Friday, April 30, 2010

The Mayor says: "Twice the mess!"

There is a possibility that the Raiders will also use the proposed stadium.

Even some strong stadium supporters are lukewarm on the Raiders moving south. Mayor Patricia Mahan, a leader in the pro-stadium campaign, said doubling the days that would have football games in town brings twice the traffic, noise and parking issues for city residents.

"If I multiply by two, I have some hesitation about that," she acknowledged. "I really don't know."
But we have no say!

Councilman Will Kennedy, a Measure J foe, points out that the 49ers, not the city, control whether to sublease the stadium to the Raiders.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, Apr 30 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Stop the Bleeding -- Vote No on J!

With this year's $13.5 Million deficit (expected to grow further next year) the City of Santa Clara is sinking from the ranks of fiscally sound, well-managed cities. It's saddening that we may lose yet another guaranteed $5 Million per year in rent from our fabled theme park, Great America.

Saddening, but not surprising. We already provide an annual give-away of $2.5 Million to the San Francisco 49ers' in the form of below-market rent on their training center.

Measure J extends that deal and expands the loss. The San Francisco 49ers would rent a brand new, state-of-the-art stadium for 25% of fair market value of the land it sits on!

Worse, they'd pay only 14% of the land's fair market value during the first 10 years of operation. Over the next two years, as our deficits sky-rocket, they'd pay nothing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Mercury News is hypocritical

This is a letter to the editor of the San Jose Mercury News from one of our neighbors:

I was much disappointed in the Mercury News’ endorsement of the San Francisco 49ers proposed football stadium. Disappointed, but hardly surprised. The Mercury has a long history of backing projects that will improve the national standing of the San Jose area, and, by extension, its own circulation. That the Mercury demands transparency from politicians, governments and private organizations but fails to disclose its own interest in this issue is distressing at best and hypocritical at worst.

The Mercury backs such a project in spite of the overwhelming evidence that most such projects do not bring in the purported economic benefits touted by the projects’ supporters. In fact, the same day the Mercury came out in favor of Measure J, Scott Herhold wrote a column basically admitting that the project does not make economic sense. Instead, he argues, Santa Clara should foot the bill simply out of civic pride.

Civic pride? In a football stadium? I’m sorry, but my civic pride derives from our otherwise well run city. Santa Clara is a city that pays attention to its general fund, and socks away cash for those years when revenues cannot meet expenditures. It is a city that has the wherewithal to fund its own library system, and its own utility with rates that are the envy of the rest of the valley. It is a city where the public parks, pools and other amenities aren’t closing because of fiscal mismanagement, unlike our bigger neighbor.

The Mercury correctly points out that, ideally, a project with such a regional impact should have the costs borne by the entire region. For example, even though Santa Clara has to foot the bill, less than 10% of the jobs generated will go to Santa Clara residents. It then says that the political realities make such regional cooperation impossible. Would those be the same political realities that make Caltrain, BART, the MTA, various water agencies and other regional governing structures impossible?

The Mercury’s slanted coverage of this issue also extends to other issues facing Santa Clara. In a story on Yahoo’s proposed new campus in Santa Clara, Lisa Fernandez pointedly remarks on the lack of opposition to such a large project, in direct contrast to the stadium. Left unsaid is that the city doesn’t need to invest public money in such a project on the scale of the stadium; that the jobs being created by Yahoo’s expansion will be better paid than the minimum wage, concession-type jobs of the stadium; and that the taxes generated by such a project will far outstrip any revenues generated by the stadium.

The Mercury’s coverage and editorial also leaves out a very important footnote. $20M of this funding is to come from the city utility’s emergency fund, to help move a substation to a different location. Recently, every Santa Clara resident should have received a notice where this same utility wants to increase our rates, the second such increase in as many years. If our utility has the money to spend on a stadium, then why do our utility rates need to rise – again? And perhaps this isn’t a tax increase to support the stadium, but at this point, that’s all semantics. Residents will be paying more, one way or another.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Net Present Value" vs. "Actual Dollars"

Mayor Mahan & Councilmember Matthews have revolutionized the housing market with their discovery that "net present value figures ... are based on outdated economic assumptions" and that we should focus on "actual dollars" paid over 40 years!

Madam Mayor, I'll buy your home for $1 million -- a good $100,000 over the current market price. I'll pay you in 2050. Do we have a deal? Can you vacate by next Tuesday?

Fair Market Rent for the proposed stadium site is currently over $1.8 million per year. Even with the new Mahan-Matthews Math, that should be worth over $72 million in "actual dollars." Too bad the 49ers LLC only signed up for $40 million.

This is a bad deal -- with or without the lies the Mayor is spreading.