72
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Calgary’s mayoral candidates weigh in on the arena

There’s a municipal election campaign underway in Calgary. Advanced voting runs until Wednesday, Oct. 11 and election day itself is Monday, Oct. 16. The potential future home for the Calgary Flames has become a surprisingly big issue in this election, with the premise of replacing the Saddledome (and how it would be done) taking a front and centre role in the campaign.

In the interest of providing a bit of information and clarity to folks who see the arena as a big election issue, we decided to go to the source. We sent a short questionnaire about the arena situation to the candidates for mayor so that their stances can be found in one concise spot. Here, friends, are where the mayoral contenders stand.

The process

We sent the questionnaire to nine of the 10 official candidates for mayor via e-mail – the 10th, Stan Waciak, had no publicly available campaign e-mail and so wasn’t invited to participate. We followed up multiple times with each campaign to ensure everyone else had the opportunity to participate. Brent Chisholm and Curtis Olson did not respond to the questionnaire. The survey went out via e-mail shortly after nominations were announced. The majority of e-mail responses came back in the week leading up to Thanksgiving.

The respondents were given no word counts in which to describe their stances. The responses to the questions have not been edited.

The questionnaire

Every mayoral candidate was asked three questions:

  1. Do you believe that the Saddledome needs to be replaced as Calgary’s primary arena?
  2. To what extent do you support direct financial contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena?
  3. To what extent do you support other contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena (such as land or infrastructure tie-ins)?

Jason (GoGo) Achtymichuk

Do you believe that the Saddledome needs to be replaced as Calgary’s primary arena?

Yes the current Saddledome is antiquated, it is the oldest in the NHL and ill-equipped to hold major events.

To what extent do you support other contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena (such as land or infrastructure tie-ins)?

Overall, I’m supportive of contributions to bridge the gap for what I see the city can offer. I can’t put a number on it without being in the room, but I support hard fiscal contributions.

To what extent do you support other contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena (such as land or infrastructure tie-ins)?

It is important to define and understand public contributions. There is a critical distinction between cash and “in-kind” contributions. Non-cash contributions can be helpful, but can also be esoteric and difficult to value. What is the true value of land contribution? Should the infrastructure/LRT improvements be considered a contribution? We must be mindful that in-kind donations and loans are not cash. Additionally, only those items that contribute directly to the actual building should be considered. A new facility will attract both locals and tourists to games, concerts and special events. In addition, I believe the Flames are essential for the vibrancy and economic wellbeing of our city. The current Saddledome is antiquated, is the oldest facility in the NHL, and is ill-equipped to host major events. While there will be primary and secondary financial benefits to the new arena, the potential tertiary effects could be astronomical. Overall, I’m supportive of direct financial contributions to ensure a new facility gets built. I can’t formulate a specific financial plan based on current public information, but I support direct and indirect fiscal contributions.

Andre Chabot

Do you believe that the Saddledome needs to be replaced as Calgary’s primary arena?

Yes.

To what extent do you support direct financial contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena?

I don’t unless there is a cost recovery method principal and interest.

To what extent do you support other contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena (such as land or infrastructure tie-ins)?

A full cost recovery of all expenses attributable to the facility.

Emile Gabriel

Do you believe that the Saddledome needs to be replaced as Calgary’s primary arena?

Dr. Gabriel strongly believes that the need for a new multi-purpose sport arena is vital for many reasons including the fact that we are losing business to other city and entertainment is an essential part in maintaining a healthy so city

To what extent do you support direct financial contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena?
To what extent do you support other contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena (such as land or infrastructure tie-ins)?

As a person having many years of business experience, Dr. Gabriel will be open to negotiating different options that meets the element of “mutual consideration” that is a basic part of any agreement between two parties. That could include a land offer. The main guiding principle here is to have a win-win arrangement.

Larry Heather

Do you believe that the Saddledome needs to be replaced as Calgary’s primary arena?

The Saddledome does need to be replaced. I favor separate locations for the Arena and the Fieldhouse, Vic Park and McMahon locations respectively.

