Memo to: The Katz Group
From: An Edmonton taxpayer
Subject: Screw you
This memo is in response to your recent memo to Edmonton City Council regarding the progress, or lack thereof, in the negotiations towards the construction of a new arena.
If I may be blunt, let me just express my profound frustrations with your tactics by using a common idiom: screw you.
Pardon me for using the memo format, but this seems to be the preferred method of communications for the Katz Group. Apparently, Mr. Katz considers himself too important to directly address the public about the use of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars he is demanding for a new arena. Seems like a strange way to do business with an organization that you are attempting to enter into an agreement with, but who am I to question how a billionaire operates.
Now, to address your concerns as outlined in your memo. Your primary concern seems to be that the window of opportunity to get the new arena built by the 2014 hockey season has closed. This should bother me, why? As a taxpayer and substantial partner in this project, I frankly could not care less whether the Oilers get into the building by 2014, or 2015, or 2016, or any other date. You can continue sucking at Northlands just as easily as you can suck in a new building. You have a perfectly good home you can play in for the foreseeable future, so get comfortable.
Second, you say that the option to buy the land is about to expire, and if you don’t act soon, you’ll lose the land. Well, then, do something. Buy it. Just carry on with the purchase. I find it rather amazing that you seem to want everything in place perfectly at your end, but you expect the city to take all the gambles. If you have the land, and you think this is perfect, then buy it. We’re good for it. We’re the freaking City of Edmonton.
Third, you are worried that there is no progress on the non-compete deal with Northlands. Well, again, this was your idea, not ours. How are we supposed to tell Northlands, which is a non-profit that has been around for more than 100 years, that they are supposed to mothball their biggest source of revenue so you can take the whole pie? When you open a Rexall drugstore in a shopping mall, do you insist on a non-compete clause with Shopper’s Drug Mart? No, I didn’t think so. It’s called competition. Look it up.
So here’s the thing, Mr. Katz Group. We’re still $100 million short. You may think that the province is going to kick in the money, but we don’t know that. If you really wanted to move this along, I have an idea… why don’t YOU kick in another $100 million? That would move things along nicely.
Unless we see some kind of goodwill gesture on your part, Mr. Katz Group, then you’ll just have to bide your time. There are hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars at stake here, and a good portion of the population (read: voters) would be mightily pissed if they gave a local billionaire even more money. Every time you put out another memo, you loose more and more public support. Who are you getting your advice from, Donald Trump?
So can your phony deadlines, pony up some more money, or shut the hell up.