WATCH: Chargers Are Holding San Diego Hostage for a New Football Stadium. Here's Why the City Should Tell Them to Shove Off.

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The city of Los Angeles has long been used as a bargaining chip for NFL franchises that want to get better stadium deals in their hometowns. And with two stadium proposals moving forward in both Inglewood and Carson, CA, bidding wars (involving loads of public cash) have erupted in towns like St. Louis to counteract the threat of losing their home team. 

San Diego appears to be the latest victim of this tactic. Faced with the threat of the Chargers moving north to Carson, the San Diego city council has released a plan for a $1.3 billion dollar stadium that will mostly be funded with public money.

Here's the scoop on the proposal from Bloomberg

On Monday, amid threats by the Chargers to bolt for Los Angeles, a task force commissioned by San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer released a proposal for financing a new stadium in Mission Valley, the site of the team's current home, Qualcomm Stadium. The Citizens' Stadium Advisory Group plan for the $1.3 billion venue will not require a public vote (surprise) but will require tons of public funding.

The plan promises no new taxes to offset the cost, relying instead on financing from the Chargers and the NFL: $300 million from the team and $200 million from the league. But the public cost detailed in the plan isn't insignificant: $121 million each from the city and county, and city-owned land valued at $180 million. The advisory group also estimates $116 million from a state program to pay for infrastructure improvements, including parking and mass transit around the site. And there's $40 million in taxes from the proposal's new, on-site hotel, of which the city won't see a dime because it will pay for more improvements. That's already $578 million taxpayer dollars sunk into this project.

While the group claims that only $578 million in public dollars will be used for this project, economist Neil deMause over at Field of Schemes reports that there could be $352 million in additional subsidies hidden within the deal. 

Numerous studies have shown that stadiums often fail to live up to their promises of increased economic revenue and jobs. The lack of economic benefit combined with growing budget deficits across the country have soured public support in favor of spending taxpayer dollars to build facilities for privately run sports franchises. 

"Sports Stadiums Are Bad Public Investments. So Why Are Cities Still Paying for Them?" was produced by Alexis Garcia and the original release date March 17, 2015. About 5 minutes. Original writeup below. 

"Anybody that drives around Southern California can tell you the infrastructure is falling apart," says Joel Kotkin, a fellow of urban studies at Chapman University and author of the book The New Class Conflict. "And then we're going to give money so a bunch of corporate executives can watch a football game eight times a year? It's absurd." 

When the Inglewood City Council voted unanimously to approve a $1.8 billion stadium plan on February 24th, hundreds of football fans in attendance cheered for the prospect of a team finally returning to the Los Angeles area. 

On it's face, the deal for the city of Inglewood is unprecedented—Rams owner Stan Kroenke has agreed to finance construction of the stadium entirely with private funds. The deal makes the stadium one of the most expensive facilities ever built and is an oddity in the sports world, where most stadiums require millions in public dollars to be constructed. 

And while the city still waits to hear if it will indeed inherit an NFL team, the progress on the new privately-funded Inglewood stadium has set off a bidding war between other cities that are offering up millions in public subsidies to keep (or attract) pro-sports franchises to their area. 

St. Louis has proposed a billion dollar waterfront stadium financed with $400 million in tax money to keep the Rams in Missouri. And the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders have unveiled a plan to turn a former landfill in Carson, California, into a $1.7 billion stadium to keep the Rams from encroaching on their turf. While full details of the plan have yet to be released, it's been reported that the financing would be similar to the San Francisco 49er's deal in Santa Clara, which saw the team receive $621 million in construction loans paid for with public money. 

Even the fiscally conservative Scott Walker is not immune to the stadium spending craze. The Wisconsin governor wants to allocate $220 million in public bonds to keep the Milwaukee Bucks basketball franchise in the area. Walker has dubbed the financing scheme as the "Pay Their Way" plan, but professional sports teams rarely pay their fair share when it comes to stadiums and instead use public money to generate private revenue. 

Pacific Standard magazine has reported that in the last 20 years, the U.S. has opened 101 new sports facilities and stadium finance experts say that almost all of them have received public funding totaling billions of dollars. Politicians generally rationalize this expense by stating that stadiums will generate economic revenue and job opportunities for the city, but Kotkin says those promises are rarely realized. 

"I think this is sort of a fanciful approach towards economic development instead of building really good jobs. And except for the construction, the jobs created by stadia are generally low wage occasional work." 

