It amazes me how people will see something shiny and take it without asking about the repercussions.  I wrote a quick down and dirty article against a privately funded performing arts center, and I still feel like some people either don’t get it, or there are people out there who would like for you to not get it.  I’d like to elaborate a bit further.  More after the jump.


I’m writing this mostly because there was one knucklehead that said he failed to see my point.  I don’t see how that point could be any clearer.  Here it is, and I’ll spell it out:  a privately owned facility restricts the amount of entertainment options and will make it financially impossible for a public one to be built.  Is that clear enough?  Well, I’m going to keep going here.

Let’s say it takes ten events a year to pay the rent on a facility.   Among those ten events is usually a balance of orchestra, plays, ballet, concerts, travelling kids shows (like Sesame Street live), a comedy show and a few “others” (from magic to monster trucks).  Now, this performing arts center is going to come in and take the orchestra, plays and ballet.  This means that now public facilities rentals/sales are down 30%.  This means since the place is publicly funded, we have to make up the difference with more taxes being applied there, less up keep, or even something as mundane as less security.  This also means, since our tax dollar is being stretched to pay for upkeep on the old facility, then chances of a new facility are vanishing.

How about some proof of the discrimination of this private/public thing? The very first event that was going to be held at United Spirit Arena was supposed to be a giant WWE event.  There were no booking conflicts at all, the powers that be decided that they didn’t want “wrasslin’” as their first event and a certain coach wanted proof that the ring wouldn’t hurt his basketball court and effectively banned the WWE for years (that’s how I got to be such good friends with the guys).  Since the place doesn’t have to make money or answer to taxpayers, they can afford to not rent the facility.   Okay, now you have a private performing arts center, and let’s say Zakk Wylde is doing acoustic theater shows; do you really think this venue will rent out to him?  The answer is no and since it has effectively diminished the chance of another facility making money, the chances of that show coming to Lubbock are greatly reduced.  Here’s the worst thing, this venue is supposed to be for 2000 people, so what about bigger arts events than that?  Well, just like with USA were stuck with a venue that’s big enough to take a large chunk of the entertainment dollar but not big enough to handle major “big city” events.  Finally, let’s not forget, since private investors will be building this place, they’ll own all the good seats, meaning if you are ever welcome to this venue at all, it will be in the back.

This is pretty much my last word on the subject.  My daughter is grown and his fortunately been able to visit some of the best concert halls and museums that the U.S. has to offer.   The only reason I’m putting an opinion forward at all is, I don’t think YOUR kids deserve to be treated like second class citizens.  The Tea Party types have screamed until no one is willing to invest in meaningful projects.  Now, our schools our roads, our parks and our city facilities are deteriorating to the point where they can’t compete with other towns.   In the place of these public works come private interests who really don’t care what you think or want.    It’s simple, in the future some wealthy guys kids are going to be able to see the ballet, but there is going to be no place for your kids to see Elmo and friends.