Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Is this one of John Kennedy's "400 budget cuts"?


Bobby Jindal's insanely stupid deal with Tom Benson.
Legislators on the House Appropriations Committee lost some of their spirit for their New Orleans Saints this week when they learned the state is paying owner Tom Benson almost $2 million more than the market value of 323,000 square feet of space the state leases in Benson Tower, including an entire floor that’s unoccupied.

The News-Star reports many freshmen lawmakers learned about the cost for the first time this week as they grapple with budget cuts that could cripple higher education and health care.

“It was shocking to me,” said state Rep. Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall, who also owns a home in Shreveport. “To have 24,000 square feet that’s unoccupied? I don’t know of anybody in DeSoto or Caddo or Sabine parishes who has a house that big. It makes no sense.”
But hey like any good solid trickle-down plan, it all comes back in the form of philanthropy money gifted to Ron Forman's con-profit and its continued appropriation of public space for privatized uses. 
The Carrollton Boosters, a nonprofit children’s sports group, intends to build a $4 million sports complex there, thanks to an agreement with the Audubon Commission, the public arm of the Audubon Nature Institute, and to donations from Tom and Gayle Benson, Drew Brees’ family and Louisiana-based companies like Tabasco and Iberia Bank.

The proposed development, which has been referred to in city documents as the Benson & Brees Soccer Complex, would accommodate soccer, football, kickball and lacrosse. It would include new restrooms, a concession stand, a new playground and $250,000 in landscaping, according to Audubon officials.

Audubon board and staff members, as well as supporters of the boosters club, have heralded the project as a way to expand sports opportunities for New Orleans children, providing a much-needed field for a growing organization that has served local children for more than 75 years.

Since the proposed development became public, however, it has ignited protests from residents who denounce the project as turning over public land to a private, though nonprofit, organization, and who say too little of the green space by the river will be left for those who just want to meander by the river or picnic on the grass.
Is anyone going to point out, also, that Forman sits on the LSED board which, technically, oversees Benson's lease?  How is this "donation" in any way appropriate? 

No comments: