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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY/WHQR) — WWAY NewsChannel 3 and WHQR-FM 91.3 are excited to announce that we will be co-hosting Wilmington’s only “OFFICIAL” baseball stadium debate featuring Mayor Bill Saffo and City Councilman Kevin O’Grady along with “Vote No Stadium Tax” spokesperson Scott Harry and Jim Rafferty, who is also with the group.

This will be the only debate featuring both the mayor and the anti-tax funded stadium group.

It will be TONIGHT beginning at 7 p.m. on WHQR-FM 91.3 and on RTV, as well as streamed live at whqr.org and at WWAYTV3.com. On Time Warner Cable RTV is channel 106, on ATMC channel 903, on Charter Cable channel 145 and over the air at 3.2.


Comment on this Story

  • WriteRight

    I don’t care how “they” looked. I’m voting based on how my checking account looks at the end of each day. The citizens of this country, state, county and city are getting taxed enough. People are making tough choices due to this economy. But the choice I will make on November 6 will be a fairly easy one for me in regards to this issue. I will not vote for taxpayer funded baseball to be put on the backs of hard working people. But if looks really sway some that much, I draw your attention to our current president. Everybody seems to think he looked good in 2008 too. Looks can be deceiving and it is always a wise decision to do your own homework and not depend on some polished presentation/debate to determine “your” opinion. They could have stood up and jumped up and down on a sofa like Tom Cruise on Oprah for all I care. Still voting no.

  • Shaun O’Rourke

    It is a complete shock that Mayor Saffo has the nerve to feel vilified. Maybe if this baseball stadium was handled right the first time with transparency then maybe he would have had support instead of spitting in the citizens proverbial face.

    The back door deals that negotiated nothing in favor of the city was a complete failure.

    For Saffo and O’Grady to state “this is it”, that there would be no baseball after this is a joke. I bet Leland jumps all over this when the vote comes down not in favor of the City of Wilmington. I hope Cal Ripken’s people are watching this closely.

  • Rick Wilson

    Please explain your back pedaling remark. Scott stated that AFP has supplied funding for his side. They have also had contributions from private citizens, myself included. As far as schooled in financing, can you name a tax that ever goes away? If not for this bond, the taxes do not go up 2.5 cents per hundred. If a future council does not reduce or do away with it, it will cost 75 million dollars over 20 years, and it can stay forever.

    I know there are people that want this as much as I am opposed to it. That is their/your right. It all comes down to the following:

    1- Are you willing to vote yourself a tax increase for a deal that is not finalized and signed by all parties?
    2- Do you think it is OK for public money to sponsor private profit? Even when this private business (Mandalay) is going to compete with other businesses that did not receive any welfare benefits.
    3- Do you think the tax payers putting up 54 million to receive 10 million in rent is a fair deal?
    4- Will you fall for scare tactics? Councilman O’Grady says if we pass on this, it might never be offered again. Really? Minor league has failed miserably twice in the past “because of lack of beer” but here is Mandalay knocking on the door.
    5- Our downtown is not a slum. The property can sit as the city continues to collect property taxes, waiting for investors that pay for their own buildings.
    6- This is a terrible deal for the city, I can not believe that the Mayor and Councilman O’Grady are proud of the deal they negotiated,Mandalay’s negotiators are the one’s with something to be proud of.
    7- The projected 168 million dollar revenue is just that, a projection. Even if it is true, The 2.2 million the city pays each year against a projection is a huge risk. This 8.4 million per year revenue, I would love to see a projected break down of where it will come from. Otherwise it is just a number pulled out of the air. To be able to accurately project this revenue, there should also be some breakdowns of how it will be generated.
    8- The Mayor’s statement that the 5 most prosperous cities in N.C. all have baseball stadiums, I bet they also have car dealerships, public restrooms, and multitudes of other businesses. Is is fair or correct to give the stadium all of the credit?
    9- The owner of the Braves is a multibillionaire. I am not envious or do I dislike him because he is this wealthy. I do feel that he should be willing to build his own stadium, pay his own upkeep of said stadium, and pay property taxes on his stadium. Then he would become an asset to this community instead of a moocher…..

  • Paying Attention

    Scott Harry said they were giving copies of the documents they talked about to the media that was there so I don’t know why you think they are mysterious. I thought the NO guys did a pretty good job but I thought the politicians just did what politicians do and talked out both sides of their mouths. Who voted for this O’Grady guy? Must of been people that never heard him talk. He was just terrible. It was really funny when everybody there laughed at him. I will be glad when he runs again, so we can get rid of him for good.

  • Katherine

    Really? I thought they were very clear on where their funds came from. AFP, through their Wilmington chapter, offered to help them with money after they heard what they were trying to do. AFP paid for their TV ads and some signs. Other than that, they’ve had many, many local citizens give them money to keep them going. None of that has ever been hidden or denied, so I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make?

    As to “embarrassing”, I certainly didn’t find it so. These were just two regular guys, going up against a New York lawyer and a long-time politician. I thought they were sincere, likable, and very believable. I can most definitely not say the same about Mr. O’Grady, nor Mr. Saffo. O’Grady came off as petty, arrogant, and condescending. Saffo was blustering and angry. Not a good look for the two are *supposed* to be professionals.

  • Katherine

    It appears our city leaders couldn’t be bothered with actually doing research and getting real answers. Their statements tonight really brought that fact home. They hand their whole justification on “hopes and dreams”, not hard facts. Such a pity, when it’s our tax dollars they’re gambling with.

  • Vog46

    The way I saw it, nor the friends I had with me
    The NO side finished very strong and the Mayor seemed to waffle in his final two minutes..
    It still gets defeated


  • Hysterical

    That was embarrassing for them. Unprepared and schooled in financing. They looked how they act on this board. Folks with bad data, arguments that dont work, and tea party funding from out of state based on ideology not the best plan for Wilmington. They looked like Obama in the first debate!! Laughable. Maybe it doesnt go through next month, but baseball is coming, that was clear from the debate. Shocked. They sure back pedaled when someone asked how they are funded. Lol…

  • Haha, the no folks look like Obama in the 1st debate

    Looks like some folks only listen to themselves so much ( as the board here certainly proves) and now they are getting a lesson in financing and data, hahaha. No way you can watch this debate and see the Mayor, successful local businessman, and city councilmen support the stadium with hard data and the old curmudgeons just talk about “Mysterious documents” and then have to ask the City for help. Lol. This is basically WHQR asking a question, the NO folks interviewing the city for public data they didnt bother to prepare with, and then retreating to arguments they have yelled for months, even before a deal was even decided! hahaha, this is a riot. Never posted before but this is too good to pass up. Win or lose this election baseball is coming and the NO folks will have to go back to the Tea Party’s next shouting match. Classic.

  • ChefnSurf

    Enough is enough. Even though I’ve been passionate about what I percieve as a potentially perpetuated injustice by a few upon the many, it’s time to stop. Occasionally, because I really do have stong feelings on this issue, I’ve dripped an excess of acid into my keystrokes. Mea culpa.

    Regardless of which side of this issue you’re on, I sincerely hope that your opinions were based on altruisic motivations. If not, you’re probably still not my favorite person.

    That’s it. I’m essentially done with this.

    (Well OK, just a few more things … For now …Hey, did I mention that of my 5 posts, 2 were so tiny they really didn’t count? … Did I mention that Dukie still holds the record for most posts? … Darn, I just can’t stop typing!… Yikes! I just set my keyboard on fire in an effort to stop posting and yet I’m still typing! … One (oww!) more (oww!) thing ……………)

  • Rick Wilson

    You are correct, it is up to the voters. I hope to see you at the ballpark that the Ripken group will build with private funding. I believe everyone would like to see a team and stadium, the rub has been who pays for it. The voters will decide, as it should be.

  • SurfCityTom

    the Durham re-development would have taken place whether the stadium had been built or not. The surrounding area was primarily run down and abandoned warehouses; and in some cases the owners donated ownership of them for re-development.

    Baltimore had a similar problem prior to construction of Camden Yards. The surrounding residential area was run down and in many instances abandoned.

