Eli Capilouto

UK’s $500,000/yr President Apologizes for “Confusion”

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June 14, 2012
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When you get paid half-a-millions dollars a year to run a state institution, serving as its President with no prior experience as President of a University, you’re bound to make some mistakes.

The University of Kentucky’s Half-a-Million-Dollar Man, Dr. Eli Capilouto, recently laid off a bunch of people at UK and then had to write a letter to the UK community in which he said he wanted to “apologize for any confusion.”

He went on to apologize for making half-a-million dollars while claiming that the school was financially struggling.

Also, this:

“We deeply regret — deeply regret — the loss of any jobs here, but we know and feel very confident that we have the workforce, the expertise and the excellence to provide a student the best education they can find anywhere,” Capilouto said Wednesday in an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Look, both my parents taught at the University and a lot of their friends did and I know a lot of other people who still do and I’m not taking anything at all away from them when I say — with absolute love and affection — that is one of the stupidest statements I’ve read this year.

The University of Kentucky offers great teachers, great employees, some good facilities, a lot of potential, and plenty of opportunity if you want it.

But if Dr. Capilouto truly feels “very confident” that UK has what it takes to “provide a student the best education they can find anywhere” then it’s almost criminal to hand him half-a-million dollars each year… or someone is going to have to redefine the words “best” and “anywhere.”

Or Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Berea, Centre, UNC, UC Berkeley… I mean the list goes on… have all ceased to exist.

On the other hand, if you consider that before he got here the University of Kentucky was flailing about trying to break the Top 20 in anything at all and proclaiming itself “America’s next great university” and now, just one year into his reign, we’re already providing “the best education anywhere,” then Dr. Capilouto has certainly earned his paycheck .

Also, he fired Chester Grundy because he had to keep his $500,000 paycheck in tact:

Outrage over the University of Kentucky’s decision to lay off one of its longest-serving and best-known black employees continues to ripple across Lexington and beyond.

Chester Grundy, who started UK’s first Black Student Union in 1969 and went on to found the Martin Luther King Cultural Center and direct it for more than 30 years, was laid off last week. As the news has filtered through cyberspace, his former students and fans are making their voices heard.

Grundy is one of 140 employees at UK laid off as part of budget cuts. An additional 164 positions are not being filled.

Blackford has all the details on both Capilouto’s letters and numbers and on the Chester Grundy situation.

UK Prez Capilouto Goes on Media Blitz

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March 21, 2012
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The Legislative Research Committee did some studyin‘ of Kentucky’s university presidents and how much they get paid.

Pay increases for university presidents ranged from 5 percent to 34 percent between 2006 and 2010, according to a new report from the Legislative Research Commission. For faculty, the average pay raise was 7.7 percent statewide during the same period, according to the Southern Regional Education Board.

….Meanwhile, public universities and community colleges have lost $105 million in state funding since 2006, bringing cuts to education programs and higher tuition for students. Higher education faces another possible cut, $62 million, over the next two years.

For the University of Kentucky, between 2006 and 2010 the Presidential Salary increased 6.3% to $304,000. Pretty modest, right?

Except that in 2011 when UK hired Eli Capilouto as their new president, they gave him a baseline $500,000 salary. You factor that in and, as the Herald reports, you’ve got a 74% salary increase.

On Sunday, the Herald put out what might as well have been a special Eli Capilouto Issue. The Half-A-Million-Dollar Man sat down with Jerry Tipton, Linda Blackford and Tom Eblen for three separate articles.

Tipton covered the one-and-dones, and Capilouto’s ‘students first’ strategy (someone’s gotta pay that salary), as well as some political Rupp talk:

Q: Why have you spoken in opposition of Mayor Jim Gray’s proposed Arts, Arena and Entertainment District, going so far as to say you’d view any funding for that project as money taken away from your hopes to upgrade UK classroom buildings and dormitories?

