Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

FN On Air: talking arena with the Confluence

We’ve written a lot of different things about the ongoing arena negotiations between the Calgary Flames and the City of Calgary over the past two or three years. And since the issue seems far from over, it’s inevitable that will continue. But earlier this week, I had a chat with Calgary’s top civic affairs podcast, The Confluence, hosted by the Calgary Herald’s Annalise Klingbeil.

Check out the whole episode. Rick Bell breaks down the municipal election to this point in the campaign, and then I provide a rundown of the many, many things that have happened arena-wise over the past few years and especially the past month.

    • Fan the Flames

      Good luck with that to get another franchise you need approval from the other owners who are friends with the current ownership . You also need support from Bettman . The Flames are important to Calgary as are the owners NHL hockey in Calgary is dependant on what the owners decide not what City Council decides .

        • Newbietwo

          No it’s not.. he was sued by a Calgary business man! He can’t seem to find middle ground with business ever! Unless you are in those circles most will not know but he is the most disliked amongst the business community ever and that is never a good thing for a city

          • freethe flames

            Newbietwo: I believe you once said that you do not live in Calgary; if that is correct if you are not a property tax payer in the city then you probably not be in this discussion. If you are my apologies to you. The Flames KK and Bettman say they are not trying to get involved in local politics but both there recent actions suggest otherwise.

            I am always puzzled by the so called businessmans belief that they are entitled. What the Flames are asking for is called Corporate Welfare and is fundamentally against what true capitalist should want. If building the stadium is a good investment don’t you think there would be people lined up to Banff to invest.
            The cities offer which is a fair one unless you feel entitled to more. The tax payers pay @1/3, user pay pays @1/3 and the Flames pay [email protected]/3. The Flames like all other property owners are then asked to pay property tax; they claim it’s paying the city back which it is not. It’s a property tax like I pay for services.

          • Willi P

            Firstly, I am not in favour of ownership getting a freebie. That said, Nenshi has simplified this in a way the people believe the city is paying 1/3 of this deal which it totally incorrect.

            It is true that up-front, the city and Flames kick in 130M and 185M cash respectively. The city is collecting very little tax on the land they propose for the new facility. They are not giving the land to the Flames so the 30M should not count. The city owns the Saddledome so that 25M for demolition should not count. The city is fronting the money to improve the parking lot that has little tax value now so the Flames can pay 5M per year in “taxes” on land that is owned by the city but improved by the Flames. This total is $175M back to the city @ 35 years. This is new revenue the city does not have now. At the end of the 35 years, the city still owns the land which could be worth many times the 30M they claim it is worth now. The Flames may technically “own” the building but you can’t hold title if you don’t own the land.

            The city benefits further by the Flames and ticket surcharge users improving the area in the arena potentially attracting new development. They receive new taxes that they are not receiving now and Nenshi looks like a hero because it fits his vision of a revitalized area without costing a cent to the city.

            The Flames, Hitmen, Roughnecks would use the facility roughly 75 night a year. It has been suggested that 40+ concerts skipped Calgary due to the Saddledome which would add 10’s of millions into the local economy. Revenue lost by the status quo.

            Further, $450M per year pumped into the economy (Calgary/Alberta/Canada) would be lost is the team moves to the USA.

            A fair deal can be made. There is public benefit and should be public cost. The city has not offered any contribution based on their proposal.

        • Kevin R

          Here is the thing, we need a new building, I have been to concerts like U2 & had to take my business to Edmonton to go see them. They aren’t the only show I wanted to go to but they don’t come to Calgary because of the Dome, fact!
          You don’t care, you don’t go to concerts. Ok cool. Flames, you don’t go to games so don’t care what building they play in, why should you pay for it….ok, whatever.
          Don’t want to pay taxes toward a new building that rich athletes play in & rich rockstars perform in. That is your choice I guess. But then why are you happily paying taxes for a new Library downtown that will cost $256million. Don’t know about you but I won’t put a foot into it…ever. Why do I have to pay for it? How that fancy bridge I’ll never walk on? Why do I have to pay for that? & now we are about to pee away over $100million on designated bus lanes running from 75th avenue SW to Southland Dr SW so we can provide rabid bus transit for workers deep south to go to downtown, in addition to the LRT we have invested hugely in? I won’t be riding on that transit & the research shows the ridership that would use this would be an epic fail. Don’t believe me, go to [email protected] & educate yourself in what this Mayor wants to spend your money.

