Two seemingly unrelated events, one involving a billionaire hedge fund manager in Silicon Valley, and the other involving a former-teacher-cum-politician, share an ominous characteristic.
A couple days ago, during the NBA finals, a hedge fund manager (and investor in the Golden State Warriors) named Mark Stevens, pushed Toronto Raptor Kyle Lowry and repeatedly told him to go f*ck himself after Lowry chased a ball into the sidelines.
The billionaire, who had courtside seats, felt entitled to push and yell at a professional basketball player simply because he was mildly inconvenienced. The play happened quickly, and as a reflex, Stevens forever etched himself in YouTube folklore by throwing a temper-tantrum like a spoiled child.
In contrast to the wealthy investor with an anger problem is a local politician hopelessly naïve to the challenges of running a business. Deron Bilous, an MLA in Alberta, told the legislative assembly that “if a few thousand more per month in taxes cause you to go out of business, then maybe look at your business plan or management of your company.”
Bilous made these comments following a 12% increase in business bankruptcies year over year. And in the throes of the worst provincial recession in decades, Bilous suggested that it’s bad management / business plans to blame, not the downward pressure on oil prices, rampant municipal property tax increases and dramatic increases in minimum wage costs. According to Bilous, it’s also not the failure to get oil to the coast, or the drag from the heavy crude discount that’s to blame. No, Bilous believes the blame lies on companies not paying enough attention to the business plan (which somewhat facetiously, we wonder if he has ever seen a business plan).
Indeed, Bilous et al believe they can continue extracting unlimited water from the well that is the business community. And we’re seeing this mentality in all levels of government. We’ve written the past few weeks about how Edmonton’s city council is continuously putting an unsustainable burden on businesses by failing to get non-residential taxes under control. A number of councillors clearly share Bilous’ sentiment as property taxes are now markedly higher than surrounding municipalities. There is only so much management enhancement and business plan maximization strategies available here. At some point, the well will run dry.
Both Stevens and Bilous apologized shortly thereafter. Stevens said it was a lapse of judgement and does not reflect who he is. Bilous said he mischaracterized the impact taxes have on small businesses.
But no apology was necessary. There was no lapse of judgement or mischaracterization, it was simply a grand unveiling of who they both truly are.
And that highlights exactly what Stevens and Bilous have in common:
Neither of them deserve their seats.
Chad GriffithsPartner, SIOR, CCIM
Chad is a partner with NAI Commercial Real Estate and focuses on the Greater Edmonton area. Chad entered the industry in 2004 and has completed over 400 commercial transactions with clients ranging from small, local companies to large institutional owners. Chad has been a top 15 producer with NAI Canada-wide since 2013.
Ryan BrownPartner, BCom, SIOR
Ryan is a partner with NAI Commercial Real Estate in Edmonton and is currently ranked nationally as one of NAI's top advisors. Having executed in excess of $100 Million worth of sales transactions and over 2 Million square feet of lease transactions, Ryan has developed a firm understanding of asset evaluation and an aptitude for building design, functionality, and long-term practicality.
Darcie is a licensed Commercial Real Estate Agent in the Province of Alberta with a focus on the Edmonton market and its surrounding areas. Darcie accomplishes custom solutions for her clients through her personable nature and results driven attitude. Darcie can help if you are looking to invest in commercial real estate or are looking for representation for a sale or lease transactions.
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