Tag Archives: sports

Won’t Someone Think Of The Ballplayers?

Because of the OC Register, I hate being alive.  I hope they’re happy.

In a column from last week that would have escaped me if Jesse from Pandagon hadn’t seen it, Hank Adler decides that the best way to attack Barack Obama’s spending plan is to remind everyone what professional athletes will lose out of the deal.

It was fortunate for Tiger that his most-recent U.S. Open win occurred in 2008. Under twin tax proposals from Obama to 1) remove the “cap” from Social Security taxes for individuals earning over $250,000, a plateau Tiger has long since surpassed in 2008, and 2) eliminate the “Bush” tax cuts, thereby raising the top marginal federal income tax rate to 39.6 percent, Tiger’s taxes on his winner’s check would have increased to approximately $776,000, a boost of almost $190,000. Instead of Tiger keeping 57 percent of his earnings and the government taking 43 percent, under the twin Obama tax proposals, Tiger’s federal and California taxes would have amounted to 57 percent of his winnings, leaving Tiger with just 43 percent.

I know when California families are deciding between air conditioning or meat, when they muse about using a rickshaw to get to work because gas is as out of reach as gold, they are actually upset because they know Tiger Woods is being deprived of $190,000 out of the eleventy billion in his bank account.  What, his new baby has to get silver-plated starter clubs now instead of the expected gold?  Can you look yourself in the eye and say that doesn’t eat you up inside?

Adler continues:

Prefer baseball to golf?

The New York Yankees have a 2008 payroll of approximately $208 million. Under the twin Obama tax proposals, the 24 Yankee players would be hit with an aggregate increase in federal income taxes of just over $22 million, with slugger Alex Rodriguez single-handedly getting dunned with $2.6 million in additional federal taxes.

The owner of the Yankees would owe an additional $7.5 million of federal taxes. Ticket prices would need to be increased by about $65 million so that the owner and players could have the same after-tax income as before. The increase in ticket prices would amount to an average $16 per ticket. Given that the least-expensive ticket in Yankee Stadium currently is $14, this would more than double the cost of a seat in the bleachers.

Adler hit upon the two most sympathetic characters in all of sports, maybe all of Christendom, to single out as martyrs: Alex Rodriguez and George Steinbrenner.  Incidentally, with the Yanks 7 1/2 games out of first, I don’t think anyone’s going to feel too bad about them losing money.  Then there’s the part where Steinbrenner is entitled to his after-tax earnings and simply must fleece the hardworking fans, because the Yankees have no other revenue streams to speak of.

You can go on to dispute Adler by mentioning the top-level tax rate in 1960 (it was 90%), the tax rates under Clinton which Obama would restore and how that affected business (the largest peacetime expansion in history), etc., etc.  But someone with the insight to use the plight of enormously wealthy ballplayers to rally the middle-class public to his cause isn’t really worth the time.  Only the mockery.

Irvine’s Crime Prevention Programs and the Crime Rate

(OK, fixed! : ) – promoted by atdleft)

Today, the FBI confirmed what CA AG Jerry Brown said in May, Irvine is one safe city. In fact, it’s the safest in the nation:

For the third year running, Irvine tops all large cities in the nation with the lowest incidence of violent crime after posting a nearly 17 percent drop in 2006, according to a report by the FBI. Reported violent crimes for the city – which include homicide, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault – fell from a total of 151 in 2005 to 126 in 2006, for a rate of 67 per 100,000 in the preliminary posting of the 2006 FBI Annual Uniform Crime Report. (OC Reg 6/5/07)

Last time, I talked about the importance of parks and recreation.  And of course, economic factors surely weigh into the amount of crime. Given that Irvine has a pretty high per capita income, it’s not surprising to see a low rate of crime. But Irvine actually does better than similarly sized cities with higher per capita income. Take that Sunnyvale! (Ok…Sunnyvale is #2 on the AG safe city list, but that’s one slot below #1).

But something else is also at play here, that is the role of the city’s various crime prevention programs. Irvine has implemented geographic policing, neighborhood watch programs, and Internet reporting.  Follow me over the flip for more..

So for a city of about 200,000 people, how the heck does Irvine stay so safe? Well, how about the Police Department’s various programs. One such program is geographic policing.  This program gets beat officers out from behind desks and in the community, where they are visible. Irvine’s neighborhood alert has also been effective. Knowing your neighbors helps reduce crime and creates a more livable city. Or is it the WatchMail program? Can the internet actually be used as a tool to reduce crime in the community? Whatever they are doing, the Crime Prevention Unit of the Irvine Police Department is proving to be quite effective.

And clearly, it seems like Irvine has enough patrol officers to cover the entire community. And perhaps now that the Irvine Police Department now does “geographic policing”, officers really are connecting more with the community. And maybe, their Crime Analysis Unit is having some effect. Perhaps by finding out what had gone wrong, they can then work with the community to make things right. Whatever is happening, the Irvine Police Department must be doing something right.

And clearly Irvine’s Progressive Mayor and Police Chief know how tough it can be to keep such a big city so safe. Yet for the last three years, they have been remarkably successful in leading the way not just for Orange County, and not just California, but for the entire nation. From The OC Register:

“When you are the safest city in America, you have to work especially hard to maintain that position,” Irvine Mayor Beth Krom said. “This is a source of pride for the entire community.” […]

“Getting to know the people who live and work in these areas helps them to be able to identify the problems in these areas and any impacts on the quality of life,” said Irvine Police Chief David L. Maggard.

