If You Give a Rat a Stadium
I'm sure many of you have read the children's book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. In it, a young boy does what the title suggests, yet this action leads to getting the mouse a glass of milk to go along with it. This eventually snowballs into a complex chain of actions that wears the young boy ragged as he attempts to satisfy the needs of his furry friend. The important lesson here is one that too many of us end up learning when we leave a bowl of food out for a stray cat: without a line in the sand, you've just asked to be walked all over.
Unfortunately, Sandy City has learned this lesson all too well. After flashy presentations, tons of schmoozing and a bit of arm-twisting, Mayor Dolan got the legislature to cut a $35M check for his good buddy Dave Checketts so he could build a
boondoggle redevelopment project in everyone's favorite Salt Lake County suburb. Now they're coming back for a double-dose of cash. Not only do they want to grab another hunk of county tax money for the project, but it now comes out that Sandy's looking for a cut from the legislature to build a huge theater to the tune of up to $60M.
It's not like we didn't have a chance to call foul on this whole stadium deal. Some brave souls tried to start a referendum of their own, yet the media circus and glitz over the voucher issue made too many Utahns say "meh" to something as mundane as stadium funding. Now that indifference is going to cost us up to $70M in projects we shouldn't even be considering. I suppose the city's $170,000 annual lobbyist budget is paying off big time, the largest such budget of any city in the state.
I'm left puzzled how it is that a man engaging in shady backroom deals and political strong-arming over 13 years can still have enough friends to try and pull these kinds of stunts. Given his long tenure, it's obvious that voters in Sandy don't care enough to dispose of him despite the loud opposition that seems to arise come election time. At any rate, I think this mouse has had his fill of taxpayer cookies.