Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio


Time to hammer out arena project

Some items while wishing I had Sean Hannity's hair:

SOLO MISSION?: I'm thinking Lucas County Treasurer Ray Kest should contact Habitat for Humanity and ask whether it has any interest in creating a division that specializes in public projects.

Either that or he should round up some of his buddies, give them hammers and nails, and quietly begin construction on a downtown arena.

I mean, what else does the guy have to do to generate momentum for this project?

If only Toledo Mayor Jack Ford and members of Toledo City Council and the Lucas County Commission would swallow their collective pride and use Mr. Kest's proposal as the starting point for a serious public dialogue.

Otherwise, the 56-year-old arena is going to be eligible for Social Security before this issue is settled. (Something tells me that if the Sports Arena did collect a monthly Social Security check, Mr. Kest would come up with a plan to use the money to fund a new arena.)

Mr. Kest's proposal calls for a 14,000-seat arena to be built in the Warehouse District, just a block from Fifth Third Field.

He said the county would be in charge of the $51 million project, as was the case with the $39 million baseball stadium, and the arena would pay for itself, just like the ballpark is doing.

What's not to like about Mr. Kest's proposal? It doesn't rely on a “sin tax” or a tax increase of any kind. Plus, interest rates are about as low as we'll ever see.

We can waste years waiting for the $191 million Marina District to take shape and then be at the mercy of private developers, or we can follow the same path that led us to Fifth Third Field.

Hopefully, politicians will find a way to make the arena a reality and worry about who gets credit for it later. I can't help but think “jealousy” is a factor in this case.

Perhaps Mr. Kest is a case study in karma. He made some ridiculous statements during the 2001 mayoral campaign, and they came back to haunt him at the polls. (Flashback: Some members of City Council were deemed “stooges,” and Mr. Ford was “just a social worker” in Mr. Kest's eyes.)

As far as the arena is concerned, however, Mr. Kest deserves some “positive” karma.

OUR FAIR SHARE: On Tuesday, “the usual” at our favorite breakfast place cost 12 cents more than normal. The restaurant did not raise its prices, as I had suspected; rather the increase in Ohio's state sales tax had kicked in.

Loving numbers the way I do (let's just say I could relate to “Rainman”), I calculated the annual cost of “the usual” will be about $19 more than last year. Add on the tax increases for other meals, and we're looking about $50 a year.

Happy to cover your back this time, Ohio lawmakers. After all, the increase is temporary -- it's set to expire June 30, 2005. (It will expire then, right?)

TWIN PACK: Two slanted questions this week. In honor of our country's recent birthday, I'm offering 227 points for each correct answer.

1) Isn't the Federal Trade Commission's “Do Not Call” registry the most common-sense tactic to come out of Washington in a long time?

2) Wasn't Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stuck in the spin cycle when he dismissed suggestions that U.S. forces in Iraq are in a quagmire?

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