A: “Mayor Gray has an exciting vision for our city. I think he made us all realize design matters. … I have the same goals of having newer facilities on campus, renovated classrooms (and) residence halls that lend themselves to modern living and learning. We both share a challenge and we speak about it frequently, and that is how to pay for the new arena.

Q: How much conflict is there between your vision for UK and Gray’s vision for Lexington?

A: “I hope all of our dreams come true.”

Eblen covered Capilouto’s ‘students first’ strategy, his feelings on UK’s history of shirking students off into surrounding neighborhoods, the plan to privatize student housing, and some Rupp stuff, too:

He raised eyebrows by saying he would not request state money to renovate Rupp Arena, as Mayor Jim Gray had urged, because it might compete with academic ­building requests.

In an interview last week, Capilouto praised as ­visionary Gray’s plans for Rupp and the ­surrounding Arena, Arts and ­Entertainment District ­downtown. He just thinks academic projects must come first. UK’s academic and ­housing infrastructure isn’t competitive with peer ­institutions. That makes it hard to attract and retain top faculty and students, and it limits what they can achieve.

“I want to be able to grow what we do here so that we can better support what I want to see flourish in downtown ­Lexington,” he said. “They go hand in hand.”

Blackford’s is far and away the best, a wide-ranging profile covering all corners of Big Prez’s life on campus:

He gets paid $500,000, and it’s clear he understands that if he has to spend a lot more time lobbying, tweeting, making videos and asking people for money than he ever has before, then so be it.

“I get a lot from walking around,” he said earlier in the day, in between taping a “hot seat” segment for basketball Coach John Calipari’s TV show and lunching with a donor. “Building relationships is my job, and it really energizes me to talk to all these people.”

….When you’re a university president, people always want something from you: time, attention, funding. When they don’t want something from you, chances are they’re a legislator or a rich donor and you want something from them, mainly money. The race for private dollars has accelerated at a furious pace just as state funding has declined precipitously. Capilouto estimates that fund-raising — the long slow dance with potential donors to build the relationship that goes on long before they give anyone a check — takes about 20 percent to 30 percent of his time. During this legislative session, he’s spent about one day a week in Frankfort, arguing for more and more flexible state funding.

Keep reading…

It’s unclear why Capilouto is pushing himself so hard (or why the Herald put all three articles together in one weekend) but perhaps the Half A Million Dollar Man is simply trying to take advantage of the March Madness attention to UK (basketball) to get some interest in UK (students first!).

***UPDATE***

As Danny points out in the comments, NoC has more on the Presidential/University salary scale from a great article from last year:

The first thing you should know is that UK’s Top 20 bonanza, paid for by students and their families, taxpayers and athletic supporters, and janitorial staff and adjunct armies, represents a fairly large redistribution of wealth, a quiet ho-hum moving of public money into private individual coffers. There have been a number of ways this has been done, but the exploitation of scale—moving from local and regional to national and global scales to deflect blame or increase importance and value—has been a much-used, yet little-discussed ripoff tactic.

Public University Trustees Move Forward with Privatization Plans for Housing

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February 22, 2012
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The University of Kentucky’s Board of Trustees signed off on the plan to privatize the public university’s student housing. Ms. Blackford of course has all the details, including but not limited to:

EdR vice president Tom Trubiana said his company is accepting low returns on the first dorm “because we wanted to be part of UK for the long term.”

“The uniqueness here is potentially that we could be the sole-source housing for UK for the future,” Trubiana said. “That’s why it absolutely needs to be a home run.”

Cool. A home run! This deal isn’t a single or a bases clearing double or even a ground rule double. It’s a home run!

Or it needs to be one. Continuing

If UK and EdR agreed to build a theoretical $10 million dorm, a financial model presented on Tuesday shows that UK would get $239,000 in revenue during the first year of the deal, and EdR would bring in about $239,000. However, the model shows that EdR would not start to make a profit until year 11 of the deal. By year 50, UK would make almost $2 million a year, and EdR would make $1.1 million, an 11 percent profit.

UK and EdR are deciding whether they will pursue an exemption from property taxes on the new dorm. Those taxes are built into EdR’s rates of return, Trubiana said.

