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3 Strikes Against Building New Ballparks

August 15, 1993

I was outraged when I read the article "Fields of Dreams" by staff writer Chris Kraul in the Business section (July 11). I could not believe that cities such as Baltimore would shell out $290 million for a baseball stadium.

I found this especially shocking considering that we are currently in a recession. That money could have been spent to create jobs--not low-paying jobs that these stadiums create but real jobs: jobs for police officers and schoolteachers or public works.

Stanford University economics professor Roger G. Noll believes that $200 million could build an industrial park and generate as much as 100 times as much in taxes and jobs. If a city wanted to stimulate its economy, to me this seems like a better alternative to the minimum-wage jobs that ballparks create.

I was even more shocked when I learned exactly how these stadiums were being paid for. Cleveland levied a sin tax on cigarettes and alcohol, Arlington and Denver levied sales taxes, and Chicago put a 2% room tax on their hotels.

When I go to visit my relatives in Chicago, I have to pay more because the old Comiskey Park just was not good enough. Somehow that does not sit with me too well. Why should I or any other tourist have to foot the bill for a stadium that we might never visit?

I do not live there, therefore I do not want to have to pay. Not to mention these cities are mimicking Uncle Sam by digging themselves deeper in debt until these taxes, etc., pay off the bonds the city sold to generate the cash.

I say thank-you to Mr. Kraul for writing this article and The Times for running it. You can bet that if the Dodgers or the Angels catch "New Stadium" fever, I'll be on the other side fighting for myself and the people of my community.


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