Albuquerque Defeats Millionaire Stadium Builders and Says “NO!” on gentrification – liberation messages

During the November elections, Albuquerque residents made history by defeating a key measure in support of gentrification. A corporate-backed stadium loan of $ 50 million went up in flames two-to-one in the elections.

The stadium’s corporate pushers were stunned. In Albuquerque no borrowing had been rejected since 2002, and only then by a narrow majority. They assumed an easy win. However, a strong grassroots movement of volunteers and residents called Stop the Stadium rose and changed the equation. Ordinary residents saw this as a struggle against gentrification and the destruction of Albuquerque’s historic working-class neighborhoods.

Without financial support, Stop the Stadium struck a breathtaking David versus Goliath storm and defeated the giants of the sports stadium. A new Albuquerque housing movement was born.

Professional sports leagues act as unregulated corporate monopolies. For decades, everyone in the sports industry food chain, including league managers, greedy developers, and local politicians, has used this position to channel taxpayers’ money into subsidizing luxury stadiums to enrich these elites.

Fully or partially publicly funded, wherever stadiums are built, they act as a massive force for gentrification and displacement.

Traditionally, major league monopolies have targeted large cities with large markets. Today, however, with professional football on the rise and looking to expand into the open space, stadium construction is aimed at medium-sized cities. Professional soccer monopolies like the Division II United Soccer League Championship (USL) are currently causing a boom in stadium construction in medium-sized cities across the country.

The USL has built stadiums in ten different cities over the past five years, looted tax dollars to fund these projects, and overran all opposition in the community. Albuquerque should be next.

Earlier this year, New Mexico United, a USL-affiliated professional men’s soccer team, launched a multi-million dollar marketing campaign to channel scarce public funds into the construction of an $ 85 million soccer stadium. Team owner and mega-rich investment banker Peter Trevisani spent millions presenting false and misleading claims to Albuquerque residents in hopes that he could get the public to commit a $ 50 million stadium loan on Nov. 2 to hand over.

Stop the Stadium was there every step of the way to expose the fraudulent sales tactics and talking points of the sports stadium millionaires. Here are some of the most common ones that everyone should recognize.

The myth of the “Volksstadion”

The classic version of big stadium scam is to dump huge amounts of taxpayers money into private stadiums with all sorts of false promises. As more and more consortia reject this kind of bare business support, the millionaires are trying something new. They build “people’s stadiums”.

To bypass community resistance to paying for stadiums that corporate millionaires would own, team franchises are now negotiating deals where the city would own the facility instead of the private team. In Albuquerque, team ownership groups boasted that it would be a “folk stadium.” There was a catch, however. While “the people” would own the facility and all of the debt on the bond, the team would own and control all of the revenue.

That was suggested in Albuquerque. One hundred percent of the income from using the stadium for any purpose would go to the private team, not the city. In return for controlling and keeping track of all income from the “Volksstadion”, the team owners paid a small fraction back to the city as rent, an amount that would ultimately only cover a fraction of the loans that “the” people ”. would be responsible for repayment.

The public was told that they would own the stadium and thus benefit from it, although through sleight of hand the team owners would own the revenue while the people would own the debt.

Myth: Publicly funded stadiums create jobs and strengthen the local economy

Publicly funded stadiums for sports monopolies do not promote economic growth, nor do they help residents or businesses. The average sports stadium has roughly the same effect on a community as a department store.

Elites and corporate developers claim that a stadium would give the local economy an economic boost. According to them, the millions of dollars spent on a stadium would create hundreds of jobs for troubled economies. However, given a monumental unemployment crisis in the country, the impact of millions spent on publicly funded stadiums per dollar is a farce.

The majority of jobs created by publicly funded stadiums are temporary construction jobs. The remaining handful of jobs are seasonal and temporary concession jobs that don’t pay a living wage. This has hardly any measurable impact on jobs. A recent study by George Mason University, entitled “Growth Effects of Sports Franchises, Stadiums, and Arenas: 15 Years Later” (2015), updated to include soccer franchises, checked the data from 1969 to 2011. It found the economic data The impact of publicly funded stadiums is generally so small that it is insignificant and sometimes affects growth. It found that while the introduction of sports monopolies into the city is being promoted as a major economic driver, they typically make up less than 1.5 percent of the local economy.

Myth: A “community performance agreement” protects communities

When big developers and local politicians need to quickly sell a corporate project that will have a negative impact on the community, their preferred tool is a Community Benefit Agreement (CBA). Rich developers and politicians choose a few local organizations to work with, call this group “the community”, and sign a CBA with them.

The hand-picked organizations are required to provide public political support, legitimize the project and, in return, corporate developers agree to some inappropriate concessions to some of the displaced neighborhoods. These hand-picked organizations are losing their ability to criticize the CBA and have to rely on the legal system to enforce them. CBAs contain a non-derogatory clause that prohibits neighborhoods from publicly criticizing the project.

CBAs have been implemented city by city across the country by greedy developers since the 1990s. Whatever short-term concessions are negotiated, CBAs do nothing to change the long-term destructive effects of pro-business development.

Myth: A stadium does not cause gentrification

Sports franchises and local politicians always claim the stadium won’t cause gentrification. In reality, they usually do.

It does not matter whether there is a “joint service contract” or not. CBAs accept stadium postponements as a fait accompli and focus on reducing the damage.

Meanwhile, the median rents rise drastically before, during and after the stadium construction. A 2018 study, titled A Professional Sports Stadium’s Impact on Rental Values, found that 10 cities in the US saw average rent averages $ 15 to $ 75 per year before construction and an additional $ 40 per year after construction up to $ 50 a year. The rent increased 10 miles in each direction.

Myth: Stadiums are about “quality of life”

Stadium operators always pester the public by claiming that a vote against the stadium is a vote against improving the “quality of life” of the working class, with an emphasis on the “intangible benefits” associated with having a professional sports team home, such as about pride.

However, when it comes to tangible economic benefits that actually improve the quality of life of existing residents and make them proud – such as affordable housing, rental price control, free public transport and universal access to environmentally friendly, safe, clean, spacious and beautiful neighborhoods – the stadium pushers are on the other side. This is because corporate stadium construction negates the above list of material things for the working majority.

Time and again, stadiums have destroyed the social fabric of communities. In Nashville, Brooklyn, Chavez Ravine, Duranguito, and many other cities, stadiums have been used as a Trojan horse to accelerate gentrification and business-planned development.

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