today, we raise a constitutional law issue. Yesterday, we got lots of details about the proposed stadium that would house UNLV's football team, the "Las Vegas Raiders," and possibly an MSL team. Today, Jon Ralston is reporting that RJ staff are being told to ask where elected officials/public office candidates stand on public funding of the stadium, but that they will not be publishing the results of the poll. Naturally, that raises a question about the extent of the influence of Nevada's fourth branch of government when it's major player is owned by the State's wealthiest citizen. Do we have a problem here? Is there anything that can be done to curb it? There seems to be some threat out there that if the Governor, who received contributions from a certain PAC, does not call for a special session, the n the whole stadium proposal will be off the table. Anyone concerned about that? Anyone have an idea as to why Las Vegas Sands doesn't just finance the whole thing like MGM did with the new home of the Desert Knights?

69 comments:

  1. I can think of so many more good things $750 million in tax revenue would do for LAs Vegas other than bringing the Raiders to town. I don't understand how there is no political will to create a tax to generate $750 million to help local schools, hungry children, homeless veterans, victims of child abuse, victims of sexual abuse, the backlog of untested rape kits, the massive increase in murders in the valley, etc. etc. etc. But bring in a shitty franchise with the worst fans in the league who regularly incite violence in the stands, yeah that is worth $750 million. Ridonculous.

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    1. Because none of those causes puts more money directly into the pockets of the rich people behind this proposal, who then turn around and put money directly into the campaigns of the politicians who will vote on this proposal. That's why.

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    2. The $750M in public funds is actually room tax funds, not general fund money. The room tax was designed to primarily support the tourism industry (e.g. advertising, infrastructure (the convention authority), etc.,) rather than the ordinary government services which are paid for out of other tax sources.

      Another difference is that they are only paid by people that are renting a hotel room, rather than other activities that both locals and tourists engage in. The real question is therefore whether a $750M investment in building the stadium (which will be deeded to the public rather than retained by the Raiders or the Adelson group) will yield more or less than $750M in net profits to the community in terms of increased tourism, economic activity, etc. If the answer is in the affirmative, the project should be support, if not than it should be opposed.

      A possible compromise resolution could involve making the stadium a truly private project by reworking the ultimate ownership issue. The state could issue a revenue bond into the bond market, secured by the room tax. Once built, The stadium is deeded to a private entity which issues stock per an IPO. The proceeds of the IPO is either placed into escrow to insure repayment of the bond or it is retired in full with the new private company fully responsible for the ownership and maintenance of the stadium. A win-win solution, with wall street investors taking the risk of default.

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    3. "shitty franchise with the worst fans in the league"

      Exactly my problem with the stadium deal. I'd be for it with another team

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    4. Balance. By this rationale, individuals shouldn't ever travel for vacation, go to a show, or buy a nice television. What vacation money wouldn't be better invested saving for retirement or funding a child's college tuition?

      How do you feel about The Springs Preserve, museums, public swimming pools, or any other governmentally funded amenity that still requires fee for use?

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    5. @ 1:42: The Springs Preserve, museums, pools, etc. enrich a community and are used for the public good. They are, literally, publicly owned. Not so with the stadium -- it will cost more than any other publicly funded stadium in history, be privately owned, assist in enriching a small few, and will be enjoyed only by those who can afford to pay NFL prices to see a game.

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    6. "Officials said the stadium itself would be publicly owned, while the private investors would be on the hook for cost overruns but could potentially reap returns from their investment."

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/are-the-nfl-oakland-raiders-headed-to-las-vegas/

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    7. 1:42 PM - no, not even close, nice try, but not even close. You are trying, I get that, but no, not even close.

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    8. 2:46,

      Compelling. Given your high regard for your anonymous self, that must mean a lot.

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    9. So a billionaire wants the public to pay $750 million or no deal for a team of a league worth billions will come to Vegas? Where do I sign?

      This is a total commercial endeavor so why don't they get a loan or have the league finance it? The era of publically financed stadiums needs to go away. The public didn't finance the T-Mobile arena so they get all the spoils. If they want public financing then the people should get an appropriate cut of the profits otherwise they should be told to go fuck themselves. 8 games a year and UNLV will play there too, are you fucking kidding me? They need to man up and do it themselves without milking the public. They'll sure as shit make sure it makes money then.

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    10. "8 games a year and UNLV will play there too, are you fucking kidding me?"

      That it also will be UNLV's stadium doesn't seem insignificant to me. But I admit, I'm not sure how construction of public university stadiums is usually funded.

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  2. Here's a question that I'm hoping somebody can answer. How does a citizen oppose this proposal for public funds going to build this stadium? Is my only option to write a letter to the Governor? What else can be done?

    If anybody is wondering whether this stadium will "pay for itself" with an increase in economic activity, more jobs, etc., the answer is no. Plenty of research has been done on this and it's been shown that these publicly funded stadiums never help the community as much as they cost.

