Selig & Publicly Funded Stadiums

Fascinating article by Steve Fainaru on Bud Selig’s Miller Park hardball tactics (with some interesting comments from former governor Tommy Thompson):

The soaring brick ballpark on the outskirts of this city took the lives of three ironworkers. It cost a Republican state senator his job and set back taxpayers a sum equal to the Milwaukee County parks budget projected over the next decade. It nearly exhausted the political capital of the former governor, Tommy G. Thompson, who championed the stadium to keep Wisconsin “major league.” But Thompson won’t set foot in the place. Last year, when the ballpark’s tenants, the Milwaukee Brewers, invited Thompson to Opening Day, he declined. He did it to protest Brewers owner and Commissioner of Baseball Allan H. (Bud) Selig, who, Thompson said in an interview, provided misleading financial information to get the stadium built, then broke promises to use the increased revenue to make the Brewers competitive.
“There were just so many misleadings and mischaracterizations,” said Thompson, now Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Bush administration.

I’ve not set foot in Miller Park, and don’t plan to. Then, there’s this quote from the deputy editor of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on their predicament (the newspaper’s parent company’s Chairman was a lobbyist for the stadium!):

Inside the newspapers, reporters and editorial writers felt constrained. “We were totally compromised at that point,” said Sue Ryon, deputy editor of the Milwaukee Journal’s editorial page, then the lead editorial writer on the stadium issue. “We had no credibility. Anything we said, it was, ‘Well, who can believe them? Look at the position they’re in?’ We felt as a newspaper, as an editorial board, handcuffed, and that was pretty much from the beginning.”

Two useful links: Field of Schemes | Doug Pappas site