WVU Thieving Again

Monongalia County Commission Throwing The Store Wide Open And Then Driving The Get-Away Car

Seeming unsurprisingly defensive, County Commission President Bill Bartolo claimed at the Commission’s meeting yesterday: “We’re not just endorsing a sports complex. We’re endorsing a sports complex, a new [highway] interchange and development on the west side of the interstate.”

Glad to get the goods, WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck stated to the Dominion Post: “We still have a ways to go to get a finished project, but I want to thank the Monongalia County Commissioners for their vision. Today’s approval [on Wednesday] gets us one step closer to being able to say perhaps the three best words in the English language – Let’s Play Ball.”

The public is what is getting played, again. The public is getting ripped off.

Why are public funds (property tax and sales tax dollars) being used to build a baseball stadium for WVU?

Reportedly, WVU will own and operate the stadium built with public funds and made possible only by Monongalia County Commission and state legislature approval. Why shouldn’t the public own the stadium? It’s their money building it. What alternate uses could that money have been devoted to? Were any other possibilities even suggested? Why is the Monongalia County Commission acting as a piggy bank for WVU?

What the region needs built with its tax dollars, far more than a baseball stadium for the rich university on the hill, is a regional indoor-outdoor exercise and recreation and health foods and care center – something like WVU’s student rec center but open and affordable to the public and with a greater healthy living focus and amenities. Indoor year-round public pools for physical and mental well-being through the dark and cold half of the year. And/or what else? When was the public given a choice about how to use these tens of millions of dollars of public funds?

The choice presented was a false one: a baseball stadium or nothing. What a sham. What a theft.

WVU and Fairmont State universities and baseball teams will get the main benefit of tens of million of dollars of public funds, and the public will be offered a fat-making seat in the bleachers and no doubt unhealthy fattening foods, and come wintertime (about half the year) basically nothing from the new stadium.

And it’s worse than that. The public will get basically less than nothing for its funds during the winter, and other times, because those tens of millions of tax dollars will have been blown on WVU and the others, rather than being used to build facilities that could have been used by masses of people with far greater needs and far fewer resources than WVU and local “developers” – the owners, the one percent – the usual suspects.

This theft of public funds carries a real rotten aroma, as do all such giant thefts. The Monongalia County Commission has opened the store wide, primarily to WVU, and the Commission is even driving the get-away car (all the way to the state legislature), meanwhile plaintively bleating about other development, as if to cover up shady dealing with WVU, a hot gift to a rich university, neatly lifted from the pockets of the public.

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