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A Wilmington taxpayer asks "Mr. Answer Man" a question.

Dear Mr. Answer Man,

The other night, on Halloween, two of my friends were arguing over who’s scarier; Carnival Sideshow Barkers or Professional Baseball People. At first I thought that was a really silly argument but, now that I think about it, I’m not so sure. Who’s right?

ILM Taxpayer


Dear ILM Taxpayer,

That sure sounded like a crazy question at first but, because you live in Wilmington, I can certainly understand why you would ask it.

Carnival Barkers always promise you something that’ll probably never live up to your expectations once you’ve paid them for the price of admission to whatever sideshow they’re selling admission to. The dancing girl is always prettier than the Queen of Sheba; the Wild Man from Borneo is always the wildest man ever, etc. I’m sure you get the idea. The Carnival Barker always makes sure to tell you that the cost of admission is so low you’d almost have to be crazy not to purchase a ticket. The Carnival Barker will move from town to town selling the same story wherever he can.

The Baseball Person will do essentially the same thing. A new stadium, for example, will be the greatest thing that’ll ever come to your town. Additional revenues will flood into your town like a tsunami. It’ll have all kinds of promised uses and your city will be so proud of it, all of the citizens will get together for a gigantic hug fest every week. The Baseball Person will also makes sure to tell you that the cost is so low (as little as one fast food meal a week) that you’d almost have to be crazy not purchase a “ticket”.

Both of them will obviously promise you anything in order to extract some money from your wallet. The Carnival Barker will probably be in your town for about a week and then he’ll move on. Unless you’re an idiot, he’s not going to be able to fool you twice once you’ve been inside the tent. The Baseball Person pretty much assumes he’s only going to get one chance to be able to fool you as well. The difference is, even if you only get fooled once by the Baseball Person, you’ll still have to pay the price of admission each and every night for the next twenty years instead of just once, regardless of whether or not you even “go into the tent” or regardless of whether the “carnival” is even still in town!

That’s what makes the Baseball Person so much scarier. Neither one will actually tell you the truth but in one instance you’ll be out some pocket change, in the other it’ll be something that’ll affect you for decades. For your sake, ILM Taxpayer, I can only hope that you'll give that some serious consideration before you vote on this stadium referendum!

Mr. Answer Man


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