    The city took over the abandoned properties through eminent domain; sold the properties to owner occupants for $1; loaned those buyers the funds needed to rehab the properties.

    The result, Baltimore had a significant improvement in tax base along with the interest on the funds which had been loaned.

    But these pro stadium folks do not get the message. The interest in Baltimore was paid to the city, not by the city.

  • Vog46

    You are confusing the NSS report and the MOU
    Again from the MOU:

    Except as provided in Section 4(e) below, during the Term (as defined below) the
    Operator shall receive all revenues from the management, operation, and use of the Ballpark
    including, but not limited to, revenues generated by: 5
    (1) ticket sales for events held by the Operator;
    (2) the sale of “club seats” and “box seats,” seat licenses to home games, private club
    memberships, and suites;
    (3) the sale of food, beverages, and merchandise;
    (4) the sale of pouring rights;
    (5) the sale of broadcasting rights for home games played and for other events at the
    (6) the sale of naming rights for the Ballpark (subject to Section 6 below) ; and
    (7) the sale of advertising, signage, and sponsorships

    could the city add a ticket surcharge? I suppose they could but I would have to assume it would be in this MOU.
    I remember one version of this deal involving $1/tckt over 300,000 but I do not see it in this MOU.
    And don’t forget – the multi-use aspect. With the exception of 10 city sponsored events ALL non tenant events are Operator sponsored.
    So Mandalay keeps all their tkt revenues.


  • Vog46

    The tobacco warehouse that was renovated houses office now. Duke University moved enough people over there to occupy 80% of that complex alone! Great to advertise saying the new down town is bustling.

    But the bustle is NOT coming from the ball park, nor is it CAUSED by the ball park.
    The only thing the ballpark has done for Durham is to lose them money on a continuing, ongoing basis……..


  • Guest Reply

    Maybe they don’t have a good “text” plan…Surf,Chef,Vog and Rick that is.

  • Huh?

    This is the most confusing post I have ever seen. Haha.

  • Mr.T

    It,s about 11:30 am on Thursday and this story has been very popular?
    Popular for four people that is. Surf,Chef,Vog and Rick have posted 40 of the total here and hundreds through this process. I applaud their passion and respect their right to share concerns on this volatile subject. I also find it amusing how hostile they each become as they express their feelings toward those that disagree with their position. I will now leave this debate and end by saying it’s the voters turn to decide this issue. How ever the vote may go, I wish all of Wilmington, those for and those against, best wishes in the future.
    This has been a lot of fun and fun is the only way I have approached this debate. I offer my apology for any time when my fingers may have outdistanced my better judgement.
    Wilmington will be a great Baseball City whenever this may happen.

  • Vog46

    In doing my research into baseball stadiums and such I continuously run into the comparison with Durham, NC.
    It’s funny that the pro side wants to compare us to Durham for certain things but not other things. In other arguments they say things like “OH Vog thats Triple AAA ball not the same its not the same as single A”. That is true. The anti side likes to say Durham has over 1.7 MILLION People nearby and that’s why they are successful. This is also true.
    It’s also true that Durham had a badly deteriorated downtown and at the same time, had a unique opportunity to land a AAA level minor league team so they did in fact provide a public stadium for them to use, and used the stadium as the first part of a huge down town renovation project.
    The city invested $400M and private industry invested another $700M and counting and the tax “base” increased by $800M according the city’s website.
    So, what affect did this have on taxes? Since 1990 the City of Durhams tax rate has increased from 38 cents or so to the current rate of 56.75 cents per hundred. That’s a 50% increase.
    Additionally, they added another percentage point to the sales tax raising it from 6% to 7%. I believe their ROT is at 6% but I cannot find what it was in 1990. My guess would be it was at 3% or so back then.
    What the pro side needs to remember is that although Durham has grown it has come at a steep price and that the growth has not been enough to overcome the tax implications of that growth. It is bad enough for any municipality to deal with rising health care cost for employees and for inflation’s affect on the goods and services the city buys for it’s operational budget but to add debt in the hopes of jump starting growth at taxpayers expense seems NOT to have worked out.
    It is quite obvious from Durham’s example, that stadiums by themselves, are not drivers of growth and that the growth of private investment does come at a cost to the city. Governments are rapacious animals when it comes to revenues – the more you give them the more they say they need. Durham is a prime example of that. The Durham stadium LOSES money for the city. Our own John Hinnat on the Star news editorial blog said this in a response to another poster recently ”The money you want to make is growth in tax base – and like Durham, has created an additional $800 million in private sector tax base growth since the stadium was completed in 1994. Add to that the additional $300 million of public dollars and Durham has transformed into a community that is routinely cited in national publications as a great place to live and work. Durham’s stadium doesn’t make money as you reference – its about a community asset”
    So after all these years the city paid for stadium DOESN’T make money…..the city’s property taxes are higher…..the sales tax is higher……….the room occupancy tax is higher……….and we say its matter of civic pride? Sure there are more people down town in Durham on a daily basis but the city is paying for that.
    Which brings me to a question. What would have happened had they not built the taxpayer funded stadium? The pro side cannot say the development would NOT have taken place because you don’t know. The anti side cannot say that the stadium DIDN’T have an impact on growth because WE don’t know what would have happened if it wasn’t built.
    We do however know this. The shining example of Durham isn’t so shiny when you consider that the growth failed to overcome the burden to taxpayers for the city’s cost of this growth.
    so whats different about Wilmington?
    First – our down town is not run down. You can argue its a bar scene at night and a working con town during the day but in either case – it is NOT run down. We have VERY LITTLE in the way of vacant lots and buildings with which to “expand”. Durham on the other hand – had entire city blocks of deterioration. It was “ripe” for a big revitalization effort.
    Second – we ARE looking at single A ball here not AAA ball which is one step behind the big leagues
    Third – we already have a community theater and other art related centers
    But what is stunning about both cities is something Durham has just NOW recognized in their new long range plan. They need to have housing in the area. They need people to LIVE in down town. They are making efforts to revitalize and/or build enough units to house a significant population in that area.

    This is where we’re at. Single A ball fields have nowhere near the impact of the big leagues or even Triple AAA ball clubs have – and Durham is a shiny example of a losing stadium proposition.
    River Front Condo’s are the way to go! Property values skyrocket – people in the area 24/7 will attract stores and other businesses.
    Why are there no grocery stores down town? Answer is simple – no one is there after 5pm. There’s no bowling alleys, movie theaters – nothing for a family to do. This would require private investment, but the pro side doesn’t want THAT – they want government intervention into what is a private business.
    That is not the function of government and using Durham as an example it may become a money losing proposition for the city.


  • Peyton Garrett

    Enough of all the BullS+%# bantering back and forth. Kuebler has apparently finally shut up, enough of the facts if not all have been displayed for debate. Quite frankly if everyone has not made their mind up by now, they never will. Vog46 has rendered everything he possibly can. Enough. This has resorted to personal attacks and stooped as low as political jargon. Enough!

  • SurfCityTom

    quite right.

    I’m there every few weeks working.

    And there are a few retail and restaurant business present. And let’s not forget the Center for Performing Arts which some would like to use to justify the convention center.

    But I don’t think you could fill 2 transit buses with the number of people employed by retail and restaurants.

    And Duke had to expand somewhere; they were out of room at the Campus and no place really to expand.

  • SurfCityTom

    hostility is generated by your beleif that everyone is stupid if they do not believe the bag of lies and misrepresentations which you and your cronies spew forth.

  • hughprimrose

    I am not watching the World Series from the comfort of my home. Why would I go downtown to watch Single A ball and drink 3.75 beers. The ones in my frig are 60 cents each.

  • SurfCityTom

    but unless the naming right fee exceeds $300,000, which is extremely unlikely, the fee goes to Mandalanta and not the City which could use the funds to defray some of the debt service or maintenance costs.

    Same goes for ticket revenue; the City gets nothing until 300,001 tickets are sold; again extremely unlikely.

    Vote NO

  • Vog46

    Sorry to disappoint you but the naming rights to the stadium cost money – lots of money. About $275,000 per year money. The city won’t pay that nor will they give it to Margaret Weller Stargell to honor her late husband. It would have to be some corporate sponsor.