To what extent do you support direct financial contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena?

A 50/50% deal with a 35 year team lease without property taxes. I do not like CRL’s as they vacuum tax and investment monies from the rest of the City business… we need to find an alternative to this.

To what extent do you support other contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena (such as land or infrastructure tie-ins)?

The Land Should be free… and the infrastructure tie-ins a part of normal City duties.

David Lapp

Do you believe that the Saddledome needs to be replaced as Calgary’s primary arena?

Yes.

To what extent do you support direct financial contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena?

To the extent that we can get a reasonable deal done. I believe we need a Public-Private Partnership (P3) – that’s the only sane way. Common sense. Both sides are going to have to give a little. There’s room to vary a bit on both sides – oversimplification on 3rds, 4ths, or Halves as deal markers are not productive. We need a deal that is good for taxpayers, and I believe we’ll get one. The key is to change who’s in the Mayor’s Office, so that respect can return to the negotiations. I would negotiate directly with CSEC, not through the media – the election circus around this issue was entirely inappropriate. This deal should have been completed MONTHS ago, man to man. We need an arena, and with me in the Mayor’s Office, we’ll get one. Let’s repair the relationship. Let’s make a deal.

To what extent do you support other contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena (such as land or infrastructure tie-ins)?

I wouldn’t rule out any options from the City’s side, including those ones; as well, CSEC will be required to move a little as well. Both sides will have to be reasonable. And I believe both sides can be reasonable. If we have a new Mayor.

Naheed Nenshi

Do you believe that the Saddledome needs to be replaced as Calgary’s primary arena?

I think the Saddledome has served Calgary extremely well over its 34 years, and I think it still has some life left in it. However, I recognize that the design presents some challenges for certain uses of the building. My vision for a culture and entertainment district in Victoria Park, in between the East Village and the Stampede, includes a new arena because I understand how it can be an important part of the revitalization of that area. The Saddledome hasn’t been able to be the catalyst for development in that area, but an arena that is part of a larger vision – which I presented several weeks ago and which you can see in full at www.nenshi.ca – could certainly be part of something special that we can build together.

To what extent do you support direct financial contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena?

As I stated above, I support a new arena, but it has to be the right deal for Calgarians.  I will say it again: the funding model must be based on the principle of public benefit for public money, and large numbers of Calgarians have told me that they will accept nothing less. I believe that The City’s offer where The City, the fans and the Flames would each split a third of the costs is more than fair, especially because there are other aspects that are still open for negotiation (the financing of the ticket surcharge, for example). As long as I am Mayor, The City will be at the table. It is also important to remember that Council as a whole gives direction to our negotiation team; this is not just about me, no matter how much CSEC wants to make it out to be that way. It’s about getting a fair deal for Calgarians.

To what extent do you support other contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena (such as land or infrastructure tie-ins)?

The City’s most recent offer to the Flames also included the land for a new arena, the basic infrastructure necessary for an arena’s construction (e.g. utility upgrades), and additional infrastructure that will be essential to a future arena’s success, including the transit access (Green Line station), and I believe that’s fair. There may be other opportunities for this type of contribution, and so long as the overall offer meets my guiding principle of public benefit for public contribution, I would be open to considering them.

It is important to note here that CalgaryNEXT – which has been touted by some candidates as still being a viable option – has significant costs to the public that fit within this category (i.e not a direct financial contribution). The potential costs to the public of this project are a minimum of $1 billion dollars (likely much more). Yes, the land needs to be cleaned up in any event, but we need to approach that in a deliberate, thoughtful way that respects the needs of the surrounding community. We are also in the middle of sensitive negotiations to determine who will be responsible for paying for the clean-up and how much (the polluter, the provincial government, The City). We can’t rush it for the sake of a legacy project when other alternatives – ones that will take much less time to bring to completion anyway – are available.

Bill Smith

Do you believe that the Saddledome needs to be replaced as Calgary’s primary arena?

