Sunday, December 11, 2011

49ers' Stadium Subsidies: "Let's go on a spree with the city's credit cards!"

Dear Santa Clarans,

We're already getting some diversionary spin on the outlandish debt which five City Councilmembers and the 49ers want to pile on the Santa Clara Stadium Authority.  Let's look at two of them, one unimportant, but the other one vital to the fiscal health of our city.

The first bit attributes to our group some imagined false focus on the increase in the total construction costs of the 49ers' stadium.  Well, yeah, it has increased from $937,000,000 to $1,020,000,000 (That's $1.02 BILLION).  That's an unadjusted increase of about 9%, but (maybe) 2-4% in "June, 2010 Dollars".

For us, that's not the real story.

The real story is that second bit of pap:  The utterly false claim that the 49ers and the NFL are somehow contributing "revenues" for the stadium.  They are not.  They are instead heaping an additional $520,000,000 worth of loans onto the $330,000,000 already down to the Santa Clara Stadium Authority.

That's public debt, and it's public money.

This should never have happened.   But there is a hard number of true out-of-pocket 49ers' contribution that the team, the NFL and their financiers can't hide:  The 49ers sent us to the polls last June with their own bought-and-paid for 'citizens' initiative.'  At the time, they "estimated" that they would be contributing $493 million toward a one-billion-dollar stadium.

Eighteen months later, our "business partner" now wants to pay only $152 million - and they want a Santa Clara Agency to service $850,000,000 in debt for a stadium that only benefits the team and the NFL.

You're entitled to ask the question:  Why are the 49ers now paying only a mere 15% of the total costs of their stadium?

Why are they not paying the 53% they told us when we went to the polls last June?

Santa Clara Plays Fair urges our City Council to take this DDA back to the drawing board.  The 49ers should at least be paying for their own stadium themselves, if they insist upon grabbing up all of the NFL Revenues.

They also owe Santa Clara MUCH more in Fixed Rent payments to the City's General Fund - a miserable $180 THOUSAND in the first year is unacceptable.  

Finally, they should most certainly be turning exclusive control of the Second Team Sublease over to our own Stadium Authority.  They shouldn't be calling the shots on the Second Team - we should be.

The five 49ers' Stadium Boosters on our City Council are letting the San Francisco 49ers go on a spree with Santa Clara's credit cards.   That's simply not the answer - not for our city, and not for Santa Clarans.

Please:  Come to City Council Chambers this Tuesday evening, December 13, at 7:00 pm - and speak out against the outrageous stadium subsidy.

Demand more from the San Francisco 49ers.

Thanks for all of your support,
Bill Bailey, Treasurer

Any materials you find here in the blogs of Santa Clara Plays Fair and Stadium Facts may be forwarded to anyone, anytime.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

49ers' Stadium Subsidies: The 49ers get Cafeteria-style financing from Santa Clara

Dear Santa Clarans,

From Friday evening, you were given 96 hours to review the 421-page Draft DDA on the City's website.  We've gone through it as thoroughly as we can.  It's complex, but an analogy might help clear the air about what it really means:

You've engaged a partner to help build a new home.  Your business partner controls nearly all of the negotiations with the architect and the General Contractor, so your partner's design demands come first.

You also thought that you and your partner were going roughly "halves" on the total construction cost of $937,000.00, with $444,000 down to you and $493,000 down to your partner.

You now learn that the cost to build is now a million and change.

Worse, at the eleventh hour, your partner is shoving much more of his cost onto your $444,000 line of credit.  He has the unmitigated gall to tell you that, since he doesn't drive, and because he eats out and shaves at work, he isn't going to pay for the construction of the home's garage, kitchen or bathrooms.

So, after four years of dickering, your partner says that he's only liable for $152,000 of the cost of a $1,020,000 new home.  He expects you to pay the other $850,000 - and he still expects to take 30-minute showers, set the thermostat to 78 degrees and use your microwave oven and flat-panel TV.

Sound bad?  It gets worse:  Multiply the dollar amounts above by 1,000 and that is exactly what the San Francisco 49ers are doing to us right now.  What the 49ers are saying is, "We'll pay for the locker rooms and our Team Store - but we don't use the rest, so we're not going to pay for it."

We must have missed something.  The 49ers will take well over $130,000,000 out of that whole stadium every year - but they won't pay for the bleachers, seats or club lounges that paying fans will be using?  Consider the billions they will gross from a stadium we're paying for, and then ask yourself why the total net present value (NPV) of their payments over forty years into our city's General Fund remains at a mere $8 million.

What's even more pathetic than the lousy $8 million:  The five 49ers' Stadium Boosters on our elected City Council actually give every indication that they're going to agree to the 49ers' outlandish "cafeteria-style" financing - even though it's much worse than the 49ers' own Measure J from last June.

It should be clear now why the 49ers' "J" put no limit of any kind on Santa Clara Stadium Authority debt.

Santa Clarans, please demand more.  See the SCPF homepage for details on the Study Sessions this Tuesday and Thursday - and for contact information for Mayor Matthews and the City Council.  It is vital that you make your views on the massive stadium subsidy known.

Especially since that subsidy has more than doubled in eighteen months.

Not even Measure J justifies that.

Thanks for all of your support,
Bill Bailey, Treasurer