Connecting the Dots: Baseball, Taxes, Movies 

I wasn't finished page 9 of the Feb. 4 issue when I had to write about a number of juxtaposed topics. First, a new ballpark in Shockoe Center (“Ballpark E-mail Misunderstood, Robertson Says,” Street Talk). What the heck is wrong with The Diamond? I like The Diamond. It's younger than my kids, who, unfortunately, still need my financial support.

Peter Boisseau's development-speak letter (“Ballpark Analysis Misses Realities,” Letters) fails to account for the city's urban blight costs from abandoned infrastructure. What use will be made of The Diamond if a duplicative, redundant ballpark is built in “Shockoe Center.” (Is that really what it's called?)

I'm no expert but all cities need to halt sprawl and blight. Reuse, recycle, rehab, rebuild should be mantras today — not bond-financed new construction. Bonds represent debt and are not the right way to do anything today.

Next you're talking about giving taxpayers' money to Hollywood to thank them for their mere presence here (“Lawmakers Weigh Tax Incentives for Homegrown Movies,” Street Talk). That's ridiculous. Who cares about a fake Ukrop's in Boston? Virginia stole the John Adams movie from Quincy, Mass., where all three of his boyhood, pre- and post-presidential homes are lovingly preserved. Who knows why filmmakers do what they do? I don't think we should pay them any public monies to work here because it never pays off for the commonwealth in the end.

If at all, I'd rather see tax incentives, i.e. taxpayers' forced charity — for businesses producing jobs here for the long haul. And if they leave, they pay these incentives back. Please let's not be so quick to embrace development that blights another area, nor feel so free to give away public funds without an actual, measurable return.
S.T. Ferguson



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