If I may be so bold, I’d like to recommend a book to Daryl Katz, the owner of the Edmonton Oilers. I don’t expect him to take my advice — he probably has more in loose change in the cushions of his home couches than I make in a year — but I make the offer in good faith.
The book is called How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. Carnegie is, in many ways, the father of the self-improvement movement, and How to Win Friends was his first book, published in 1936. You can still take Dale Carnegie courses today, which are very helpful in learning how to deal with people.
I suggest this, Daryl, because you need help. I don’t know who’s giving you advice, but you should fire him and hire Dale Carnegie. He’s dead, but his advice can’t be any worse than what you’re getting now.
With the mayor pushing for a decision on the arena question by Wednesday, Katz has chosen to send a letter to the mayor saying he doesn’t want to give up the ticket tax that the city has been counting on to help fund the arena Katz wants.
This is baffling, even a little shocking. Using the ticket tax to fund the arena has been a vital part of the equation for months, and not once has Katz expressed any displeasure with the plan. Now, with his biggest booster (Mayor Mandel) pushing hard for a decision, Katz pulls the rug out from underneath him by declaring he doesn’t want to give up his share of the ticket tax revenue.
The city currently collects a ticket tax on Rexall events, which raises about $7 million. Of that $3 million goes to Northlands, and $4 million goes to the Oilers. It’s really just a gift to the Oilers, a vestige from the days when Peter Pocklington was threatening to move the team. Now, it appears Katz had developed a fondness for the money, and doesn’t want to part with it.
Now, the ticket tax is one of the few things in this whole funding schmozzle that makes sense. User pay, after all. Every time I go watch my sons play soccer at the indoor soccer centres, I have to pay. It makes perfect sense to collect money from all users of a new coliseum.
Katz has known of the ticket tax plan for months, just as every citizen in Edmonton who has been paying attention knows about it. It is beyond belief that Katz would choose now to get all snippy about the ticket tax, with city council clearly undecided. The ticket tax was expected to raise some $100 million, which throws the whole funding equation out of whack.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about this arena business. I love the idea, but don’t fully buy into the revitalization theory. I’d like to see a new arena in Edmonton, buy I don’t want to hand it over carte blanche to a local billionaire. Now, with Katz pulling this last minute fast one, I find myself leaning towards the faction that’s telling Katz if he wants a new arena, he should build it himself.
And while he’s at it, he should sign up for the Dale Carnegie course. It did wonders for me.