Corroon action praised

Public backs his decision to pull plug on Real deal

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 31 2007 12:00 a.m. MST

 (Deseret Morning News graphic) (Deseret Morning News graphic)
Soccer fans might be calling Peter Corroon names, saying he made the "stupidest decision ever," but the public still supports him.
In fact, his approval rating has jumped nearly 5 points since August, when he first announced a tentative deal for public funding for a soccer stadium for Real Salt Lake.
Now that Corroon has killed that $30 million deal, the public is behind him more than ever.
"I certainly supported the right man for county mayor," one voter wrote in an e-mail to Corroon on Monday. "You took the right stance on the stadium. I have little doubt that time would have proven that any public subsidy, direct or indirect, of a for-profit sports facility would have proven ill-advised."
 (Deseret Morning News graphic) (Deseret Morning News graphic)
A new Deseret Morning News/KSL-TV poll shows Corroon pulls a 67.5 percent approval rating. The Dan Jones & Associates poll Tuesday of 234 county residents has a margin of error of 6.9 percent. In August, a similar poll showed Corroon had a 63 percent approval rating.
Corroon ended all negotiations with Real on Monday after he refused to contribute $30 million in county hotel-room tax revenue to the $110 million stadium.
The political pressure was on Corroon to approve the deal, he said. But Corroon insisted it was an "unsafe investment."
The people of Salt Lake County apparently agreed, as 70.5 percent of those polled said they supported Corroon's decision.
"I don't watch the polls. I just try to do the right things for the right reasons," Corroon said late Tuesday. "If I make decisions based on polls, I probably shouldn't be in office."
But not everyone is happy with the decision.
In e-mails to the mayor, angry Real fans called Corroon an "idiot" who "stinks" and "a mean man who is messing up everything."
"With all due respect, you made the stupidest decision in the history of decision making," one man wrote. "Thank you for single-handedly killing professional soccer in Utah. You chickened out and I am very disappointed, disgusted, and revolted."
Since the stadium deal fell apart, team owner Dave Checketts said he is considering selling the team. Investors in eight cities across the country are interested in acquiring a Major League Soccer franchise. And two cities in Utah are scrambling to find a way to keep the team in the Beehive State.
Investors are interested in building a stadium at the old Geneva Steel site in Vineyard, and Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson wants to build it at the Utah State Fairpark.
The majority of those polled Tuesday believe it's important Real stay in Utah. However, nearly 52 percent of the respondents admitted they were not soccer fans, while 40 percent said they were only average fans.
Checketts declined comment Tuesday but said in a conference call a day earlier that Corroon "clearly has pursued this for his political ambitions."
"It's clear he thought that by steam-rolling this along and standing in its way it would get him the political approval ratings he is seeking."
Corroon called Checketts' claims "ridiculous." Most of the e-mail he received before he made up his mind on the deal urged him to give the team money so Real could play in Sandy for years to come.
Based on those comments, the correct political decision would have been to approve the deal, he said.

E-mail: ldethman@desnews.com

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