    Now the convention center on the other hand COULD be named. Imagine the sign 10 years from now on a deserted building:
    “The William Saffo Municipal Convention Center, Haberdashery, Hair Cutting Salon and Hawaiian Ice Emporium.”
    Paid for by a grateful city ………..

    Brings a tear to your eyes doesn’t it?


  • SurfCityTom


    It’s likely Terry or Dukie with their personal attacks.

    Watch their reaction when the referendum, which would place a $64 Million albatross around the property taxpayers of Wilmington fails.

    Then it will be Bush’s fault.

  • Vog46

    What was it?
    My proving your predictions wrong?
    Proving your economic analysis was wrong?
    Proving the Civitas polling numbers were right?
    Proving your math was all wrong?

    For a guy who touted his marketing abilities and knowledge of this you sure spent a lot of time shooting yourself in the foot.

    I particularly LOVE the cancer awareness shirts with no mention of cancer on them just as you had the audacity to announce to city Council “it’s more than about baseball”.

    Or mentioning Port City Baseball not once but twice on your yard signs and forgetting to put the word VOTE on them.
    This of course made them impossible to read at 35mph

    I also like the comparison of your organization (PCB) to toxic chemicals.

    Terry – there were times when you were polite and informative – heck you even got me to admit I was wrong ! there’s nothing bad about being wrong either – which is a life lesson you have to learn.

    I told you way back when you were running against very strong head winds – some of which had nothing to do with baseball. It is a shame that this couldn’t stay as a baseball only issue but when council went after more than they needed it became truly MORE than about baseball. It became an issue of greed
    Greed by council and the mayor
    And greed by owners who could easily build this themselves

    Good by good luck


  • Guest7969

    This vote will be INVALIDATED! I know of one person NOT in the city that voted on the stadium issue…IF this happens to be a single fluke..OK…but I BET…it gets invalidated because of NHC residents having voted on it…

  • Vog46

    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


  • Katherine

    Lol, who’s angry? I’m actually amused. The irony of the post I responded to was priceless.
    I guess I just need to get me a better man, since according to you that’s what it takes to make my tone clear to you. Weird theory you have, but whatever gets you through your day, I suppose.

  • SurfCityTom

    I knew some of this generally; not all of it specificaly.

    I am not surprised. No wonder Dukie & Terry attack anyone with the audacity to ask questions.

    When you look back at their posts, they all praise the ballpark to the heavans; they note all of the revenue which will be generated.

    And they all react to fact with socialist and personal attacks.

    They forget too, if the insurance rate revision passes and is approved, they add 30% to current homeowner and dwelling fire rates.

    And on NOvember 7, when this initiative has crashed in a firey heap, they’ll blame Bush. Every other Democrat does on any issue.

    I’m surprised they have not had the White House occupant or his Court Jester down to speak in support of another redistribution of wealth.

  • Guest2020

    The only way a taxpayer funded baseball stadium “benefits” this community is in lining the pockets of crooked politicians.

  • Vog46

    “Among the many discussions that come up about the stadium bond issue we seem to see a common thread about property taxes being used as opposed to sales taxes to fund the stadium.
    We could fund this with a tax on rooms or general sales tax – but in the NSS report it was clear these things were discussed, and deemed not appropriate for the stadium. NSS even concluded that an additional 3% on room taxes would make Wilmington’s room tax the highest in the state if it went up to 9%.
    The convention center is funded this way with room occupancy taxes (ROT) going into a fund that the city has opened for this purpose. The fund started, and built up until the construction project was completed. Then it started dispersing it’s funds to cover the cost of the bond and interest and any operating losses. It was felt by the CC supporters that eventually the CC would become self sustaining operationally (meaning the ROT would pay for the bond and interest, and profits from shows would pay for salaries and other operating costs)

    The problem is that the CC has not performed as well as anyone anticipated. In fact it has lost a large amount of money over the years to included 2010 as indicated by the CAFR of 2010 pg 113:


    This shows the CC fund at only $302,000 dollars.
    Now lets look at 2011 CAFR and we see an explanation of the CC and parking deck funds (for the CC)

    Pg 79:

    Convention Center; principal payments due annually on June 1 in installments ranging from $1,010,000 to $3,825,000 beginning June 1, 2017 through June 1, 2038. (average $2,417,000)

    And the parking deck:

    Pg 79:
    portion of the parking deck adjacent to the Convention Center; principal payments due annually on June 1 in installments ranging from $425,000 to $700,000 through June 1, 2028; (average $550,000)

    The combined installment payment is averaged out to $2,960,000 per year

    (By the way Surf City Tom – I also found this on page 87 “the City entered into a three year contractual agreement beginning November 1, 2010 with SMG, LLP (SMG) for the operation of the City’s Convention Center Facility (Center) for a management fee of $100,000 per year.
    Under the agreement, the operations of the Center are maintained in a separate non-incorporated organization”)

    Now in 2011 the CC fund level dropped to $158,553 after a transfer of ($5,292,990) out of the special purpose fund set up to collect ROTs. In other words – the CC continues to gush monies with no end in sight. And we pay $100,000 in fees to SMG to get this type of result.

    Why is this important for the stadium? Well with a bond like we have before us now – the city just pays back a fixed amount each year. We only get $500,000 from them and Mandalay keeps all revenues but if a sales tax were to be used and sales went down the city would have to fund the stadium through general revenues to make up for reduced sales tax receipts. This is what they are facing with CC – when the fund runs out the required monies needed to make the bond and interest payment would come out of the general fund. That is why they didn’t use a sales tax to fund the stadium – people that didn’t want to buy something to support the stadium could drive revenues down to where the city would have to rob from the general revenues funds to pay for it. The property taxpayers were the biggest group they could tax – they couldn’t lose money on it because RE is back up in value and climbing again AND the point could be made that by taxing the collective property owners the cost would be much lower per person which is exactly what the pro side is arguing. It is at its core socialism – government building provided by the “collective” so that a very few could benefit.”


  • Guest0000

    I told StarNews why we shouldn’t have this. They could have years ago got casino boat. The taxes from that could have started a revenue for things like this. If the field comes movie studio could film in there paying those not having a job. I used to go to MLB Spring training down in Fl. For the Pirates most fun my dad & my brother & me.So for those against I understand that you don’t want to pay from your taxes on homes. They should have gotten rid of property tax. Most seniors can’t afford higher taxes. Includes Vehicle tax. I Would like to see private fund make it in this town. Like they said they don’t. Best thing we can do is pay a little extra for while. I mean geez people. Now you act like stick in the mud. Quit doing same routine over & over.

  • Guest 1492

    I had no idea that CFCC was spending money on courses on fitness walking or on basic aerobics, etc. What does that have to do with getting a decent college education?

    Money’s tight these days. Does CFCC really feel comfortable with courses such as these being an appropriate expenditure of funds?

    Maybe that’s what happens when you spend other people’s money. Sounds like the same kind of attitude downtown businesses and city council seem to have about spending other people’s money.

    Perhaps that’s why this CFCC “professor” of “higher” education is so cavalier about spending taxpayer dollars. She just doesn’t know any better.

  • Guest112121

    Once again you have posted something that is nothing but negative. You must be a very angry person Katherine. You need to find yourself a man or a better man or something to help you become a better person. Who has angered you? If it was some time ago, please just let it go. I read your comments last week about the signs. I guess you are a perfect person. If you were, you would not need to resort to being a nasty mean person. Turn that frown upside down.

  • Bromley Jennette

    Can anyone on the Vote No side explain why the Yes! signs are disappearing along the city’s corridors?

  • Robert Green

    Anyone with any degree of business acumen will realize the baseball ( i.e multi-use facility ) deal being proposed is a losing proposition , other than PE teachers and jock sniffers. This UNEDUCATED group of low information people and a small group of beneficiaries are dismissing definitive evidence that shows the project to be a liability to the city and over obligating the taxpayer with another white elephant. The convention center is the other liability that creates a cumulative burden on the citizens. The proceeds from the convention center diverts money away from our beaches and the ballpark dilutes the disposal income distribution per family against competing interests (i.e Sharks and Hammerheads) even further in a struggling economy. There will be no REAL wealth creation in OUR community due to these projects.Another economic development project that puts the taxpayer on the hook in a “pocketbook election” does not bode will for the Wilmington city council. The outcome of this referendum should be a preview of the fate of the city council and the mayor and warning shot to those on city staff to keep some fresh resumes’ on hand.

