Wenatchee Gets The Bailout It Deserves, None

I’m glad that the Wenatchee bailout isn’t going through. Although unlike the Republicans who oppose it, I’m not against the state bailing municipalities out on principle. But since I don’t think the state would return the favor for Seattle, well, no bail outs is probably preferable to bail outs that only flow East.

Also, it’s tough to justify this when the economy is on the rocks and the legislature is in cut, cut, cut mode. The Republicans have, with their insistence on no new revenue, made this a choice between bailing out bad investments in Wenatchee or schools and social services. Really, a no brainer.

Comments

  1. 1

    Mrs. Rabbit spews:

    Why should any portion of, Seattle’s sales tax dollars go to bail out a failed convention center in Wenatchee?

    Eastern Washington legislators want west side taxpayers to bail out their convention center and sports arena complex. The convention center part is not revenue producing. Where were they when the time came to bail out Key Arena? :))

  2. 2

    Mrs. Rabbit spews:

    I thought Republicans were against bailouts?

    Unless of course there is a benefit in it for them :)

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    That should be “principle” not “principal,” Carl. (Sorry; but, being a liberal blog, we must set a good example for the illiterati.)

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    A bailout sends the wrong message. Wenatchee Republicans need to learn that if they overspend they’ll have to pick more apples. There’s plenty of jobs going begging in the orchards going begging in their own backyard. Get to work, boys!

  5. 5

    Michael spews:

    Convention centers were a late 90’s early 2000’s scam. The folks in Wenatchee need to get with the times and come up with a more up to date scam.

  6. 6

    spews:

    re 3: Back in the day, when Funky Winkerbean was a viable comic strip, there was one where the principal of the high school was looking at some graffiti at his school that said: “the Principle is a fink!!” The principal remarks : “This is disturbing on several levels.”

  7. 7

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    “There’s plenty of jobs going begging in the orchards going begging in their own backyard.”

    I think we should bring the chain gang to Washington: let the convicts be used to pick the apples, appricots, etc. It could be a great source of revenue!!

  8. 8

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    “Convention centers were a late 90’s early 2000’s scam.”

    No kidding! If sports teams or city halls want a stadium or convention center, then they should pay for those items.

  9. 9

    Michael spews:

    @8
    They literally were a scam back then. People went around touting how they could help your city build a convention center that would make your city all this cash with little or no money down on the part of the city. And city after city after city took them up on it and states and the federal government shelled out millions after millions to build the things. We’re over built on convention centers and cities don’t have sidewalks and can’t pay to fill the potholes in the streets. It’s the stupidest thing ever.

    Peter Callaghan wrote a bunch of columns about it back in the day.

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/callaghan/

  10. 10

    Ekim spews:

    We could pay for a Wenatchee bailout by reducing the pork going to Clark county by a tiny fraction and sending it to Chelan county instead.

    While we’re at it, reducing the pork going to Clark county to $0/yr looks like a win to me.

    (Chelan county sucks about $5,000,000/yr from the state coffers. Clark county sucks about $255,000,000/yr.)

  11. 11

    spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 3,

    Fixed. But let’s get real here. Typos don’t have a partisan bias. Ignorance does. I mean, how many Wingnuts actually know what the word “principle” means? They can pronounce it, but they seem to think it means choosing whatever the GOP meme of the week is.

  12. 12

    rhp6033 spews:

    A lot of cities simply aren’t that suitable as convention destinations. National conventions like to go to cities which have attractions beyond the convention sites: Miami, New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, etc. A few other destinations are desirable because they have more “central” locations with hub airports making travel easier: Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas, Denver, etc.

    But let’s face it: Wenatchee isn’t going to attract much more than local convention business, no matter how nice a convention center it builds. And most of those “local” conventions would still be located in either Wenatchee or Yakima.

  13. 13

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    Somewhat off the subject, but Newt Gingrich just said he was going to be the Republican nominee for prez in 2012.