          I am not saying we pay totally for this building, but we will be eventually be needing to build a new one & if you want to be cavalier & put your head in the sand & tell the flames to go pound & see ya later. Who else is going to pay for half the cost, generate LRT revenue ridership at games & concerts & create revenue for small business that depend on Flames & the people that work at concessions & jobs with the Flames. Don’t shrug these seemingly low level jobs off because what I do for a living I can tell you that people depend on these incomes to pay mortgages & make ends meet in their families.
          Time for a change & Nenshi has to go! Don’t let big mouth Bettman keep you from looking at the reality of what a horrible Mayor this man is. If a true Flames fan takes the time to post on this site, honestly, having the Flames leave a good solution for this. I can unequivocally confirm if Nenshi has been using negotiating & dealing with the Flames like he has Ready to Engage, I would quit trying to negotiate with him as well. If he gets re-elected, the Flames will be here until they aren’t.

      • Aadvarkian Abakeneezer

        I think Nenshi is a little past his best before date in most instances, but on this issue, he has taken the high ground. He’s not anti pro sports, he’s anti financing billionaires’ ego projects, and that’s just fine.

      • X Man

        Wow… Nope, in fact legalization just puts criminals out of business, increases tax revenue, saves lives, frees up police resources, and helps keep the crap out of the hands of the kids… You’re actually proud of your ignorance aren’t you?… Sigh…

    • Seattle_Flames

      Ya exactly, because that’s what billionaires do to each other right? Swoop in on somebody’s better situation the same way you’ld try to move in on your buddies girl when they’re having problems right? Enjoy your $200,000,000 library, you’ll get lots of reading done in 3 years.

  • Dunk

    A new arena would have been a much better investment for the City then an elaborate Library. what kind of return on investment will that have. I don’t think the Mayor was too worried about wasting Tax payers money then. (only when convenient)..what a joke.

  • Newbietwo


    The first step to anything is recognizing the reality of one self or a situation clearly.. that is exactly the problem we are faced with when it comes to the city and the flames!

    First of the Flames is more than just a team to this city. It puts Calgary on the map.. it attracts folks to the city.. it generates a lot of Social importance and it drives revenue and charities..

    The city and the mayor and many of our very own residents are very mistaken when it comes to this argument of a new arena. Let me start by staying over $3 billion have gone towards NFL stadiums in cities much larger in the United Stated in the biggest sports league and richest in the world.. to think mutual investment for sport stadiums are not a requirement makes many wrong and blinded at best.

    For the city and mayor to think they have a bigger fork to pith their tent on is crazy.. I will make this clear to everyone the city will end up and needs to pay $200 into this stadium and if they do not you will lose the flames as they will be moved and sold and if you think that will never happen I am telling you now that is already the secondary choice the flames are faced with.. the owners can sell this team for $450 million and walk away and wouldn’t have to fork out $275 million of their own money for a stadium..

    You can kick and scream about it all you want but there is one choice only

    1. You want a team here you need to pay $200 for a stadium
    2. You don’t pay for a stadium you lose the team

    For citizens that are not involved significantly in the business community I can tell you right now that the mayor is very disliked within the business community.. and that cannot be stressed enough and that def hurts jobs and economic growth..

    Time and time again it has been proven that you cannot tax your way out of problems.. you cannot liberal your way to a balanced budget and that people hurt more under these policies..

    Living in a capital society while not employing capital politicies will ensure you come secondevery time because you simply aren’t even in the same negotiation. Once the US reduce corporate taxes and renegotiates NAFTA many of our industries will hurt even further that includes sectors one wouldn’t even think of such as the film industry!

    Creative strategies are needed until we reach true diversification in our business sectors and our populations are able to maintain it. The future of our city depends on this as we need creative and forward thinking mentalities.

    Can this city see itself without a $250 million library? Or a $150 million music hall of fame? Yes!

    Can you see the city without the Flames? NO!

    • Purple Hazze

      If all the city had to do was pay $200MM this would have been a done deal, after all the price tag for the arena is pegged at $500MM-$600MM, with the city’s 1/3 cost sharing offer to the Flames they’re offering to pay $160MM-$200MM so not sure what you’re talking about here. The problem is the Flames want a lot more from the city than the $200MM you suggest.

