Jun 5, 2009

Help save a beloved and historic gem

Tom Stanton, author of the book “The Final Season: Fathers, Sons, and One Last Season in a Classic American Ballpark,” said it best when he wrote “Old buildings bring life to stories. They put a foundation to memories.”

Those memories may soon be torn down after a near secret decision earlier this week by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) to demolish what’s left of beautiful and historic Tiger Stadium in the next couple weeks, dashing the hopes, dreams and hard work of the all-volunteer Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy and baseball fans all over the world. Apparently, the meeting where the decision took place occurred with little notice, and no one from the Conservancy was there to speak for the historic stadium that holds millions of cherished memories for generations of Michiganders and former Michiganders.

The Conservancy had hopes to preserve what’s left of the historic stadium at the most famous location in sports at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull, just a dugout-to-dugout section, into a $27 million redevelopment project. The remaining stadium would be converted to commercial space and a community center. The playing field would be renovated for youth and high school baseball and community events. Renovated Tiger Stadium will include museum quality exhibits, a banquet hall and retail. Fans will be able to explore the clubhouses, dugouts and the broadcast booth. The most exciting feature that will bring visitors from all over the world to the Stadium and Detroit will be the Harwell Museum.

Beloved and Hall of Fame former Tiger’s broadcaster Ernie Harwell has an extensive and priceless baseball memorabilia collection that is second only to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown he wants to display at the Stadium.

If the DEGC is successful in demolishing the stadium, the Conservancy will lose seven years of hard work and the $22 million they have secured thus far in federal earmarks, grants, and tax credits and the city will lose the jobs the project would create. But far more importantly, baseball fans will lose one of the city’s – and the nation’s – historic gems, creating yet another vacant, blighted space in Detroit.

Thom Linn, President of Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, said there is strong, widespread support for the project, from stadium neighbors in Detroit’s historic Corktown to the entire metro region and beyond. The public outcry over the DEGC’s action has even reached the national news: On Wednesday night on his MSNBC show, Keith Olbermann expressed his outrage about it. Why the city’s leadership made this bad and shortsighted decision is unclear.

Could you imagine the outcry if anyone tried to demolish the beautiful Capitol Building in Lansing, the Fox Theatre or the historic Livingston County Courthouse? Then why are we giving up something with so many pleasant memories so easily?

It’s not too late, and if you love Tiger Stadium like I do then contact the city’s leaders, the state’s leaders and the media and tell them not to destroy memories, history and jobs.

Here is a list of contacts:

-Detroit Mayor David Bing, 313- 224-3400 (9am-5pm)
Fax: 313-224-4433
-all Detroit City Council members

-Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. 313-224-4505 Kenneth.Cockrel@http://www.facebook.com/l/;detroitmi.gov

-Monica Conyers 313-224-4530 ConyersM@http://www.facebook.com/l/;cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us

-Sheila Cockrel 313-224-1337 S-Cockrel_mb@http://www.facebook.com/l/;ckrl.ci.detroit.mi.us

-Barbara Rose Collins 313-224-1299 Collins_MB@http://www.facebook.com/l/;cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us

-Brenda Jones 313-224-1245 bjones_mb@http://www.facebook.com/l/;cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us

-Kwame Kenyatta 313-224-1198 K-Kenyatta_MB@http://www.facebook.com/l/;cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us

-Martha Reeves 313-224-4510 m-reeves_MB@http://www.facebook.com/l/;cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us

-Alberta Tinsley Talabi 313-224-1645 A_Talabi_mb@http://www.facebook.com/l/;atwpo.ci.detroit.mi.us

-JoAnn Watson 313-224-4535 WatsonJ@http://www.facebook.com/l/;cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us

-Governor Jennifer Granholm (517) 373-3400

-news media of your choice; for starters:
Detroit Free Press –
-City Desk 313-222-6600

-Jim Wilhelm, City Desk Editor 313-222-6521 jwilhelm@http://www.facebook.com/l/;freepress.com

Detroit News
-Front desk 313-222-2300
-Nolan Finley, Editorial Page Editor 313-222-2064
-Walter Middlebrook, Assistant Managing Editor/Metro (313) 222-2429


kevins said...

Sorry, guru, the wrecking ball is swinging even as I write.

I, too, have glorious memories. But it's a ballpark. That's all. They tore down comiskey in chicago; they tore down the Gardens in Boston. The world did not end...both cities are in much better shape than is Detroit.