    As to the EDUCATOR , keep dribbling that ball and blowing that whistle because it appears this limited skill set is what you do best. A public sector employee is essentially a liability on the balance sheet for the private sector ( the wealth creators ) so try to make a more positive impression , before exposing your ignorance , that taxpayers are getting the biggest bang for their buck.

  • WilmingtonNative

    WWAY mentioned a comment about this story regarding apartment dwellers that live inside the city limits who are eligible to vote yes or no for the stadium tax, even though they do not own property in Wilmington….my situation is a little different. I live in the county, and own property in the city and county. I’m not able to vote on this issue, but if I could, I would vote NO to the future Saffo Stadium of Willie Stargell Stadium…….

  • SurfCityTom

    one would think you are Dukie or Terry

  • Katherine

    You can’t spell e-d-u-c-a-t-o-r, and you use poor elementary grammar. I smell another troll. You aren’t good at English and you aren’t good at math if you think this makes for a “benefit to our community”.
    What is it you teach? I need to make sure my son avoids your classes. You’d hate him, he can spell and do math and all that fancy stuff.

  • Guest 10101

    So I guess by default that means it most definately is NOT:
    – A 58 plus million dollar taxpayer debt
    – One of the worst agreements a city could enter into with a professional baseball business
    – A chance for a few insiders to unload a toxic piece of land
    – The worst possible choice, Mandalay, to hook up with for a stadium when another organization was interested in talking about using private funding instead of taxes

    You decided to “highlight” your credentials so I decided to check out the courses CFCC says you’re teaching this fall.
    – Fit and Well for Life
    – Aerobics 1
    – Walking for Fitness
    – Tennis – Beginning
    Not sure which one of those courses makes you an expert on economic developement or even baseball for that matter.

    I can’t think of one logical reason to just rely on your word when you say “It will only be a benefit”, especially when you back that up with absolutely nothing except those excellent credentials you highlighted. My goodness, you don’t even know the name of the team that would play here! (Hint: It’s not the Braves)

  • guest 1269

    This is not meant to be derogatory or condescending, but I don’t know what the relevance of your statement “a eductor in higher ed” is meant to imply. Being a PE teacher at a community college isn’t exactly the same thing as being a professor of economics as an endorsement of public spending.

    I just thought that was a little disingenuous.

  • ChefnSurf

    … the City “accidentally” pulled up a whole bunch of them.

    Apparently, they made a Freudian Slip :-)

  • Rick Wilson

    Did Port City Baseball, the Mayor, and Mandalay really expect the citizens of Wilmington to vote themselves a tax increase so a billionaire beggar can have a free stadium? The fact that they thought the citizens were gullible enough to believe the lies is insulting.

    The true test for this deal is this. Read the agreement. Remove from the agreement where it says the City of Wilmington and insert your name. Now sign the agreement. If you are unwilling to sign the deal with you instead of the city on the hook for the payments, then you should also be unwilling to vote for the bond referendum. It is that simple.

    The fact that there is another option out there that gives this area a stadium without tax payer funding should end the discussion for the current deal. Any economic benefit the area receives from a stadium happens immediately if there is not millions of dollars in loans that have to be paid off first.

    If there is still anyone that has any doubts, go back and read what was claimed the Convention Center would do for the area. None of what was claimed came true. It has become a money pit that is bottomless and requires more and more money to be wasted. They are now recycling the same lies to justify this baseball stadium. The baseball stadium will make money for Mandalay, the Braves, and their billionaire owner because the deal the city signed gives them total control of the stadium and all of the revenue the stadium will generate. The tax payers get to pay for the stadium, and get to pay every single time they want to go to an event held in the stadium. This is like buying a house, sending in your mortgage payment each month, and also paying 10 dollars each night when you come home from work and want to enter your house……..This agreement should start out……..Once upon a time, there was a city government so stupid………

  • Vog46

    Ms Keith and as an educated person you would be aware of the academic studies that say there’s no economic impact from this type of stadium?

    So the pro side is now relegated to trotting out the “its a benefit to our community” argument?
    Puh-lease. The city’s putting forth of $54M in taxpayer funds is an immoral act of government inference in the private marketplace.
    THAT is not a “feel good” argument.


  • SurfCityTom

    my point was that all of these downtown businesses which are to sprout up or continue to have increased prosperity, from a property taxpayer increase, should put some chips on the table as well.

    Sooner or later, tenants will. They just don’t get it yet.

    The “Sounds of Silence” are becoming more prominent.

    For the record, has anyone seen the results of the well publicized poll?

    Has anyone seen a pink tee in public which promotes baseball?

    Has anyone seen one of those high priced, well funded media advertisments which the dashing duo were promotoing as the linchpin of their campaign?

    Does Terry really think he can get another job in banking after all of this?

  • Rick Wilson

    For you to claim to be an educator in higher education and a former collegiate women’s basketball coach, your statement puzzles me. You do realize it is not the Atlanta Braves that they are proposing to bring to Wilmington, it is the Lynchburg Hillcats. It is not major league baseball, it is minor league A baseball. With your higher education would you please explain how spending 58 million dollars in tax payer money is a “Value” for the tax payers spending it? During this whole process, the people for this project just issue blanket statements without any verifiable proof to back them up. Would you care to be different and offer verifiable economic proof to back up your statement? Your statement sounds like many others put out by Mr. Spencer and Mr. Kuebler in the past, especially with the “Go Braves” added to the end of the statement.

    The fact that there is another option out there that gives this area a stadium without tax payer funding should end the discussion for the current deal. Any economic benefit the area receives from a stadium happens immediately if there is not millions of dollars in loans/debt that have to be paid off before realizing the benefits. Wouldn’t this be a much greater option/value for our area?

  • Sandi Keith

    As a eductor in higher ed and a former collegiate women’s basketball coach I know the value that sports can bring to a community. I can’t wait to go to the debate and share my support to the Mayor and to the baseball field. It will only be a benefit to our community! GO Braves!

  • ma_lashley

    I guess everyone sees this from their own perspective Ms. Jennette. I went out one night and put out 25 signs. The next day when I passed through the same corridor, half of them had either been stepped on or picked up and thrown in the ditch nearby.

    What I see is the pro-side ran out of legitimate argument a long time ago and has resorted to trying to silence any opposition.

    Now as far as disappearing, I haven’t seen a reduction in the Yes signs along medians or intersections. I have spoken to quite a few business owners along some of the main corridors to get their permission first before putting out a Vote No sign. As the owner of private property they can remove signs along the right of way that runs across their property. They have all said they disagree with tax increases to support a stadium and they have been picking up the “Yes” signs posted on their property. I imagine that quite a few individual business property owners have been doing the same. They recognize their taxes will go up a whole lot more than the $4.20/month so heralded by Port City Baseball.

  • A. Colleague

    Sorry, you’re a phys. ed. instructor at CFCC, not exactly something that makes you an expert in business. You’re just someone with another opinion and a wrong one at that. This is so like the Port City Baseball group all along, representing themselves as something they aren’t. Just like this stadium, it isn’t going to be everything they keep promoting it to be, trotting out false surveys, supposed economic impact studies by false prophets (Terry Spencer) and now….

  • Vog46

    “For the record, has anyone seen the results of the well publicized poll?”

    For the record? No
    Seen the publicized poll – yes
    Supposedly as bad as Civitas, which is the unofficial reason why they’re not releasing the results.

    You & I both know that in spite of hyphen-lady’s rant that if the results had been favorable to the pro baseball side they would have released the polling results.
    That said its also apparent that Mandalay thinks it will get defeated as they’ve already been asked what they’d do. The article clearly said they’d pursue other avenues. (Meaning private financing)
    Funny how they took it off the table in June (To see if they could steal it from taxpayers) only to pursue it after the referendum gets defeated.

