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ONLY ON 3: Mayor Saffo discusses latest baseball developments

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Mayor discusses latest ballpark developments, petition rejection
saffo3.jpg

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- In an exclusive live interview, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo talked with WWAY about the latest developments in the discussions on a ballpark for the Port City. Among the topics he discussed were the bond referendum City Council is considering to pay for the ballpark, citizen feedback and input on the plan and the rejection of a petition with thousands of signatures opposing taxpayer funding for the project.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Yikes

You mean the way your ancestors got free labor and ripe the benefits.Every homeless person is not on crack or addicted to any drugs.Have you ever heard of mental illness.Everyone that live in public housing are not lazy.Do they all work no,do they all want to work probably not.When they do build the stadium you can bet those that want to work will work,those that don't will not.Maybe one or two of your friends that aren't working will join the work force.What was the point of your comment.Are you from Detriot(if so you might have to move again).

I just had a stunning idea -

I just had a stunning idea - How about the City forgoes the idea of a baseball stadium, and puts their efforts and available monies forward to help UNCW get a football team!!!!!! It's all local, we all win!!!!!!

Funny

I think it's funny how everyone on here constantly says that the "voters" don't want this ball park. Just because a majority of the 100 or so commenters on this forum don't want it doesn't mean that a majority of voters doesn't want it. Personally I haven't spoken to a single person who doesn't want the ballpark, myself included. Granted I can afford it if taxes go up a bit to cover the cost and many can't. I'm not saying it's right or wrong or should or shouldn't come, just commenting on the fact that there are plenty of people who do want to see this park be built, even if it means the city pays for it. To date I haven't seen or heard of any real polls that say one way or another...

I'll ask you only one question, MAJ

Do you think paying for entertainment is a function of government?

WilmingtonMAJ

The NSS report included a survey that was distributed through the Wilm Convention Center, Chamber of Commerce and one other venue. It was not a blanket survey of city residents. 31% of the respondents were county NOT city residents and were commenting on something that did not affect their own tax rate.
Everyone LIKES baseball and everyone wants baseball - so long as the major costs are paid for by someone else. Back before the survey was released Mandalay and Atlanta told the city the stadium was paid for by private investors and the city's portion of the overall project was minimal.
After the survey was conducted private investment disappeared. I wonder if it was because the survey said we'd pay a part of the cost.
Thats why many are so upset.
If it's free we want it - who wouldn't?
But we went from all construction paid for to very little paid for and from a lot of private investment to little or no private investment.
All the while Atlanta team is sitting on $900M in cash.
There is no doubt everyone likes or tolerates baseball - but no one likes it enough to want a tax increase to pay for it.
Those that live here are against it. Guys like Duke who don't like it are for it.
I wish the survey had been done professionally using those people affected by it only, but given who did the survey you can see why they did it the way they did. They surveyed trying to get the answers they wanted - because if its built they would profit from it...
We failed at baseball before due to lack of attendance. I don't know whats different about this team.....

Best Regards
Vog

Understood

Personally I would be fine paying a small tax increase for the stadium and to have a team here, but I realize i'm in the minority. Oh well...

Saffo is politician

And also a real estate agent developer.

Here's why he stumbled and appeared to repeat things:

Back in April this stadium was touted as being paid for by private investors. Now Mandalay said private investment is off the table.

Back in April the NSS report said they would build a 6404 seat stadium. Now a developer/builder - who happens to be the owner of the land where the stadium will be located said he could build a stadium for $25M - but it will be 3500 hard seats or a size reduction of 45% from the NSS report.

Why do we want our government involved in a private enterprise? We are not a "corp"ocracy. Yes give them tax breaks as an enticement - but to build the building used/leased by a single private enterprise to make a profit? This is government intrusion into the private marketplace on a grand scale paid for NOT by revenue bonds but by general obligation bonds.
No one can answer why this is different than the Port City Roosters.
No one can answer why the private investors pulled out.
Odd...........

Bet Regards
Vog

When Saffo was campaigning

When Saffo was campaigning for his last re-election, he said that he would not support a taxpayer funded stadium because Wilmington could not afford it. I wish he would tell me how the money suddenly appeared. I have some bills to pay.

Seats versus capacity

@Vog-we have been through this,save your dramatics.
The proposed capacity is 6299 and this includes 1400 Lawn Seats.
The balance is chairbacks,and suite seats.
There is no 45% reduction in seats,give it a rest.
Their is nothing wrong,or illegal about the City using a stadium to make money.
Not one thing,again you "scare" Wilmingtonians thinking we are all going under......
Not the case.
You continue to show your ignorance,or lack of either facts,knowledge how this industry works.
That is why we leave this up to those who know,like NSS/MANDALAY who are 2 industry leaders.