There is little doubt that the Saddledome does not meet the needs of Calgarians. I believe a new arena can be constructed with minimal direct cost to Calgary taxpayers. A new arena would support local sports, hospitality and entertainment industries. I also love the Flames and I want to keep them in Calgary without giving away the farm.

To what extent do you support direct financial contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena?

If we can show a corresponding benefit back to the community, some level of public funding may be appropriate. But right now, there’s no deal and there never will be one under the current Mayor. Like most Calgarians, I love the Flames. But any new deal has to put Calgary taxpayers first.

To what extent do you support other contributions from the City to the construction of a new arena (such as land or infrastructure tie-ins)?

The arena issue has become polarized and politicized. But honestly, the public relations battle of the opposing pie charts has done little to offer real insight into the negotiation process.  Only after seeing all aspects of the negotiations could I form an opinion of what role taxpayers could and should play.  Without knowing those details I could not in good conscience offer an opinion on the merits of city contributions including land, infrastructure tie-ins, road network expansion, or even Saddledome demolition.

  • HAL MacInnis

    When I read Emile’s answers, I’d like to think that it was actually he who answered the questions and, yes, he refers to himself in the third person. HAL MacInnis thinks Dr. Gabriel is not going to win the election.

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    I’ve decided to remove myself from this debate. I’ve decided not to waste energy here which could be spent discussing our fantastic team.

    Regardless of my own views, I will not be a part of a potentially season-debilitating distraction. And no matter what side you fall on, we can all agree this should have been settled long ago. Shame on both parties.

    Fascinating article, good luck to all involved.

    I’m out.

    I’m out.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Just when I thought it was safe to come back to Flames Nation… Seems Calgarians are going to need a bigger boat (yes…it’s a Jaws reference). 🙂

  • Scary Gary

    I’m undecided on who I’m voting for this even in advanced voting but I disagree with Bill Smith’s statement “the public relations battle of the opposing pie charts has done little to offer real insight into the negotiation process. Only after seeing all aspects of the negotiations could I form an opinion of what role taxpayers could and should play”. I actually appreciate the transparency.

    • Thumper

      Has he ever answered a question in a straightforward manner? Everything that comes out of his mouth is either a dodge, a redirect (lol current mayor sucks, amiright?!) or reveals his ignorance and potential incompetence managing civil affairs (“If I had a plan at this point in time, that’d be great”).

      Dude didn’t even take time off work to campaign… I can’t believe he has the momentum that he does. Zero substance.

  • buts

    If you don’t want to be a part of the conversation, THEN DON’T COMMENT!. I hope whoever wins, that they can bridge the gap, negotiate and build a new arena, fieldhouse/stadium that this city desperately needs with little tax implications. We are a first class city with second class venues. We blow endless tax dollars on useless buildings, art etc. our politicians have studies to inquire about what is needed then close the doors for hours then come out with no answers. My property tax bill has doubled since Naheed has been mayor. Lets get a mayor and council in place that gets things done.

  • Ludis Fanaticus

    Looking at the two presumptive front runners, I wonder if this is what the Flames had in mind when they attempted to impair the Mayors campaign.
    It seems that B. Smith is more hawkish that the incumbent.

    I am not basing my vote on what is best, or not best, for the Flames.
    I believe that City Council and the Mayor’s office will negotiate a new arena with the Flames as the major tenant regardless of whom is elected.

    However, having brought this ‘negotiation” into the public eye certainly casts the city in a much more positive light and leaves me shaking my head at a certain councilperson that announced the mayor had made a mess of this – I must disagree most vigorously and would love an opportunity to hear from her on that position (but not on this forum).

    So which ‘devil’ will be the peoples negotiator?
    It should be interesting, both at the alderman level and in casting our votes for mayor.
    I like what I have learned about Mayor Nenshi’s role in this to date.

    Exercise your franchise people.

    • Newbietwo

      The Flames did not impair the mayors campaign.. The mayors past as our mayor impaired it and nothing Moreno or less.. He’s over emotional reactions time and time again the most recent now is apparently that everyone not voting for him is now a supposed racist.

      Yes in our inclusive and open city where we are all equal our very own mayor chooses to be divisive as long as it gets him a win.

