Monday, July 4, 2011

3. Subsidizing the San Francisco 49ers, One Year Later: "Sign here! We'll tell you what it costs next year..."

Dear Santa Clarans, 

On June 7th, the "Committee of the Whole" Study Session report on the stadium subsidy was presented before our City Council: 

"The current estimate for the total costs for the development of the Stadium is approximately $950,000,000.  Approximately 15% to 25% of the development costs will relate to tenant improvements within the Stadium and will be paid by Stadco.  As further detailed below, the Stadium Authority will fund the remaining development costs from a variety of sources..."* 

Have we got that right?  Santa Clara Agencies are now down for up to $800,000,000 of the costs of “developing” a $1,000,000,000 stadium for the San Francisco 49ers? 

It should be clear, then, why Measure J itself contained no cap of any kind on Stadium Authority liabilities.  The 49ers' Stadium Booster crowd sold Measure J to us with their claims of General Fund integrity – claims since proven to be false – but they couldn’t afford to have Santa Clarans pulling back that curtain and finding out that the Stadium Authority would then be stuck with the stadium debt that the 49ers refused to take on themselves.
Shocker #2:  This very same "Committee of the Whole" report tells us that our city will be signing the binding Disposition and Development Agreement, or DDA, sometime this fall - with a complete stadium financing plan not even available to Santa Clarans until next summer!** 

“Sign here,” the 49ers are saying.  “We’ll tell you what it'll really cost you sometime next year.” 

If a used-car dealer tried saddling you with debt on those terms, you’d tell him to go jump in the lake.  Why is it acceptable for the San Francisco 49ers to do such a thing to our city?

Santa Clarans, please start asking questions about the massive stadium subsidy for the 49ers.  It’s much worse than we were told on June 8, 2010 - and the “Committee of the Whole” report from June 7, 2011, is the clearest admission of that.

All the best to you this Independence Day,

William F. “Bill” Bailey, Treasurer,
  * Committee of the Whole Study Session REPORT, Page 5 of 10 ("Page | 4", middle)
** Committee of the Whole Study Session REPORT, Page 2 of 10 (Second page, bottom)

The following slide set was also presented in Chambers on June 7th, and it's very informative: