By Doug Porter
The only thing more likely to be declared dead on arrival than any plan coming out of the newly ensconced Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group for San Diego is the budget proposal the President is sending to the Republican-controlled congress.
Today we’ll start out by looking at what the composition of the Faulconer’s task force tells us about the impossibility of their task and check out a few details of the Obama administration’s assertion that the age of austerity ought to be over in the US of A. There’s also bonus material on two of the GOP 2016 presidential wannabes.
On Friday Mayor Kevin Faulconer introduced a nine-member stadium task force including what UT-San Diego called “financial experts, prominent developers, longtime government leaders and a former Chargers executive.”
A tax increase or subsidy of some sort is already baked into the final results of this group’s work, since it’s task seems to be finding the most palatable solution to the Chargers’ stadium problem for historically tax-adverse San Diego voters.
From 10 News:
He [the mayor] said the group will develop, by this fall, a “real, tangible plan for a new stadium” that can be put before voters in 2016.
“That’s never been done before,” Faulconer said. “Yes, we’ve had renderings. Yes, we’ve had ideas floated about how you can possibly, maybe, fund it, but those aren’t plans. A plan is when somebody tells you this is where it’s going to go, this is how we’re going to build it, and most importantly, this is how it’s going to be paid for.”
UT-San Diego reported:
Faulconer said he tried to select a small and diverse group with the skills and experience to develop large-scale projects and the financing plans needed to get them built.
“This well-rounded group will be nimble enough to complete an analysis, develop plans and make recommendations by the fall of this year,” Faulconer said during a news conference next to Petco Park.
Let’s start with the adjective “diverse”.
@vosdscott 8 Republicans, 1 DTS, & no one from Labor. Not what I would call diverse. Business as usual. @SDLaborCouncil @ToddGloria #1u
— Mickey Kasparian (@MickeyKasparian) February 1, 2015
Then there’s nimble.
From Voice of San Diego:
The group the mayor has assembled to figure out a proposal for a new Chargers stadium will be much different than the one that last met, more than a decade ago, on the same issue.
It will be secret.
It’s not an official city commission, so the group’s hearings will not be subject to open meetings laws and other similar restrictions. The mayor’s spokesman, Craig Gustafson, told me they don’t plan to meet in public at all. He said you can send an email if you want: email@example.com.
So it’s not a city commission but the city is, apparently, handling its email.
It turns out there’s a reason why the pubic won’t be invited to task force meetings.
10News/UT-San Diego commissioned a SurveyUSA poll asking questions about locations and financing for a new stadium. The bottom line here is, that while a majority of people think the stadium should remain in Mission Valley and the team will ultimately choose not to move elsewhere, a solid majority of the public wants nothing to do with paying for any deal. (63% No, 29% Yes, 8% Don’t Know)
Even 57% of those polled who called themselves Chargers fans opposed the idea of taxpayer financing. Other options, like giving the local NFL franchise tax breaks or donating publicly held property as part of any deal were opposed by respondents.
A UT San Diego business section article still held out hope for what even it admitted was a difficult situation for any proposal:
Yet weak public support hasn’t stopped lawmakers from subsidizing projects, partly because of heavy lobbying from industries that benefit. And politicians who promote projects are often out of office when the bills come due.
Fabiani, the Chargers spokesman, declined to tell me if the team has measured local public appetite for stadium funding.
He said the team regularly conducts surveys of various kinds, but has never disclosed results.
Here’s longtime observer Don Bauder’s take at the Reader:
The U-T editorialized today (January 31) that the task force on the Chargers stadium is “packed with the right mix of expertise.” Of course it is “packed” — just as all the other task forces and special committees are “packed” with corporate-welfare boosters. The task force’s job is to shift as much of the burden as possible on to taxpayers and steer the profits to the private sector — socialization of the risk and privatization of the gain.
My read on the situation is there is likely no path towards building a stadium. The Mayor’s choices for the Stadium Advisory Group reflect the political awareness that recognizes funding for a new football venue must end up behind infrastructure repairs and an expanded convention center.
While the proposed economic benefits of an expansion of the convention center are as sketchy as those of a new football venue, San Diego’s hoteliers are a potent political force.
The prospect of the football team leaving must be tempered by the reality that any move to Los Angeles would likely entail the Spanos family giving up a percentage of their ownership, something they appear unwilling to do.
Finally, there are the various alternative financing ideas floating around that should be addressed. The County has money, we’re told. The Airport Authority and SANDAG might be tapped.
Pigs will fly before any of those organizations part with their stash of taxpayer cash.
The President’s Middle Class Budget
The administration rolled out a $4 trillion budget proposal today.
The multiple phone book sized document calls for tax breaks for the middle class, raising some taxes for wealthy individuals and corporations, and ending the budget sequester. The defict would decrease slightly and the national debt would remain at what the White House calls sustainable levels.
From Daily Kos:
White House officials say their goal is to keep deficits stable relative to the gross domestic product and bring the long-term debt down slightly. The $474 billion deficit for next year would be about 2.5 percent of GDP, and it would end up in about the same place for 2025 even though the dollar amount would rise to $639 billion, according to a source familiar with the details. The federal debt—the cumulative total of deficits that the government owes—would start at 75 percent of GDP in 2016 and ease down to 73.3 percent in 2025.
It would raise taxes on capital gains and on inherited capital gains and levy a minimum 19 percent tax on “American corporate profits that are kept overseas.” It also includes a one-time, 14 percent tax on the overseas earnings of American firms that is expected to raise $478 billion, which would be earmarked for rebuilding infrastructure.