“Any benefit would go to UK students in the form of lower rents,” he said.

1) Why would you lower rents when you could make more money? That’s bad business sense.

2) What are the guarantees behind that statement? Is it in the contract?

3) Why does EdR feel no responsibility to the community it seeks to profit off of?

4) Why does the University feel no responsibility to contribute to the upkeep and safety and well being of the city in which it exists?

As Blackford reported the other day:

Property taxes are divided by school systems, city governments and state government, with the majority going to public schools.

Fayette County taxes about 1 percent of a property’s assessed value. Approximately 68 percent of that goes to Fayette County Schools, 13 percent goes to the state, 9 percent goes to the city, 3 percent goes to the public health department, and 7 percent goes to LexTran. Less than 1 percent goes to UK extension services and soil- and water-conservation programs.

Lexington’s PVA David O’Neill estimates the proposed dorm could pay out $280K per year in property taxes.

Poor big businesses and their big tax burden. If corporations are in fact individuals, then should they really be granted tax relief individuals would never get?

In what world could you stop paying your property taxes?

Wouldn’t that be nice? Don’t you give enough back to the community as it is, just by being you?

Here’s another idea: Stop charging homeowners who live in the neighborhoods bordering the UK campus property tax.

If they don’t have to pay their property taxes, these homeowners could invest the money in a scholarship fund or something to reduce student costs and make college cheaper for the kids.

Because they would. They really would.

****

Read more Blackford.

Read UK’s Press Release.

Read Education Realty Trust’s Press Release.

Buy your EDR stock now!

And read the ground lease draft (PDF). Some highlights:

(b) Commercial Tenants shall occupy the Premises pursuant to a written lease, license or sublease (each, a “Permitted Commercial Lease” and together with the Permitted Residential Leases, the “Permitted Leases”). The terms of all Permitted Commercial Leases shall comply with the Requirements, and all Permitted Commercial Leases shall be on forms approved by Landlord, in its reasonable discretion; provided that Permitted Commercial Leases (i) shall provide that in the event that such Permitted Commercial Lease is assigned to Landlord or this Lease is terminated, Landlord shall have the right to terminate such Permitted Commercial Lease if necessary to ensure that the Premises are exempt from property taxes when owned by Landlord and in compliance with applicable law relating to tax exempt financing and (ii) may provide that such right is subject to payment by Landlord of a reasonable early termination fee.

and…

Section 8.01 Taxes. Tenant shall pay and discharge punctually when due all taxes, any payments in lieu of taxes, assessments, water and sewer rents, rates and charges, vault license fees or rentals, levies, license and permit fees and all other governmental impositions and charges of every kind and nature whatsoever, extraordinary as well as ordinary, foreseen and unforeseen, which shall be charged, levied, laid, assessed, imposed upon, become due and payable out of or in respect of, or become liens upon the whole or any part of the Premises, together with all interest and penalties, under all present or future laws, ordinances, requirements, orders, directives, rules or regulations or the federal, state, county, and city governments and of all other governmental authorities whatsoever as well as and including all payments in lieu of any of the foregoing (the “Taxes”). With the prior written consent of Landlord, in the Landlord’s sole and absolute discretion, Tenant may, at its sole cost and expense, seek a tax abatement or other tax exemption for the Premises. At the option of Landlord, the savings obtained as a result of any tax abatement will either serve to reduce the rent charged to the Residential Residents of the Premises or increase the Rent to the University.

also…

Section 8.05 Right to Refund of Taxes. Any savings, credits, refunds or rebates obtained as a result of any tax abatement or other tax exemption being obtained for the Premises shall belong to Landlord and be allocated in accordance with Section 8.01. Any refunds or rebates of the Taxes paid by Tenant shall belong to Tenant and be used in Tenant’s sole discretion.

Section 8.06 Separate Parcel. If necessary or advisable, Landlord shall cooperate with Tenant’s efforts to cause the Premises to be subdivided or re-subdivided to establish the Land and the Improvements as a separate tax parcels.

