Sunday, February 8, 2009

49ers Stadium: Al Davis - The Devil You DO Know...

Last week, the commercial press gushed all over the millionaire Yorks coupling with the millionaire Al Davis on a joint 49ers-Raiders stadium. The budget disaster in Sacramento finally pushed it off the front page. But it's still worth looking at - hard:

First: How does a joint stadium eliminate the massive subsidy being demanded by the 49ers? Sorry, but if two multi-millionaire NFL team owners can build a joint venue, then all public subsidies should definitely be off the table. These two team owners - and not our RDA - should be covering the construction and the annual operating costs of any stadium. The silence of the press on this issue poorly serves Santa Clara and Santa Clarans.

Second: Why did Al Davis spend close to 27 years suing nearly all of his major partners? In 1980, Al Davis sued his own League to get out of Oakland. In 1995, he sued them and Oakland/Alameda County over his return there. In July of 2007, the last such legal action - again blaming the NFL for the fiasco in Oakland twelve years earlier - was finally tossed out of court. John Ryan of the Mercury News wondered: When do the costs of Mr. Davis' lawsuits exceed the total price of an NFL stadium?

Not funny.

This "shotgun stadium"
is the second time NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has interceded in the badly-flawed stadium gamble - while managing barely to mention our city by name. (See below.)

This time, Commissioner Goodell isn't simply demanding that the San Francisco 49ers make Al Davis a partner. Without coming right out and saying it:
He's really demanding that WE Santa Clarans make Al Davis a partner.

Talk about the Devil we
do know: Imagine Al Davis ever agreeing (1) to share equal responsibility for a billion-dollar stadium, (2) to pay our General Fund a rightful Ground Lease - or even (3) to sign a lease lasting as long as the massive indebtedness that both teams are demanding of our RDA. That's until the year 2026.


Conclusion: Stadium supporters should stop wasting our time with distractions such as this one. It's time that they told Santa Clarans - honestly - what they're really demanding:
Public subsidies amounting to scores of millions of dollars.

Thanks for your support,

Bill Bailey

(Click here for more than you really wanted to know about our new "stadium partners".)