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Re: “After Big Loss, Virginia Opera Plots Comeback

There is a difference between layoffs and eliminating positions. Unfilled positions, or jobs, can be cut be cut without laying off employees. Sorry for the confusion. -- Scott Bass

Posted by scottbass on 05/10/2013 at 11:23 AM

Re: “Overplayed

The real issue here, in my opinion, isn't one of supporting the bike race, or the Redskins, or the Squirrels -- or choosing not to. The point is the debate is skewered by economic numbers that appear to be bloated, and it taints the discussion. These big numbers -- $160 million for the bike race, for example -- are used to justify spending public dollars. Who could reasonably argue that spending $4 million to get $160 million isn't a good idea? If that were the case every city in the world would be busting down the door to get the UCI World Cycling Championships in 2015. That obviously wasn't the case.
That's the point of this story. If you want to argue that spending $4 million on the bike race, or $10 million the Redskins, is simply good for Richmond because it induces civic pride, adds to the quality of life and exposes the region to great marketing opportunities that are good for the whole, then fine. But that's not what's going on.

The public is being fed, repeatedly, this notion that all of these projects will have huge positive economic benefits for the region in order to justify the expense. That's why we're questioning the numbers, and will continue to question the numbers. Also, "J" instructs that I do more homework. You'll find the study by the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance that found the Hamilton race drew 23,768 spectators from outside the Hamilton region here:…

The numbers are important. Those who live in Hamilton didn't spend new money, as they say, only the outsiders did, which is the 23,768. This is why spectators who stay overnight are so important. If you already live here, you're probably not going to take out a loan to head down to the races and buy a hot dog. You're just choosing that event over something else, and, perhaps, a slice of pizza... Scott Bass

4 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by scottbass on 04/25/2013 at 3:36 PM

Re: “The Diagnosis

Sorry that the story is causing confusion. The terms, on some level, really aren't necessary. A children's hospital can be freestanding and either be independent or run from within an adult hospital system, it really doesn't matter. What matters the most, I think, is the structure. If the children's hospital is run from within an adult hospital system, which is VCU's model, the argument, depending on your point of view, is that the hospital is either protected because the costs and expenses are just a small part of a larger system (if revenues fall the larger system can more easily cover the losses, for example) or a hindrance because the revenues are just small part of a larger system (which means that it gets a much smaller share of the overall resources).

If it's independently run, which is the model being proposed by PACKids, the hospital is a completely separate entity that is built entirely around kids. It doesn't have the cushion that comes from being part of a larger hospital system, but proponents of this model say that it's superior for lots of reasons. All the profits are reinvested in pediatrics instead of leaking out to the adult hospital system, and they tend to have a much easier time raising private donations. This, they say, leads to better medical care in the end.

I hope that helps. Scott Bass

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by scottbass on 04/04/2013 at 10:37 PM

Re: “Hogwash

I appreciate the debate and the questions. The $8.5 million figure is repeatedly used by city officials and supporters of the project to justify the expense of building the training camp, and essentially gifting the Westhampton site to Bon Secours. It could very well be that the Redskins will improve our quality of life on some level, and publicity from all the ESPN datelines will lead to other, less easily quantifiable benefits.
But that's not what's being sold to the public. It's being sold as a deal that won't cost the taxpayers anything, ultimately, and will lead to $8.5 million in economic impact. It's not an either/or presentation, in other words. If someone gives you a car, then you'd have no real need to take it to the mechanic for a pre-sale inspection. That is, essentially, what the city has been presenting to the public, and to City Council. This only generates money for the city, so no need to kick the tires. ...
If we acknowledge that, perhaps, this is going to cost taxpayers money and it may or may not lead to a tangible economic return for the city, you'd weigh the project in terms of resources and priority. It's really about simply asking some very basic, common sense questions about how tax dollars should be spent. -- Scott Bass

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by scottbass on 11/14/2012 at 5:46 PM

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