The Conservancy has been "this close" for years to wrapping up financing, but it never materializes. It never will. They have good intentions; they don't have money.

According to Craine's, they only have one-tenth of the money they need...most of that coming from a Carl Levin earmark.

The plan sounds nice and my fear is that once it is torn down, it will just be another vacant eyesore in Detroit.

But the sentimental delay has already cost the city tons of money. Again according to Craines they could have made $300,000 tearing it down a year ago. But now because the cost of scrap metal has plummeted, it will cost $400,000 to finish the demolition. That's a $700,000 swing for a city that -- thanks the the crooked Democrats who run the place -- can't afford it.

Communications guru said...

You’re right, but the last I heard a judge issued an injunction to stop it, at least until Monday.

I have to disagree; it’s more than a ballpark. You are also correct, they did tear down Cominesky, Ebbetts and others. I simply don’t understand why many buildings can be on the historic register and are honored and cannot be torn down, but a ballpark is never on the list. I can’t think of a while lot more historic than Tiger Stadium or Fenway Park. Perhaps because they don’t have a use, but Tiger Stadium does. Baseball fans are a dedicated lot, and the second largest memorabilia collection will be a heck of a draw,

Tiger Stadium has witnessed some of the most famous sports events and athletes in history, concerts, famous statesmen and religious leaders.

You would think that with something that so many Michiganders love and where generations of fathers and sons have bonded you couldn’t politicized it, but you managed, brett.

kevins said...

Politicized? Perhaps. But it was the truth.

Yes, they got an injunction...and this will add even more to the drawn out expense. Who is going to pay back all of these costs, guru? Oh, that's right, it doesn't matter because you have a soft spot for Tiger Stadium.

Listen, I have great memories there as well. When I first when there, it was called Briggs Stadium. Great times.

But if you want a historical museum, make sure it tells the whole story. Because while folks like you and I were building memories down there, the Tiger organization itself was, if not racist, at least resistant to the idea of blacks at the ballpark.

The Tigers were one of the last teams to finally allow a black player to wear that crisp white uniform. Even then, black players were few and far between. That wasn't by accident. Many Detroit blacks knew they weren't part of the team's plans and their resentment turned to apathy for many years, even when stars like Willie Horton and Gates Brown started making headlines for the Tigers.

And the Tigers liked to keep the working man down, even at the expense of winning games. It's hard to believe, given his current politics, but Jim Bunning was a rabble-rouser who stood up for the players' union. The Tigers didn't like that. So even though Bunning was a proven star pitcher, they traded him to Philadelphia for a no-name journeyman named Don Demeter. It was a grossly one-sided deal but it got a union-supporter out of the clubhouse.

Bunning went on to do even greater things with the Phillies, including a perfect game. The Tigers did win a Series in that glorious 1968. But had Bunning stayed with the team, they could have possibly had more. Surely 1967 might have turned out different and they likely could have had a shot in 1966 and 1969 as well. So instead of one memorable season, the Tigers could have had a short dynasty. But the owners were happy to get one great season and keep the payroll down and the number of black players at a minimum.

Think that will be in your beloved museum? Think they will explain how they fired Ernie? Think they will talk about how Monaghan and Bo tried to hold fans hostage to get taxpayer dollars?

It will likely never come to pass. If it does, it will be a boondoggle. Millions will be poured into it without much return.

A tourist attraction? You have to be kidding me. We are the home of Motown music. We are unique in that way..unlike baseball teams of which there are more than 30 cities with one. So..have you been to the Motown Museum lately? Know anyone who has? any idea of its attendance?

If we can't support a Motown Museum, what makes you think people will come to an abandone ballpark?

Again...it's something you want, so you expect taxpayers to pick up the tab for it. Is there no end to your selfishness?

Communications guru said...

Politicized, yes, the truth, not. It’s more than a soft spot; it’s also a great investment. I’m not sure what Jim Bunning’s record has to do with the destruction of an historic treasure, but I doubt he would have helped the Tigers much after 1967; he wasn’t even a .500 pitcher in the remaining six seasons of his career.

Nope, that won’t be in my “beloved museum,” nor will they “explain how they fired Ernie or “talk about how Monaghan and Bo allegedly tried to hold fans hostage to get taxpayer dollars.” Why should they and why would they?

