Thursday, January 24, 2008

All that and the Brooklyn Bridge, too?!

Editorial cartoonist Steven DeCinzo won 1st Place for Best Cartoon from the Association of Alternative Weeklies in 2000. He has penned a number of incisive panels on the 49er's proposal. The latest appeared in this week's Silicon Valley Metro:

The Brooklyn Bridge has of course been the scourge of gullible people since 1901. A hundred years from now, will cartoonists be drawing NFL stadiums instead?

Here are some earlier commentaries from Mr DeCinzo:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Feasibility Study: $111 million Impact to the General Fund

The numbers are in, and the proposed stadium subsidy adds up to be a big fat loser for the city of Santa Clara. The city's General Fund would lose $111 million in cash, lost revenues and opportunity costs. To see where all that money goes, check out this presentation.

You will see that NFL events will provide no financial benefits to the city. In fact, in this proposal, the City would have to subsidize NFL events with revenue from non-NFL events. Rather than enriching a for-profit enterprise, let's focus on the needs of real Santa Clarans.

We can do better than this. We must do better than this.

What about the schools?

Redevelopment Agencies (RDA) divert the majority of property taxes collected in an RDA district to development, with the net effect of starving cities and schools.

At some point, the state realized how damaging this can be, and passed SB211. Under SB211, any minor change to the RDA forces the RDA to relinquish some of their sheltered money back to specific groups -- notably schools. This is called an SB211 amendment.

The stadium subsidy would require the RDA to borrow $65 million, thus forcing them to do an RDA amendment.

SB211 doesn't require a stadium. In fact, the RDA could pass an SB211 amendment today, triggering those pass-through payments, but has chosen not to do that.

Moreover, if the RDA borrows more money, they will not be able to repay their RDA debt early (which the city is currently on track to do in 2020.) Once the debt is paid off and property taxes revert to normal distribution, schools will actually get significantly more than they get with SB211.

So, if you take the long view, an SB211 amendment would not be good for the schools. But if you feel the schools are really hurting today, and that they need a near term injection of cash, you don't need a stadium. You just need to pass an SB211 amendment.