Friday, October 12, 2007

MECA & Hal Daub: Anti-Omaha

Yesterday's meeting of the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority turned the whole debate over how to build a new stadium for the College World Series into a full-fledged circus. You had David Sokol, fresh off of doing battle with UNO over the mismanagement of Nancy Belck and Jim Buck, rehashing the idea of remodeling Rosenblatt instead. You had former mayor Hal Daub defiantly trying to sabotage the future of the College World Series by pandering to the opposition.

The idea of remodeling Rosenblatt is an idea that has been rejected yet gets brought back up like a stinking carcass. I don't know if today's World-Herald story about the NCAA rejecting the remodeling last spring can finally kill this or not. I don't know how to say this any clearer:

Omaha: Either build the NCAA a new stadium, probably downtown, or say goodbye to the College World-Series after 2010.

Think the NCAA is bluffing? Think again. Ask the folks in Kansas City, who lost the NCAA offices to Indianapolis. They'll tell you the NCAA means business.

Think nobody else can do the College World Series justice? Think again. Again, ask the folks in Kansas City, who lost the Big XII Basketball tournament to a rotation between Kansas City, Dallas, and now Oklahoma City.

Not sure Lot D at the Qwest Center is the right place to put the stadium? Fair question; let's look into alternatives. Threatening lawsuits between governmental entities is not a solution, however. It's grandstanding. And leading the grandstanding is former Omaha mayor Hal Daub. Still smarting after having to call off his senatorial campaign after just a couple of weeks, he's already looking to cash in on the public outcry against the plan to save the College World-Series. And obviously smarting over Mayor Mike Fahey's plan that would grant Omaha the College World-Series through 2031, Daub seems to be doing everything in his power to sabotage the future of the College World Series in Omaha.

There are still plenty of questions that need to be worked out. How do we pay for this, what do we build, how much is it going to cost? At some point, the people of Omaha need their leaders to put their own selfish self-interests aside and figure out what makes the most sense for Omaha. I see the Mayor trying to do that, though he's struggling in the public relations aspect of it.

MECA's worry about the future expansion of the convention center seems especially selfish. It's not like the convention center has performed particularly well under MECA's leadership. It's being heavily subsidized by the Qwest Center arena. Do we pick an inferior location for the stadium "just in case" MECA gets their act together with conventions? Here's an idea for MECA... rather than fight the stadium, make the convention center so profitable that nobody would want to take the risk of putting the stadium there.

In this situation, Omaha needs it's leaders to put the city first. The College World Series brings in $35 million of economic impact each year, in 2003 numbers. All these Not-In-My-Back-Yard arguments against the new stadium hold any weight with that $35 million on the other side.

1 comment:

AJ said...

Excellent post and you're dead on. No new stadium, no CWS. That's just the way it is.