Elebash flunks finance…faulty research
August 29, 2006
C.C. Elebash, the long retired UWF professor and spiritual guru of Stop Our City (Elebash coaches), has posted a viewpoint on Gulf1.com saying we can’t use the success of Montgomery to guide our waterfront park decision.
Now realize Elebash hasn’t been to any event in the Montgomery stadium. He hasn’t interviewed any of the team management. He hasn’t talked to Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright (Baseball works). However, Elebash doesn’t need any real research to form his opinion.
Wouldn’t you have loved to have him as a teacher – just make up your papers after a few Google searches?
Advocates of the Trillium baseball stadium tout the success of the Montgomery baseball stadium. However, Montgomery’s situation is quite different from ours, and success in Montgomery does not foretell success in Pensacola.
The Montgomery Biscuits are a Class AA Southern League team affiliated with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The franchise moved to Montgomery in 2004 after an unsuccessful stay in Orlando. The new stadium was opened in 2005 with a capacity of 7,000. The future of the Biscuits looks good. However, they are only in their third year, and enthusiasm sometimes falls off after five or six years.
In contrast with Montgomery’s team, the Pensacola Pelicans are not affiliated with a major league team. They play on the fringes of professional baseball in an “independent” league. “Independent” team rosters typically consist of players who have been released by or never were signed by major league organizations.
The Montgomery stadium is part of a downtown renaissance located within one mile of the Alabama State Capitol and major historical attractions. Among the historical attractions are Martin Luther King’s church, Confederate White House, Rosa Parks Museum and Hank Williams Museum. Montgomery bills itself as the birth places of the Confederacy and the Civil Rights Movement.
Although the City of Montgomery built the stadium, Montgomery revitalization is backed by the $40 billion dollar Retirement Systems of Alabama (the people who built the Robert Trent Jones golf courses). An expanded civic center, a new conference center and a luxury hotel are under construction within several blocks of the stadium. There already is a first class hotel two blocks from the stadium.
The catalyst for Montgomery’s renaissance is increased promotion of its history – not the baseball stadium. The catalyst for rejuvenation of Downtown Pensacola will be relocation of the Main Street sewer plan, not a baseball stadium.
Don’t you love the positive tone of Elebash’s viewpoint. He grudgingly says the Montgomery team’s future is good, but hints it won’t last – without providing any facts. He expects the reader to accept his prediction of possible failure solely based on him being a retired professor.
What Elebash doesn’t tell the reader is that Montgomery had no baseball team when it approved the stadium. It wasn’t until after the stadium was approved that Tampa Bay agreed to move their Double A team there. The same thing can happen here, once we get past this referendum…and I can cite several examples to back this statement.
Then Elebash cites all the downtown historical places and museums in Montgomery. Unfortunately none of those places helped revitalize downtown Montgomery until after the construction of the ball park began, if at all. Again no proof. Mayor Bright flatly says it all started with the ball park.
The Elebash brings in the $40 billion retirement funds. Where in the hell did he dig up that b.s.? Talk about going off on a wild tangent. Maybe it’s just me – but I think his statements here prove the combination of conference center/UWF classrooms/maritime museum/multi-use stadium is a winning one. And we’re doing it for less than $40 billion.
The facts are: The baseball park is financed from park revenues and 1.5 cent lodging tax. Revenues are ahead of projections. The park is estimated to be paid off in 8 to 10 years.
It’s time we call out Elebash and realize his “research” is filled with holes. No college professor at UWF or any university would give him a passing grade on this paper.