– I got a little teary-eyed reading Bob Lonsberry’s tribute to Bob Matthews. Lonsberry rails against Gannett for forcing the retirement of a Rochester legend:
…Bob Matthews was a legend.
He was Rochester.
He was the Times-Union’s sports columnist and had been since shortly after he got back from Vietnam. As that paper died, and we were its last two columnists, we got rolled over into the Democrat and Chronicle, where he has been all these years since.
He said it was the worst day of his life.
They took away his dream job.
They took away his family, his brothers on the sports staff, and they took away his purpose. In a way, they took away his life. The only life he has ever wanted.
The gutless corporate bastards….
It has gotten rid of Mr. Rochester.
Matthews is incredibly humble and doesn’t want a “big deal” to be made of his departure. But it is a big deal for him – and for us.
Most readers are baffled about how the paper can start charging for online content and raise subscription rates while simultaneously decreasing value. It’s the vicious cycle of today’s broken journalism model: Declining revenue means cutting costs and people, which leads to cutting quality.
Where’s the investment in people and product? Where’s the risk-taking? Where’s the innovation?
Update: Matthews says he wasn’t pushed out and left because he lost something on his “fastball.”
– The Democrat and Chronicle analyzed the city’s proposed funding of a major University of Rochester development. The city wants to finance the College Town project with a $20 million loan that would be paid back with payments in lieu of taxes. In other words, the city is giving the developer money. James Goodman crunches the numbers:
The city would borrow $20 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at no more than 1 percent interest.
These funds would then be loaned by the city to the College Town developers, with the city adding another 1 percent in interest.
Over the course of 20 years, say city officials, College Town would generate about $34 million in property taxes, which would be distributed under a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) program.
About $25 million of this total would go toward repaying the federal government for the principal and interest on the loan, with the city getting $2.3 million for its share of the interest charged.
The city also would get $6.6 million in payments in lieu of taxes. The county would get $1.9 million over the repayment period.
College Town could create almost 600 permanent jobs, along with 985 construction jobs, and generate $2.5 million in annual sales tax revenue. It is described by city Corporation Council Robert J. Bergin as “transformational for that area and for the city.”
It’s good to see the community having a discussion about the costs and benefits of this project. It would be good to also have a discussion about whether the U of R should pay more to the struggling city.