Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why is Silicon Valley Power Subsidizing the 49ers?

Dear Santa Clarans,

By approving Measure J last Tuesday, Santa Clarans have chosen to subsidize the San Francisco 49ers with our electric utility's money.

The cumulative electric rate increases from January, 2006, through next January come to 33.9%. While they're considerable, those were in fact necessary to ensure the viability of our city's electric enterprise.

But why are we paying a total of nearly $20,000,000 to move a substation which does not need to be moved? We're being told by the 49ers to put Tasman just north of a residential area for no other reason than the faulty siting of their stadium. By cramming a 14-acre stadium on a 17-acre site, the 49ers are essentially blaming us for their problems and telling us that we have to pay to fix them.

Not because Tasman's falling apart. It isn't.

Not because Tasman needs immediate upgrading. It doesn't.

In fact, the saga of the Tasman substation move is not a pretty one:
  • In the April 27th City Council meeting, members of the public were told that they could comment only on the motion to defer the Tasman agenda item - but not on the squandering of the $20 million itself.
  • In May, we finally heard that the costs of moving Tasman would then be concealed from us by shifting it into the Capital Improvement Project Budget - but with Silicon Valley Power still picking up the tab.
  • Last night, the Capital Improvement Project Budget for the coming fiscal year was approved, including the first $12,500,000 of this $20 million giveaway (Project #2401 in Fund 591).

I'm sorry, but our priorities are completely wrong on this: We learned in this same City Council meeting that Silicon Valley Power's Cost Reduction Fund, or CRF, has dipped
to $84 million - far below its $120 million recommended minimum.

How on earth can we justify blowing $20,000,000 to subsidize an NFL football stadium when our electric company's most important reserve is missing its target by 30%?

The very fact that the 49ers are generating additional losses in our electric utility as well as in our General Fund should be ample proof: We certainly don't need an NFL stadium in Santa Clara all that badly.

Santa Clara Plays Fair urges Santa Clarans to continue to speak out on this issue. Please address your comments to the Stadium Boosters on our City Council any way you can:

Thanks for your support and regards,
Bill Bailey, Treasurer,
Santa Clara Plays

Santa Clarans, please return all election materials - including yard signs and stakes - to 1009 Las Palmas Drive. I've learned from Recology that yard signs WILL NOT be accepted in the blue recycling barrels, so we're asking residents to please return them to Santa Clara Plays Fair. Drop them off anytime.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

49ers: $444,000,000 -- Santa Clara: ZERO

Dear Santa Clarans,

We'd like to thank all of you who gave, volunteered and shared in the drive to defeat Measure J. We would never have accomplished as much as we did without your volunteer efforts and contributions. We played it fair. We were right on the facts and we treated our fellow Santa Clarans with the respect they've earned.

But the disappointing loss on Measure J isn't merely a loss for Santa Clara Plays Fair.

It's also a serious loss to the City of Santa Clara.

Measure J tells us that we can spend money like San Jose - and like Sacramento - and that we can get away with it. We can't.

The worst part is that Santa Clarans might finally learn exactly why Dr. John York 'isn't in the stadium business.'

The subsidy of Dr. John York's stadium is still wrong. It will not deliver for Santa Clara. We ask that all Santa Clarans step forward and that they oppose that massive giveaway. Please continue your involvement with Santa Clara Plays Fair - and encourage others to join.

We look forward to hearing more from more of you.

With best regards,
Bill Bailey, Treasurer

One other little note: Would everyone please return all "NO on J" election materials - walking and tabling materials, as well as all yard signs and stakes - to 1009 Las Palmas Drive? Look for the "Burma Shave" signs on the east side of Las Palmas between Benton and Homestead. Otherwise, call 1-877-703-4300 for pickup.

And please accept our thanks in advance. ---- B**2

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Your Last Chance to STOP the 49ers Stadium Subsidy: PLEASE VOTE NO ON J !

Dear Santa Clarans,

As Santa Clarans, we have on this one ballot the most important issue that our city has ever faced.

Measure J will tell us whether our future will be in the hands of Santa Clarans - or in the hands of the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers and their "stadium boosters" used the Confidentiality Agreement of April, 2007, to deny us voters information on the stadium subsidy to which we are entitled. They hijacked Senate Bill 43 to take from us control of our own City Charter. When they couldn't get the language they wanted on the ballot, they paid hirelings to get what they wanted - and they weren't even truthful with Santa Clarans while they were doing that.

What Measure J really means: We're being told that we "need to" hand $444 million dollars in public wealth over to a private corporation.

In return, we will get crumbs.

I believe that Santa Clarans will support a fair process. But there is no way that the last three years have been in any way fair to us: Three years have gone by with
seventy-seven secret meetings between the 49ers and our City Council. Two million dollars of RDA cash have been spent on consultants and lawyers. Our city's budget will close this fiscal year $15 million in the red - and the 49ers stadium subsidy will make those deficits far worse in coming years.

Some people in other communities might just throw in the towel - but we don't think that our fellow Santa Clarans are the sort to give up. It's for this reason that we urge all of you:
Please don't leave the job of protecting Santa Clara to others. We really need your help to defeat Measure J at last and to restore our city to us.

Please vote NO on Measure J. Encourage others to vote NO.

More than at any other time, the future of Santa Clara truly depends on you.

Thanks for all of your support,

William F. "Bill" Bailey, Treasurer


Monday, June 7, 2010

Those that pay the piper get to call the tunes

I read with great interest Patty Fisher's SJMN opinion piece, in which she bemoans the fact that she doesn't get a vote on Measure J. All I could think was:

Where was Ms. Fisher 3 years ago, when a very small City first contemplated underwriting all the risks for a 68,500 seat, $1B, open air, NFL stadium?

If the fine Cities of Palo Alto, San Jose, and the rest of the South Bay -- together with the County of Santa Clara -- had chosen to participate in the process, I'm sure they could have influenced the outcome, resulting in a proposal in which the entire region could participate in all the risks associated with running a professional football stadium, rather than only getting a cut of the potential benefits.

In that case, Ms. Fisher, Larry Stone, and everyone else would have an opportunity to weigh in on this weighty matter.

Instead, we have a proposal with a far greater risk per capita than any stadium subsidy in history, for a mere .1% growth in economic activity.

The following says it all:

And if you are in the mood for watching movies, there are quite a few more at: