September 15 2011 11:17AM
Is this really how the arena talks are going? Now some tiny minds on City Council and the long ignored factions in the Edmonton Media are upset that Katz bought a condominium in Vancouver? Good heavens.
Earlier in the week the massive story broke that arguably the richest man in Edmonton also has a condominium in Vancouver now. This should obviously grind all talk of public money going into an arena to halt and the team should be forced to cease operation as of 3 PM EST today.
In addition, Katz house in Edmonton should be tagged with a giant "LIAR" and all his assets should immediately be seized and applied to a special Pothole Fund.
IT BOGGLES THE MIND
"Has Oilers owner Daryl Katz quietly shifted his home base to Vancouver? That’s the rumour that has circulated in local business circles for months. And while several sources tell The Journal the reclusive drugstore tycoon now spends most of his time on the West Coast, where his children attend school, it’s unclear how much time he still spends in Edmonton."
The story starts out reasonably enough even if a high profile Edmontonian having homes all over hells half acre wouldn't ordinarily be news. But Katz owns the Oil, which puts him squarely in the spotlight whether he wants to be or not. And he is seeking public money for an arena that should open in about 2056 if this pace of play continues.
This must be a recent move to merit all of the attention right?
“A couple of years ago, he bought the top floor of the Pacific Rim hotel/condo project, on the waterfront right next to the Vancouver Convention Centre. He is going back and forth and his Edmonton house is still fully staffed, including his security.”
A couple of years ago? The guy has been shuttling back and forth - roughly 45 mins in a cool gold jet we imagine - and Edmonton's media, political folk and business community are finding out about it now? Clearly out of the loop, how do they react?
Like crazy people it would seem.
ENTER COUN. ED GIBBONS
"Coun. Ed Gibbons, who has raised questions about the way the negotiations have been handled and alleged a lack of transparency from Katz, said he’s troubled by the rumours. “Wasn’t it always Katz’s reasoning that he’s a proud Edmontonian and he’s doing this for Edmontonians and for northern Alberta?” he asked.
“I guess if you say it enough times and loud enough, maybe people believe you’re an Edmontonian. I don’t blame him. With his kind of money you can have houses in Palm Springs or wherever. But it’s pretty clear when you move your kids out of the city to go to school elsewhere, this isn’t your permanent home anymore.”
Are these really the words of someone elected to represent the interests of Edmonians at the highest level? What does Gibbons want to do exactly? Handcuff Katz to the food court in Phase II at WEM? Encase him in bulletproof glass in Churchill Square so he can drive by and nod gravely as he leaves City Hall?
'To be an Edmontonian you must live here 365 days of the year. We may allow for a two week vacation at some point in the year, but will need you to fill out some forms in advance. We want everyone in our City to succeed, but if that success takes you out of town on a regular basis for any reason, well we just don't play that way up here' seems to be the thinking. If the goal of the comments was to take pettiness and small minded thinking, put it on the National Stage under a banner marked "Edmonton" than mission accomplished Gibbons.
Oh please let you run for Mayor one day Ed. We need this broad strategic thinking at the highest post in the land if we are to get anywhere.
We don't give two squirts where Katz lives. The guy is a Billionaire - he uses a private jet like a taxi cab. Prominent Edmontonians and media folks making an issue about this is a prime example of the obstacles our fine City will have to overcome if we are going to become a world class centre of commerce and lifestyle in the next 25 years.
Of all the folks involved with the Oilers we would love to see living in Vancouver - Katz certainly isn't it. Tom Gilbert springs to mind as a better candidate, or perhaps Khabibulin would like to live out there while plying his trade. We are more concerned with the performance of the team and the construction status of the arena than where the owner is living on any given day.
Innuendo about Katz wanting to sell the team is another hearty knee slapper. Who on earth would buy our beloved Oilers should they go up for sale? Remember that the vast majority of uber-successful Edmontonians pick up and leave the minute their bank account reaches baller status. The Bill Comries and the Pat Bowlens - ultra rich Edmontonians with a penchant for sports team ownership - scooted out of town for reals.
Katz stays - at least part time - and chucks 200 million at the team and another 200 million at an arena project and is rewarded richly with suspicion and back chatter from tiny minded folks who would no sooner understand life at that level of success than we would.
Those knocking Katz for living in several cities had better hope that the man doesn't actually want to sell the team. Because the list of potential owners would be zero, those who may have considered it must watch how Katz has been showered with aggrevation since he bought the team and would now think twice. It's an incredibly expensive and thankless job it seems.
And petty minded Councillors would then watch the team sail out of town and could get back to asking for pothole filling updates and reports on the brain drain out of town.
Small market syndrome lives in the hearts and minds of too many in Edmonton. Those of us who feel differently need to speak up too, lest they think they are speaking all our behalf.