On Monday the Biz Journal wrote that the Hamilton County Commission was likely to approve a purchase that would upgrade Paul Brown Stadium's replay system, incorporating the long-desired high definition quality. Then a Wall Street Journal story came out that neatly packed some bad public relations for the team, talking about the deal they have with Hamilton County that's largely hurting the county as a whole, who, like mostly every county in the state of Ohio, is dealing with major budget issues. The Bengals respond calling it the government's fault.
And now Hamilton County, playing the role as victim rather than (dare we say) enabler for brokering the actual lease, is wondering if the Bengals really need a high definition replay upgrade, declining to vote on the upgrade on Wednesday.
Instead, they’re asking their lawyer Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters whether this $300,000 equipment purchase is actually something the team lease requires the county to pay for — especially in light of that fact that the NFL might not play this season due to the lockout.
Lone Democratic Commissioner Todd Portune — who has long publicly challenged the lease — said he won’t vote to let the county pay for the equipment. He said if team wants it, they should buy it.
Greg Hartmann and Chris Monzel, the two republicans on the commission weren't committed either with Hartmann only supporting it due to fears of a costly legal battle with the Bengals and Monzel asking if this is the "right time" to buy equipment.
Jeff Capell, who is helping Portune with a ticket tax ballot initiative to solve the stadium fund deficit and has suggested the county go so far as to declare bankruptcy to void the team leases, urged commissioners to nix the purchase.
“Hamilton County has far more pressing needs,” Capell said. “We cannot continue spending out money on stadiums, freedom centers and museum centers. The government has real problems it needs to address and needs to quit wasting taxpayer money on these stadium and museum toys that serve no core government purpose.
How do you argue against that? We are Bengals fans and will continue being Bengals fans. Yet Hamilton County has far more things to worry about that concerns far too many citizens.