Next to the City Center Airport debate, the proposed downtown arena (also known as the Katz Personal Palace and Money Generating Machine) for Edmonton is a contentious issue.
When you look at the bottom line, this project will exceed $700 million when you include infrastructure and other costs. Let's forget about the latest Katz Group demands, and recognize the current deal that Council has in front of them will use pretty much 100% of taxpayer dollars.
Some people have crunched the numbers, and have suggested that Katz will rake in at least $20 million per year at a minimum, of profits over a 35 year "deal". So taxpayers put out 700 million dollars to a private company that does not put a cent in, and the same private company will end up collecting 700 million dollars in profits for their "troubles".
Edmonton City Council has clearly not been listening to the people of this city. And I suspect that come election time in 2013, many of them will be out of jobs because of it. But by then, the damage will have been done, a contract will have been signed, and any attempts to get out of it will be subject to a lawsuit by Katz. The same man that professes to love Edmonton, will not blink an eye in suing the people.
So what are our choices? There are no laws in place that allow us to recall council members and toss them out of office. The citizens can lead a drive for a plebiscite of some form, which must be started when Council votes on a bylaw to steal taxpayer money from the poor and give it to the rich. However experience has taught us that doing one of these things is expensive and very time consuming.
This borrowing bylaw will happen when the weather is the pits, making it next to impossible to "legally" tell Mayor Mandel and the other criminals on City Council where to stick it. Yes, I said criminals because, it is my belief that any elected official that allows their administration to create a deal that is so clearly biased, has not done their job. In any other industry or business, people like the City Manager and the CFO would be run out of town for even thinking they have done an appropriate job in the diligent management of taxpayers money.
But lets say, enough people get together and a plebiscite drive starts to turn out into a success. At this point, City Council does have the legal option of saying "Okay, we will call for our own plebiscite", under the guise of "look, we are listening to the people"... However according the the MGA (Municipal Government Act) a plebiscite called by council will supersede one called by citizens. And in the one called for by Council, the results, no matter how they turn out, can legally be rejected. Meaning they do NOT have to listen to what those results are.
So no matter how you cut it, this deal will go through. Katz will have his palace of money making gold, pay nothing for it, and taxpayers will get shafted. And it is my belief, this is nothing short of criminal theft of taxpayer dollars.
I think it's pretty clear that Mandel won't be running again. I've heard from many people that have suggested that he is grooming Iveson to take over his lead... and if so, one should perhaps question if the same groomed leadership is what you as a citizen would want. I certainly do not what that "type" of leadership ever again.
Where are the RCMP when you need them to do an investigation. Maybe even more so, do we even trust the RCMP anymore. In the mean time, the Alberta Government sits by and watches... waiting for an opportunity to stand in and add more taxpayer money for Katz to steal.
These are my beliefs... you are entitled to yours as well.
If you are looking for an example of what I think is a reasonably closer responsible deal, see my blog post prior to this one.