And some financials…

UK’s Big Chance?

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February 21, 2012
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The Herald-Leader editorial this morning looks at student housing, in a way. Inspired by a New York Times article from last week, they call for a big vision while putting aside questions of whether the privatization plan makes real sense.

The NYT article talks of the incremental building up of Madison, WI and its university gateway:

Pieces of the seven-block stretch from Regent Street to Lake Mendota were installed episodically over the decades, including the Memorial student union (built in 1928) along the lakeshore that has long been one of this capital city’s favorite warm-weather gathering spots; a public square one block off the lake; and a collection of campus buildings dating to the 1950s and ’60s.

In the last decade, university architects and administrators, working with Madison’s planners, have been more purposeful. Prompted by trends in urban design that emphasize closer ties between retail stores and cultural institutions, open space, recreation and stronger neighborhoods, the university and the city developed a more definitive construction plan. When it is finished, the 2.45 million-square-foot project is expected to have cost nearly $500 million.

The Herald editorial:

Yes, yes, UK must stay fixated on getting and policing just the right contract terms if it boldly goes where no university has gone before by outsourcing all its student housing to a for-profit company.

But let’s not lose sight of the overarching purpose for launching this ambitious plan to swiftly improve and increase on-campus student housing: Advancing scholarship by enhancing the quality of students’ experience in Lexington.

Where that kind of big-picture thinking could lead is illustrated by what the University of Wisconsin and the city of Madison have accomplished.

So long as we’re thinking big… what would happen if the University of Kentucky could somehow pull together the resources to bring the brightest minds they can find to a central location — let’s call it “a campus” — where really smart people old and young who study economics and business and architecture and engineering and urban design and all sorts of other pursuits can be put to work coming up with truly transformative ideas for how to remake the UK campus and pay for it.

And what if… just what if… half of those attendees actually paid to take part and the other half got paid too little to be there?

What would that meeting of the minds look like?

Or is the message from the University of Kentucky that the school is incapable of attracting such talent?

Dan Savage coming to UK March 6th; UK President endorses homosexual agenda

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February 20, 2012
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Hot on the heels of news of Rand Paul’s upcoming trippy speech to the impressionable young minds at the University of Kentucky, it’s come to our attention Dan Savage is coming right behind him.

Savage, who defined Rick Santorum’s presidential asspiratations, is touring in support of his “It Gets Better” campaign, which seeks to combat the virulent homophobia of the extreme Right Wing with compassion, understanding and basic human decency.

The UK event goes down March 6th @ 7PM on the UK campus, just four days after Rand blows through:

In September 2010, in response to the numerous acts of suicides by young people bullied for their sexual orientation, Dan Savage founded the “It Gets Better” Campaign as a way to let young LGBT people know that there is hope, help, and a future despite any hardships–that they are not alone and that it WILL get better. This semester Dan is bringing the now global movement to UK to speak about how the mission of the “It Gets Better” Project is crucially important even on our own campus. A Q&A session will follow the lecture as well as a book signing of “It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living.”

Here’s one typical “It Gets Better” message to your kids being transmitted across the internet into their brains and tearing them away from your parental control:

Horrifying, no?

Supporting this homosexual agenda and seeking to turn all your college aged children queer is Eli Capilouto, president of the University of Kentucky:

How long will it take before Lexington’s really talented right wing radio hosts realize this has happened and start calling for Capilouto’s job?

Rupp Funding, UK’s Response & UK Housing

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February 6, 2012
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The Big Sunday editorial heaped praise on Mayor Gray and the Rupp Area Task Force, then called for realistic numbers in the financing phase:

However, in the next step, estimates and ideas must give way to hard numbers.

Here again, history produces a credibility gap. Painful examples of big ideas drowning out bad numbers are close at hand.

Just down the street from Rupp some of Lexington’s most historic buildings were destroyed because of promises of a huge hotel development financed by a mysterious foreign investor. Instead there’s a block of grassland.

