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Allies … And The Misinformed

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Please, please, if you can find a way to make it, go visit the NASCAR Museum.  It appears that estimated attendance is falling slightly below projections. Instead of 800,000 visitors per year, projections now may tumble below 300,000! But don’t worry; the uptown crowd assures us that no bailout with taxpayer money will be required.

However, their stellar record of failure is not very reassuring: Whitewater – bankrupt; Lynx light-rail line cost – estimate $227 million, actual $550 million plus; NASCAR office tower – practically empty; Convention Center – empty much of the time, with requirement of free space and dollar supplements to solicit new conventions. And where are the latest numbers on Whitewater; haven’t heard anything for months! How about Lynx and bus ridership; have you seen any numbers lately?

Every major uptown project promoted by the uptown crowd is a disaster for taxpayers. We should demand a full report on every project that is supported by taxpayers, including all projects supported by TIFs (Tax Increment Financing). We know we are losing money at Ovens Auditorium and Bojangles Arena. And did you know that tax money is used for maintenance of all the arts facilities, in addition to the millions given to the Arts and Science Council.

Thanks to Democrat Councilmember Michael Barnes, the NASCAR Museum debacle is beginning to unfold. Even at this early stage, it’s easy to predict that this Museum cannot continue without a huge infusion of money. If it were a private enterprise, it would be in bankruptcy now.

NASCAR certainly will not save it, as the industry is having major problems of its own. The Charlotte Motor Speedway has been turned into a Christmas light show, at $20 per car, competing with McAdenville. There’s an idea – a Santa Claus for the NASCAR Museum! Of course, the Museum already has a Santa Claus – the taxpayers of Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

And don’t let the glitz, glamour, tuxedos, evening dresses and wine at the new arts complex fool you. This project has more taxpayer entanglements than the national housing mess. Believe me, those folks will need additional taxpayer funds “after the ball.”

It’s time for a full accounting of our obligations to all private, public and public/private projects, TIF’s, incentive programs, etc., along with the exorbitant six-figure salaries of the folks paid to manage them. Only then will the taxpayers begin to understand how the interlocking relationships between the uptown crowd, the bureaucrats and our elected officials have misspent our money and mortgaged our town.

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