      My solution since almost all of the money fronted for this stadium is going to be borrowed by the city anyways, they should just build and pay for the whole thing, recover the costs through the ticket tax and CRL, and negotiate a long term lease with the Flames. This way the city earns all the profits on the stadium.

      • oilcanboyd

        The city of Edmontonis paying almost $313 million (of the almost $614 million which includes the arena, the land, a massive glass “Winter Garden” that stretches over the street in front, a community rink attached to the building and a connection to the city’s light-rail transit system) with much of that coming from a so-called community revitalization levy, which will see a portion of downtown property taxes redirected to the project. The city will own the building, but will lease it back to the Oilers and the team’s owner, Daryl Katz.

      • Styxx

        “If all the city had to do was pay $200M this would have been a done deal”

        That’s the crux of the issue which you are completely misunderstanding. The city is not putting in a dime …they are contributing a loan to the team which will need to be fully repaid, plus pay property taxes on top of that. The City’s proposal is the Flames pay 100% of the building…plus $113 more in property taxes and other costs.

        How is that fair or equitable compared to Edmonton where the Oilers’ invested $20M?

    • KevCor

      I’d love to see the city pay $450 million to buy the Flames. It could be a great investment for the city. About $18 million per year in profit. But of course the CSES would never sell their biggest money maker.

  • Abagofpucks

    the flames will get a new barn thats for sure after all the oilers cant miss out on the lames smelling our farts for the next 10 years (aka) your turn for the decade of darkness AHHHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • class1div1

    Why does the Stampede board have such a terrible reputation,with business’s on there property?Why haven’t they developed around the Saddledome after all these years.

    • Justthateasy

      We have 18 libraries at least in Calgary. What is with that useless Monument that cost 250 million? What was wrong with a library that’s already downtown?? The purpose of the library these days is simply to access the internet for those that don’t have their own resources.
      I don’t really care about a new arena. As far as I’m concerned the old one is just fine. What concerns me is the out-of-control spending these spendthrifts (spending other people’s money) seem to think is progress.
      The taxpayer can go straight to hell (provided he leaves a blank check first).

    • Walt Whitman

      The problem is that people who actually believe that sports entertainment, which is something a person pays for out of their own pocket, is somehow more vital than a free resource of education/free speech (libraries are one of the last bastions of free speech/knowledge/non-censorship) are, in fact, the idiots most in need of a library.

      I love the Flames, obviously. I love a lot of entertainment, and I love pro sports… but seriously, the reality is that it will never be as important to life as the ability to foster a better populous of educated, literate, and knowledgeable community members.

    • Aadvarkian Abakeneezer

      Well put, both of you. Ludicrous to have to explain the importance of libraries in the 21st century when humanity pretty much figured this out around the 3rd century BCE.

      • dontcryWOLF

        Educating the masses is the most important difference between us, and a third world country. Nothing benefits our economy more than education. A library is just one part of education, but don’t underestimate their role in this highly complex society we’ve built. By your logic we should also shut down schools. All that info is on the web right? Think of the money well save?! :/

        Ps if we’re talking Apple’s to Apple’s.. .a library is a fully public venue open to literally anybody. No charge. …a hockey arena is not that.

      • Aadvarkian Abakeneezer

        Just to confirm, you want to get into an economic impact comparison of the physical manifestation of free access to knowledge, education and free speech to a hockey arena?

        • 5FDP

          Not building that one Library would not have denied the people of Calgary access to knowledge, education and free speech. Get a grip. Posters are commenting on the one particular library of $250 million, this would not have left Calgary without public libraries. Not building this one arena will most likely have an impact on whether or not Flames stay.

          • Aadvarkian Abakeneezer

            The discussion as I see it turned towards the inherent value of a library vs an NHL arena. I love hockey, I really do, but this one arena is not inherently more valuable in any measurable or logical sense than a library of equal cost, let alone half the cost. If that library gives even one Calgarian access that they wouldn’t have otherwise had to the things mentioned then I’ll take it over a new arena built with taxpayer money every day and twice on Sundays.

            Of course, that’s also a theoretical argument, not a practical one. This one library obviously doesn’t hold the keys to free speech and literacy for all of Calgary, but this one arena doesn’t hold the keys to anyone’s ability to spend money or be entertained either so here we are.

