The new USOC deal in verse

Wed, Jul 29, 2009


As the new USOC deal, like some cawing raven of doom, figuratively flaps from one group of lawyers to another, from one dithering board to another, eventually to settle on city hall, what will we see? With yet more apologies to the restless spirit of Edgar Allan Poe, here’s what we may see.

Once upon a closed session dreary, as Council pondered, bored and bleary
Over many a quaint and curious ordinance and law
While they nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at the council door.
“Tis some reporter,” Lionel muttered, “tapping at our council door –
Only this, and nothing more.”

“Surely,” said he, “surely that is some impudent intruder:
Let me expel the fool, so we can explore –
Let Gallagher be still a moment, and give the USOC more –
It’s taxpayer money-nothing more.”

Open he flung the Council door, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;

“Prophet!” quoth Gallagher, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil! –
Whether Marshall sent, or lawyers willed thee here ashore,
Tax revenues have shrunk on this desert land enchanted –
On this city by Bruce haunted- tell me truly, I implore –
Must we pay? Wilt thou stay, even without money more?”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Deep into that darkness peering, council cowered, wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming of revenues gone forever;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And councilmembers, promises broken, still sought a reassuring token:
This Small whispered,,barely murmuring, “We have no more!”

“Wilt thou stay? For only love, and nothing more?”
Quoth the Raven: “Nevermore!”

“Lawyer!” said Herpin, “thing of evil – prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us – by the USOC that we adore –
Tell this pol with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
We shall clasp that radiant maiden whom the angels name USOC –
Poor and penniless, we still love her, but we must retain our money

Will we yet clasp her, she whom angels name USOC?”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“You shall have our money, bird or fiend,” Council promised, now voting –
Take it to Stephanie on her sunny Olympian shore!
Leave five rings as a token of the half-truths thy lawyers have spoken!
Do not leave our loneliness unbroken!-take the money beside the door!
Take thy hand from out our wallet, and do not ask for any more!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

The city, like some forlorn, about-to-be jilted suitor, is not negotiating with the USOC-they’re begging. As we’ve often predicted in this space, the USOC knows what it wants, and the city is clearly afraid to challenge the grand poo-bahs of that august organization. Instead, they’re simply scrambling to find a face-saving way of giving their Olympian majesties what they want.

It’s also clear that councilmembers, like so many scrawny hounds frantically digging for a long-buried bone, are utterly fixated on the deal. Is it a good deal or a bad deal? Is it really likely that the USOC and the OTC would close up shop and leave town if they don’t get exactly what they want? Is the pre-recession eco-devo model of “give them money and they will come (or stay)” still relevant? And if we are, as Outside magazine suggests, the best city in the nation, do we need to act as if we’re some nasty, godforsaken burg sweltering through another Midwestern summer?

When the city unveils the deal, we know one thing that it will surely contain: a pricetag. It’ll be a big, fat pricetag, and all those silly little laws that require voter approval of new debt and/or taxes are once again inoperative. Certificate of Participation-not debt!! New fees-not taxes!!!

That may be one of the reasons that our otherwise reasonable electorate has become even more obdurately anti-tax of late. It may be that they’ve figured out that, whether or not they approve taxes at the ballot box (or, in our case, at the mail-in envelope), our elected officials will figure out ways of getting the dough anyway. So we might as well slow ‘em down, or our taxes will be raised…forevermore!

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5 Comments For This Post

  1. atomic elroy Says:


  2. FactFinder Says:

    I wonder if John sometimes wears a black silk greatcoat and slinks down the hall in narrow black shoes that have toes that curl. It would fit with the words he hurls at the bleak Council that lost Intel, IBM, and Apple. A truly great column wasted on a group that always wants to raise taxes, but has no clue why those companies left town. Beware the columnist who reads…

  3. FactFinder Says:

    I have a question for John,

    (Maybe you know an attorney or two. I do not.) Today in the GT appeared this quote:
    {Small also confirmed that City Attorney Patricia Kelly had warned City Council members not to talk about the proposed agreement.

    Earlier today, Councilman Tom Gallagher said Kelly threatened council members with the possibility of time behind bars if they spilled the beans about the hush-hush agreement, which is designed to prevent the USOC from leaving the city.

    “It comes with dire warnings on every part of it and a cover letter that (states) you could go to jail, you could screw up this deal if you talk about it,” Gallagher said.

    “In bold letters: ‘Confidential.’ ‘Attorney-client privilege documents.’ ‘Subject to federal rule of evidence 408.’ ‘Do not share or distribute’. ‘Subject to USOC board consideration and then possible City Council consideration,’” he said.}

    So how does the rule of evidence 408 trump the first amendment of the Bill of Rights? Yeah, that tacky little part about freedom of speech. And how does all this stack up the Sunshine Law?

  4. Dick Burns Says:

    Are rugby players considered birds or fiends, John?

  5. Sean Paige Says:

    Great blog post, John. You actually put some thought into this one.