With all the hubbub about the downtown baseball stadium--for which Maricopa County taxpayers are expected to pay up to $250 million--it's high time for some perspective. With apologies to Harper's Index, here's what else could be done with a spare quarter-billion dollars:

1. Estimated number of molestation lawsuits Michael Jackson could settle: 10.42

2. Make-A-Wish trips to Disneyland for dying children: 83,333

3. Number of Barry Bonds' seven-year contracts: 5.68

4. Number of U.S. senators one could buy: 833

5. Heart transplants at University Medical Center in Tucson: 2,500

6. Years of consecutive weekly romance ads in New Times: 961,538

7. Nights of shelter (meal not included) at Central Arizona Shelter Services: 41,666,667

8. Number of annual Arizona teacher salaries: 7,715

9. Number of HIV/AIDS patients who could get lifetime medical coverage: 12,970

10. Number of reporters the Arizona Republic could devote to "Saving Arizona's Children" for one year: 6,250

11. Number of colonoscopies Arizona Republic columnist Steve Wilson could get: 625,000

12. Leg of planned freeway: The Pima, from Red Mountain interchange at the Salt River north to Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, a distance of more than 12 miles.

13. Years one could pay the Phoenix Zoo's operating budget: 31.25

14. Years one could pay the June electric bill for every Salt River Project customer in the Valley: 3.85

15. Fire trucks Rural/Metro could buy: 1,250

16. Fire stations Rural/Metro could build: 625

17. Years one could fund the operating budget of the Arizona chapter of American Civil Liberties Union: 1,351.35

18. Years of round-the-clock legal service from the law firm of Jennings, Strauss and Salmon: 178.37

19. Hot dogs Attorney General Grant Woods could buy at a downtown stand: 166,666,667

20. Years the Samaritan Poison Control Center could be kept in operation: 357.14

21. Freeway pots one could buy: 18,498.94

22. Top-of-the-line Rawlings National League baseballs: 25,025,025

23. Camelback Esplanades one could buy, according to 1992 value stated by Governor J. Fife Symington III: 1.25

24. Camelback Esplanades one could buy, according to a 1992 value estimate by the Maricopa County assessor: 5.1

25. Vowels on Wheel of Fortune: 1,000,000

26. New Phoenix city halls: 3.01

27. Lottery tickets: 250,000,000

28. Number of Phoenix Suns pay-per-view games one could buy: 16,722,408

29. Number of injuries to skaters' knees one could pay for: 38,462

30. Number of times a chain of 250,000,000 dollar bills laid end to end would stretch from the pitcher's rubber to home plate: 1,031,353

Sources: 1. Media reports of $24 million settlement; 2. Arizona chapter, Make-A-Wish Foundation, based on a three- to four-day trip; 3. Based on Bonds' seven-year, $44 million pact; 4. Based on the total disclosed amount Charles Keating paid for Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, John McCain, John Glenn and Donald Riegle; 5. University Medical Center public information office; 6. New Times classified advertising department; 7. Central Arizona Shelter Services public information office; 8. Arizona Department of Education, based on average teacher salary for 1992-93 school year; 9. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 10. Based on annual salary of $40,000; 11. Based on $400 fee Wilson reported in his probing, January 26 column about getting one; 12. Arizona Department of Transportation; 13. Warren Iliff, executive director, Phoenix Zoo; 14. Salt River Project public information office; 15. and 16. Rural/Metro Corporation public information office; 17. Louis Rhodes, executive director, Arizona chapter of the ACLU; 18. Michael Beale, attorney with Jennings, Strauss and Salmon; 19. Based on advertised price on hot-dog cart in New Times cover photo of Woods, July 21, 1993; 20. David Pasztor, New Times staff writer; 21. Based on $473,000 shelled out by the City of Phoenix for 35 pots scattered along the Squaw Peak Parkway; 22. Oshman's Sporting Goods; 23. and 24. John Dougherty, New Times staff writer and 1992 Arizona Journalist of the Year; 25. Dewey Webb, New Times staff writer and 1984 Wheel of Fortune grand-prize winner; 26. Scott Phelps, press secretary to Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson; 27. Duh; 28. Dimension Cable; 29. Based on reported $6,500 fee initially agreed to by Jeff Gillooly and "hit man." 30. Stephen Hawking.


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