The CentrePointe debacle also included a financial feasibilty plan that contained projections that defied reality.

Down the road in Louisville The KFC Yum Center is struggling to pay its bills because a TIF is not producing the revenue that had been anticipated, leaving the city holding the bill.

Even in these tight times, there are worthy public investments. But both the state and Lexington have little to spare and UK President Eli Capilouto has rightly made it clear he’s going to argue in Frankfort for funding education before athletics.

On that last point, of President Capilouto’s decision to focus his energy on taking state money to sell student housing to a private corporation and not get behind the city’s plans for Rupp, Dan Rowland writes:

I understand and applaud Capilouto’s desire to contrast his aims symbolically with those of his predecessor, notable for the Wildcat Coal Lodge, and other distortions of UK priorities. But to insist repeatedly and forcefully that UK places all its priorities on its own campus and none on the fate of Lexington is a symbolic statement of its own kind — and one that is badly mistaken.

Lexington has a visionary mayor and the best council I can remember. The task force working on the Rupp Arena plan has functioned smoothly, creating a strong consensus around the plans approved Jan. 31. The plan itself is outstanding, the best example of downtown planning by far that I have seen in over 30 years of sitting on downtown planning committees. These opportunities do not come around every day, and UK needs to be on board.

I am one of the most unlikely people to support a renovation of Rupp.

When my wife and I moved to Lexington in 1974, I was appalled by the plan to create a 16-acre parking lot for Rupp.

Continue reading Rowland’s piece here…

Now, while Rowland and the Ed. Board applaud Capilouto for his campus privatization plan (or, make a show of applauding him), one of the paper’s most excellent reporters takes a closer look at deal, prospects, realities and more:

U of L officials, along with those at other schools that have used EdR, call the process largely positive. But UK’s proposed deal is so much bigger and more sweeping — managing all student housing and spending as much as $500 million to replace most of the school’s 6,000 existing beds and add 3,000 more — that it largely covers uncharted territory.

….Although the EdR Web site now features a picture of all its employees in blue UK T-shirts holding Wildcat banners, a contract between the company and UK is not supposed to be approved by the UK Board of Trustees until Feb. 21.

UK officials say going this route gets them out of the costly and complicated business of construction, allowing them more time and money to focus on instruction. Modern and expanded student housing will help recruitment and allow more students to live on campus, which usually helps retention and graduation rates. In addition, UK says, it won’t have to put up any capital in the deal.

But until the details are made public, it’s hard to judge how good a deal it will be for UK and its constituents, said Lou Marcoccia, a vice-president at Syracuse University, who has worked successfully with EdR on much smaller projects.

“The question is, how can EdR put up the capital and operate it and make a profit, and why couldn’t UK do the same thing?” Marcoccia said, referring to UK’s proposal to turn over all its housing stock to EdR. “If it’s such a good idea, why isn’t everyone doing it?”

The piece goes on to examine a number of smaller deals at campuses around the country, looking at financials, and the struggle for transparency as UK works with the private company — Read It.

Rupp Area Junk Bond Thoughts, for what they’re worth

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January 24, 2012
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A long story in the Courier Journal over the weekend examined the significant tax revenue shortfall at Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center:

The revenue needed to pay for the 15-month-old arena at Second and Main streets is falling short of expectations, putting the project at risk of failing to cover its debt and having its bonds relegated to “junk” status.

The main culprit is lagging revenue in a special taxing district that forms the foundation of the arena’s financing plan and is supposed to provide the Louisville Arena Authority with more than enough cash to pay its $349 million in bonds.

….The authority expected to have $26 million available — including $6.7 million from the taxing district — for its 2011 payment of $19.1 million. Instead, the district produced only $2.1 million in 2010, which goes toward the 2011 payment.

Coupled with lower-than-forecast income from arena operations, the authority expects to have only $14.6 million.

That’s the gist though there’s much more, including the projected $3M shortfall in 2012 that Jim Host says will be covered with money that was set aside for maintenance, and various other machinations to keep the city from being immediately on the hook.

