Civil Discourse Now

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Host Lindsay Lohan in your home---or the NFL(r) and the Super Bowl(r) in your city: possible similarities and differences.

   We can put into better perspective the demands of the NFL® upon a city that seeks to host the Super Bowl®.
   What if Lindsay Lohan were available to be a guest in someone’s house for a month? These would be possible demands of a contract for her stay:
   1) Of course, she would pay no rent. In fact, you would pay her for the privilege of playing “host” to a World-Class celebrity.
   2) She requires transportation, therefore you would be required to provide, 24/7, three limousines, with drivers on call. She also would want three high-end sports cars for her own use.
   3) You would have to hire a publicist and pay local newspapers for placement of five (5) pages of color coverage while her stays in your home.
   4) For two weeks prior to her stay, you would place up to 100 ads on local radio about her anticipated escapades.
   5) You would have to hire a minimum of five (5) private security guards to escort her everywhere during her stay.
   6) You would engage in “high-level” negotiations with local airports to meet the special needs for charters and other private planes of her celebrity friends who might visit—including two aircraft, one for Charlie Sheen and another for his entourage of hookers.
   7) A team of security to maintain a “clean zone” of one-mile radius around your home in which there could be no signs or banners—derisive of her or favorable to her—without payment of a licensing fee to her.
   8) Keep the streets around your house clear of anyone who wants to park there, no matter whether a person resides there.
   9) Payment of any income you derive---even/especially from your job---during the time of her stay to—Lindsay Lohan.
   What would you gain from such a “deal”? You would gain a reputation as host to a World-Class Celebrity. In order to get the notion by your spouse or significant other, you also would lie and say you stand to make a lot of money from her stay. Exactly how you will make a profit is unclear. After all, Lindsey Lohan pays nothing for her stay while you pay considerable expense. Not only that, her contract specifies that she gets not simply a “take” or a “skim” from any profits you might derive from her stay—she gets ALL the profits, plus any income you might make from your job.
   If you are vague enough—sure, you have done this before, when you bought into that Pan Amway thing or whatever they call it (at which you eventually lost money, but omit that little point in your presentation)—and ply your spouse or significant other (and your children and neighbors) with enough drinks (and give the cats a ton of catnip), and you twist enough arms, you might just get it done.
   One might say: you silly left-wing dude, there is no valid comparison between a city acting as a host to the Super Bowl® and a private individual acting as host to Lindsay Lohan.
   How about these aspects:
   1) The NFL® is an organization of self-absorbed prima donnas.
   2) While the NFL® has some good apples in that barrel, there are personnel—players and owners alike—who frequently have run-ins with the law.
   3) The NFL® is a not-for-profit corporation—seriously, for real. Its charitable acts include operation of a monopoly for the benefit of billionaires—and lately I do not know how well Ms. Lohan’s career has done.
   4) The NFL® is in the entertainment industry. Hey, didn’t Lindsay Lohan used to work for Disney®?
   Over at “Advance Indiana,” Gary Welsh has printed details of the demands the NFL® has made should the Twin Cities—Minneapolis-St. Paul, not Lafayette and West Lafayette—act as host to the Super Bowl® in 2018. The newspaper up there, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, was able to have a copy of the 153-page document leaked to it, after local governmental officials said the thing was confidential. I fail to see how the details of  a contract between a municipality and a monopoly in which tens of millions of dollars flow to the monopoly can be deemed “confidential.”
   Unfortunately, cities that play host to the Super Bowl® lose money on such an event. The books of Indianapolis were carefully prepared to show the Circle City just about broke even when it played host to the 2012 Super Bowl®. The books omitted such things as the costs of the  long-term lease on the former Eastgate Consumer Mall—what? $50K per months?—and the collateral damage suffered by hasty, last-minute improvements—Georgia Street was ripped up, but nearby structures such as the Moon parking garage appear to have sustained structural damage.
   People of Indianapolis were offended by the demands made on the Circle City when Formula One raced here for several years. The owners of F-1 practically laughed at the owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as demands became ever more grandiose.
   At present, Mayor Greg Ballard wants more money for more police and to repair infrastructure—items for which taxes previously were raised. If the NFL—or owners of professional sports franchises, for that matter—sniff out more money in the City’s coffers, I fear the cash will be grabbed as someone bedazzles our mayor with stories of zip-lines and the image of Indianapolis as a World-Class City.
   There are differences between paying to play host to the NFL® and the same as to Lindsay Lohan. At least in the latter instance, Charlie Sheen probably would show up, and he’s supposed to be a decent guy, sober. He’s also supposed to be a hell of a good laugh when he is in a state other than sober. And damages to one’s home are much more easily repaired than damages to the City’s infrastructure. Of course, you would have to handle the damages to your home. Indianapolis has the next couple of generations of taxpayers to foot the bill. Greg Ballard will have long since left for warmer climes.
   One only can hope he leaves for such climes on January 1, 2016, thanks to a change of employment status.

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