    Mandalay is not to be trusted by us for any reason in the future.


  • ChefnSurf

    I thought it was a multi-use, stadium complex. We already have “baseball fields” all over town. Add to that the “Go Braves” remark and I’ll show you someone who has no idea what they’re talking about.

    By now you must be kicking yourself in the behind for starting out with that “As an eductor (educator) in higher ed” stuff. Yep, that really impressed the heck out of everybody.

    When you go and show your support “to” the Mayor ask him for one of those Pink T-Shirts, just like the ones T-Ball and Dukie proudly wear (well, not actually outside where people would laugh at them). I’m sure there’s still a few that haven’t been sold yet.

  • SurfCityTom

    they do not have VOTE on them which means, if I understood a previous post, that they do not qualify as political signs or at least confuse the low paid workers who have been picking them up.

  • Guest 10101

    It has become patently obvious that this entire stadium issue has very little to do with baseball in the first place. Most of this has to do with a group of insiders, some of whom are currently in city government, trying to sell off a piece of toxic real estate. Add in a couple of other insider deals with Atlanta/Mandalay and you pretty much have the picture.

    All of that would be fine if this insider group wasn’t trying to get the taxpayers to fund their little business venture instead of investing in it themselves.

    Vote YES only if you really like someone else taking money from your pocket for their own personal use without your permission.

  • ChefnSurf

    Correct spelling and no name calling? The two of you must have gotten together deep down in your bunker of last minute desperation strategies and written a joint piece. Too bad your signature of consistent untruthfulness is all over it. The only number in the entire post that is even nominally correct is the “2-years” a minor league team lasted.

    You’re right about one thing though: “The truth is that no other team has ever made an offer like this to Wilmington”. It’s probably one of the worst offers made by any team to any city in a long, long, time. It’s the kind of offer that pretty much says right up front that Mandatlanta thinks Wilmingtonians just fell off the proverbial turnip truck. One can’t help but wonder why certain city “leaders”, people with real estate and legal backgrounds, are so adamantly embracing such an obviously terrible deal.

    This team has done exactly the opposite of bringing together a sense of pride to the city. What is has done is to highlight those in city government who apparently are acting in their own best personal interests. I suppose that’s a good thing if voters take that message to heart. If they don’t, they deserve what they get.

    Wilmington doesn’t have to be the greatest city on the planet. It certainly doesn’t have to emulate cities like Myrtle Beach and others in order to be a great place to live. It just needs to be a place where the infrastructure works successfully and and city leaders are looking out for their constituents. It needs to be a place that can simply and comfortably be called “home”. What could be more important than that?

    Don’t let others take that away from you. Vote “NO” to a taxpayer funded stadium.

  • Vog46

    Why NOT the sales tax?
    Why not the hotel tax?

    Hotel first – Chap 10 NSS
    ” It is possible that the City of Wilmingtoncould raise its occupancy tax from three (3) percent to six (6) percent, whichcould generate approximately $2.3 million in annual incremental tax revenues.  In order to increase the room occupancy tax, it would require approval of the General Assembly.
    Based on 20‐year bonds and a taxable interest rate of 4.0 percent, a three (3) percent increase in the City occupancy tax could fund up to $31 million in ballpark development costs.
    It should be noted that a three (3) percent increase in the occupancy tax would result in a nine (9) percent occupancy tax in the City of Wilmington, which would make it the highest in the state.”

    This tells that:
    A – They talked to the hotels and the said not just no, but HELL NO.
    B – they need a quick resolution without the Gen Assembly being involved so “Lets pull one over on the property taxpayers”. Remember it was the General Assembly that stopped annexation. Saffo did not want to get slapped around again.

    Sales Tax? Again Chp 10 NSS:
     The City of Wilmington does not have the authority to change the current sales tax distribution or how much money it receives.    The City of Wilmington has included an initiative to amend LOST revenue distribution in its legislative agenda.  The North Carolina General Assembly is the only other entity, beyond the county, that can change the distribution formula. Based on the City’s lack of control regarding the amount of LOST revenue it receives, the use of sales taxes to fund ballpark development is not likely.”
    The sales tax is a county or state tax. I don’t think the city can do anything about it and again they need general assembly permission.

    I am confused as to why all of the sudden they needed to speed this up, but it seems like this is becoming an all or nothing deal when in fact saying no could be the best thing for the city.

    BTW I early voted today. Sorry Chuck I voted “NO”. Much to the horror of my wife I yelled out in line “How many are voting AGAINST the stadium tax?” I counted 19 out of 24 people voting against. Looks like Civitas is holding up


  • SurfCityTom

    Dukie or MrT. Same factless malarky; just a different name.

    You guys are the best ammunition the taxpayer funded ballpark opponents have to see this referendum nose dive.

    Keep up the good work.

    If this is such a good deal; if the downtown merchants are going to benefit so much, how about an increase in the general sales tax?

    And if the hotel owners are going to benefit, how about a 3 cent increase in the hotel occupancy tax?

    Folks might buy it then if all are going to share in the burden and not just the real property taxpayers.

  • Rick Wilson

    Now we are hearing that Mandalay has other options if the bond issue does not pass???

    I can only speak for myself, but after Mandalay, PCB, the Chamber, and the Mayor and Council, an everyone else for this project tried to rip off the tax payers using all the lies and deception they have, DO NOT come back with a private funded option now. To me, they are no better than a caught shoplifter that now wants to pay for the merchandise they were trying to steal. I do not want this thief ever to be allowed into my store, nor will I ever trust them again.

    Ripken was going to do this with private funding from the start. Mandalay and the Mayor conspired to freeze them out and steal from the tax payers. I will not trust Mandalay or the Mayor ever again. I do not want them in charge of anything. It will always be in the back of my mind what they will try next. The old if you put the fox in charge of the hen house, he will have chicken dinner every single time quote comes to mind.

    At this point I am burned out over minor league baseball. In spite of what Chuck and Terry claim, I think the Sharks are pretty close to single A ball. I think the city/county should fix the concession stand(s) at legion stadium. Let’s support the Sharks and wait for a minor league deal that is completely funded by the private sector without known thieves (Mandalay and the Mayor)in charge……

  • Justsayno

    Guest1218, you must live in a crackhouse. As a matter of fact, over the life of the bond, it will cost me thousands of dollars. It really is a simple mathematic formula…

    If I were to vote yes, that would be the real “trajedy” because it would show that all that education was for naught.

    Just say no.

  • Vog46

    “No other minor league team has lasted more than 2-years here, primarily because of having to play at UNCW”

    Here we go the “pro” side spewing falsehoods again.
    Explain this to me
    How did the Winston Salem Dash survive for YEARS playing at Wake Forest University field?
    No beer sales allowed
    Tough to find on campus
    Out of the way
    Can you answer that? Nah didn’t think so.
    How about the team in Greenville SC?
    They shared a stadium with the Citdel and another college there
    No beer
    Hell they had no lights !!!
    You know what? Both of those teams survived and thrived and those two cities? They rewarded those teams with much needed and DESERVED stadiums. Atlanta is asking for us to give them the stadium first without proving to the city they will “make it”.

    You earn a stadium around here you just don’t “get one” for asking.

    There’s nothing wrong with using Brooks Field as a test ground for popularity. They sell out Brooks? By all means build them a stadium.
    Sorry the pro side sounds like a bunch of spoiled children “Oh we want a new stadium because Greensboro’s got one”
    Councilman O’Grady said we need to be like Greensboro? Why?

    Earn the stadium – don’t ask for it


  • ma_lashley

    First, why is it that you think the teams couldn’t make it at UNCW? Parking is safe, abundant and free. Campus access is pretty good. Both of these factors are better than the alternatively proposed stadium downtown.

    Second, UNCW has hosted 4 of the last 6 CAA tournaments with the tournament returning to Wilmington in 2014 for the next 2 years. We don’t have trouble attracting and hosting the CAA tournament at Brooks field now, why would we need a $60 million stadium to do so in the future? Answer, we won’t.