Here in Lexington, the planned Rupp Area renovation — currently estimated at $260M for the arena and convention center — is quite a way from reality or funding. The city asked the state for $20M to help plan and design the re-do, Governor Beshear gave Lexington $3.5M and the city will throw in another $1.5M for a $5M starting fee.

(Coupled with Beshear’s projected outlays to President Capilouto to privatize student housing on the UK campus, it becomes clear Eli and Mitch’s big show of putting the emphasis on students and declaring themselves disinterested in state funding for the arena was at best a ploy to get the most money from the state and at worst was something of an F.U. to the city for not giving them the new Yum!-like arena they so desperately wanted.)

That $5 Million just for planning and design. A ton more money is going to have to come in and the Rupp Area task force is expected to come back with some thoughts on that financing situation soon. Meantime, conversations around the arena continue and one such is the possibility of selling the naming rights to the arena.

Naming rights bring in big money. They also mean you end up with terrible arena names. Rupp Arena isn’t going to be Rupp Arena or it would become The 5/3rd Toyota Prius Applebee’s Rupp Arena. Or something worse.

The Yum! Center got $75 Million in state funding and an awesomely cool name for a bonus pricetag… and you see how well they’re doing. Both WKYT and Jerry Tipton have looked at fan reaction to the prospect of selling the name of Rupp Arena and both found similarly disinterested fan bases. Tipton also brought us this alternative:

The Green Bay Packers are inviting fans to pay $250 for a share in a major renovation of Lambeau Field. It’s been suggested that Lexington might ask UK fans to buy an interest in the entertainment district. As an incentive, buyers could be eligible for a raffle of premium seating and parking for each home game.

The Packers, like UK, belong to the people, and Green Bay has done some overall interesting things to raise money for their team’s stadium expansions over the past several years. UK doesn’t seem similarly interested at the moment (they’re busy privatizing the student housing, remember).
The New York Times had a great article on college sports as big business this past Sunday:

In his recent book “Big-Time Sports in American Universities,” Dr. Clotfelter notes that between 1985 and 2010, average salaries at public universities rose 32 percent for full professors, 90 percent for presidents and 650 percent for football coaches.

The same trend is apparent in a 2010 Knight Commission report that found the 10 highest-spending athletic departments spent a median of $98 million in 2009, compared with $69 million just four years earlier. Spending on high-profile sports grew at double to triple the pace of that on academics. For example, Big Ten colleges, including Penn State, spent a median of $111,620 per athlete on athletics and $18,406 per student on academics.

Division I football and basketball, of course, bring in millions of dollars a year in ticket sales, booster donations and cable deals. Penn State football is a money-maker: 2010 Department of Education figures show the team spending $19.5 million and bringing in almost $73 million, which helps support 29 varsity sports. Still, only about half of big-time programs end up in the black; many others have to draw from student fees or the general fund to cover expenses. And the gap between top programs and wannabes is only growing with colleges locked into an arms race to attract the best coaches and build the most luxurious venues in hopes of luring top athletes, and donations from happy alumni.

It’s a long article and worth the read, even if these type of stories aren’t new. The explosion of money surrounding college sports has been happening for years and the deleterious effects that come with it should be no stranger to anyone involved in city planning or university sports. Sports teams both undergraduate and professional have routinely bilked taxpayers across the country, receiving new arenas at little cost to the teams and long term cost to their host communities.

Which is not to say that the process necessarily ends in failure. The University of Kentucky Wildcats are certainly a boon for Lexington’s economy, between the games, the restaurants, the vendors, the parking, the t-shirts, and everything else. It’s a brand for the city, too, and, of course, the Rupp plan (like the Yum! one) isn’t just about the arena, it’s about the whole of downtown.

