Letters, Dec. 24, 2015 

Welfairy Tale, Increase Alzheimer's Funding, The Koch Influence

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Welfairy Tale
Most fairy tales begin "once upon a time, in a land far, far away." The American sports industry's fairy tale begins "all the time, right here." Apart from that, though, it's very similar to other fairy tales in that no sensible adult really believes the main elements of the story. It goes like this:

The ultra-wealthy owners of an ultra-profitable sports franchise decide their team needs a new stadium. But they have no intention of paying for that stadium themselves. They want the local, county and state governments in the area where the team plays to pick up the tab. And if those governments don't cooperate, well, they'll pack up the team and move it to some area with a government that's more willing to fleece the taxpayers on its behalf.

Here's where the fairy tale element comes in: Hey, guys, relax—this thing will more than pay for itself! Sure, you're going to make taxpayers cover the building costs. Sure, you're going to write all kinds of special tax breaks for the team's owners into the deal. But the new stadium will create so much new economic development around it that you'll be swimming in jobs.

But study after study shows that the "economic development" claims are fairy tales. Stadium projects are at best an economic wash for the locales in which they're built. My former home of St. Louis, Mo., seems to be the proverbial sucker born every day. A decade or so ago, governments built a new stadium for the local Major League Baseball team, the Cardinals. Now, the city's National Football League franchise, the Rams, wants one, too, at a cost of $1.1 billion, even though the bonds on their current venue won't be paid off for another six years. The team's owner, Stan Kroenke (estimated net worth: $7.7 billion), has threatened to move the team back to California if the taxpayers won't pick up the vast bulk of the check.

Let's call this what it is: Welfare for the rich, stolen from regular folks. The billionaires get a happy ending. Everyone else gets eaten by the bears. Or, in this case, by the Rams.

Thomas L. Knapp
Gainesville, Fla.

Increase Alzheimer's Funding
There are a few moments in life when we can be a part of changing history. If you choose, that moment is now knocking at your door. A bill was recently introduced in Congress that includes an historic increase of $350 million per year for Alzheimer's research. If this funding is signed into law, hundreds of our nation's leading Alzheimer's researchers will have the resources to conduct studies that could yield the missing clues for treatments and care breakthroughs we've seen with other diseases. This increase in funding will allow critical work to move forward, bringing us much closer to improvements in care and treatment.

Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and takes the lives of 500,000 people each year. It is the only disease among the top 10 killers that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.

Take time now to contact Senators Lee and Hatch and your Representative Bishop, Stewart, Chaffetz or Love. Ask them to support this funding. Change history today.

Ronnie Daniel
Salt Lake City

The Koch Influence
The Libertas Institute—like the Sutherland Institute and the Utah Taxpayers Foundation—are all local Utah affiliates of and controlled by the Koch brothers' State Policy Network. All three organizations are also unofficial, but very real arms and agents doing the dirty work (i.e., lobbying, false propaganda, etc.) of Mormon church leaders, and therefore the Mormon church.

The claim that Salt Lake City is Utah's least free city only means that it is slightly less under control of this syndicate than other places in Utah.

Stuart McDonald
Salt Lake City

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