Monday, November 21, 2011

A Stadium Fact: There is NO cap on the 49ers' Stadium Subsidies

Dear Santa Clarans,

There have been several claims in the media these last few weeks that Santa Clara's subsidy of the San Francisco 49ers is somehow "capped" at $42 million.  Unfortunately, this claim is completely false.

Pull out a Sample Ballot or other any other materials you wish covering Measure Jed from last June - and note that the total debt down to the Santa Clara Stadium Authority is not limited in any way.   The oversimplification being used by the 49ers' Stadium Boosters (this time) is that the Redevelopment Agency is only down for $42 million, and 'gosh, that's all.'

It's not.

Remember that the 49ers demanded our votes on Measure Jed by "estimating" that they'd be covering $493 million of a $937 million stadium.  On June 7th, however, City Staff informed us that the team only wants to pay "15% to 25%" of the costs of a $987 million stadium.

This is the way the game is played:  Euchre voters into signing a blank check, with meaningless (or broken) promises that debt is capped (or that the General Fund won't be touched, even though the Stadium Subsidy does cost it a bundle.).  About a year later, trumpet the passage of the bill, Measure Jed, then tell city residents that the public debt down to another city Agency is no longer the $330,000,000 claimed a year ago, but in fact may nearly double.

Imagine a situation where a destitute brother-in-law swears he only needs to put $330 on one of your credit cards - then imagine the uproar when you get the bill from the bank at the end of the month, and when you find that he charged $626 to that card.

The same game is being played here in Santa Clara - the debt that the San Francisco 49ers won't cover is going to be shoved onto the Stadium Authority - and there's apparently very little that the five "49ers' Stadium Boosters" on our City Council are willing to do to stop it.

The 49ers also made a promise that they'd be covering all construction cost overruns.  But who can tell what's an "overrun" if it's suddenly deemed not to be a 49ers Development Cost?  When that happens, it's a virtual certainty that the Santa Clara Stadium Authority will be stuck with it.

In essence:  Stadium Boosters continue to claim that the Stadium Authority is going to magically pay for all of this with just naming rights and Personal Seat License collections - and that it will then have enough dough to run a stadium for the 49ers for about $30,000,000 every year.

That claim sounds sillier all the time.

Thanks for all of your support,

William F. "Bill" Bailey, Treasurer,


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