    Congratulations to Barack Obama: he just won re-election!

    Nobody in their right mind would vote for Newt Gingrich. He’s a pompous, arrogant ass!

  14. 14

    bluesky spews:

    Politically Incorrect @7
    I think we should bring the chain gang to Washington: let the convicts be used to pick the apples, appricots, etc. It could be a great source of revenue!!

    A big orchardist in Quincy did just that this fall, paying the state $22/hr for each inmate. Now, if that asshole had offered to pay the locals that much an hour, do you think he’d have a hard time finding pickers? What a fucked up country. Fucked up all over the place and in every way. “Shit is fucked up and bullshit.” Indeed.

  15. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @7 I’m for it, as long as the growers pay the DOC a fair rate for their labor — say, $22 an hour per convict. This should not turn into taxpayer-subsidized cheap labor for the growers.

  16. 16

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11 “I mean, how many Wingnuts actually know what the word ‘principle’ means”

    Are you kidding? They can’t even spell simple words like “to” and “too.”

  17. 18

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    @14, & 15,

    Maybe $22 would be good for the state to defer the cost of housing and keeping an inmate. Possibly it could also help finance re-habilitation to some of the inmates as they will eventually be let go. It might be a good idea to use part of the $22 per hour to finance some voc training for inmates, upon release, to have a chance at a normal job rather than criminal activities.

    (of course, I’m not looking for the “Cool Hand Luke” version of prisoners working. We can be fair about it – work in the open, do a good job, get some help, get out of prison and become productive.)

  18. 19

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    BTW, John McCain and Carl Levin have taken leave of their senses in that they’re sponsoring a bill to have the military act as a police force inside US borders. All in the name of combating “terrorism,” of course! Contact Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and tell them to vote against yet another un-constitutional law.

    If we’d just withdraw from the Middle East and stop supporting Israel not-matter-what, we’d have no terrorist problems with Middleasterners! It’s that fucking simple, yet our government can’t figure it out!

  19. 20

    Shaolin Monk Max spews:

    Convention Center in Wenatchee…one of the dumbest ideas EVAR.

    I say no bailout….let them deal with it.

  20. 21

    spews:

    @3 and 11,

    Thanks for catching/correcting that. I know the difference, but totally missed it writing and editing it. Yikes.

  21. 23

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Poll Shows GOP In Disarray

    Here’s Rasmussen’s latest nationwide GOP poll:

    Gingrich 38%
    Romney 17%
    Cain 8%
    Paul 8%
    Perry 4%

    http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000060158

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: This clearly shows Romney not only hasn’t sealed the deal but can’t make a deal with GOP primary voters. The flirtation with Gingrich won’t last. Cain and Perry are done.

    I think Ron Paul is the best man in the GOP field — but he’s not even a Republican. I disagree with him on many things, but he’s a straight shooter — he doesn’t flipflop or twist his policy ideas to fit with the latest polls. He’s the only guy I’ve heard talking about how middle class consumers are paying an inflation price for bailing out banks — you definitely get a feeling he doesn’t like that very much. And he’s the only “Republican” you can find who isn’t a militarist and thinks we should mind our own business instead of trying to run the whole friggin world.

    My feeling is growing that if Obama goes down to defeat next year, this is the guy I’d prefer that he lose to. Because Ron Paul, whatever my philosophical and policy disagreements with him may be, has something that is exceedingly rare in the other Washington: Integrity. I respect this guy.

  22. 24

    Deathfrogg spews:

    @ RR

    Integrity in a Nazi just means such an individual is still evil and wrong, just not circumspect about it. Ron Paul is a sociopath and a terribly stupid human being.

  23. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Understanding Europe’s Meltdown

    I’ll try to keep this simple and concise.

    “Banks are the traditional suppliers of credit to governments … [other banks] … companies … and … individuals. [Bank credit is] the oil needed to run the economic machine; without that lubrication the machine seizes up. But to carry out that role, the banks themselves need money. And that is where the whole model is breaking down.