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    1. Agree the stadium will never pay for itself. Letter writing/emailing/tweeting is about all I know to do too. Here's a few emails and twitter handles for everyone. #NoPublicFunds

      Senate Leaders
      Aaron.Ford@sen.state.nv.us
      Michael.Roberson@sen.state.nv.us

      Assembly Leaders
      Paul.Anderson@asm.state.nv.us
      John.Hambrick@asm.state.nv.us
      Jim.Wheeler@asm.state.nv.us

      Tweet @GovSandoval; @RobersonForNV; @AaronDFordNV; @Hutch4Nevada

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    2. Please write them. As attorneys we know these people. The only people who can stop us subsidizing the two wealthiest and repulsive people in the state. Adelson and Wynn are both repugnant and the thought of having their own employees subsidize a vanity project is beyond the pale. I would love to see the LV Raiders and would be fine with subsidizing the move through ticket sales and merchandise. This is pathetic and if our legislature had any backbone at all they would not commit any funding toward a stadium for billionaires.

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    3. Can we try to keep politics out of it. Most large stadiums are publically funded. This isn't a new concept that Adelson and Wynn are trying to screw us with. Sports stadiums are publically funded because until a team is tried and tested to be a money maker (e.g., Dallas Cowboys) it makes no financial sense for a business to put in the money necessary to build a stadium and the necessary infrastructure. Although I am not necessarily for the stadium, I do believe it will add an extra element that Las Vegas is missing. In reality, we build it now, or we build it in 10 years when our population rises another million or so and a NFL/NBA/MLB teams will be required for our market size.

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    4. @3:54 - Are you being serious? This is clearly a political situation. Politicians are the only ones who have a say in whether the $750m in public money will go to this.

      Just because sports stadiums have been publicly funded in the past doesn't mean it's a good deal for the community. It's not. The research shows that it's never been good for the community. And this is more public money than has ever gone into a stadium before.

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  3. Sorry for the comment overload, but this was a statement made by the president of Las Vegas Sands from their pitch to an oversight committee yesterday:

    “Not to be difficult, but we’re not negotiable,” said Sands President Rob Goldstein, who spoke on behalf of billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his family. “If we can’t get 750, we respectfully thank you but we’re going to move on.”

    Maybe you should just move on.

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    1. Oh I hope he wasn't kidding. Intransigence is our best chance for killing the stupid thing.

      Sheldon's got $600M in his couch cushions. Put it together with the $500M from the Raiders and you can build a very nice $1B statium.

      I WOULD be supportive of the state paying for infrastructure improvements around the thing (but not light rail), and I'd be amenable to some tax breaks.

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    2. I'm just curious to know why you'd be against light rail? I agree with you that this project could be great for the city if it was entirely paid for by private funds and actually spurred improvements to infrastructure and public transportation, etc. That's the best case scenario here.

      But I thought the light rail system in Salt Lake was a pretty big hit based on what I've heard from friends and family. Although, I have to admit that's just anecdotal.

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    3. Yeah, the light rail system in the San Jose metropolitan area was about the only thing I liked about that whole area. Cost effective, fast, didn't mess with traffic while driving...It's a good setup.

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    4. 10:20 Light rail is a horrible investment. Huge capital outlays for a glorified bus? Why not just buy buses? They're cheaper to own and operate and the infrastructure is already in place.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDOI0cq6GZM

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  4. The arrogance of the backers' refusal to accept "anything less than $750 million in public funding" is mind blowing.

    No city has *EVER* gotten its investment back when subsidizing a stadium.

    https://psmag.com/america-has-a-stadium-problem-6eae0a4187e1

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    1. Right? And where will they move on to, if they can't get a deal done here? Oakland sure as hell doesn't want them. Maybe they'll end up as the Reno Raiders? That has a nice ring to it.

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    2. No. Nope. No thank you.

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  5. The stadium is a boondoggle. These projects never pay off and the taxpayer is left holding the bag. Councilman Stavros Anthony and Bob Beers led the fight against the stupid soccer stadium in downtown Las Vegas. This stadium must be stopped. It will raise our taxes.

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    1. It's funny. The soccer stadium would have been 1/8 the cost and would have been used much more frequently than the football stadium, but was absolutely crushed by the public. The NFL dangles itself as a possibility though and wow, a lot fewer people are up in arms about 750M of taxpayer funds being used to subsidize a private business.

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    2. How did you come to the conclusion that a lot fewer people are up in arms about 750M of taxpayer funds being used?

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    3. It's probably just a lack of an opposing voice in our local newspaper that is now owned by the Golem who is behind this proposal.

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    4. You want some top notch service, and be treated like a prince, call over to Stavro Anthony's office with an issue, and his assistant, the one who has a JD, male, will give the "royal" treatment your tax dollars pay for. His office should charge people for the shake down you get.

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    5. Boondoggle is right. First, the stadium was $1B. Then, it was $1.4B. Now it's $1.9B. At to the fact that Adelson is involved and there is something really sketchy about this "deal."

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    6. The City Council form of government in the City is superior the County. You have a voice. You have no voice in the County. Each Commissioner has hundreds of thousand constituents and could care less that people oppose something. This is why this might get done in the County instead of the City. Simply put 750 million is way too much and will probably be negotiated down.