That’s your opinion, brett, and it’s just as valid as mine. That is correct, brett, a tourist attraction. What’s unique is the second largest baseball memorabilia collection in the world. I suggest you visit Cooperstown, NY. On a summer day. Do I know anyone who has been in the Motown Museum lately? Sure, the cast of some show called “American Idol.” Now, I don’t watch the show, but I understand it’s rather popular.

No, there is no end to my selfishness. When I want government services, I understand I have to pay higher taxes to get them. Right-wingers like you, on the other hand, want something for nothing.

kevins said...

Well, as is your habit, when you have no good arguments, you resort to name-calling and blanket generalaizations.

First, I've give you a point. Bunning tanked after 1968. He did win 74 games, though, in the first four years after the trade. Detroit, on the verge of competing, might have been able to benefit from that.

I noticed you didn't even respond to the poor racial record of the Tigers. Again, you are one of those "liberal" Democrats who really don't care about race...along as the blacks know who to vote for.

Why should they talk about those things? Because its supposedly a museum about the Tiger Stadium history. It's to be financed with tax dollars. Shouldn't it tell the truth...the whole truth? If they want to sugar-coat it, build it on their own as a private, non-profit. I've got no problem with that. Won't happen because no one in his/her right mind would put up money for something that would be a money pit from Day One.

Yes, American Idol showed up at the Motown Museum. They coming back soon? What was annual attendance before that...or after. It doesn't draw. Neither will the Harwell museum. Comparing it to Cooperstown is idiocy.

And your shots against me? Pure rubbish. On what grounds can you call me a right-winger? I disagree with you not because of political differences, but because you write foolish things that aren't true. I started on this thread back when you lied about the county Republican Party breaking a law in a school election. That was a lie, one that you later "justified" by saying that as long as you believed it to be true, it was true.

My selfishness? No, it is you who is selfish. You decide you want something and then you decide other people have to pay for it.

Your statement that you have to pay "higher" taxes to get government services really lays out your "Take it from the taxpayer" mentality. Why do the taxes have to be "higher" to provide services? Why can't existing taxes pay for necessary services?

You lie again when you say I want something for nothing. What justifies that lie? I pay taxes...lots of them...without complaint. I pay extremely high property taxes here in Livingston as well as nonhomestead on several other properties in Michigan. Those communities get a lot of my money and I get little service..i actually subsidize the locals. No complaints...that's the way it works and I understood that when I bought the properties.

I pay a hefty federal income tax and a hefty state income tax. I wish the state would have raised the state income tax to the old 4.6 percent rather than all the foolishness they've gone through.

Of course I pay other taxes as well...gas, sales, park fees, whatever.

I don't mind paying them, but I think I'm justified in asking that the money be spent wisely and on essential priorities. I detest your attitude that we always need higher taxes, particularly to pay for pet projects such as the Tiger Stadium museum.

You really think that's what Detroit residents need? I don't. I think they need safe streets. They also need streets plowed in the winter. They also need streetlights that work. They need good and safe schools. That's where tax dollars should be spent. That would actually benefit the poor, mostly black inner-city residents. But you don't care about them; you want someone to pay for your memories for a museum you will visit maybe once in your life.

And what about your statement "the truth, not." What wasn't true about my statement? Are you saying that Detroit doesn't have financial problems? Are you saying that city leadership hasn't been corrupt (from Kwame's testing to sludge scandals to the most wide open pay-to-play schemes in the country)? Or are you saying that those running Detroit aren't Democrats?

So what is it? What did I say that wasn't true? Once again, you own words show your inability to tell the truth.

Communications guru said...

That is simply a lie. This from a person who accuses me of being a child molester and refuses to show the proof he falsely claims he has.

Yes, you gave me a point, and I addressed it. You claimed he would have helped the Tigers after 1968, but he was less than a .500 pitcher after than. Still, I don’t see what that has to do with the present situation.

I didn’t respond to the alleged “poor racial record of the Tigers because it‘s irrelevant.” “…along as the blacks know who to vote for?” I don’t even know what that means.

Yes, I’m comparing it to Cooperstown. Not the Hall of Fame, Cooperstown. Of course you are a right-winger, and I told the truth about the county GOP.

How is it possible that you pay “extremely high property taxes here in Livingston” when the county GOP puts up billboards along I-96 bragging about Livingston County having the lowest tax rate in the state.

kevins said...

