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Mr Neumann stat recently that trying to get a stadium here was a 12 year process which is culminating with our rejection of this bond. There have been discussions since the previous mayor was in office.
A very long time ago I was meeting with a friend down town (a business owner) and learned that Mandalay had already ruled out ROT as a source of funding for the stadium. He was then asked which financing procedure would garner the support of the down town merchants and landowners. It was decided a property tax was the BEST way to spread the cost around without hurting downtown businesses.
Then what happened?
Then NSS surveyed the down town businesses using city and Chamber Data Bases (again more business people) folks as to how much support they would give the stadium and how much they'd be willing to pay for it.
They knew, before the survey was conducted, that this was the best way to show business support for the stadium.
They basically told them that they would not charge them for the stadium, nor pursue taxing their customers as a way to get their support. Yes many of them do pay property taxes - and some of them pay a LOT of property taxes - but on the whole they had all agreed this was the least painful way to go - FOR THEM.
The deck had been stacked..........
Unfortunately they did not expect the vehemence of the voter back lash against this stadium tax. When Civitas I came out many people scoffed. Civitas II confirmed what Civitas I did.
It was then that hyphen lady was approached to spearhead a PPP poll in the hopes of equalizing the Civitas polling results. Yes it was paid for privately, however the intent was right from the start to use the poll results as a means to jump start their ad effort with a poll showing increasing support for the stadium.
What they got however, was not good news.
They changed some of the questions and asked again.
The results were astonishingly similar and close to Civitas. (I have heard it ranged from 76% to 84% against with an margin of +/-4%) There were so many questions asked the results were hard to quantify - but the overall drift was and is decidedly against the tax.
I firmly believe that someone or some group got it in their heads that this was so popular that they could "market" this so as to insure it's passage.
From what I've seen outside events have made a bad situation worse for the pro side.
Forget the marketing errors like the Cancer awareness T-shirts that had not one mention of cancer on them.
Or the signs with 10 words on them that are impossible to read at 35 mph. Those were silly mistakes made by someone with roks in their heads.
No, I believe the progress energy rate hike, Insurance rate hike, CFPUA rate hike, possible $300M school bond issue, the baseball bond that takes in $21M more than its supposed to and the continued failure of the CC has driven people to not trust Saffo and company. This trust failure extends to Mandalay who has stated they would pursue other avenues for funding should the bond fail.
Apparently most folks feel they should have been doing this in the first place.
I've heard more and more people say why didn't hey pursue private investment right from the start?
"the people" should not be the "first avenue" of funding for stadium builds. But I go back to the interaction between Mandalay and business people and think how could I have missed that "sign" of things to come. Of how businesses put Mandalay into the position of having to come to us first. And how bad this makes Mandalay look.
I hope the MOU gets cancelled upon referendum failure because I suspect the backlash against Mandalay will be very steep should they come up with private funding now, instead of coming in with it right from the start



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