A Boondoggle for the Ages

Convention-hotel plan makes past fiascos look like genius

So why would St. Louis and the state of Missouri spend so much more money than these other cities (including our own) -- either in absolute terms or in per-room costs -- and why would it have no equity to show for it?

"The mayor decided when we started the selection process that we didn't want public ownership," Jones told me. "His predisposition was that he didn't want the city competing with existing hotel operators. Those were the instructions I got when I started."

It sounds a little reminiscent of the predispositions our crack team of negotiators had when they took on Rams president John Shaw. Indeed, the similarities to St. Louis' football-franchise idiocy are eerie.

Just as Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. inherited a football stadium without a team from his predecessor, Vince Schoemehl, so Mayor Clarence Harmon inherited an underperforming convention center from both Bosley and Schoemehl. Everyone says St. Louis needed an NFL team back then. Everyone says it needs a convention hotel now.

We've got an empty convention center -- get a damn team. We've got an empty Convention Center -- get a damn hotel.

The price? Who cares about the price? Just get the team. Just get the hotel.
Sure, Shaw's main problem was not getting hurt in the avalanche of money that our side was pushing across the table at him. But we got our team, didn't we, St. Louis?

About as wisely, I imagine, as we're going to get our hotel.

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