Monday, October 11, 1999
By Bruce Cadwallader
COLUMBUS DISPATCH County Offices Reporter
"Issue 33 opposition trailing in ad dollars
... Citizens to Save Northland [Jacobs] has outspent its opponents, Neighbors Against Issue 33, by a nearly 3-1 ratio in purchases of TV and radio time, according to records on file at local stations and campaign officials.
The citizens [Jacobs] group already has paid out nearly $600,000 for radio and TV advertising in support of Issue 33. The TV ads will air 533 times between now and Election Day, Nov. 2.
... If approved, Issue 33 would repeal a tax-increment financing [TIF] district the City Council established in 1996 for the Polaris Centers of Commerce. The tax plan sets aside property tax dollars from new developments at the center in a fund designed to support $20 million in road improvements at Polaris. Among the developments that would benefit from the roads is Glimcher's proposed Polaris Fashion Place mall.
The issue has developed into a mall war, with Richard Jacobs, the owner of Northland Mall ...
Supporters of Jacobs and Northland are trying to remove the tax plan by getting voters to approve Issue 33.
Those who want the tax plan to stand are asking for a "no'' vote on Issue 33 and say the plan was a promise ... that the city shouldn't break -- and that the city will be required to use other tax dollars to build the roads if the plan is repealed.
Peggy Fisher, a council member from 1994 to 1996, helped approve the original tax plan and will chair a coalition of neighborhood leaders opposed to Issue 33. Businesses moved to Polaris because of the plan, she said.
"This isn't a mall issue. This is an issue of saving the integrity and the promises the city of Columbus made,'' Fisher said ..."
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The Columbus Dispatch
Friday, October 08, 1999
"Repealing Polaris TIF would be bad business
Within the past few months, there has been a lot of posturing about the ballot initiative that, if passed, would repeal the 1996 tax-increment financing district agreement between Polaris and the city of Columbus ...
[The] issue in this debate, however, is our city's ability to honor its commitments ...
As a resident of Columbus and a candidate for its City Council, I cannot back the repeal of the 1996 TIF agreement. This repeal would be bad business for our city. The proposed repeal would demonstrate to prospective businesses, both locally and nationally, that Columbus' word is not worth a dime.
The repeal of the TIF would represent a bait-and-switch between the city and the builders of Polaris. How can we expect to attract development to Columbus if builders are worried about the city pulling the rug out from under them after construction has already begun? ...
Our goal should be to make Columbus a model for other cities to follow when it comes to economic development. If we want to meet that goal, we cannot afford the perception that we are incapable of making good on our promises. Repealing the 1996 TIF would, unfortunately, do just this.
Mike Tanner, candidate, Columbus City Council"
LETTER TO THE EDITOR, The Columbus Dispatch, By Jeff Brehm, Saturday, September 18, 1999
"If Jacobs didn't care about mall, why should we?
... The ironic part is that the most vocal Polaris Fashion Place mall opponents are lower- to middle-class people who feel sorry for a wealthy developer who has as much in common with them as a White Castle hamburger does with whatever is served at the captain's table of Les Wexner's yacht.
Richard Jacobs, who built Northland Mall a generation ago and since has been in Columbus about as many times as Saddam Hussein has visited the White House, either was too busy making (and spending) money elsewhere or too shortsighted to watch the growth of the city move farther north.
Finally, years after work on Polaris Centers of Commerce began, Jacobs suddenly realized Polaris will do to Northland what his Eastland Mall project did to the Town and Country Shopping Center -- take the stores and shoppers away.
But instead of doing what a true entrepreneur and worthy competitor would do -- reinvest in Northland to make it attractive again -- Jacobs took the cheap-shot way out, crying foul and appealing to his close personal friends, the middle- class folks in the Northland area, for help.
Never mind that Jacobs himself accepted tax incentives for a mall he's building in another state ..."
Jeff Brehm, Lancaster, Ohio
Thursday, October 07, 1999
By Doug Caruso
COLUMBUS DISPATCH City Hall Reporter
"Polaris tax deal beneficial for all, city tells leaders of neighborhoods
City Auditor Hugh J. Dorrian talked tax deals last night with about 35 neighborhood leaders as city officials began their campaign to defeat Issue 33 on Nov. 2 ...
In a speech that resembled a civics lesson more than a political call to arms, Dorrian explained that such an arrangement does not forgive property taxes but redirects them in a specified area to pay for public improvements in that area ...
As the area develops, with or without the tax deal, the city will be forced to add roads and other amenities to handle the growing traffic, he said ...
City officials invited neighborhood leaders to the meeting last night at the Columbus Police Division headquarters Downtown. They are trying to counter a pro- Issue 33 campaign that says the tax deal will help build the Polaris Fashion Place Mall and put Northland Mall out of business. Northland owner Richard Jacobs is financing that campaign.
Dorrian and Columbus Trade and Development Director George J. Arnold told the neighborhood leaders that repealing the tax arrangement also could hurt Columbus' reputation with the business community by going back on the word the city gave in 1996 ..."
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Saturday, October 16, 1999
"Elections panel to consider complaint on Issue 33 ads
The Ohio Elections Commission has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday morning to determine whether a complaint can go forward against Citizens To Save Northland [Jacobs], a group promoting Issue 33 on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Franz A. Geiger, president of Polaris Owners Association, alleged in a complaint filed yesterday that the Northland group
in radio and TV ads.
If Issue 33 passes, it would repeal a tax-increment financing district at Polaris Centers of Commerce on the Far North Side in southern Delaware County.
Geiger says the ads are false because they state "There's a wealthy developer who's getting up to 22 million of our tax dollars to help him develop and build a mall in Delaware County.''
The real-estate taxes will be used for road improvements; they won't go to a mall developer, the complaint says ..."
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH, Saturday, October 23, 1999
By Doug Caruso, Dispatch City Hall Reporter
"Issue 33 pitch has cost $807,072
For about the salary of Cleveland Indians pitcher Jaret Wright, Richard E. Jacobs is fighting a political campaign against tax incentives for the Polaris Centers of Commerce.
Jacobs owns the Indians and Northland Mall. He put up all the money -- $807,072 -- for Citizens to Save Northland, which is seeking passage of Issue 33 on Nov. 2.
The donations, through Oct. 13, were in the name of Northland Joint Venture, which Jacobs owns ...
Jacobs' pro-Issue 33 campaign has far outspent opponents. Citizens to Save Northland has shelled out $623,524, including $583,778 for advertising ... Jacobs also has paid $173,294, listed as in- kind contributions, for legal fees and public- relations consultants ..."