      It’s unbelievable

      • Neddd

        @Newbietwo

        This is your opinion, not fact, yet you state your opinion as though it is a fact. You obviously don’t like him and will not be voting for him. Fine, no problem, that’s your choice. But I find it a bit funny that you’re accusing him of being overly emotional, I think you should take a look at yourself…..

      • Kevin R

        Yup! I truly hope people don’t vote based on this stupid building. Nenshi needs to go. He spends our tax dollars like a drunken sailor, he’s arrogant & forgets to maybe show some respect to Calgarians if they don’t share his vision of spending. I like Smith, I think we do need a new building, I don’t think we should pay for it & I think if Flames ownership value what they have done & are part of the community, this should be a joint venture with something on the table for everyone. Out of all these candidates, I think Smith is the most capable to bring in a fair deal for all.

        I laugh at Nenshi using the racism card as well & then in the Herald he is even using the poor economy card. He doesn’t get it. Probably because he’s too arrogant to listen.

  • Squishin

    Nenshi is the best mayor this city has had in a long time. He will not let the Flames get away with an unfair deal. He is curbing the urban sprawl, reforming the public transit, and cutting through the bs from big business.
    Is he a little arrogant? Yes. Is he a little snarky sometimes? Yes. Still, the dude knows this job. He is capable of being smart and tough. His flood response was unparalleled, and he’s won World’s Best Mayor twice. I think he deserves one more term.

    • Burnward

      I unfollowed him last week after his late evening Tweet-storm that was more in line with a philosophy major trying to show off to a newfound crush.
      He may not like it, but corporate cash will always butter a cities bread. Needs to be a little more pragmatic.
      That being said, he’s a good man with a good heart.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      I got a shirt that says, “World’s Best Dad!” Big whoop!

      His flood response was unparalleled because everybody from the last big flood to hit Calgary is long dead!

      Curbing urban sprawl? What a lot of rot you do talk. The mayor and council still don’t have a clear policy on secondary suites, seven years as being mayor and countless council meetings dominated by this topic.

      Reforming public transit? How? It used to take me 20 minutes by bus to get downtown, but that bus was cancelled in the name of transit reform. Now with a shuttle bus and train, the same trip is 35 minutes.

      Nenshi has been mayor for 7 years. Do you really think he still has any fresh ideas left. I don’t. There is a reason most jurisdictions outside of Canada put time limits on how long elected officials can serve. Neshi’s best before date was reached a long time ago. I will be delighted if he gets turfed next Monday and I will do my part to achieve this bliss.

      • Kevin R

        Personally, I don’t think a politician should be able to run after their 2nd term at any level of government anyway. Any longer is stale dated, one of the few thing the US have that makes sense.

    • Kevin R

      @ Squishin Go to info@readytoengage.ca & watch a great video done on Oct 7th explaining the $100million dollar waste Nenshi is adamant on seeing through on the SWBRT. This is beyond reforming our public transit. Ask any small business owner in this City that pays commercial taxes what they think of Nenshi. This has nothing to do with the Saddledome.

  • Flamesfan4life

    1) the millions of dollars the owners would make from a new arena would come from the purchase of tickets and merchandise of those attending the events.
    2) the taxes collected by the city from said owners would also come indirectly from event attendees.
    3) ticket taxes collected…..you get the point
    4) the reason taxes are collected in the first place are to fund large projects, infrastructure and community programs to benefit Calgarians. I don’t think it has to benefit all Calgarians, if that were the rule…. nothing would ever get done. 400 million for an airport tunnel used by only some, millions spent on big blue rings (0 monetary benefit) and there’s squabbling over the benefit of an arena for polarizing sports team, that almost everyone agrees is needed. Just get it done already!!

    • Justthateasy

      Yep you are right about wasting taxpayers money on pet projects like tunnels, bridges, library and art shoved down your throat. Pet Project for the mayor is a cultural Dream Center around Victoria Park. The country music Center is another big joke. Not too much in there for all the space it takes up.
      Spend like crazy raise my taxes and now he’s fiscally-responsible yeah right.
      The old story most people can’t even spend their own money properly but nobody can spend other people’s money wisely.
      No vote for the current mayor. No vote for the current front runner because he cannot even state an opinion.
      Show me Fiscal responsibility that’s all I ask.