Duke

still can't answer the questions can you?
What about the port city roosters
What about Mandalay saying the city wouldn't have to pay in April and now we have to pay all of not most of the costs?

I have made no insinuation about Wilmington going under - far from it.
I was quoting the SNO and WWAY article about the developer and land owner who said he could build the stadium for $20M to $25M with 3500 hard seats which is different than Mandalays initial 6404 seat offering.
Nothing more nothing less.

Please advise when you move to Wilmington and pay taxes to support the stadium - maybe then I'll pay more attention to your posts
It always easy to spend other peoples money.......

Vog

It's not about who likes baseball and who doesn't

It's about the city assuming an enormous amount of debt that it simply cannot afford for something that is not a necessity or function of government.

The city is already carrying a large debt load (about $3260 per resident) and tacking another $50-100 million (interest included) on top of an already burdensome level of indebtedness is insane. City taxes will creep up, move up, and eventually take off like a bottle rocket when these inflated, fantastic pipe dreams of stadium success come home to roost.

If the county residents are watching this as disinterested, outside observers, wake up. We've already had two current county commissioners make statements about the county having an interest in the stadium, and all it will take is one or two future election cycles with big contributions from those with financial interests in the stadium, to have the county reaching for its checkbook too. We may not be able to vote on this referendum in November, but you can let your feelings be known and throw a few bucks toward those trying hard to end this nonsense, so they can buy some advertising.

Chad Adams hit the nail on the head when he compared the city council to crack addicts yesterday. They know it's crazy, but they simply can't NOT blow your money.

Semi-Truths

"NSS said baseball is a good thing for Wilmington"

No, Bill, that's not exactly what they said. I was watching when you (dramatically) asked the NSS guy, "Tell us what we want to know. Is baseball good for Wilmington?" The reply was, "Well, it could be." He then went on to hem and haw about variables and possibilities and could bes and maybes. If the question had been "Is baseball BAD for Wilmington?" the response would have been similar.

Consultants are modern day carnival psychics. They gather whatever information they can about you, then give you vague, non-specific answers that you're free to interpret as you want. The only solid answer this guy gave was, "That didn't fall within the scope of our study". Know what that means? "If you want better answers, you have to give us more money." So, of course, our council fell eagerly all over themselves to oblige.

“Cheer for your favorite

“Cheer for your favorite Stockton California sport while you enjoy the waterfront view of Downtown Stockton . The Stockton waterfront events center defines the city’s redevelopment efforts, and includes the 10,000-seat Stockton Arena, plus the adjacent Stockton Ballpark. Watch as three professional teams do battle here — including the new Thunder Hockey team and the Oakland A’s farm team, the Stockton Ports. Don’t miss the action on the college circuit either. If you’d rather play than watch, tee off on one of our beautiful golf courses. Stockton is the ideal place for
good sports.
Chalk up a win for Stockton. Sports are here to stay. Get all the city of Stockton sports information, and come to enjoy a game or two before visiting the sites in nearby Northern California.”

” Expensive city investments — a promenade, a sports arena and a hotel — failed to produce an economic boon.”

Well guess which large California city is bankrupt now !

John

In addition to Stockton CA you can now add San Bernadino CA home of the Inland Empire 66ers the Minor League-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.
No, real estate wasn't the problem here Duke.
San Bernadino pop of about 220,00
The metro area includes Riverside CA and another fairly large city but the "metro" population was over way over 500,000
Attendance was averaging 4500 per game, or about 2% of SB's population.
This, as I have pointed out to you has been the average for most A level minor league teams. This, in an area of over 1/2 million people.
Why does NSS say we would have 3% attendance? Why is that when the Port City Roosters, a AA farm team could only muster 900 attendees per game?
The attendance is overstated based on historic hard attendance figures of previous minor league teams here.
Because of this over estimate, economic impact is also overstated. Taxpayer pointed out the absolutely bizarre increased sales tax figures.
Sorry, but given the wave of municipal bankruptcies I don't believe now is the time for Wilmington to be putting out ANY, repeat, ANY money for an entertainment venue. We should be playing close to the vest with out tax dollars........
We are not in danger of bankruptcy - we want to keep it that way.

Best Regards
Vog

Stockton

Is a real bad example,as we all know what happened to California real-estate.it devalued.
We are not in that cycle.

