Your Reading Assignment for the Week

October 28, 2008 at 1:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

If you haven’t already done so, take some time to read Deena Winter’s six-part series on the Antelope Valley Project:

I’m still trying to process it all, so my reactions at this point aren’t very organized. I do have a couple thoughts at this point.

First, of the six stories I felt like today’s two articles (the last two listed above) are the least worthy of concern. The gist is that Lincoln paid “well” to purchase many of the properties in the path of the project. So long as there isn’t any apparent corruption—i.e. the City paid more to politically connected property owners than to unconnected owners—I applaud the owners for getting a “fair” payment. I put “fair” in quotation marks because it’s hard to establish what’s truly fair with the government staring you in the face. But overall, I haven’t heard many complaints from property owners. As for Michael Morosin, well, there will always be a couple people like Mr. Morosin walking the line between causing trouble and standing up for his rights.

Then there’s Kent Seacrest. I had no idea how much he was being paid for his work. Two million bucks since 1995? Yowzers. Did you realize he was raking in $280 per hour to give those tours? Just think what the City could do with $280 per hour.

Folks worried about the costs associated with the proposed Haymarket arena should pay particular attention to the budget numbers. The Journal Star predicts the AVP will cost at least $34 million than originally planned, after adjustments for inflation. That the project cost more than estimated shouldn’t come as a surprise. That the overrun isn’t even higher might be a bit of a surprise.

After reading the series, very little of the information caught me off guard. As it currently stands, it seems apparent that we could have done the project more cheaply, and Lincolnites probably would have been happy with a far more modest version of the project. The Antelope Valley Project has taken a tremendous amount of resources away from other areas of Lincoln, and it will continue to do so. It’s far too early to say if it is all worth it. What good is it, for example, if Antelope Valley is a jewel while the rest of Lincoln’s transportation infrastructure crumbles? But it’s just as far to ask what damage would be wrought by a massive flood, or by missing the opportunity to build an innovation corridor.

Fire away with your praises, rants, and questions.

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The Comments

JT October 28, 2008 at 4:18pm

I think it is the best shot lincoln has at revitalizing the downtown area, as well as expanding it (east).  Once some more high-density housing becomes available in the area, I would be excited to see what kinds of shops that may fail now or in the past downtown, will succeed once people are living within close proximity to the area.

Fletch October 28, 2008 at 4:44pm

I thought all the articles were pretty anti-Antelope Valley from the way I read them. That caught me by surprise. I like Deena’s work typically, but it struck me like the LJS didn’t approve of much of anything.

Rip October 28, 2008 at 5:30pm

OK, so Mr Seacrest has made alot of money on this project. How does it compare to the money he and his family have given back to the city?

isotope October 28, 2008 at 6:30pm

Yeah…but $280 an hour for giving tours?

Mr. Wilson October 28, 2008 at 6:59pm

Does that matter?

The City should pay its employees and contractors a “fair” wage for the work they do. I don’t deny that Mr. Seacrest’s contributions are important, nor that the value of much of his work entitles him to a higher-than-average paycheck. But it is extremely difficult to argue that some of the work he’s doing—guiding tours, for example—is actually worth $280 per hour. Even if Mr. Seacrest himself is worth that much, surely somebody else could have given tours of comparable quality for far less expense.

Put another way: why pay an executive to make copies when a peon will do it just as well for a fraction of the cost?

Mr. T October 29, 2008 at 3:22am

I also almost fell out of my chair after reading that $280 per hour quote. That had better be one hell of a good tour he gives.

JQT October 29, 2008 at 4:48am

Yep, $280 per hour is way too much. What happens when N St. Drive In gets demolished by the AVP?

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