And how has Irvine been able to avoid what the other major cities in Orange County are suffering from?

The national crime trends were largely echoed in Orange County, with all eight cities with populations of 100,000 or above recording increases in robberies, and a sharp decline in property crime.

There were 19 more murders in Orange County’s biggest cities in 2006 than the previous year – a jump that can be largely result of a spike in gang violence in Santa Ana, which recorded nine more murders in 2006.

However, car thefts, arsons and other property crimes dipped across the nation for the second straight year, the data show. Huntington Beach – which saw a 12.6 percent drop in violent crime – was the only large Orange County city to see a rise in property crime, recording 365 more property crimes last year compared to 2005.

Huntington Beach must now worry about property crime becoming more prevalent throughout town. Santa Ana is now facing a crisis of escalating gang violence. Up in North Orange County, the cities of Orange and Fullerton are grappling with dramatic increases in violent crisis. Take a look at the major California cities on the FBI’s list, and things aren’t looking very good not just in OC, but throughout the state.

So what is Irvine doing right that other cities in California aren’t? Are Irvine’s police services that much better? Are they doing a better job of preventing crime? Are the parks and community services really making that much of a difference? There’s a secret to Irvine’s success, and more communities should try to learn this secret to figure out how to take a real bite out of crime.

How Does Irvine Stay So Safe?

They’ve done it before, and they’ve done it again this year. Irvine is the safest large city in California. Check out the write-up in today’s OC Register:

Violent crime in Irvine dropped more than 16 percent and overall crime in the city fell 6 percent last year, making Irvine the safest large city in California, according to preliminary statistics released Monday by the state attorney general’s office. It’s the third year in a row Irvine has topped the list.

From January through December 2006, Irvine’s number of reported violent crimes – which includes homicide, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault – dropped from 151 to 126 – at the same time the state saw a 1. 4 percent jump in violent crime. Irvine recorded drops in property and theft, but the number of homicides in the city doubled from two to four in 2006.

Following Irvine on the list of the state’s safest cities are Sunnyvale, Thousand Oaks, Santa Clara and Simi Valley.

Wow, now that’s safe! So how does Irvine do it? How can they stay so safe? Follow me after the flip as I look for answers…

So what’s the secret to Irvine’s success. Well, let’s start with their youth action team. Irvine is actually getting high schoolers involved in not only being productive in the community, but in also planning how they will be getting involved. And these kids really get active. Between concerts, graffiti removal days, and college workshops, these kids just don’t have the time to waste on crime.

Oh but wait, the fun doesn’t stop there! These kids (and adults) also play sports. They have tennis, basketball, soccer, softball, and much more. Again, these kids are too busy working out and learning teamwork to be caught up in any stupid illegal stuff.

And my goodness, look at all those lovely parks in town! Irvine has many safe places for kids to go to play and have fun. No matter where a family may live in Irvine, they know that there’s somewhere in the neighborhood where they can take the kids to play games and perhaps meet new friends in the neighborhood. And as these kids grow up being able to just play, they don’t get stuck in the streets.

OK, so what’s the point I’m trying to make? Well, here it is. Irvine’s smart planning has resulted in less crime and safer neighborhoods. By creating great parks in all the neighborhoods and giving kids great activities to do, Irvine has taken away whatever appeal criminal gangs might have had. And all these kids engaged in the community means kids who don’t feel that they don’t belong, and ultimately kids who don’t fall into gangs as they search for meaning in their lives.

So perhaps more cities should follow Irvine’s lead in reducing crime, and ultimately preventing any future crime. Clean up the neighborhoods, open some parks, and give kids something fun to do. This might actually help keep up the neighborhood. : )

Sports Venues and Sleazy People

SFBrianCL writes in the Blog Roundup:

I’m really quite sick of cities giving sports teams money.  They should go where it is profitable for them and cities should provide only the support they would offer to any other business.  I hope both SF and Santa Clara hear that.

I hope Sacramento – the city and the state government – hears it too.  The Sacramento Bee (registration required) reports:

NBA Commissioner David Stern swept into Sacramento on Monday and declared that he would take responsibility for crafting a workable plan to build a new arena for the Kings and selling it to the public…He said he came with no preconceived notions of what would work, but in meetings Monday he repeatedly brought up the idea of a statewide authority to help finance California sports venues.

My added emphasis, More over the flip…

This pisses me off on two levels.  First, voters in Sacramento already voted on public financing of the arena.  The answer is no.  We don’t want it.  Calling in a new negotiator to try to “sell it to the public” is not necessary.  The matter is settled.  If the Maloofs want to build a new arena in Sacramento, they need to come up with the half-a-billion-or-more dollars on their own.  Second, a statewide authority to finance sports venues?  Are you freaking kidding me?!  It’s bad enough that they’re trying to get local taxpayers to foot the bill – at least there’s some vague connection in that case between the people being taxed and the sports venue in question.  But can anyone tell me just why the hell taxpayers in Riverside should have to pay to build an arena in Sacramento?  It’s madness.  All these team owners need to get off the corporate welfare and realize that they need to run their business as a business, and not as some weird entertainment division of the government.  It’s not like they don’t have the money to build these things on their own.  Why should they be the only businesspeople in the country who get to run their businesses risk-free?

I hope the voters in Sacramento have the good sense to vote out the Mayor and City Council members who are complicit in these continued shady dealings.  I for one would vote for a yellow dog if it ran on a platform of opposing taxpayer financing for the arena.