  • beloch

    Prior to running for mayor, Bill Smith was on the McMahon Stadium Society board, which operates McMahon stadium for CSEC. i.e. Smith worked for the Flames’ owners.
    In January of this year, a collection agency was trying to confiscate property from Smith’s business to pay an outstanding bank debt of $24,545.60.
    Although Smith’s reply is far from the brevity of Chabot and echoes some of Nenshi’s popular statements about public benefit for public money, Bill Smith’s position on funding is as unclear as ever.
    Bill Smith refuses to release his donor list.

    Connect the dots folks.

  • class1div1

    Quetion #4. Do you think it’s a disgrace that no effort is being made to reclaim the toxic land along the river,and should council be looking to the province and feds to assist in the clean-up?

    • Newbietwo

      I can on here for years now since they announced the original project emphasizing that exact point as it’s very concerning to me and frankly something I had no idea about even happening till then.

      The fact that this has been punted by everyone in politics for years and years should anger us all.

  • oilcanboyd

    I live in D’Edmonton as a Flames fan and went through the whole soap opera before the Rogers Centre was built. The debate in Calgary will go on for a long time with posturing on both sides before a deal is finally done. The owner of the team finally realized he can’t let a good opportunity to build an arena, get the City as the prime rental tennant in his new office tower as well as develop or sell other lands he owns downtown, so he decided to up his contribution with most coming from the seat tax for all events at Rogers (and the old rexall place too!). And the Mayor and Council realized that a new arena downtown would spur redevelopment downtown. Then a deal was finally struck!

    Not sure how this applies to Calgary, as there is a much larger office vacancy rate than Edmonton. But even in Edmonton, the new office towers left many older buildings vacant, because tennants just swithed to the newer towers.

  • Toofun

    I met Bill Smith for the first time this morning at an information session outlining his policies and platform. It was a small group of about 12 people and of course the question about the arena and Fieldhouse came up.

    Both Smith and Nenshi would like a new arena and they both want it to be a fair deal for the city. The biggest thing that struck me however was that their respective negotiating styles couldn’t be more different.

    Maybe Nenshi will win this fight with the Calgary Flames owners and the NHL and get us everything we want at a fair price but after listening to Bill Smith this morning, if he was Mayor, I doubt that the city would be in a fight at all.

    Which style is better for the city? Do your home work then get out and vote.

    • Stu Cazz

      Nenshi has had his opinion for 7 years…result….No amateur field house, No arts centre, No new stadium, No new arena, No relationship with Calgary business leaders, No progress, No to Nenshi!

    • Kevin R

      Was Bill Smith involved in the negotiations to date with the Flames. Honestly, I would worry about more about the ones that have an opinion that haven’t been part negotiations. Nenshi has his opinion & has followed through on it. It’s basically, he doesn’t think we need a new building for events like the & our sports franchise. If the Saddledome is that important, I guess one should vote for Nenshi because most of the other candidates feel this City needs a new building.

        • class1div1

          Cowardice is a pretty strong word to apply here.You have probably been in a situation where you asked to finish up what someone else had started,and i doubt you would draw any conclusions until you had a chance to step in and figure out what has gone on up until that point.

          • Parallex

            Sure have… thing is I wasn’t campaigning to take the project while besmirching the prior project workers. It is cowardice. This is politics… you have to stand for something. Anything less is cowardl

  • FlamesFan27

    I’m a huge Flames fan who lives in Edmonton. As an Edmonton taxpayer, I don’t think we got a very good deal. Yeah, there is some new downtown development, but at what cost? I know the manager of a great restaurant in the arena district, which has been hurt by the Oilers moving there. The problem is that on game nights they only get a hour of business because of the obscene parking prices, and no one except the fans come. The restaurant used to be full every night for at least 4 hours.