            Besides, the library represents city spending for some kind of public benefit, no matter how inefficient, while the arena represents corporate welfare.

        • Stu Cazz

          Advarkian…you really need to expand your mind a bit. It’s not a hockey arena..it’s an entertainment centre that brings huge economic benefits to the city despite what our “ball-less mayor says. He has never worked in private industry & relies on baseless socialist studies that show him no economic benefit. He is a nurd that has never he’d a ball (sports ball that is) in his hands. Let’s start with a 3 yr construction project expanded by long term employment opportunities including increased traffic in hotels & restaurants…the deniers need to get out of their basements and sit on a crapper at the Saddledome or McMahon while play is resuming on the ice or field. Voting for this major will mean more stagnation for Calgary.

          • dontcryWOLF

            The socialist study that says we shouldn’t give public money to a private corporation? …thats capitalism my friend, not socialism. The irony of this is astounding.

            I still can’t reconcile all these supposed conservatives who don’t want public money spent on public infrastructure, but then have zero issue forking out massive sums of money that dwarf all that to publically fund corporate infratructure.

            Literally every business in the province can use the argument that what they do benefits the province with a tax base. CSEC is just one business in Calgary. People have an emotional attachment to hockey teams, that’s the only reason people even consider this.

            Ps, If Murray Edwards hadnt fled to London to avoid paying taxes here, I would be less pissed about his requests for public money.

          • Stu Cazz

            Dontcrywolf….Nenshi is a socialist and he is entitled to those beliefs. He is not a champion of sports and entertainment and Calgary suffers for that. Other Canadian mayors got it done with an element of public money with a form of cost & benefit sharing. Nenshi has isolated & offended private industry & developers and that is not good for hard working Calgary families. Nenshi has made Calgary stagnant!

          • Parallex

            I find it eminently strange that there are folk regurgitating right-wing propaganda language (“baseless socialist studies”) while promoting the idea that a government should willfully take a net negative loss of taxpayer money to the tune of several hundred million dollars.

            It basically reaffirms why I rarely vote for “conservative” parties… no true core values.

          • Stu Cazz

            Parellex…keep voting for those socialist parties…they are doing Calgary & Alberta a lot of good I see…we are prospering in red ink & unemployment..enjoy.

          • Aadvarkian Abakeneezer

            Those studies aren’t nearly as baseless as your claim that a new arena would bring ” huge economic benefits to the city”. Logically it seems like it should, but practically it’s only redistributing existing money. The “baseless studies” you so conveniently ignore report that time and time again.

            As for that three year construction project, there are other ways of getting people working. Other uses for taxpayer money also require construction.

            And for the record, the Alberta NDP are pretty much centrists at this point, so don’t bring that “Notley is a socialist who personally tanked the value of oil somehow and probably set the Fort Mac fire on purpose” UPC propaganda garbage in here. I don’t agree with all their policies, but the NDP are doing as well as anyone else would be. Beats more PC mismanagement.

          • Newbietwo

            Me don’t cry wolf

            1. All professional athletes are way over paid and it is because of this exact reason why public funding is even a necessity although the reverse argument is those players taxes significantly benefits the region so it is a five and a take but point being if sports teams were able to be more profitable by paying players less this wouldn’t even be a conversation

            2. But reality is what it is and because of the left world views you have things like NHLPA and unions in virtually every pro sports league in the world because you seemingly found a voice in the 60s while you were high on weed protesting everything foundationally build with capatilism.

            To pay a guy $12 million a year to play hockey is a joke.. when that person could make $12 million a year in branding and endorsements using their popularity.

            3. But this is now the world we live in and in that reality like I said before you can kick and scream all you want but if the city does not give the flames $200 million towards their arena the flames will be sold and moved and no amount of arrogance or success hating or even anger for that matter can change that reality plain and simple

            4. The city should have planned for this 15 years ago and should have had this built into its annual budgets but in the world where sound bites all of a sudden makes the argument that seems too much to ask for.. the stadium is over 25 years old! Can you even take a moment to recognize how ridiculous that itself is?