So getting it right is important. Can the Task Force do that? Can they find realistic financing models, real investors? Can they come up with a sound economic plan that won’t lose the city money? Obviously that’s their challenge and what nearly everyone is waiting for (…”nearly” because there are certain powerful people and some fans who seem to erroneously think that leaving the arena as is amounts to some colossal failure… but we’ll get to that later, if it comes to that).

Dan Dickson in BizLex recently looked at Oklahoma City and their model:

Oklahoma City is often remembered for the devastating 1995 act of domestic terrorism that resulted in the loss of 168 lives and destruction of its federal building. But now, Oklahoma City is getting noticed for how it is financing public projects.

It’s called MAPS (Metropolitan Area Projects) and is a limited-term, one-cent sales tax that began in April 2010 and ends in December 2017. This latest local voter-approved initiative is funding eight projects and is expected to raise about $777 million.

Among the eight public projects are a new downtown convention center to attract larger conventions and bring additional revenue into the local economy, a downtown rail-based streetcar system with six miles of track, a large downtown public park and several senior health-and-wellness centers.

Being funding with a limited term, one-cent sales tax, the Oklahoma City projects are expected to be built debt free.

There are drawbacks and obstacles to something like that happening here in Kentucky, which Dan goes into, but presumably these are the sorts of ideas the Rupp Area Task Force is considering alongside the naming rights, debt-based and other forms of financing.

Part of the idea in the Space Group plan for the Rupp Area is transforming the entire area into an economic engine, not just the arena in hopes the blocks surrounding may also spring up, but putting the two goals together. As Michael Speaks, dean of the UK School of Design, wrote in the Herald this weekend:

Bates has proposed a design-focused district, which other cities have used very successfully to attract new businesses and talent.

Such districts have helped cities burnish their image, and enhance their brands. Well-designed public spaces, buildings, parks and even infrastructure are now recognized as ways to add economic value.

In New York, redevelopment of the derelict High Line elevated railway into a new, elevated urban park has transformed the lower west side of Manhattan into an economic engine generating $2 billion in private investment.

In Miami, developers have even used world-renowned architects to design parking garages. From Seoul, South Korea, where designation as “world design capital” has transformed the city into one of the most spectacular in Asia, to the design-led redevelopment of Syracuse, great design has become not only a quality of life issue, but an economic engine.

It’s possible to avoid the classic arena-based failures of other cities. Step one is getting a decent plan, and step two is making sure it actually is a decent plan. Downtown Lexington has enough problems, it doesn’t need junk bonds added on, but refusing to look at the options is as silly as blindly doing the University’s bidding.

Maybe we could raise revenue by privatizing Eli Capilouto.

Or did that already happen?

Did UK ask Capilouto about any of this?

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May 4, 2011
By

As we mentioned yesterday, some nasty allegations were thrown at new UK President and Man of Mystery Eli Capilouto down in Alabama. Here are some more.

I don’t know if UK asked him any questions about this, or if so, how Capilouto answered. Because the public really doesn’t know much of anything behind the interview and hiring process.

But Linda Blackford did ask about one of those charges, and UK/Capilouto aren’t commenting:

Capilouto also has been the subject of several lawsuits, which is not surprising for someone in his position. One from 2008, however, named him directly as part of a federal gender discrimination suit against the board of trustees of the University of Alabama system.

Rosalia Scripa came to UAB in 1976 as its first female engineering professor, eventually becoming an associate provost. Working on a National Science Foundation grant, she found that some female professors were being paid less than their male counterparts. After she told Capilouto about her findings, according to her lawsuit, Capilouto and the director of human resources asked her to look at different data to see whether it would show the salaries “in a more favorable light.”

Soon afterward, according to the lawsuit, Capilouto demoted Scripa, saying she was “not well-suited” for her job. She was asked to sign a letter saying she was stepping down for personal reasons.

The lawsuit was settled out of court. Scripa declined to comment about the lawsuit, saying only that she stands by the allegations. UK spokesman Jay Blanton said Capilouto would decline to comment on the matter.

Did UK ask him about this? How did he answer? Is there anything there?

All fine questions that only a handful of Kentuckians know the answer to.

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