    There is a deal to be made, that is win-win. Let’s hope they get it done.

    • Justthateasy

      Great point about the parking. I was recently there at Commonwealth for their Labor Day classic rematch. For the life of me I cannot understand the parking situation. I drove around until I was blue in the face. I realized but every spot on the street is restricted. I found a spot in the alley in the backyard of a house under renovation. It is reminiscent of Victoria Park when there were still houses there. Residents were allowed to and definitely did but people Park on their property for a reasonable fee. I guess over-regulated Edmonton gets what it deserves. Shiny on the outside but brutally ugly on the inside.

      • Stu Cazz

        My theory on parking, particularly in Canada is they don’t want you to drive to the game but rather encourage public transportation. Unlike the US, who have larger infrastructure including land & parking facilities they encourage parking and view it as a revenue opportunity ……

      • oilcanboyd

        Justthateasy: People attending events at Commonwealth Stadium are encouraged to take the LRT or go to Park and Ride locations across the city. They encourage it by ticketing illegally parked cars in the vicinity (a very large area)!

  • Derzie

    There’s a leader for those that value the greater good (Nenshi) and one for those who value personal good (Smith). If you ask “what’s in it for me”, vote Smith. If you ask “what’s in it for us”, vote Nenshi. Or vote for one of the longshots. But vote nonetheless. i would support mandatory voting (like Australia) for sure.

  • Greg

    Bill Smith never really says anything on this topic. He’s happy to criticize Nenshi, but doesn’t really take a clear stand himself. That’s an easy cop out for any political “opposition” and doesn’t show how they will do anything better.

    Add to that the speculation of where he’s receiving campaign funding from, and his refusal to publish his donors, that’s all I need to vote for Nenshi.

    I love the flames, but I can’t take the risk that one (or a few) organizations might be throwing a few hundred thousand now in the hopes they’ll get a few hundred million of our tax dollars later.

    They’ll come back to the table once they know they have no other negotiating option for 4 more years.

    • Justthateasy

      So we go with Dingle balls, the poison we know.? Surely he can’t hit us for another 50% tax increase? Cough cough. He seems to want to draw the line on Arena spending but then again it’s his vision of Vic Park. And football fans can get in line. Hell, all we need is a roof, seat backs and wash room for the ladies.

      • Greg

        I don’t know the exact numbers, but if you own a $400,000ish house, let’s assume you are 1/1,000,000th of the city’s tax base. That means if the city puts up $175m of the arena, $175 of that is straight out of your pocket.

        So if that’s not enough for the flames, and you fear they are bankrolling Bill Smith, and he’s not willing to provide evidence that he’s not in their pocket…

        I don’t know if Nenshi has caused a 50% tax hike, but I sure fear how big the tax hikes will be once the flames have bought a mayor.

        For me it comes down to one thing: I hate dark money in politics and there seems to be some around Smith. That alone completely counts him out as a viable option for me. Since it seems to be a 2 horse race now, any vote not directly for the one you prefer is a vote indirectly for the one you don’t want. Simple as that.

        • MontanaMan

          And what proof do you have that “the Flames have bought a mayor” and that Smith is surrounded by “dark money”. Those are quite the accusations without any evidence. Because a candidate is able to negotiate with the business community (unlike Nenshi) don’t automatically assume that he won’t negotiate a good deal for the city. The fact that the city has flourished DESPITE Nenshi is a testament to the people and the business community.

          • Greg

            To be clear, I never said I had “proof”. I said there’s been accusations, and Smith could very easily disprove those accusations by publishing his donors. So why not do that? What is he hiding?

            I hate “dark money” (dark as in non-transparent) in politics. I wouldn’t care if it was for a candidate who wanted to give tax breaks to people named Greg… I would still want their donors list published before I could make an educated decision to vote for them.

            I don’t disagree that Nenshi has his flaws, and I wouldn’t mind a change. But good governance depends on honesty, and honesty depends on transparency. Why not publish the list? What is he hiding? That’s a deal breaker for me, even if I might otherwise favor him.

