Welcome to GoodSen$eColumbia!

We are a grassroots citizens group organized to voice concern about the financing of the proposed minor league baseball stadium.

Today, we submitted this press release: GoodSen$eColumbia Press Release.

1. COSTS ARE TOO HIGH. Under the latest plan released by the city, the stadium and the attendant infrastructure will cost as much as $195 MILLION over the next 30 years.

2. LIMITS OUR PRIORITIES. Because the enormous debt associated with financing this project ties up our ability to respond to needs and priorities, we will be limited in our ability to keep cops and firemen working, to maintain our parks and to fill our potholes.

3. ENDANGERS OUR NEIGHBORHOOD AMENITIES. Our successful zoo and downtown art museum, our efforts to build an African American museum, and the preservation of our historic houses will be put at risk because of the vast public debt associated with this project. The funding for community celebrations like the Greenview Reunion, the Christmas Parade and New Year’s Eve funding could be jeopardized.

JOIN US IN ASKING FOR TRANSPARENCY AND FULL DISCLOSURE. WE’VE HEARD ENOUGH ABOUT PROMISES; LET US HEAR ABOUT REALITY.

Note: a group of citizens started the Columbia Baseball Stadium Forum in order to gauge legitimate citizen feedback on public opinion about the stadium. Over the weeks of managing the forum, it became overwhelmingly obvious that Columbians at-large are against the proposed stadium. In an effort to shepherd along the majority opinion, we have formed GoodSen$eColumbia to strongly urge City Council to reject the current public financing of the baseball stadium.

You can sign up to receive updates and comments on our effort in the sign-up box on the right side bar.

You can send a contribution to GoodSen$eColumbia to: 141-F Pelham Dr., Box 102, Columbia, SC 29209

Setting your priorities

Look at the projects below and select the order in which you would like to see the City of Columbia address them (from 1 to 5, first to last):

____ Increasing police protection
____ Completing the project to fix the water and sewer system
____ Updating and maintaining Columbia’s parks and playgrounds
____ Building a baseball stadium
____ Buying needed fire equipment

If you rated “Building a Baseball Stadium” at the top of your list of priorities, you can forget getting the other four items. The fifty million dollars (as of today) for the stadium will take Columbia to its debt ceiling and other projects will suffer.

What makes Good Sen$e?

Please plan on attending the City Council meeting Tuesday, February 18, at 6 p.m., in Council chambers, (1737 Main Street, 3rd Floor). If you don’t voice your concerns to set the priorities, someone else will.

Academic economic impact study of stadiums debunks proposal’s claimed benefits

An academic study by Siefied and Zimbalist done recently called “The Economics of Sports Facilities and Their Communities” debunks the argument that the stadium’s beneficial economic impacts are provable, going so far as to note, “(there) is no statistically significant positive correlation between sport facility construction and economic development (page 60).”

The study even notes, “Although the multiplier is a valid economic concept and economic impact analysis is a legitimate technique, it is not an exact science. The projection process requires the analyst to make numerous assumptions, including defining the local area, estimating the direct impact, and choosing the multiplier. These assumptions leave the process open to error or manipulation and allow the exaggeration of impact. Because these studies are often commissioned by team owners or groups trying to justify a public investment, the potential for bias is high. Unchecked partiality can contribute to deleterious policy decisions. Public officials considering the worthiness of public investment in sport should be cautious about relying on promotional economic impact analyses as the main criteria for decision making. And citizens should be wary of policymakers who blindly accept and tout the results of such analyses (page 57).”

This sounds familiar.

The ultimate conclusion of the analysis actually finds: “Economic theory and evidence from independent empirical studies indicate that sport stadiums, team and events have little or no positive effect on local employment, income or output (page 64).”

Feel free to reference this published academic work when calling your members of City Council to discuss why they would consider a proposal where the benefits studied and numbers provided are being commissioned by those folks who would benefit from the project. Unbiased professional academics say that such efforts are partial and will lead to bad policy decisions…and that “public officials considering the worthiness of public investment in sport should be cautious about relying on promotional economic impact analyses as the main criteria for decision making…and citizens should be wary of policymakers who blindly accept and tout the results of such analyses.”

In front of the public eye, subidiary of Mayor’s employer backs out of Bull Street analysis

If you didn’t see, this article ran in yesterday’s State paper.

Company drops out of Bull Street study

Following the public being made aware of the City choosing the subsidiary company of the firm that employs Columbia’s Mayor to do the ‘cost-benefit analysis’ on the perks of the ballpark, the very firm dropped out.

At what point will elected officials eschew even the chance at impropriety and embrace public input, transparency and true citizen-focused policy-making?