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  6. At the very least why wouldn't the city demand a piece of the action. Ask St. Louis how it feels to continue paying for a stadium after the team left.

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  7. I think the Venetian lien litigation tells us all we need to know about Sheldon Adelson's method of operations (there were contractors who went out of business just because he decided he didn't want to pay). In Adelson's world, his interests come first, second and third -- everyone else is on their own. If he and Steve Wynn think a $1.9B stadium will help fill their hotel rooms, they can pay for it ($750M is pocket change to those guys).

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  8. What happened to the Republicans, small government, and low taxes? How could we possibly have money for welfare for billionaires but not pay for schools, roads, and services that we actually need? If this is a good deal then Adelson should reach a little deeper into his own pockets and keep his grubby little hands out of ours.

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  9. Isn't it the job of elected our congress people (reps and senators) to bring home as much pork as possible at the expense of everyone else in 49 other states and other territories? C'mon Harry Reid, you're the majority leader. Make something happen. The DEA has a $2.1 billion budget. Make weed legal, and then send the DEA weed money to Las Vegas.

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    1. Lay off the weed. Harry hasn't been the majority leader in years.

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    2. You want to get some good shit, weed, man, you need to talk to my drug dealer, shark pimp, Adamo Laxalt. No back alley shit, or made of oregano, I am talking about good shit, man.

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    3. I want me a doobie, doobie. Smoke me a legal blog doobie...

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    4. August 26, 2016 at 12:20 PM - Back off bucko, there is only ONE shark pimp...

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    5. My doobie is better than your doobie.

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    6. I wear my porky pig hat when I smoke the doobie.

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    7. I wear my make america great again hat when I smoke the doobie.

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    8. Smoked a doobie, hired Mark Bourassa, it was the worst mistake of my life. He is an idiot.

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  10. Can we take a moment to discuss how "Desert Knights" is an absolutely terrible name? I liked "Nighthawks" though, as well as "Neon Knights".

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    1. This Foley guy was absolutely in love with the idea of using 'Knights' in the name because he is an Army Black Knights guy. I always knew his commitment to use 'Knights' would end up with an awkward name. The obvious choice would have been "Vegas Aces." What a great sports name. What the f*ck is a DESERT Knight anyway?

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    2. Nevada Neon Knight would be good. Not just the Vegas thing. Incorporate the state... Desert Knight is retarded.

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    3. I totally agree. Horrible name Mr. Foley. Dump it. It sucks. This is an Airforce town, not Army.

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    4. A Desert Knight is an guy in body armor who protects the lands and serfs of his liege lord. In this case, the lands located 80 miles or so NW of Las Vegas, at which nothing has ever happened, no experiments have ever been conducted, and no remains of visitors have ever been kept.

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    5. Two-word team names are bad practice. Nighthawks was a good choice.

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    6. http://www.desertknights.com/ is already taken. By a limo service in Arizona. With a supper classy chess-themed purple logo. Great thinking on this one Foley.

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  11. The same people that will support giving billionaire Sheldon Adelson a $750B taxpayer handout without thought are also basically the same people who support Donald Trump. There are hundreds of thousands of them in this valley! Don't underestimate them!

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    1. I support Donald Trump and think spending $750M of public money on a stadium is a horrible idea for Las Vegas.

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    2. Nobody ever said there weren't smart racists.

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    3. @12:18: You are a shitty person. That is all.

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  12. how about goodknight

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  13. ugh!

    I heard that there is new law blog around ... anyone have any info on it?

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    1. WildWestDoucheBag.com

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  14. Time to leave the Republic.

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  15. I hate every person who posted on this thread. You all just suck. We're going to get an NFL team here and you're all negative about financing the stadium. Stay at home with your mommies while I'm at the Raiders games having the time of my life.

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    1. We are being sold a bill of goods. The NFL Team i.e. the Raiders is welcome. Just don't ask the taxpayers to pay for the stadium. Will this go before the voters? What will happen if it is placed on the ballot? Do you think it will pass. Do you think raising the room rates by additional room taxes is going to help Las Vegas. The tourists are already complaining about the "resort fees" and "parking fees" along with taxi and Uber/Lyft fees. This could hurt Las Vegas when the "down economy" comes chipping away at tourists who can no longer afford high room rates and high room taxes.

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  16. www.vegaslawblog.com - something different than some of the nonsense on this blog

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    1. Ohhhh how exciting! We get to read Brian Shapiro's legal musings, and we can even comment on them! But we mustn't offend Brian, or he will remove our comments.

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  17. Well....today Adelson's saying that the stadium will be completely publicly owned and he's donating $650M. Change anyone's mind about the public portion?

    I definitely am less offended by $750M of public money buying a $1.9B stadium that the public owns...but still feel like they could just build a 1.1B stadium without any public money at all and it'd be pretty good. AT&T (Dallas) didn't cost a billion did it?

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    1. It costed over 1 billion. Minnesota stadium cost 1.1 billion. It should be noted the stadium will be used for convention space also and that was original plan.

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    2. *cost not costed...

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