          • Parallex

            Yeah, publishing a donor list is the easiest thing in the world to do. Put the names down, put it on your website, issue a media release. Simple.

            That he doesn’t do it makes me strongly suspect he’s in the pocket of folk he’d rather the public not know about before the vote.

        • Stu Cazz

          This “dark money” crap your making up is BS! Rather than build positive business relationships with Calgary’s business leaders your guy Nenshi was tripping over his ego. He was always the smartest man in the room. The starting point for any mayor of a major city is having the positive attitude that a deal can be done. Nenshi’s starting point was confrontation. That’s why he will be history in a few days! Perhaps he should have learned from the mayors of Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg & Hamilton…they got it done!

          • Greg

            How is “dark money” crap? Bill Smith won’t release his donors list… that is “dark” (as in non-transparent) money. Don’t you wonder who is providing that money, and why? Wouldn’t you rather have that information before casting your vote?

            Clearly Nenshi rubs you the wrong way. Fair enough. I wouldn’t call him “my guy”… TBH I’m ready for a change. But if the only viable change is a candidate that won’t disclose his donor list, then IMO that’s not a viable option at all. Transparency is the single most important thing that prevents corruption. I’d rather wait for another option in 4 more years than give an inch on transparent governance today.

          • Greg

            If I had the option to pay an extra $175 as a one time contribution, I’d consider it. But that apparently was so appalling that the flames completely broke off talks. So how much more do they want than that?

            That’s also almost 10% of the property taxes I pay each year. Should 10% of my contributions be going solely to keeping the flames in town? Isn’t there other priorities we might need to fund more than that?

            Also, I’m a flames fan who owns a home and is relatively financially secure. $175 might seem fair to me, but what about to non-fans, or people who are barely scraping by? At what point do we say that’s too much to ask of other citizens?

            To be honest, I’d trust an elected council to make that decision. I could NOT trust a mayoral candidate to make that decision when he’s not willing to publish his donors list? How could anyone trust someone who would keep that information from the voting public?

        • FlamesFan27

          Your math doesn’t quite work for me. Yes, there are about $1M people, but not 1 million homes. So take a family of 4 and it comes out to $700 per household. While many people would be glad to pay that one-time, many other people simply cannot afford that.

          • Greg

            True, I don’t know what the city revenue structure is (commercial property taxes too for example), but if the number is $700 for an average family of 4? That would be unreasonable for a lot of people. And it was so unreasonable the flames broke off negotiations, so how much more do they want?

            It actually would be a good thing if the city included that breakdown on our property tax bills… something that showed what your share is on the flames offer and the city’s offer would make the debates a lot more concrete/informational and less abstract/emotional.

  • Puckhead

    If Calgary wins the Olympic bid does this become a non-issue or do we hobble through with the Dome? Even if everyone jumped on the bandwagon would they have enough time to complete it for the games?

    I could see wallets opening if the games were in hand

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Just a reminder, in his first career, Billy Smith used to rush into burning buildings to save babies and grandmas without worrying about his own safety and welfare. A man who bursts into a blazing building while everybody else is bustling to get out is a true hero. Calgary is that burning building and Smitty is the man to not only rescue those trapped inside the inferno, but to extinguish the fire. Burn, baby, burn, but not on my watch, says big Bill Smith.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    The stat heads are reporting the Knights have a 100% probability of making the playoffs in 2017-18. McPhee is at 97% to be named Executive of the Year in 2017-18 and Gerry Gallant is a 98% favourite to bring home this season’s Jack Adams.

  • The city wants to build an arena for a team that has said they have stopped the pursuit of one? Pretend it’s not posturing on the part of Ken King. What happens if the city builds one anyway and the Flames/NHL say: “Meh, it’s not to our liking.” What if the Flames are prepared to move elsewhere unless they get at least the building (field house / stadium + area) and location they want. Worst case scenario is the city funds the building itself to replace it’s admitted aged/old Saddledome, only to have no major tenant inside. Oh well, it’s just money. National, provincial and now civic politics look at our tax spending the same way. I’m just happy to sit back and be entertained by the drama. Free ice-cream and ponies for everyone!