I take by your failure to respond, that once again you concede you were wrong. You are a sad little man.


1. I said the city could ill afford to waste $700,000 given its poor economic situation brought on by a corrupt elected leadership, which is full of Democrats. You said that was untrue. I asked you what part -- the $700,000 loss because of scrap metal price swings, the poor economic state of the city, the corruption, the fact that Democrats are the elected leaders in Detroit? You failed to answer. You don't have an answer.

I conceded your observation about Bunning from 1968 on; I did point out that he was outstanding for the four years after he was traded because Tiger management didn't want a pro-labor voice in the clubhouse. You ignore that.

You say I am a right-winger. Prove it, you liar.

You said I accused you of being a child molester. You seem very sensitive about that. You are big on demanding links. Show me even one time that I accused you of being a child molester. Just once. You can't, because I never did. It is odd, however, that you feel compelled to deny a charge that was never made.

How can I be paying high property taxes? You can't be that dumb...oh, wait, yes you can. I own a home in Livingston County that has a high value...so I pay high property taxes. Even if the county rate is low, I still pay a lot to the county. Plus, the county rate is only one small part of my bill. I also pay the same 6-mill rate for schools that is assessed across the state. You do know that regardless of where you live you pay that rate...where you purposely deceitful or just ignorant? It's hard to tell with you. I also pay a high debt tax so that schools can pay off loans, such as the one they took on for a high school that sits empty. As usual, you pick and choose and still can't make a point. I also mentioned my state and federal income taxes. I pay a lot in tax dollars. And, of course, you ignored the point. You lied again by saying I wanted services for free. I pointed out that I pay a lot of taxes and expected to. Another Guru lie.

And, you ignored the biggest point. You stated clearly that you want higher taxes. And then you failed to address it. Your point is that whatever the situation, we should always pay higher taxes as long as someone, somewhere can figure out a way to spend it,

You also ignored my point about the needs of the inner-city. Why spend millions on an abandoned ballpark when there are so many other greater needs in Detroit? You don't give a damn about them, because you are one of those fake liberals. Why help the black man in Detroit when guru wants to preserve his baseball memories?

You've lied repeatedly and your own words prove it.

Communications guru said...

1. I answered your question once, but I’ll answer it again, brett. Yes and yes; they are both untrue.

I didn’t ignore your claims about Tiger management allegedly “didn't want a pro-labor voice in the clubhouse,” and it is still irrelevant. Find me any baseball clubs that wasn’t anti-labor, or any management that wasn’t anti-labor. Management used illegal tactics to kill labor unions, and it continues today.

Maybe you’re right, brett, and I’m not a liberal either.

Stop playing, dumb brett. You use that ugly smear and innuendo when ever I kick your ass in a debate, meaning you use it often, along with the lie you have proof with the false claim that if I continue to kick your sorry ass you will present it. I continue to challenge you to do it, and you slink away like the coward you are.

Nice spin on the claim of high taxes in Livingston County.

Like I said before, like every single American, I expect and depend on the services government provides, but I understand I have to pay for it.

It’s pretty simple why I want to preserve an historic gem that generations of Michiganders and former Michiganders love, regardless of race, it’s an economic investment that will have dividends.

Unlike you, I don't lie or smear, brett.

kevins said...

Crash, bang...Did you hear that? It's the sound of the demolition of Tiger Stadium. It continued today at 1:50 after a judge withdrew still another expensive delay.

Do you know how much these delays and court hearings have cost the city? Are you willing to help pay for those costs? Of course not.

The only thing louder than the sound of the wrecking ball is your continued lies.

Again, I ask you to:

1. Say again what was incorrect. You just say "they are both untrue," without saying what "they" are. That's because you would look even more like an idiot if you tried to say that a) Detroit doesn't have a financial problem, or b) Detroit leadership isn't corrupt, or c) Detroit's elected officials aren't Democrats. That's what I've said and you said at least 2 of those statements are untrue. Which two? Try not to be a coward for once in your life and grow the balls needed to make your statement.

2. I asked you to repeat just once a quote where I said you were a child molester. I never have, which is why you can't produce it. But you sure do bring up the topic a lot. Strange guy, you are.