            4. Some of you have made the yes but argument.. the yes but Toronto’s stadium isn’t publicly funded.. Toronto however has four times our population and the leafs alone have double the flames revenue and most importantly they share the stadium with an NBA team all of which are impossibilities here so when I said anything starts with ones own circumstantial realization I said it for a reason. Our middle class is 20 percent the size of Torontos.. I don’t see surrounding areas like Markham with corporate headquarters all over either do you? As a matter of fact the single greatest driver to our economy oil aside has been in real estate thus builders developers plumbers etc and sorry folks those days are now clearly gone as YTD we are losing residents to other Canadian cities.. the average debt per person in Calgary is almost twice the national average. Retail is stagnant, 40 percent of downtown isn’t occupied.. wages are stagnant..

            Fact is realize the city and region you live in. Realize that supposed large leg one thinks thy can stand on is really just a hollow stump and no need to be angry or arrogant about it.. simply put facts are facts

            4. Do I wish the flames and city build a succession plan that started ten years ago? Absolutely! Do I wish we had $2 million in population and a more diverse economy? You bet I do

  • Just.Visiting

    I don’t think that either side is being particularly intellectually honest with what they’re sharing. Let’s start at the basics. The cost of the rink is forecast to be $600MM all in. Forget all of the bells and whistles about who is paying what over time because a dollar twenty years from now is not at all the same as a dollar today (Finance 101). How is that $600MM cost initially paid. How much is paid on the front end by the city? How much is paid on the front end by the Flames? How much is a loan, and who is responsible for performance under that loan and carrying the interest charges? That type of disclosure brings a level of clarity to the discussion that can then be expanded on with the hocus pocus discussion of how money is recovered over time.

  • Just.Visiting

    On another note, I wonder if Ken King threatened the city that the Flames would continue to play like they did last night unless the city negotiated a deal….

  • madjam

    Dragon Den solution : I buy the Flames from current group and pay for entire cost of new arena and team. I then hand it all over to the city for only a 10 -20% take on the profits you make for up to 30 years or 2B , whichever comes first . Maybe i’ll ask for a paid skybox for all those years as well , to help make it worthwhile – negotiable ?

      • madjam

        Are you for real ? If city was to make just from team and arena and the revenues around by having it after paying any bills and taxes , would they make 200M a year profit ? If they did that would reduce taxes for Calgarians to the tune of 160- 180M a year paying me @10- 20% . Over 30 years at 10% and 200M average profit /year , I would be down 400M . I’m the one taking all the risk on investment. Can you imagine city turning that 160-180M/year into infrastructure to also lower your taxes , obtain more jobs and the spinoffs the city could do from all that free money . Why would a smart Calgarian turn that down ?

      • madjam

        Would they approve the sale and free gift to a city owned team is a legitimate question . Who has deepest pockets to cover a team losing money than a taxpayer public infused system ? Chances pretty good they’d approve it . Hypothetical : Lets say I have a few billion laying around and going to get taxed about 40% of it . I could probably use the tax write offs over several years to keep my balance closer to what it might be without the taxes . I’d rather lose 400M spread over 30 years than all in one year to the taxman . If you do not make any money any year , I still get benefit of tax write offs for those 30 years if I am not mistaken . In a nutshell maybe that person loves Calgary and the 1B investment makes sense , and he gets to enjoy hockey there . You can’t take your money to the grave , so why not use some of it to keep the things you love in your own city even willed and posthumously? It is hypothetical , but possible none the less .

  • Stajanforadirtyboot

    The Flames should move to Nanaimo. I’m miss watching them play. But Matt Stajan must stay in cow town. We have enough free loaders on the island already.

  • Stockton's Finest

    Ok ok ok. Here goes with the recap.

    2 shorties propel the Heat over the Condors. Poirier looks GOOD! Much faster than last year. Looks like he put on 10 pounds of muscle. Riddich with 35 saves. Lines were as follows:
    Cramarossa- Mangiapane- Findlay
    On Defence:
    Ollas-Mattsson & Healey

    Thought Kylington played a solid game. The kid Yevenko (dude is like 6’7″ and can skate) is pretty good. He dropped the gloves and in 2 punches dropped the kid he hit. Pelley looked good, as did Cramarossa. I know I have bagged on Hunter Smith a lot…..and he deserves it tonight. At one point Mrs. Finest asked who that slow guy was that was at least a line behind every one was. Of course it was the Bearded Stork. He needs to go.
    Overall, not a bad showing. Still need to iron out some lines. But a win is a win and the season looks promising.
    Oh, and I won a game-worn Shinkaruk jersey. So a great night in the barn.
    That’s the “A” report for this week…

    • Stockton's Finest

      Oh, and Riddich is still their best goalie.
      I try not to post during the game, but I now feel like I need to provide some in-game comments. We have home games next Friday and Saturday, Saturday the 14th (against defending Champs Grand Rapids) and again on Friday and Saturday the 20th and 21st. Then off to Vegas on the 27th for a Golden Knights game. Hockey every weekend in the month of October. Isn’t it great????

