Wednesday, November 10, 2010

49ers Stadium Subsidy: It's 12:15 am - Where are the '49ers' stadium boosters'?

Dear Santa Clarans,

City Council took up the easy work - and then some really hard work - in Tuesday evening's City Council Meeting.

The easy stuff was the rezoning of the Centennial Way area to stuff a subsidized stadium for the 49ers onto 20 acres - along with abandoning Centennial Way itself and 'plopping' a 175-foot-high stadium wall right next to one of the Youth Soccer Park fields.

The 'stadium boosters' persisted with the same incorrect and grossly-exaggerated statements about their stadium.
Sorry, but no: You do not "create jobs" when you blow $444,000,000 only to make jobs that pay less than $6,600 a year (Let's use the 49ers' own numbers: 2,600 game day jobs. However, KMA's consultants have been telling us since June of 2007 - and again last June - that the best we can do is a $17M payroll for all of them. Less than seven thou a year is really lousy job creation - and the Term Sheet is a lousy stadium deal because of that.).

Anyway, the 'stadium spenders' walked out of City Hall a little after 9:00 pm - just in time for the Council to take up the hard work.

As you all know, our city is in serious financial trouble. The City Manager felt she had no choice but to go to the city's ten collective bargaining units and ask them to agree to no increases plus pay cuts of 5.15% - or otherwise almost certainly go through a round of layoffs which will probably lead to pink slips for city employees filling 81.75 positions.

The City Council Chamber was packed with AFSCME and IBEW members who argued against the City Manager's plan, but it passed on a 6-1 vote.

So, granted that Council had to approve the City Manager's plan for cuts-or-layoffs. But it's completely hypocritical to harp on the costs of compensating city employees out of the same General Fund that will be taking a massive hit from the 49ers stadium subsidy. If you want to speak of 'fiscal responsibility' on Warburton Drive, it all goes on the table: public employee compensation and the 49ers' stadium subsidy - not just the individual scapegoats that suit our narrow purposes at the moment.

Like it or not: The 49ers stadium subsidy will also cause continued General Fund shortfalls once we sign off on the RDA's issuance of stadium subsidy bonds. That will happen because the RDA cannot service the stadium subsidy bonds and still pay back our General Fund what it owes to us.

That's why we can only ask: Late last night, when it was time to make the really tough calls necessary to keep our city from going broke - where were the '49ers' stadium boosters'?

As usual, they were nowhere to be found. But after three-and-a-half years of similar City Council meetings, that no longer surprises me.

The rest of us Santa Clarans walked out of City Council Chambers at about 12:15 am this morning.

Thanks for your continuing support,
Bill Bailey, Treasurer,
Santa Clara Plays Fair