On the spending side, the budget includes $41 million for the first year of the president’s community college plan to allow two-years of free tuition and $105 million for “trade adjustment assistance” to help retrain workers who lost jobs to trade deals. The budget includes an ambitious program to provide more assistance to families with young children, making childcare more affordable by increasing tax breaks to families.
Sen. Paul Ryan’s Republi-nomics 101
The likely Republican reaction will likely be to label the administration’s ideas as class warfare. And, as usual, anything potentially perceived as negative about the existing economic situation mus be blamed on the Kenyan-Muslim-Socialist in the Whate House.
The wealthy are doing really well. They’re practicing trickle-down economics now
From the New York Times:
But even as Mr. Ryan criticized proposals that could be viewed as pitting class against class, he acknowledged a reality that many Republicans have long avoided: The rich are getting much richer. Republicans once held that liberal economic policies would stifle “the job creators.” Now, Mr. Ryan said, the creators are doing well. Others are not.
“The Obamanomics that we’re practicing now have exacerbated inequality,” he said. “They’ve exacerbated stagnation. They’re made things worse.”
Mr. Ryan continued: “The wealthy are doing really well. They’re practicing trickle-down economics now.”
Binders Full of Vaccinations
New Jersey Gov. Christ Christie is already backing away from a statement made in London over the weekend suggesting there is a need for “balance” in deciding whether or not children should be vaccinated against infectious diseases. Now it appears Christie’s statement might have been more like a knee-jerk reaction to anything uttered by the President.
From the Washington Post:
Christie was asked to weigh in on the debate in the United States over the measles outbreak. On Sunday, Obama told NBC News anchor Savannah Guthrie, “You should get your kids vaccinated.”
“I understand that there are families that, in some cases, are concerned about the effect of vaccinations,” Obama said. “The science is, you know, pretty indisputable. We’ve looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren’t reasons to not.”
Christie, however, said “there has to be a balance and it depends on what the vaccine is, what the disease type is, and all the rest.” He added, “Not every vaccine is created equal and not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others.”
According to the Los Angeles Times this morning , there have been 91 measles cases reported in California and 16 outside the state: five in Arizona, three in Utah, two in Washington state, one in Colorado, one in Michigan, one in Nebraska, one in Oregon and two in Mexico.
On Sunday Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation, warning that the U.S. could see a “large outbreak” of measles
And here’s the State of New Jersey walking back the London statement, via The Hill:
The office of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Monday that he believed there is “no question kids should be vaccinated” for the measles virus, clarifying comments he made earlier in the day.
“To be clear: The Governor believes vaccines are an important public health protection and with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated,” this office said in a statement emailed by aide Kevin Roberts. “At the same time different states require different degrees of vaccination, which is why he was calling for balance in which ones government should mandate.”
On This Day:1848 – The Mexican War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty ceded land to the U.S., including Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, California and parts of Colorado and Wyoming. Mexicans refer to the conflict as “The American Intervention” 1977 – Legal secretary Iris Rivera was fired for refusing to make coffee, triggering protests from throughout Chicago. 1990 – South African President F.W. de Klerk lifted a ban on the African National Congress and promised to free Nelson Mandela.
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John Lawrence says
Oh-oh, the task force is going to put their Chargers plan “before the voters.” Remember the last few things put before the voters: Barrio-Logan, minimum wage etc. The plutocrats usually get their way with anything put before the voters. Why? Because they will TV ADVERTISE IT TO DEATH. I’d be afraid of them getting their way on this by fooling the voters to think the whole thing is advantageous to them. You know they will lie and misrepresent whatever conniving solution they come up with, and the voters and taxpayers will ultimately be left holding the bag.
By the way, where is the high powered task force for coming up with a plan for infrastructure repair and putting that before the voters?
Daniel Nieuwstad says
I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m not opposed to a stadium per se, and I’m not even a fan. The reality is that building stadiums is generally unprofitable, or else the NFL and Spanos would have built it themselves already. They know this and they want the public to pay for most if not all of it.
I would support some sort of combined initiative like the Petco Park deal that would spur growth in other areas of the city i.e. funding for infrastructure. Maybe car-happy San Diegans will be willing to pay for the cost of their beloved roads in order to keep the Chargers in San Diego. I can just hear the gears grinding…
The LA Times included an unofficial survey in it’s article about the Chargers, asking which of three teams readers would like to see move to LA. Of the three teams, the Chargers came in last, with very few votes compared to the Oakland and St. Louis teams. Wonder why.
Considering the apparent undesirability of the Chargers, (at least by Angelenos), I think San Diegans need to modify their approach to negotiations with the team:
Negotiate from a position of strength. San Diego is a very desirable location to live and work. Not to denigrate other locations, but if offered their choice, how many players, owners, support team members would voluntarily choose Cincinnati? Cleveland? St. Louis? Pick one. The weather, life style…what’s better than this?
Apparently, Los Angelenos are quite dissatisfied with the Chargers as a team: why? Not enough effort made to subsidize a Super Bowl contending team? Again, here’s where San Diegans can say to Chargers owners, why do you continue to press us to support you when you don’t spend the money to impress us? One or two players do not a Super Bowl contending team make. Year after year…same old, same old.
Therefore, if the Chargers want to stay in San Diego, the team owners should start by putting their money on the line: first by upgrading/expanding(?) Qualcomm, and concurrently aggressively building a Super Bowl contending team.
Instead, they are playing the politics game: let’s milk the taxpayers. Enough of that game. Time for a new strategy. We need infrastructure repairs, desperately, so why should taxpayers support higher taxes that will not directly benefit them, that do not solve problems? Count on it, elected officials, voters will remember where your priorities lie.