    [B]anks … have been weakened by the eurozone’s worsening sovereign debt crisis. As they hoard capital in response, credit is rapidly becoming both scarcer and more expensive. And if banks can no longer fund the demand for loans in the world, the threatened recession in the eurozone is likely to be deeper, longer and more liable to spread around the globe. …

    “As fears over the integrity of the eurozone have deepened, European banks have found it expensive, difficult or in some cases impossible to raise funding in the bond markets. So far they have covered barely two-thirds of the amount of outstanding funding that falls due in 2011.

    “For most banks, the bond markets have been closed for months. … [D]eposits from customers are also scarce. … [I]nterbank lending is also drying up. …

    “The European Banking Authority, which oversees bank regulators across the continent, has identified a total 106 billion euro ($143 billion) gap at 70 banks that it stress-tested for their exposure to eurozone sovereign debt. Rather than raise fresh capital in turbulent equity markets to bridge that gap, many are opting instead to shrink their balance sheets and comply with the capital ratios that way.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/45516305

    The article goes on to describe ways in which banks are conserving capital:

    1) Selling their books of aircraft, shipping, and infrastructure finance to Japanese and Chinese banks;

    2) Scaling back trade finance;

    3) Pulling out of leveraged acquisitions; and

    4) Cutting off funding to small and medium sized businesses. A big difference between America and Europe is that in Europe these companies are totally dependent on banks, whereas in the U.S. many are funded outside the banking system.

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Yesterday’s 490-point Dow gain was a siren song. (Visualize mermaids luring sailors onto rocks.) Several trillion dollars of idle capital not earning any return is waiting on the sidelines to come back into the stock market when investors feel more confident there won’t be a meltdown down the road. So they jumped on stocks at the news that the U.S. Federal Reserve and several other major central banks, in effect, guaranteed global bank liquidity. But that doesn’t solve the underlying problem; it’s like putting a bandage on a bleeding ulcer caused by cancer — it’s not chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

    I’m not saying those investors were wrong. Stocks are undervalued — precisely because so much investment capital has been held back from the financial markets by nervous investors. For example, the small investor is almost totally absent from the stock market. The situation is similar to the housing market — there are people who want to buy, but aren’t buying because they’re afraid prices will go lower. To that extent, the markets are being held back by a crisis of confidence.

    The central banks’ action comes with a price. This intervention means the Federal Reserve (and other participating central banks) will print more money like crazy. And that means inflation down the road.

    In fact, we’re already seeing inflation at the gas pump and grocery checkout line. That inflation is traceable to the printing of money to keep the world’s banking system liquid.

    Inflation, like the bison, is an ornery and unpredictable animal — you won’t want to keep one as a pet if you value your life. The theory behind printing money is that it merely replaces money that has been stuffed in matresses. When ordinary people like you and me stuff money in matresses, the money supply contracts, which puts the economy at risk of falling into a deflationary “death spiral.” By injecting freshly printed money into the banking system, central bankers replace the money that has been withdrawn from circulation by matress-stuffers to head off deflation at the pass before it can do serious damage. That’s the theory, anyway. But it’s damned tricky, because when the stuffed money starts coming out of the matresses, you’ve got to pull that fresh money back out of circulation, or you get an enormous expansion of the money supply, which causes inflation.

    And a cynic will argue that indebted goverments, who control central banks, want inflation because … well, because inflation wipes out their debts.

    The bottom line is that absolutely none of this works out well for Main Street businesses, wage earners, and small savers and pensioners in the gory end.

  24. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Well shit, that’s not real concise, and maybe not so simple either; I did the best I could to paint a clear picture of a complicated issue in as few words as possible.

  25. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @24 Perhaps you know more about him than I do. I don’t claim to be fully briefed on his policy agenda. I do know that I’m not a libertarian. But the guy doesn’t look like a warmonger or torturer to me.