    The Braves aren’t guaranteeing us 20 years, their guarantee is 18 months if they pulll out of town.

    We are already losing money on a convention center which is due to cost the tax-payers as the Room Occupancy Tax fund gets depleted, CFPUA hasn’t met an increase they didn’t like, Progress Energy is right behind the CFPUA and next will be the approval of the Insurance commission to raise homeowner’s rates 30%. We can control this much; Vote No to the city council’s proposal to raise any taxes to fund a baseball stadium.

  • Katherine

    For someone’s tax on this to be $20, their house value would need to be $80,000. Where are all these $80,000 homes in Wilmington? I need to buy one myself.
    And, no, this is not a good deal. Look at the article StarNews has up today, with details on how other stadiums have been funded. Anyone who says we’re getting a good deal is either lying or is uninformed.

  • Vog46

    How right you are:

    Why vote “No”? How about this. In the NSS report on new ballpark comparisons they list the latest 11 fields that have been built, Wilmington makes #12. Lets compare prices for all 12 on a per seat basis from MOST expensive to least:
    Winstons Salem – $7492/seat.
    Wilmington – $6727/seat.
    Midland MI – $5789/seat.
    Charleston WVa -$5011/seat.
    Bowling Green Ky – $4845/seat.
    Fort Wayne In – $3888/seat.
    Greenville SC – $3508/seat.
    Rome Ga – $3134/seat.
    Greeensboro NC – $2869/seat.
    Cedar Rapids MI – $2830/seat.
    Peoria Il – $2785/seat.
    Myrtle Beach SC – $1818/seat.
    Why? Why is our stadium costing 5 times what Myrtle Beach cost? Why is it costing over twice as much as Greensboro?


    Winston Salem, Greensboro, Zebulon, even Charlotte, all have much, much better deals than this. If you really think this is a good deal, you clearly haven’t looked at the deals other cities have gotten.

    The only winners in this would be Atlanta and Mandalay. The city and it’s residents get nothing but the tab.

  • thanksforpaying

    Thanks for building the stadium. As a resident of Pender County I may come to Wilmington to watch a ballgame.

  • Guest State Employee

    I am building a house in Pender County. No more city taxes no more New Hanover county taxes. No more Cape FEAR Utility Nazi’s good bye Progress Energy. I have had enough of this county. I will not miss it nor will I visit your ballpark IF it is built.

  • Guest1218

    Y’all are talking like it’s going to take thousands of dollars out of your pockets. For the average home owner, it will come out to around $20 or $30 a year. OMG, a whopping $30!!! Those against the Stadium tax are spending more than that on signs & billboards.
    The truth is that no other team has ever made an offer like this to Wilmington. No other minor league team has lasted more than 2-years here, primarily because of having to play at UNCW. The Braves are guaranteeing 20-years minimum of professional baseball here in the Port City. The $500,000 a year that they will be paying the city is a better deal than other cities get. We can use this stadium for so many other things. This team could bring togetherness & a sense of pride to the city. Perhaps, the CAA Baseball Tourney could move here? concerts? There will be a lot more people coming to town to spend money as a result of this stadium. If the city & people of Wilmington let this slip through their fingers, then it will truly be a trajedy.

  • Vog46

    There is no indication in the MOU where the money goes when it leaves Mandalays hands and goes to the city.
    I would assume that would be determined in the final agreement. Just like the rent payment would be determined in the final agreement which we will NOT vote on.
    I have serious doubts about this agreement but I believe the bond is defeated so we’ll NEVER get to see that agreement.
    If its anything like the MOU, we better hold on to our fist born children because the city may have promised them to Mandalanta…..

    This deal is way too favorable to Mandalay


  • SurfCityTom

    don’t forget Cal Ripken, himself, will come down to throw out the first pitch.

    I continue to be amazed at the Sounds of Silence. Since their mocking posts about a high dollar advertising campaign, there’s been nothing to speak of.

    I was re-reading a couple of posts. And someone hit the mark. Mandalanta may actually avoid the $10 million in rent payments over 20 years. Consider the naming rights, furniture purchase, office rent payments, and probably a gaggle of hidden adjustments, the city may actually have to write a check to Mandalanta if this tax referendum passes and the White Albatross is built.

  • SurfCityTom

    reduce the amount by the rent which Mandalanta will pay for office space. Around $200,000 annually.

    Don’t forget the $2.5 Million which is to be paid for furniture for Mandalanta.

    There may be other adjustments; but hopefully the voters of Wilmington will see what this referendum really is — funding for a riverfront albatross to be built on toxic earth.

    Vote NO

  • Guest2020

    My parents are in the same boat as you. Their only saving grace is that the forced annexation of monkey junction was defeated. At this time they do not live in the city, but my retired father had to return to work just so that they can afford to eat.

    The one person in my family who would be the most adversely affected by this unnecessary and improper tax increase is my widowed mother-in-law. She cannot work full-time due to health issues. She is barely surviving as it is and between the requested increase by Progress Energy and the possible tax increase, I don’t know what she will do. It would be a shame for her to have to sell the home that she shared with her husband and where they raised their children just so some fat cat politician can line his pockets and a few people can go see a ballgame.

    If you like to watch baseball so much, there are plenty of places to go watch it. Wilmington does have four public high schools and at least two private schools who have baseball teams. UNC-W has baseball. There is the Wilmington Post 10 team you can support. There is also little league. If it’s all about bringing baseball to the Port City, we don’t need to bring it. It is already here. And what we have already will not break the backs of the taxpayers.

  • Vog46

    Thank you for pointing out this rather obvious error.
    And thanks for the kind words.
    Vote “NO” and I’ll see YOU opening day 2014/2015 in our FREE stadium near that glorious war memorial the Battleship !
    We’ll watch the Wilmington “Battling Battleship” Braves (Otherwise known as the BB-55’s) as they play host to our first home minor league game with our beautiful city serving as a back drop.


  • Guestjunk

    WOW, the Braves are going to pay 500k for 20 years. Can you use a calculator? 500k * 20 is only 10m. That leaves the Tax payers paying the rest of the money.

    The Braves have no problem paying their players millions of dollars a year. Wonder how they do that? They get a city to put a team in for them and they take all the money and pay little in return.

    In 20 years they will want the tax payers to build them a new stadium because this one we haven’t paid for yet is too old for them.

    People think about this. I have said this before if this was a great investment people would be lining up for a piece of the pie.

  • Rick Wilson

    I was wrong in the above post about the naming rights figures. I did not account for the fact that these revenues are paid every year, not as a one time payment. Thank-you Vog for pointing this out.

    MR. T aka Terry Spencer Wrote;
    “The fact is the city is spending 37 million to build a multiple use stadium that will be owned by the citizens of Wilmington. The facts are that the Atlanta Braves will pay $500,000 dollars per year for at least 20 years to help offset the cost of the stadium and reserve the privilege to play baseball in one of America’s greatest cities.”

    Now read from the feasibility study the city paid NSS close to a quarter of a million dollars to complete in ½ the normal time because of time constraints. With this “rushed study” completed, the tax payers still have not been shown the final deal. The outline of the deal is bad enough, but I wonder what else is included that the Mayor does not want made public before the election?

    NSS Chap 8, pg 99; “Comparable ballpark naming rights agreements ranged from 10 to 20 years in length and with annual values ranging from $170,000 to $300,000 per year. Overall, the average comparable ballpark naming rights agreement was for an average of 13 years with an annual value of $252,857. Several of the most recent naming rights deals at comparable venues have an annual value of $300,000.”

    Now with this information in hand let’s break down the rent Mandalay will pay. If you deduct just the naming rights revenue that Mandalay gets every year depending on the deal, the rent becomes in the range of $200,000.00 to $330,000.00 per year. If you deduct the 2.9 million dollars the city is going to hand Mandalay up front to buy furniture with, then the rent becomes in the range of $55,000.00 to $185,000.00 per year. Now if you also consider that the cost of office space for 35 full time employees is “deducted” from the rent up front and Mandalay gets to charge the city to oversee up to 10 non baseball events per year, Mandalay quite possibly will not pay any rent……..they might turn a profit.

