7 October 2004
Fox to oversee henhouse construction
I know, I spend a lot of space on New Jersey stuff here, but let's face it: New Jersey manages to provide a whole lot of bizarre stories, and as far as Big Media are concerned, which isn't much, New Jersey and Oklahoma are in a dead heat for National Laughingstock, and stories like this give me a chance to, um, play favorites.
The Newark Housing Authority will assume responsibility for the construction of the city's downtown sports-arena complex.
This ought to be interesting, what with Authority director Harold Lucas under HUD scrutiny for managing to spend upward of $400,000 in a year and a half to renovate the Authority's offices, including a plasma TV for his own inner sanctum.
Amusingly, there will be a board empaneled to oversee the NHA's oversight of the arena. From his vantage point at Pavement Narrows, the Prop asks:
Why select an agency to run a major development that is so corrupt you won't vote for it without adding another group to oversee it?
Newark Mayor Sharpe James will be on the oversight board. He's quite excited about the new facility, which he says will mean a "new image for Newark." Given the nature of Garden State politics, I suspect not even a new mayor will be able to give Newark a new image.
Obligatory Oklahoma comparison: The 18,000-seat Newark arena will cost, says the city, no more than $210 million. The proposed new arena in Tulsa, with similar seating capacity, carries a $125-million price tag (the oft-quoted $183 million includes the cost of renovating the Convention Center). Oklahoma City's Ford Center, with 2,000 more seats, took a shade under $88 million to build.
(Dear Susanna: Aren't you just tickled pink to be in Alabama these days instead of New Jersey?)