On October 7, the Edmonton Oilers hockey team checked in at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Boston, a Marriott hotel. As they got off the bus, the team was greeted by a group of hotel workers on strike, members of Local 26 of the Hospital and Food Servers Union. 7,700 Marriott workers are out in six cities across the USA: San Diego, Detroit, San Francisco, San Jose, and Boston. They are demanding the richest hotel company in the world recognize them. Continue reading
By NEIL deMAUSE, fieldofschemes.com
GIVE Edmonton elected officials credit: They’re not giving up on finding ways to shovel more arena money at Oilers owner Daryl Katz just because the province of Alberta won’t give them any and because it’s a pretty terrible idea. The latest plan: Get the neighbouring communities on the Capital Region Board to ask the province to kick in $25 million from its Regional Collaboration Program, which is supposed to be used for capacity-building programs for local governments, but hey, potato, potahto, right? Continue reading
EDMONTON Oilers owner Daryl Katz first upped his subsidy demands, then flew to Seattle to play footsie with city officials over a new arena, and has now taken out a full-page ad in last Friday’s Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun apologizing for “[taking] for granted your support and your love of the Oilers. That was wrong, and I apologize.” Katz had been rightly denounced in Edmonton. The published apology for Katz’s brazen manipulation of the people and government was so sincere that he went on to make a veiled threat to move the professional hockey franchise to the USA if he doesn’t get his way, saying, “I’m fighting for a deal that will enable the team to stay in Edmonton – and not because I want them to be anywhere else.” Like, say, Seattle. Oops, did I say that out loud? “I’m fighting for a deal that will enable…” is code for a predatory demand to loot the public purse for as much as this monopolist can get.
In any event, Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel is insisting that Katz needs to present his new arena demands to City Hall, in public, by October 17. Or else … okay, he didn’t say or else what. But being that “Deliver your ransom note by two weeks from Wednesday” isn’t exactly hardball negotiating, you have to figure that Mandel’s deadline is more a public relations cover than a principled stand – and one that Katz would have to be crazy to ignore.
Postscript: In a little noticed maneouvre, Katz’s entourage in Seattle included former NHL owner Wayne Gretzky, who followed up his shifty move with a prognosis well-orchestrated by the sports media that the NHL lockout will be over by Christmas. Like, whose side is Gretzky on and who gives a damn about what the hell he thinks in the first place? Nor did the media bother to mention that Gretzky is still owed some $7 million by the NHL over the travesty in the desert named Phoenix Coyotes. In Journalism 101, that’s a conflict of interest.
With a file from fieldofschemes.com
By NEIL deMAUSE*
THE Seattle city council, as expected, voted last night (September 24) to approve Chris Hansen’s $490 million arena plan (6-2, with Richard Conlin and Nick Licata voting no, and Tom Rasmussen not present) – and that still managed not to be the big news of the day, thanks to:
Representatives of the Edmonton Oilers, including owner Daryl Katz, were reportedly in Seattle on Monday, taking a tour of Key Arena. The news was originally reported by Ian Furness of KJR AM radio in Seattle. Continue reading