  26. 29

    Liberal Scientist thinks that concentrated power and wealth should be met with suspicion, not adoration spews:

    @23, 24

    Ron Paul is a dreadful little troll. He was the fellow, you’ll recall at one of the earlier Republican debates, who instigated the cheering when he advocated letting the uninsured car accident victim die because he couldn’t pay for trauma care.

    Some other gems, from the Ron Paul Wikipedia page, so presumably sanitized by his many fans:

    Paul believes that prayer in public schools should not be prohibited at the federal or state level

    In 1997, Paul introduced a Constitutional amendment giving states the power to prohibit the destruction of the flag of the United States.

    He believes the internet should be free from government regulation and taxation, and is opposed to internet gambling restrictions and network neutrality legislation.

    In 1997, Paul voted to end affirmative action in college admissions.

    Paul has said that recognizing same-sex marriage at the federal level would be “an act of social engineering profoundly hostile to liberty”.

    Paul calls himself “strongly pro-life”[205] and “an unshakable foe of abortion”.

    He believes that environmental legislation, such as emissions standards, should be handled between the states or regions concerned. “The people of Texas do not need federal regulators determining our air standards.”

    In an October 2007 interview, Paul held that climate change is not a “major problem threatening civilization”.

    Paul rejects universal health care, believing that the more government interferes in medicine, the higher prices rise and the less efficient care becomes.

    In 2006, Paul joined 32 other members of Congress in opposing the renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, originally passed to remove barriers to voting participation for minorities.

    Paul would like to restore State representation in Congress. During a speech in New Hampshire in February 2007 Paul called for a repeal of the seventeenth amendment, which replaced state election of U.S. Senators with popular election.

    And on and on….

    Oh, by the way, he’s also a rather vile racist. Many example of this exist, this from The New Republic, quoting one of his newsletters he sends out to supporters:

    Paul’s alliance with neo-Confederates helps explain the views his newsletters have long espoused on race. Take, for instance, a special issue of the Ron Paul Political Report,published in June 1992, dedicated to explaining the Los Angeles riots of that year. “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began,”

  27. 30

    rhp6033 spews:

    RR @ 23:

    “Here’s Rasmussen’s latest nationwide GOP poll:

    Gingrich 38%
    Romney 17%
    Cain 8%
    Paul 8%
    Perry 4%”

    I think we should all thank Gingrich for cutting Romney down to size. I think Romney was the one candidate who had a plausable shot at taking on the President. Romney had some baggage, but not nearly as much as the other candidates.

    The problem was, all the other “anybody but Romney” candidates self-imploded fairly early in the game.

    Perhaps we should all consider making a donation to Gingrich’s campaign, to encourage him to stay in the race until he gets the nomination? All other things being equal, Gingrich is just ridiculous as a plausible candidate, the President should be able to cut him down to size fairly easily.

    Of course, the problem with Gingrich is that he’s a wild card, totally unpredictable. He’s a good speaker on an emotional level, if you are willing to ignore facts and logic.

  28. 31

    lpbbear spews:

    I live in the area. A while back Wenatchee went through an earlier phase and created another “convention center” that was originally supposed to be named after a local benefactor (Stanley Center, now Coast Center or some other name) who had generously donated a substantial amount of money to the project. Near completion and after his death the name was changed after some large corporation or developer stepped in. Now the original local benefactor is given second billing.

    Wenatchee is a nice little town that suffers from the same kind of deluded mentality among its local 1% that many American towns suffer from, that of having bigger britches than it actually wears. There was zero need here for a second convention center, nor an “improved waterfront district, nor a hockey team, nor a baseball team, or pushing out the lower income small trailer park community that used to sit in one of the areas affected by these grand plans. If you were to ask the citizens of the area prior to all this whether they wanted these changes most would have either said no or not cared being too busy trying to survive in this economy. They weren’t asked and as usual the 1% that run this world went right on ahead with their ridiculous stuffing their pockets with money plans.