3. What spin on high taxes? I never said taxes were high in Livingston County. I said I pay high taxes -- property, income, sales, etc. -- which is what I said on the original post. It's true. What was the spin? If I pay $10,000 in property taxes and over $100,000 in state and federal taxes, are you saying that I don't have a high tax bill? I think it's a pretty hefty bill, but maybe you disagree.

4. You didn't merely say you have to pay for services, you specifically said you expect to pay "higher" taxes. That's what I called you on and now you are trying to weasel your way out of it. I said I expect to pay taxes for services but I expect those taxes to be spent wisely. That apparently makes me a right-winger in your world.

5. You have said you are a liberal, which is fine. I take you at your word. But I'm not a right-winger and I defy you to prove your lie. You can't.

6. If the stadium would have had economic dividends, that why can't the conservancy get its act together after all these years? The reason: Most reasonable people saw no economic dividends. But you like Tiger Stadium and you expect other people to pay for your memories.

You lose arguments and then fall into sophomoric threats like "I'll kick your ass." Didn't you even get out of 7th grade?

You lie and smear all the time. The first time I wrote on this post was when you made up a lie about the county Republican Party breaking the law with illegal campaigning on a school tax vote. It's a lie, one that you once admitted to but have since continued to tell. (I'll produce proof of your admission as soon as you provide proof that I accused you of being a child molester. By the way, since you bring it up so much, Are you a child molester? Or is this another example of a question you are afraid to truthfully answer?)

Communications guru said...

Great, a piece of cherished history is lost forever, and you cheer.

1. That wasn’t the options you gave me, but the answer is B.

2. Stop playing stupid, brett. You have used innuendo mostly, but it’s clear what you meant. When you say, “Look...I've kept quiet here about the disturbing things I found on the State Police sex offenders registry. But I may not continue to show restraint if he continues to lie about me.”

3. Stop lying, brett. You said taxes were high in Livingston County. You said, “I pay extremely high property taxes here in Livingston.”

4. More confusing spin from brett. Like I said, I understand I have to pay for services. I don’t want something for nothing like brett.

5. If I’m a liberal, you’re a right-winger, brett.

6. The Conservancy has secured $22 million to date.

7. That’s not a threat, brett. That is a statement of what has already happened. I kicked your ass in debate, and you stoop to disgusting, false smears in retaliation.

You keep bringing up the county GOP’s violation of campaign finance law. It was true when I first wrote about it, and its true now, brett.

kevins said...

What a half-wit. Your own responses prove your ineptness.

1. You said they are "both" untrue and when I asked you to elaborate which were untrue, you said "b." You do know that both implies more than one, don't you. Then, you failed to specifically state what "b" was, perhaps because you knew how silly you would sound.

But to be clear, are you actually contending there hasn't been a corrpution problem with Detroit's elected leadership? If so, will you actually write that?

2. You said I had accused you of child molestation, but when I ask you to prove it, you back off and admit that you were lying. You know the truth.

3. I never said taxes were high high in Livingston County. You actually admit that when you quote me saying, "I pay extremely high property taxes here in Livingston." I do pay high property taxes because I own property of a high value. You lie and you even provide the proof. My property taxes are over $10,000 a year. That's high. If you have balls, write a sentence that says $10,000 a year in property taxes is not high.

4. Another lie. You didn't say you have to pay for services. You specifically said you wanted "higher" taxes. You avoid that truth because you got caught in your raise-taxes mantra. Show me where I ever said I want something for nothing. I've never said that. Just the opposite. Another lie.

5. Are you saying you aren't a liberal? I thought you said it and were proud of it. Maybe you said you were a Democrat or a progressive. But let's be clear: Are you saying you are not liberal?
Because I said you were and I want to know if you are denying it...or if you are the one trying to spin stuff.

Either way your sentence is meaningless...your political beliefs prove nothing about mine. You've called me a right-winger and that's a lie and you've failed to provide even the hint of proof.

6. The Conservancy has not secured that money. They have claimed they are "that close" for years. If they had the money, they would own the stadium and their plans would be in place. They don't have the money; they have good intentions...that's all. I don't cheer that it's gone, but I don't grieve. You on the other hand would rather that Detroit tax dollars be wasted on this fight than on the real needs of Detroit citizens and children. You are very selfish in that way.

7. You didn't challenge not getting out of 7th grade. Maybe it's true. You lie about the GOP violation. When were they charged? When were they convicted? You lie so often I'm not sure you would recognized the truth.