Minor league Team

It would be nice to go to a large stadium, and sing, "take me out to the ball game," drink some miller 64, and spend time with friends watching a riveting game. Build it and they will come, don't build it and they will not come. Maybe Michael Jordon could help you guys out. Why not name the stadium "Michael Jordon arena," after all he was a ball player, and a former Wilmingtonian, and he was tag less.

We want a profitable team,a winner

Hence do not bring MJ here,an awesome player,one of the best.
As far as owner/general manager he is not good,and wherever he assumes this role his teams are just "horrible".
So we will take MJ'S money,but as far as ownership,management-NO.

Hey WWAY ... Did Saffo insist on a completly scripted interview?

Last time Saffo had a large list of requirements prior to blowing off an interview with you. What requirements were asked for and accomodated this time, if any?

In an attempt to answer my own question:

I would have to guess that Saffo did require scripting for the interview but also required non disclosure from WWAY as part of the deal. Past behavior is always a pretty good indicator of present behavior.

A non response on your part would certainly be a strong indicator that this was the case.

Either way, WWAY, thanks for putting him, if not in the hot seat, at least in the warm seat.

$affo looked like he had a mouthul of sawdust during interview

Can't remember seeing an innocent man looking so guilty. $affo kept clearing his throat and dry-swallowing every time he was asked a question.

When asked why the city has continued with this when polls have overwhelmingly indicated otherwise, he gave a totally disingenuous response about making sure all bases were covered. That didn't even begin to make sense.

Why would $affo and cronies continue to persue this in the face of overwhelming negative response?

With the irrational behaviour coming out of city council, it's seriously starting to look like somehow, in some way, someone is about to line someone's pockets in a seriously wrong way.

It's time for this to come to an end.

Not Convincing

Saffo's attempt to make himself and council look good failed. First C. Rivenbark needs to keep his big mouth shut as he tries to silence media who have fairly reported on council's actions. He is tired of getting caught doing his dirty business and it being reported. Too bad, voted out before and will happen again. Now back to Saffo. Check his interview out and you will observe him making the same comment several times. He struggles to make his thoughts clear as trying to cover up for previous lies it is hard to avoid revealing them. He is thick tongued, another indication of deception. He kept talking about its their job to look into this matter. I want to remind you that you are a representative of the majority of citizens and it is your job to go by our concerns which is no tax funds for a ballpark. Why pursue this matter when every poll, email comments have strongly stated no, no,no. But you go on and only one concept comes to mind, personal financial gain. Quit it before you get caught and spend some time with former Representative Wright.

As the Mayor speaks.....

Saffo just said that the voters will decide and that will be it. Would everyone please get your friends and neighbors registered to vote and make sure they do. The more people that vote, the bigger defeat this will be for the King, his Court, and his 2 jesters. Nothing will be sweeter than Chuck and Terry trying to explain how their polls were not correct after all. There are 5.1 billion reasons to vote against tax payer money being used to finance this stadium. The owner of the Braves can easily afford to pay for his own playpen. Make him pay or let him leave!

Oh Rickie

Star News revisited,so now you leap to WWAY to argue the 5.1 billion argument.
Again Rick,does Walmart pay for distribution centers?
No they float bond-issues.
This is how the"real' business sector works.
USING OPM--"other peoples money" for growth and profits is historical as well as fine,as long as we get our fair share.
And you are not qualified to determine "fair share".
Give it a rest.let the intelligent decide.

@ 1981duke aka Chuck

@ 1981duke aka Chuck Kuebler, The owner of the Atlanta Braves reported wealth as of March of this year is 5.1 billion dollars. I don't care what WalMart or anyone else does. This fact must really worry you. What is the matter, are you having a hard time figuring out how to convince people that might be struggling in this economy to vote for a tax increase for themselves to pay for a stadium for someone this wealthy? I'll admit this is a hard sell. Maybe you can come up with some more “predictions.” Predictions are all that you have, hard facts that you can prove are not available to you. Your beloved NSS even shot holes in your earlier predictions of 5,000 fans per game for 70 games a year. Private investors have bailed out, Mandalay's proposal is insulting. You claim they are negotiating, I call it insulting. This whole process has been a not so funny and costly joke from the beginning. The only people guaranteed anything in this proposal are Mandalay, the Braves, and their billionaire owner. Everything else is just maybes, what ifs, and predictions by people that want this stadium so bad it has clouded their judgment. I do not doubt your love of baseball, I do however disagree with your belief that you are way smarter than everyone else, and have the right to instruct them how to spend their money. One more time just for you. THERE ARE 5.1 BILLION REASONS THE TAX PAYERS DO NOT NEED TO PAY FOR THIS STADIUM!