  29. 32

    Anal spews:

    “I thought Republicans were against bailouts?”

    I though Democrats loved stimulation?

  30. 33

    rhp6033 spews:

    # 31: It’s not confined to small cities, there’s always the “Greater Whatever” movement in small and medium towns and cities across the U.S. The 1% expect to profit directly from their finanical interests in the project, paid for by the rest of us. But on a second-tier level, you have hundreds of members of the local Rotery and Chamber of Commerce types who hope a rising economy will bring more money into the region to raise their property values, increase tourist money into the local hotels and restaurants, etc. They used the prospect of “free money” (originating from the “other Washington”) to make it seem like it was a no-brainer, just manna from heaven. Of course, we all pay for it eventually, sooner or later.

    Of course Emmett Watson, the former P.I. columnist (RIP), saw right through these tactics and countered it in a humerous way with his “Lesser Seattle” campaign.

    Money from tourism and conventions has always been attractive to businesses seeking to find a way to make sure the visitors leave with less money than they arrived. In a way it reminds me of the old scams in frontier saloons, which sought to seperate the money from the pockets of the visitors by any hook or crook necessary – inflated prices for watered-down drinks, gambling, and the “upstairs” vices. If that didn’t work, they could find a way to arrest and fine the visitor for any offense immaginable in an amount which equals whatever he had left in his pockets.

    My own hometown in the South was suffering from post-industrial doldrums, and eventually railroads stopped passenger service to the city, and few visitors stopped on the freeway on their journey from the upper mid-west to Florida. So when I grew up there was a constant effort among the city “elite” to find one way or another to get visitors to stop at the city and spend some dollars on the aging tourist attractions. But after a temporary boom in interest in Civil War sites during the centinial of the war, interest dropped off completely. It wasn’t until well after I had left that they began to make some investments in improving the city itself, which actually started to pay off in attracting both tourists and new industries to the city.

    So I’m not against infrastructure improvements, I’m all for it. But it needs to be done in a smart fashion. Competing with other small cities for tourist/convention dollars when the geography just doesn’t support such a strategy is dumb.

  31. 34

    rhp6033 spews:

    Speaking of tourist/visitors, a quick check of the internet reveals the following statistics for Seattle/King County:

    Visitor Volume
    Total Overnight Visitors 8.8 Million

    Visitor Profile
    Median Age 40 yrs.
    Median Household Income $74,300
    Average Travel Party Size 2.1 people
    Per Day Travel Party Expenditures $204
    Average # of Nights Stayed 5.7

    Purpose of Trip
    Visiting Friends/Relatives 37%
    Pleasure/Vacation/Special Events 43%
    Business 10%
    Convention/Conference/Meetings 5%
    Other 5%

    2009 VISITOR IMPACT TO SEATTLE/KING COUNTY

    Now, lots of cities would kill for that type of visitor volume. But I found it puzzling. I know that hotel rooms in downtown Seattle and Bellevue are scarce in the summer months, and command a premium price. But notice that convention business is only 10% of visitor volume, and business travel is another 5%. The lion’s share of visitors are there for “Pleasure, Vaction, Special Events (43%), or to visit friends and relatives (37%).

    So it looks like all our investment into the state convention center makes only an incremental increase in the number of visitors to Seattle.

    I’m really curious what visitors to Seattle do that encompases “Pleasure, Vacation, and Special Events”. I noticed that this really didn’t seem to include traditional “family” vacations, as the medium for visitor party size was only 2.1 people (presumably spouses or “significant others”). You can spend a day downtown touring the Pike Place Market, waterfront, and Seattle Center, but what after that? A ferry across the sound? Rock climbing in the cascades? Learning to sail on Green Lake? I really like Seattle, but it’s never seemed to me to be a “tourist destination” town.