    Mandalay should be paying $500,000.00 a year in rent period. They should not get the naming rights for a stadium that tax payers pay for. They should not get handed 2.9 million interest free dollars up front from a fund that the tax payers will pay debt service on for 20 years. The office space should be included in the stadium rent, not deducted from it. Whoever is responsible for negotiating this deal for the tax payers took a big ole swig from the cup of stupid. It is not any wonder Mandalay is desperate for the tax payers to approve this deal. They probably cannot believe they walked out of months of negotiations with such a sweetheart of a deal. Mr. Kuebler was indeed correct about the deal getting sweeter and sweeter….for Mandalay.

    For a stadium that will be payer funded and owned by the tax payers of Wilmington, why do Mandalay, the Braves, and their billionaire owner get all of the profits? They also get all ticket sale revenues. They get all the concessions and memorabilia sales. And……….if this isn’t enough, they get the entire “in stadium” advertising also.

    It is no wonder at all why the Billionaire Beggars all over this country want to own sports franchises, they are a cash cow that tax payers are expected to fund……..over, and over, and over again.

    *****VOTE NO***** This is nothing more than a corporate welfare scheme. Tell these Billionaire Beggars to put on their big boy pants and pay their own way for a change. The people supporting this either have something to gain personally or also took a big ole swig from the cup of stupid…..

  • I am 70 years old and my wife 64. We are both retired and living on a fixed income. On recent news reports I have been told my power bill is increasing, my home insurance is increasing, car insurance increasing, my health insurance just increased $22.00 a month. Now tell me how us seniors on fixed incomes are suppose to pay all these increases? And yet the city wants me to feel good about an increase in my city taxes to fund a baseball stadium? Mr. Saffo I know you have no income
    problems and that is good for you but why do you think all of us have the luxury of a high yearly income like yourself? You wouldn’t understand how my wife and I just had to cut back to one cup of coffee a day since it also has increased in price as has all other food items.
    Mr. Saffo how can you in any sense of the word not have a conscience about not everyone being as well off as you??? And here is the worst part of it all. I worked hard all my life to pay for this home my wife and I have (and no Mr. Mayor it is not in an exclusive development as where you live). It is a nondescript home but it is ours’. Now with all the increases we are being bombarded with how long can we hold on to it. You want to take my money to fund a baseball stadium that we will never attend a game. Sadly I don’t even see how we can afford to sell and move out of this county which we would love to do and buy a home of equal size that our out of town children can still come home to visit with us.
    And beyond us “regular” folks not being able to pay for a luxury you wealthier folks want Mr. Mayor, how about the traffic snarls that events downtown already cause. Now you want to add even more of these snarls with multiple baseball games downtown?
    Oh only if you had to live one day in my shoes Mayor Saffo in the REAL world.

  • Scott Harry

    The deception is purely on your side. Because I don’t hide behind a screen name, I make certain my statements are accurate. $75,000,000 is the amount of money that would be taken from the people of Wilmington. Yes, it’s more than the stadium and interest. That’s the point! Aren’t you sick and tired of the government taking the money you earned and wasting it on inappropriate projects? Regarding your other points, #1 An idiot’s IQ is less than 20. Fortunately, mine is well above that. If you’d like to try a few more names on me, I’d be glad to meet you privately and we can decide together what you’ll call me from here on out? #2 The ad was not cheap, #3 The ad is accurate but clearly does not fit with your warped view of the how the government should work. The government is there to “govern” not to fund amusements for the masses. #4 The organization is run by entrepreneurs, people who have built businesses, created jobs, they have created and lived within budgets. These people are FAR from low life. They are the foundation of every community. If you have a job, you owe your livelihood to one.

    Vote No Stadium Tax! Put the government back in it’s place.

  • Vog46

    Thanks for giving me credit for spotting the TRUE income stream for naming rights.

    “They should not get the naming rights for a stadium that tax payers pay for.”

    This may seem insignificant to some but to me its not about the money.
    This is a sure sign of the breadth and width of this give away to Mandalanta.

    I could make a case for the $2.9M in furniture but naming rights?
    We pay for it
    We give them a pass on property taxes
    We let them keep all in house revenues
    They play in our building

    We should name it – for free but there’s more;
    nss CHAP 8 PG 96
    Minor league ballparks provide numerous opportunities to generate advertising and sponsorship revenue.   
    Revenues can be generated from scoreboard signage, outfield fence signage, concourse and seating bowl signage, electronic messages, in‐game promotions, media guide and pocket schedule advertisements, public address system announcements and other opportunities.   
    In a new ballpark, it is estimated that the minor league baseball team could generate approximately $1.4 million in annual advertising/sponsorship revenue.  After fulfillment costs of approximately 10 percent per year, net advertising/sponsorship revenue is estimated to total approximately $1.3 million in year one, increasing three percent annually thereafter.”

    If you go to the city and say I want to hang my business signs on YOUR city owned busses how much will it cost? They would say X amount of dollars!
    Ever look at a city owned water tower? Notice the wireless company antenna’s on them? The city collects a BIG fee for letting them rent space on water towers. Thats city property they are RENTING.
    In the stadium those are OUR walls, OUR scoreboard, OUR concourse.
    Why does Mandalay get the advertising revenues from that?

    So Rick? $1.3M in year 1 times 20 years = $26M just in estimated advertising revenues alone (without any increases)
    Wanna re-calculate again?


  • guest1017

    Personally I am offended at Mr. T resorting to personal attacks on people brave enough to step forward and say what they think. I have been impressed with the way the spokesperson for NO STADIUM TAX has been civil and respectful of all who weigh in. Mr. T, I think your name calling will assure you a result you didn’t want. You have definitely turned me off, & surely I’m not the only one. You owe Mr. Harry an apology – will you be brave enough to do the right thing?? I think not. Way to go, Mr. T….

  • Myhero

    Mr. Vog:

    You have my undying respect for the insight, research, time and effort you have put in to unmasking the stadium fraud. (Along with Mr. Wilson and many others who have called the hucksters out.) I proudly have a vote no sign in my yard, and can’t wait to see this bond referendum go down in flames.

    A minor correction, though – if you are talking about wireless cell antennas on the water towers in the city of Wilmington, those are now CFPUA property. The fees earned defray the costs CFPUA customers would otherwise have to pay. CFPUA revenue only comes from its customers, not taxpayers. They pay for everything. No customers, no CFPUA. The bait and switch was a COW/NHC practice…you know, pay us the money and we will build a convention center, not maintain our vital infrastructure.

  • Rick Wilson

    Mr. Eller,

    Regrettably The Mayor and Council have lost sight of the fact they are supposed to represent ALL of the people, not just themselves and special interest. It is painfully clear that the good ole boy network is alive and well within the city government. What makes this even more painful is there is another group out there that will build this stadium using private investment. With this information out there, one has to ask why anyone would support spending 58 million of tax payer money on a project someone else will do with private investment? The only logical answer is to follow the money.When in doubt, follow the money.

    Rumor has it that The Mayor will not seek re-election. If this is true, then this is one of the reasons that he trots Councilman O’Grady around with him like a puppy on a leash. Councilman O’Grady is being “groomed” to be his replacement. Everyone needs to remember in the future what this current lot of self serving politicians have tried to do and vote them out of office.

    I believe this bond will be defeated. There are many people that do not care to become a Welfare Center for a billionaire beggar. Everyone just needs to follow up and remove the people from office that tried to pull off this scam…….

  • ma_lashley

    I’d say that your statement above calls into question your credibility as a self-proclaimed “private investor.”

    You are either ignorant of the facts or are willingly turning a blind eye to them. The taxes collected by the city are going to range between $3.2 and $3.5 million year depending on which number you pull off the city website. Multiply that out by the 20 year term, Terry. Even with moderate appreciation we are over the $70 million mark. Perhaps a third grader with a calculator can explain it to you.

    Bring some substance to the table for a change besides more obfuscations.

  • Guest1313

    How much does Mayor Saffo’s family’s businesses stand to profit from the construction of the stadium?

  • ChefnSurf

    … most anything you post.

