With the news that there will be no public vote on the proposed tax-payer funded stadium for the St. Louis Rams, there are many questions about the stadium deal and the city's development and investment priorities.
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Mayor Slay publicly restated his support for the proposed stadium, saying that although the Stadium may not break even on costs or bring revenue to the city, it is a necessary investment because a football team is “one of the things that make living in a big city fun.”
After the last year in the St. Louis region, it is hard to hear that “fun” is Slay’s top priority for the city. Police teargassed and arrested residents en masse and were found guilty of countless civil rights violations. There is a clear call for the city to pursue change that will bring about racial justice. It is almost laughable that our elected officials and civic elite think that a $1 billion stadium, paid for by taxpayers, is what this city needs right now.
So who, besides Mayor Slay, supports the stadium deal? The above web shows that members of downtown corporate community and other St. Louis elites are the active advocates for (and profiteers of) the project. In particular, Doug Woodruff, the President of Downtown STL Inc. and Downtown Now! (who recently left that position but will continue working with the stadium task force) has played a key role in pushing the project on behalf of the 200 businesses Downtown STL Inc. represents.
The stadium deal has already cost taxpayers almost $6 million. And much of that $6 million has gone directly into the pockets of the very people advocating for the deal. The St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority has awarded contracts to Doug Woodruff's Downtown Now!, Downtown Now! board members including Thompson Coburn and Environmental Operations Inc., and Blitz, Bardgett, and Deutsch--the law firm of Robert Blitz, one of the members of Governor Nixon's two-man stadium task force.