Duke

Correct but you're talking private industry versus government.
Walmart will "sell" a bond to raise money for construction. The people who WANT them buy a corporate bond. In this case property owners will be FORCED to pay. Don't get me wrong this is how this works. There will be a vote but in essence, the people who are against this have no choice. Corporate bonds are bought by people WITH a choice
Its a question of infrastructure(needs) versus wants.
We need police, fire, water, sewer and schools
We don't need a baseball stadium - so Mandalay has to "sell" the city on the idea that this debt is good debt.
Unfortunately debt in itself has become the dirtiest of 4 letter words.
Most people will pay, begrudgingly, for infrastructure (even if they don't have kids in the schools) - but to ask them to pay for something they don't like, then feel they don't need, and they don't want and you get this situation.
Apples to oranges - try again

Vog

No Apples to Apples

@Vog,
a BOND is the path that will be taken,unless I win the 'powerball".
Hence you will get your 1 vote,we feel confident others will adopt to solidify the Community.
You do a good job trying to "tear down" things,in the demolition business?
Would not surprise me but to outlast the will for Baseball here you do not have enough years to outlast the "best/popular" choice.

Apples to rotten fruit Duke?

OK let me go through this slowly so even YOU can understand it.
WalMart issues bonds to build a dist center - your example. People who want to buy the corporate bonds do so. Its "democratic" and all who buy them UNANIMOUSLY "elected" to buy them
The city puts a bond to a vote - lets assume it passes like the parks bond did. EVERY taxpayer (except you) pays this, whether they voted for or against the park bond
In city bonds you socialize the bond by forcing EVERYONE to pay.

You are confusing a successful vote with a unanimous outcome and it's not. Its kinda like the NSS survey. 47% said they favored a private public deal 40% did not. That leaves 13% in the undecided or don't know don't care. You DON"T have the majority of the voters because if that 13% votes against it you lose. You are assuming you have mandate when in fact all you've got is a poll written by people who would profit by a yes vote.

So Duke - do you pay city of Wilmington property taxes?
Can't answer the question? Don't want to answer the question?
Yeah - kinda figured that.......supporting spending OPM is a very easy thing to do when YOU don't have to pay it back...

Best Regards
Vog

Apples to rotten fruit Duke?

OK let me go through this slowly so even YOU can understand it.
WalMart issues bonds to build a dist center - your example. People who want to buy the corporate bonds do so. Its "democratic" and all who buy them UNANIMOUSLY "elected" to buy them
The city puts a bond to a vote - lets assume it passes like the parks bond did. EVERY taxpayer (except you) pays this, whether they voted for or against the park bond
In city bonds you socialize the bond by forcing EVERYONE to pay.

You are confusing a successful vote with a unanimous outcome and it's not. Its kinda like the NSS survey. 47% said they favored a private public deal 40% did not. That leaves 13% in the undecided or don't know don't care. You DON"T have the majority of the voters because if that 13% votes against it you lose. You are assuming you have mandate when in fact all you've got is a poll written by people who would profit by a yes vote.

So Duke - do you pay city of Wilmington property taxes?
Can't answer the question? Don't want to answer the question?
Yeah - kinda figured that.......supporting spending OPM is a very easy thing to do when YOU don't have to pay it back...

Best Regards
Vog

Apples to rotten fruit Duke?

OK let me go through this slowly so even YOU can understand it.
WalMart issues bonds to build a dist center - your example. People who want to buy the corporate bonds do so. Its "democratic" and all who buy them UNANIMOUSLY "elected" to buy them
The city puts a bond to a vote - lets assume it passes like the parks bond did. EVERY taxpayer (except you) pays this, whether they voted for or against the park bond
In city bonds you socialize the bond by forcing EVERYONE to pay.

You are confusing a successful vote with a unanimous outcome and it's not. Its kinda like the NSS survey. 47% said they favored a private public deal 40% did not. That leaves 13% in the undecided or don't know don't care. You DON"T have the majority of the voters because if that 13% votes against it you lose. You are assuming you have mandate when in fact all you've got is a poll written by people who would profit by a yes vote.

So Duke - do you pay city of Wilmington property taxes?
Can't answer the question? Don't want to answer the question?
Yeah - kinda figured that.......supporting spending OPM is a very easy thing to do when YOU don't have to pay it back...

Best Regards
Vog

STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY

STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY
WE DO NOT WANT A BASEBALL FIELD/TEAM/FRANCHAISE
TAKE THE "WELCOME TO WILMINGTON" SIGN DOWN AT THE MOMKEY JUNCTION TACO BELL
YOU LOST
LEAVE US ALONE