More Green for the Turtle?
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 16th January 2017
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August 1, 2013 3:07 pm ET

County to provide sports bar with “forgivable” loan

Source: More Green for the Turtle?

Here’s some Q&A for you:

Question: When is a loan not really a loan?

Answer: When the borrower doesn’t have to pay back the loan.

Question: Who gets shafted in the above scenario?

Answer: You, the taxpayer.

I’m scratching my head in disbelief at this one, folks.

This all started when I read this article in the Sun about how the state and the county are about to provide a boatload ($893,000) of taxpayer money to the Greene Turtle in Towson. Worse yet, the proposed $265,000 loan package from Baltimore County is forgivable. As in “forgive and forget”—forgive the loan and forget ever getting paid back.

I did not know the government was in the business of loaning—or, in the case of Baltimore County, giving away—money in order to allow a local sports bar to “keep up with incoming competitors.”

You read that right. We’re now in the business of helping sports bars financially so that they can keep taking our money.

The way I see it, this is really the start of a vicious cycle. Follow me around the cycle for a moment:

1)      We give the Greene Turtle money to allow it to keep up with competitors.

2)      Those competitors then seek money from the state and county in order to compete with the Greene Turtle.

3)      Wash, rinse, repeat.

Allow that to sink in for a moment. Now feel free to be outraged at the politicians behind this deal. I know that I sure am.

You see, how this Turtle egg was even hatched (pardon the pun) in the first place is beyond me, because even the State board is balking at this (again, pardon the pun) shell game of special interests.

What makes this whole deal rather interesting—or nauseating, depending on which end of the green you are passing out or receiving—is that both our governor Martin O’Malley and his good buddy associate, Kevin Kamenetz, want us taxpayers to hand over our money for a ludicrous reason.

Here is an interesting bit from Michel Dresser’s article showing Comptroller Peter Franchot’s hesitation to write the check for this deal: Franchot questioned whether it was a wise use of state money to lend funds to a private business for furniture, fixtures and equipment. Franchot professed to love the Edgewater-based Greene Turtle chain but said he would vote against “this use of taxpayers’ money to expand a sports bar in the middle of a college town.”

Mr. Franchot made that statement in response to an important issue—just why the heck do they need our money?

The answer seemingly comes from this rather lame quote written by government spin doctors, who are attempting to justify an unjustifiable act: “State and local development officials called the loan necessary to keep downtown Towson vibrant, especially at a time when private financing is difficult to secure.” 

Wow, am I reading that right? The only thing that will keep Towson “vibrant” is taxpayer money?

Quite frankly, anyone driving through Towson (especially during rush hour) can see that the downtown is already vibrant. If the area really needs more vibrancy, what about that gigantic new 300-seat bar concept that has been proposed?

Also, why does the vibrancy (love that word) of the town depend on “suds” being plentiful? (And, if that’s the case, isn’t Towson vibrant enough? The center of town is washed in the stuff.)

Finally, who are these “state and local development officials” that are referred to in the spin statement? O’Malley and Kamenetz are obviously on board, but other state officials seem to be against this loan, and rightly so. For instance, State Senator Jim Brochin made this profound statement: “I’d rather see $240,000 being loaned to a school system to add air conditioning.”

Mr. Brochin, thank you for your wisdom. We need a strong candidate to challenge “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men.”

Is it just me, or does anyone else see that Governor O’Malley has picked our pockets clean and continues to want more, or that Mr. Kamenetz has created a monarchy in the county where the word transparency is spelled brick wall?

If there is anyone out there that can’t see through this shell game, then feel free to meet up at the Greene Turtle. Just tell them to put it on the O’Malley/Kamenetz tab.

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