Friday, June 6, 2008

Held Hostage by Ghosts of the Future

The SJMN reported Wednesday that the likelihood of seeing the SF 49ers Stadium proposal on the November ballot is increasingly remote.
"[Y]eah, it's looking like that may not happen in November," Councilman Will Kennedy said.
We've spent over a year of blood, sweat, tears (not to mention big bucks) on this project. Over $1 Million in consultants, unknown hours of City Staff time on analysis, and almost weekly Closed Session meetings chaired by Senior Staff -- all while other RDA projects are effectively put on hold.

Questions Santa Clara residents should now be asking themselves and their City Government are:
  • How much more money & valuable (albeit unaccounted for) staff time can we afford to put into this project?
  • What good is the SF 49ers' promise to cover construction cost-overruns only through 2013, when the multi-year project won't break ground until after 2010?
  • How much longer can we NOT fund RDA projects vital to the city's well-being because $136 Million is being held hostage by the increasingly unlikely prospect of negotiating a n acceptable deal with the SF 49ers.
The City's dirty little secret is that while RDA money may be earmarked to partially fund a number of important projects, those projects will not go forward until they are fully funded.

To illustrate the point, look at just one highly visible RDA project: the long-awaited Northside Library.

The city has reserved $17.7 Million in the RDA budget for the Northside Branch Library. But an additional $3.365 Million is needed for LEED certification and the expanded Community Room. Despite the City's stated commitment to this project, they have made it clear that until all funds are identified, there will be no library in the Northside.

And what is competing for a library to enrich the education and lives of our Northside neighbors?

$136 Million reserved to subsidize the SF 49ers stadium.

I wish the SF 49ers good luck with their other prospects -- San Francisco, Brisbane, maybe even LA. Because Santa Clara voters are too smart to trade in our infrastructure and mortgage our hard-earned future for the profit of an out-of-state corporation.

Monday, June 2, 2008

It's the subsidy, stupid.

San Francisco voters will go to the poll tomorrow to decide whether the City of SF should "encourage the development of a site in Hunters Point Shipyard for a new stadium."

Note that the text of this Proposition G says nothing about SF residents having to pay for any part of the stadium.

San Jose Mercury News columnist Ann Killion essentially called Prop G a lose-lose proposition for the 49ers:
If Proposition G wins, ... [it] could compromise the team's appeal to Santa Clara voters: Why should the small pool of Santa Clara voters pony up $160 million for a stadium when San Francisco voters have approved a measure that would cost [SF] virtually nothing?

If Proposition G loses, ... it ... would weaken the team's leverage with Santa Clara: removing their most viable alternative, while creating an anti-stadium climate.
This is why concerned residents of Santa Clara have been opposed to the deal all along: it's the subsidy. Thank you Ann!