    I can’t seem to ever recall a self-described marketing guru such as yourself paint himself into such a corner. I’m just taking a wild guess here, but it may have something to do with all of the nasty name calling and the consistent untruthfullness you continue to purvey in each and every post.

    Todays highlights: The stadium will ONLY cost 37 million (even a 5th Grader knows that’s flawed math) and calling the “NO Tax Stadium crowd” (all disclosed polls indicate that to be about 80% of voters) a “low life organization”.

    Nice going. Please do keep posting. No one does it better than you.

    (Speaking of “disclosed” polls, I can’t seem to recall you ever disclosing the results of the PPP poll to this day. If you really were about representing “the truth” you would have disclosed those results a long time ago. Hmmm.)

  • Rick Wilson

    Mr. T is getting desperate and does not understand the English language anymore. What does 37 million financed for 20 years with interest and loan insurance come to? If the Braves stay for 20 years, and that is a big if, he claims they will pay 10 million in rent. If you subtract the 2.9 million Mandalay gets up front for furniture, the $350,000.00 Mandalay gets for naming rights, and the rent deduction for office space that I still do not understand, Mandalay’s rent will be approx. $300,000.00 or less per year. If they leave early they will have still spent 2.9 million dollars that the tax payers financed for 20 years. The 75 million dollars is what the bond will cost the tax payers over 20 years if property values stay the same as they are now. This whole project from the start has been a huge deception from the people supporting this con game. For you to call anybody dishonest, is laughable. If you are so all knowing, and care so much about Wilmington, why don’t you sign your name? You sir are a worthless shill with something to gain from the project.

  • Guest28403

    how do you expect Saffo to do anything about Wages?? Unless of course your a good little socialist and believe in wage controls and what not. Lets see education.. School Board is out of the hands of the Wilmington City Council.. Affordable Housing well market will charge what it will charge, most “affordable” housing Ive seen demands such low income that in order to qualify you end up paying a disproportionate amount towards housing. Now sure what you want Saffo to do about Sr citizens? They exist are you advocating moving them out??? He has no control over things such as medicare or even medicaid which is run in Raleigh. As for taxed I agree there THIS issue Saffo and the City Council can do something about and should instead of raising constantly how bout cutting taxes and quit spending soo much.. As for PD and Fire?? Again this is a split responsibility with NH County and honestly Police you may or may not have a valid reason. As a former FF/EMT I can tell you Wilmingtons Class 2 Insurance rating is one of the best in the country (top 1% in the State and Nation) which means there is plenty of fire coverage in the city at this time.

    I dont disagree with the issue that paying all this money is a mistake when Ripken Baseball had a very workable PRIVATE deal for a stadium in the county but your assertions of how to spend more money dont add up either. Youre simply trading spending on the stadium to spend more money which shouldnt be the priority for the City. We the tax payers have to cut our expenses and so does the City end of story!

  • Vog46

    Go ahead Terry do the math
    The stadium plus interest will cost $54M acccording to Saffo not $37M.
    The 2.5 cent increase raises $65M to $75M over 20 yers
    Mandalanta pays $10M

    The “cheap ad” as you call it is totally accurate and truthful
    Something you are totally unfamiliar with.


  • Katherine

    Everything in the ad is the truth. It isn’t $37 million, it’s 6% of the taxpayers’ property value for 30 years. Since the amount is tied to property values, it’s guaranteed to go up over time.
    There is no 20 year guarantee from the Braves. That isn’t in the agreement anywhere.

    It sounds as though these ad are making you nervous. I guess the “Vote Yes for More Taxes” folks just don’t like for the voters to hear facts.

  • Joe T.

    This is a very important issue and I am so thankful that Scott Harry and Jim Rafferty are standing up for the tax payers of this city. This issue is about more than just building a stadium, it is about abuse of power and manipulation. The abuse of power is using a political office to promote a business endeavor that benefits big money hotshots in the sports entertainment industry on the backs of property owners. Manipulation; using city funds to promote and advocate a position that voters will decide, earmarking property taxes for the bond issue that will affect a smaller voter block, further guaranteeing a win through votes from non-property owners and those with low tax burdens. A vote of yes is saying that it is okay for the city to invest in a business with tax revenue; what road will this lead down, further pet projects? How glamorous this is compared to sewers, police, roads and schools.

  • Mr.T

    The No Tax Stadium crowd is airing the most stupid commercial against the stadium. The commentator or idiot says the city of Wilmington is giving 75 million dollars to a baseball team. The fact is the city is spending 37 million to build a multiple use stadium that will be owned by the citizens of Wilmington. The facts are that the Atlanta Braves will pay $500,000 dollars per year for at least 20 years to help offset the cost of the stadium and reserve the privilege to play baseball in one of Americas greatest cities. This cheap ad, that totally misrepresents the truth, goes to show the depths of deception that this low life organization will go to deceive the citizens of Wilmington. Your chance to move Wilmington forward is coming. Vote Yes.

  • taxpayer

    “Vote Yes.”

    No thank you. I’m voting “NO”

    The “facts” you present represent only part of the story. Do the math Mr. T…$37 Million turns into $70 Million with interest.

  • SurfCityTom

    you misstate the facts. The referendum calls for bonds totaling $37 million. To be paid back over 20 years. Throw in the interest charges as a portion of the debt service.

    And if you are going to talk about the $500,000 annual payment from Mandalanta, did you consider the deductions they make before writing a check? YOu know, the ones which will reduce their annual payment to around $360,000.

    Terry, these posts are not going to get you a job in Banking.

    The other proponents have been intelligent enough to remain silent. I guess that was beyond your abilities.

    Every time you post, and that is every time, you put one of your infamous false statements out as though you possess the Holy Grail.

    You Sir, do more harm to the hopes of the taxpayer funded ballpark. Keep up the good work; you’re making defeat of the referendum that much easier.

  • carosh

    HEADS UP, Mayor Saffo: Infrastructure! Wages! Education! Affordable housing! Senior citizens! Low income citizens! Transportation! Hunger! High taxes and low property assessments! Funding more police and fire services! These issues and more need to be addressed before a baseball stadium. You and all other supporters need to look at real life and get your heads out of “Field of Dreams”. Grow up, please!

  • Truthseeker

    Why do these two keep pushing for this over objections of city taxpayers? Only one reason, somehow their pockets are getting fatter while ours bleed. Saffo is like Obama, smooth talking, good speaking skills but is not trustworthy in his speech content. He speaks with forked tongue to cover the real truth. These politicians are to represent the taxpayers but they only represent their own agenda. When the over whelming comments are not in favor of the stadium then why continue to push it. You are not elected to pursue your own agenda. You are elected to represent ours whether you agree with it or not. O’Grady yes, originally I voted for you, because you presented yourself as independent. You have proven to be a Saffo stooge so no more votes for you. City residents want elected officials to represent us, not overwhelm us with burdensome taxes. Until you get this, you will never get my vote!

  • SurfCityTom

    thanks for the heads up. I missed that point entirely. If it passes, I guess they do have to outfit the City skybox and put in a salon for Saffo to maintain his hair in the river fed breezes.

  • Todd

    When the taxes we pay on the stadium go to back to the city. Where this taxes goright back to education. First before they put it straight back to education they need to split the taxes in half roads & education. I hope you guys understand this and hope they do this with the taxes and pay for the new bridge they intend to build so we don’t have to pay a toll crossing it each time.

  • SurfCityTom

    it appears you have not been following this. The referendum is on a property tax increase to be used to fund construction of a downtown baseball stadium.

    Most property owners, who pay property taxes oppose this.

    If approved, there are no provisions for the funds to be used for other purposes. At least not to my knowledge.

  • Vog46

    2.5 cents over 20 years over 20 years amounts to $75M or $21M more than the stadium and interest costs. The city said for every penny raised the city collects $1.3M to $1.5M – multiple b y 2.5 you get $3.25 to $3.75M. Multiply this number by 20 years you get $65M to $75M. This assumes real estate maintains the same value 20 years from now as it is today.
    If real estate values go up over the next 20 years (more than likely will double) the estimated “take” by the city will be over $100M

    O’Grady said the funds could be used for OTHER purposes…


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