Thursday, June 5, 2008

49ers Stadium Poker

In that high-stakes poker game we call "No-limit Stadium Sold 'em", the City of Santa Clara just 'checked'.

In a rather illuminating article in the San Jose Mercury News, we Santa Clarans learned for the first time that we may not even see the "advisory" measure on a Santa Clara stadium subsidy on our November 4th ballot:

At Santa Clara Plays Fair - and over a quite a few kitchen tables in our city, we imagine - this is disconcerting news.

The postponement of the "advisory" from a General Election in an even-numbered year to a Special Election in an odd-numbered one has the effect of manipulating turnout to suit the whims of the pro-subsidy crowd and the San Francisco 49ers. It permits certain narrow political and financial interests, having everything but the well-being of our city in mind, to hijack this debate.

We've been told that the "advisory" would reflect "the will of the people" - and at least one City Councilman has promised us that it will be obeyed.

But if the City Council is insistent that a ballot measure be deferred: Then the way to truly poll the wishes and hopes of many more Santa Clara households is to insist not only that the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) be complete, but also that any ballot measure be binding. For the additional election costs of $600,000, Santa Clarans are entitled to as much.

Now, it should be noted that the Mercury News dispatch wasn't really designed to inform us Santa Clarans - it was really a report on Measures G and F in San Francisco's own precincts on Tuesday.

With their votes on June 3rd, San Franciscans made quite clear in their affirmation of G (62% voted YES) and their rejection of F (63% voted NO) that they are placing no additional roadblocks in the path of the development of Hunters Point. A new Hunters Point will include the San Francisco 49ers as a prime tenant and give them just about everything they want...

...except for a cash subsidy.

Apparently, however, the York family and the 49ers front office still believe that Santa Clara can be squeezed for a massive payment of corporate welfare in the amount of $160 million - which San Francisco itself has refused to pay. That is the real reason why the team's accountants and financial advisors continue to put our City at the top of its list.

While any subsidy is under consideration, that 'list' is a hit list. Because of that, we at Santa Clara Plays Fair feel that Santa Clarans should beware of the results of Tuesday's election - good news that failed to affect the stated plans of the San Francisco 49ers.

Why is that, we wonder?

-Bill Bailey