Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Massive Taxi Scam" of $8 million leads the dailies; giveaway of hundreds of millions in arena naming rights is ignored

It was a front-page story in all three daily newspapers yesterday, the story (Times coverage) of cabbies ripping off passengers for a total of $8 million over two years.

It's easy to understand why it's a big story: lots of people take taxis, and uneasiness about the fare--and the trustworthiness of cab drivers--is not uncommon.

Also, $8 million sounds like a big number. And the rip-off seems easy to understand, cut-and-dried.

By contrast, the cost of taxpayers of Atlantic Yards can be complicated and contested--see the debate between the Empire State Development Corporation and the New York City Independent Budget Office.

But we've never seen a headline, say, alerting the public that the state gave away naming rights to the Atlantic Yards arena, leading to the payment by Barclays Capital of $200 million-plus to help build the Atlantic Yards arena, and reap the branding benefits of the groundbreaking extravaganza Thursday.




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