      • Intercourse the Penguins

        I have advocated having the farm team in Cow Town b’cuz I can afford to and would go to their games if they played here. I and all of us so appreciate you and Mrs. Finest as our eyes and ears (we appreciate your butts in the seats, too) for our development team. Were you allways a hockey fan or what?

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      Hey Stockton’s Finest, I have to ask… Are your reported line combinations just the players or are they the actual position too? eg; Left Wing (LW)- Center(C)- Right Wing(RW)…? or in other words, were Mangiapane, Lomberg, Foo actually playing Center position(C) or were just on that line? Thanks 🙂

      • Stockton's Finest

        And as for hockey, became a fan in the late 80’s. Became a Fin fan, as they were the only show in town. We to a few Stockton Thunder games over the years, but really sank my teeth into the Heat during their initial year.

      • Stockton's Finest

        So Carroll centered Lomberg and Poirier (interesting that Lomberg takes all the draws on this line).
        It appeared that Nowich, who is a forward, centered Foo and Shinkaruk.
        You had Findlay center Cramarossa and Mangiapane (even though Cramarossa is listed as a center). And you had Pelley center Pollock (also listed as center) along with the Beared Stork.
        Defence pairing were as listed.

        More thoughts from last night.

        Although Healey played well, he was not notable. Playing with Ollas-Mattsson, that pair blended in. I have a feeling when Anderson returns, he teams with Healey. To me, the Doetzel/Yuvenko D pairing was the best tonight. Yuvenko goes 6’7″ and knows how to finish checks. He has a deceptive shot. During the 2nd, when he was closer to me, there was a play where, on the power play, he was being pressured and you could see him look 3 different ways to clear the puck from the zone and get a line change in. He wasn’t bullied off the puck and played with poise. He is more defenced minded and would be solid. I know it was just one pre-season game, but even Mrs. Finest made comments about his play. That is saying something.

        I would say the top line clicked (Poirier/Carroll/Lomberg). The 2nd line (Foo/Nowich/Shinkaruk) needs a little more playing time together. There was twice that Shink ran into what appeared to be a lost Foo, but as the night wore on, iit got better.
        Poirier, Lomberg, and Pelley all wore the “A”, so no captain has been chosen. My thought is they are waiting for Andersson to return, or Hathaway.
        Riddich was in mid-season form. Too bad he only got a period in Calgary to show off what he can (and will) do for this organization. And it will be interesting when (if) Gillies returns who gets the crease. With no call ups, I can see Huska giving Gillies about 40 games and Riddich about 28. And with 8 games in October, I figure 5 & 3.
        About 3500 in the barn last night for the game, which was more than last year. There was a good buzz throughout, even though still no Canadian beer. But I will have to suffer with 805 and Firestone Luponic.
        If you want to catch the radio, I know you can get the call on AHL.com.
        I know some comments about Brandon Kisker have not been favorable, but getting to talk with him at team functions last year about his path to play-by-play explains a lot. He comes from the Cleveland area, growing up on Midwest teams. He was an intern for Dave Mishkin in Tampa Bay. So he got his chops from studying him. You can hear Dave’s influences when listening. He is in his mid-30’s. To me and Mrs. Finest, he is entertaining. He gets excited, some times a little too much. But realize, he IS in Stockton.

    • freethe flames

      The “Bearded Stork” sounds a lot like “The Burden” on the big club. I watched a post practice interview with him yesterday saying all the right things but I honestly expect nothing to change from him on the ice.

  • freethe flames

    People should not just be blaming Nenshi or supporting him as he is only one voice on council. Regardless of your position on who should pay for it you should contact your candidates for council and ask them for their position. Then you can be an informed voter.