Caller Carl Comments on Titans Stadium Investment

Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed Democrat Caller Carl to the newsmaker line to weigh in on the Titans Stadium deal and the cost to Nashville and its taxpayers.

Leahy: Now on the phone line, our very good friend Carl, with whom I lost the bet to. He bet that Joe Biden would become president. I bet Donald Trump would. I lost the bet and I bought him a nice steak dinner.

I had a great lunch with Carl at Rafferty’s several months ago. Carl, good morning. You want to weigh in on the Tennessee Titans stadium? How are you doing, Carl?

Carl: Yes. Hey, good morning, Mike. Good morning, Crom. How are you doing?

Carmichael: Fine, thank you. I’m doing great.

Carl: Yeah, man, I want to weigh in on that. And I’ll look at it like this, I’m all in. But what I will tell the city to do, as any smart business person would do, try and negotiate a better deal.

There’s nothing wrong with that. And after you negotiate that better deal and come to the best terms you can come to, you do it. I look at it as an investment.

And anyone that thinks that the current stadium hasn’t been a good investment for Nashville, they haven’t been paying attention.

And something that I witnessed this weekend, and it’s funny that that’s one of the things that you would start out talking about today, one of the things in the earlier segment is about the city paying the money for that.

Putting in money for the new stadium. Something I witnessed over the weekend – first of all, we’re virtually going to get a Super Bowl. That always helps if we build a new stadium like that.

And I watched in Texas this weekend, not one night, but two nights of WrestleMania. A packed stadium, 75,000-plus both nights. Two nights in a row. And if we build that thing here, we would definitely get a WrestleMania here.

Because I don’t know if you pay attention, but Monday-night [WWF] Raw and pay per view events are always here in Nashville. And before anyone just pooh-poohs that, that’s a billion dollar industry.

Leahy: So, Carl, you have something in common with the Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives Cam Sexton because he apparently is a big supporter of WrestleMania as well. So that’s interesting, the two of you guys.

Carl: I didn’t even hear that part of the segment. But yeah, man, two nights in a row. Two nights in a row. They filled that gargantuan stadium in Texas up two nights in a row with 75,000-plus.

It couldn’t help but to be a plus. I’m speaking from personal experience. When I first started out, I started out with a truck. And people may laugh at this, but I started out with a truck that cost me $460 that I didn’t have.

But I got it anyway. I wanted a 1990-something, brand-new, smack and strip. But I needed that 1974 Cheyenne 10 with about 600,000 miles. That was $400 … [and something] that I needed.

And I think that if you look at it, that way, then the return for the investment, the money that we put into it right now, this would be a great investment for the city in the long run. And you have to look at it as a business.

Leahy: Crom has a question for you, Carl.

Carmichael: I have a question to see if you and I can come together and agree on one principle of government, and that is if the government makes a promise to a group of people over the long term to give them money every single month, should the government set that business?

And I’ll tell you exactly what it is. The Nashville government, some number of years ago – I don’t know if it was 10 or 15, but some number of years ago – the city gave retired city employees who had worked for the city for a certain number of years a lifetime of health-care benefits.

And then it did not fund it. It didn’t set up the money to hold the money back from the employees’ pay. It just set it up as a long-term, growing liability. And that now costs the city over $100 million a year.

And it’s growing at the rate of about $10 to $15 million a year. And it’s only going to get bigger unless it’s addressed. Do you agree with me that that should be addressed?

Carl: It should have been addressed in the beginning. That’s bad management.

Carmichael: So we agree that it needs to be addressed as soon as possible since it wasn’t addressed in the beginning and never has been addressed.

Carl: It needs to be addressed. But I’m a proponent of being able to chew bubblegum and walk at the same time.

Leahy: Apparently the city has a hard time doing that because they have another problem, Carl. (Carmichael chuckles) The other problem, Carl, is that we have a dilapidated water supply system that is in desperate need of repair, and they don’t have a plan to finance that.

I guess what you’re saying is you think that the city, which is virtually bankrupt, should go out, and I guess they’d raise this on bonds, raise $700 million, and not address the huge retirement liability and the huge problem of the water supply, to say nothing of the disastrous public schools. Your thoughts, Carl?

Carl: Chew bubblegum, walk, and listen to our iPod at the same time.

Carmichael: What happens when the city spits the bubblegum on the ground and everybody steps in it, Carl? (Leahy laughs)

Carl: You already have funds for people to clean up the bubblegum. Listen. You put money in the budget for people to clean up the bubblegum when it falls.

Leahy: Carl, I have an idea for you. Ready? Because you’re a business-minded guy.

Carl: Absolutely. That’s why I’m looking at this.

Leahy: So my idea would be this: I don’t think the state government should be involved in it. I don’t think the city government should be involved in it.

I think the Titans should go to investors like you, Carl, who want to share this risk and reward and, say we’ll put up $700 million, and Carl and his friends can put up $1.3 billion and we’ll share in the profit. What do you think of that idea?

Carl: That would be a great idea. That would be a great idea. Listen, I’m like this …

Leahy: You’d put up your own money to partner with the Titans?

Carl: Oh, my goodness. Yeah, because I know it’s going to be money coming back. If I can make $30 legally and ethically but I got to put up $5, I’m going to do it every time.

I’m going to do it every time because I pretty much have a good nose for business, and I have a good nose when I see something that’s going to be profitable.  And you can’t tell me that that state hasn’t been profitable over the past 25 years.

Leahy: For the Titans perhaps, but not so much for the city. Carl, the phone is ringing. The Titans are wanting you to put up some dough.

Listen to the interview here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.


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One Thought to “Caller Carl Comments on Titans Stadium Investment”

  1. Wolf Woman

    Metro Nashville, cruisin’ for a brusin’ with a rotten infrastructure, gridlock traffic because there’s no decent public transportation, corrupt mediocre politicians and a city council filled with pathological altruistic Neo-Marxists who want to spend our hard-earned money on a bigger stadium.