"The important thing that we've forgotten is 'What is the purpose of a government?'" asks Kotkin. "Cities instead of fixing their schools, fixing their roads or fixing their sewers or fixing their water are putting money into ephemera like stadia. And in the end, what's more important?"

Produced by Alexis Garcia. Camera by Garcia and Justin Monticello. Music by Jason Shaw

Approximately 5 minutes. 

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  1. I hope that the Carson plan doesn’t happen for the simple reason that the Raiders moving to the NFC and forcing one of the current NFC teams to join the AFC would be stupid.

  2. Tax dollars for sportzball. It’s criminal (on several levels).

  3. But- what about civic pride?

    1. Be proud of not subsidizing that which is outside the proper role of government, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY…shit as stupid as sportzballz!

    2. “But- what about civic pride?”

      Yeah, what about that?
      Ya know, I’m pretty proud that even a population as econo0mically moronic as SF managed to tell the Yorks to take a hike when they wanted a new stadium.
      You got money for a sports team? You can afford your own sandbox.

    3. But- what about civic pride?

      Well, that IS what they rely on… and it almost always works.

    4. If pride is what you’re buying, then you’ll have no problem finding sellers.

  4. “[…]While the group claims that only $578 million in public dollars will be used for this project, economist Neil deMause over at Field of Schemes reports that there could be $352 million in additional subsidies hidden within the deal.[…]”

    Ask moonbeam; he’s good at budgeting:
    “When all is said and done, the new Bay Bridge will wind up costing tax- and toll-payers more than $12 billion”
    See more at: http://sfpublicpress.org/news/…..rgSBH.dpuf

    1. While the group claims that only $578 million in public dollars will be used for this project

      ONLY $578 million…

      1. A hundred mil here and a hundred mil there and you’re beginning to talk real money!

    2. Oh how naive we were:

      Although estimated to run nearly $20 billion with interest, it’s almost certain to go over budget like most other major transportation construction projects?including the Bay Bridge.

      It’s going to cost $10 billion just to go from Fresno to Bakersfield!

      1. 2011:
        “BART expects a $10 million to $28 million surplus next year, and there is talk of using the extra cash for such things as running trains later at night.”
        http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/…..376070.php

        Now:
        “As ABC 7 adds, there’s a $4 billion price tag for all the track replacement that need to occur, and no one’s figured out yet how to fund it.”
        http://sfist.com/2015/04/06/ba…..lments.php

        I have no reason to presume moonbeam’s choo-choo is gonna be any better managed.

  5. Reason, you might be serving a good king, but you’ve got a terrible soldier fighting for him.

    “Anybody that drives around Southern California can tell you the infrastructure is falling apart,” says Joel Kotkin, a fellow of urban studies at Chapman University and author of the book The New Class Conflict. “And then we’re going to give money so a bunch of corporate executives can watch a football game eight times a year? It’s absurd.”

    Crumbling infrastructure: Check. Corporate executives: Check

    It’s prog talking points all the way down with this idiot.

    “I think this is sort of a fanciful approach towards economic development instead of building really good jobs. And except for the construction, the jobs created by stadia are generally low wage occasional work.”

    “Building really good jobs”. That’s how to grow an economy. You start with public money, a robust government, and the top men will come up with superior plans just like this one.

    “Low-wage occasional work.” ALL JOBS MUST BE FULL-TIME AND FEED A FAMILY OF FOUR OR THEY’RE WORTHLESS. These stadium jobs couldn’t possibly filled by high-school or college students looking to make some spending money. Couldn’t be filled by old people looking to supplement their retirement money. Couldn’t be a second job for a 9-to-5er.

    And all these stadium jobs are bad except for the good ones. Got it.

    1. “The important thing that we’ve forgotten is ‘What is the purpose of a government?'” asks Kotkin. “Cities instead of fixing their schools, fixing their roads or fixing their sewers or fixing their water are putting money into ephemera like stadia. And in the end, what’s more important?”

      IDIOT.

      1. Yer right, that’s one ally I’d avoid as much as possible.

      2. LET THE PERFECT BE THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD.

        1. I don’t care that he’s imperfect; I’m bothered that he comes off as completely un-libertarian. I mean, he’s got one goal in common with libertarians. One.

          If some other guy with the same goal had said, “We’ve go to take that stadium money use it to fight the scourge of drugs”, would this person be a worthy ally?

          1. Sometimes something like this can backfire for similar reasons. Libertarian activists added their weight to the opposition to the bldg. of an Ikea in New Rochelle on a plot that would’ve required eminent domain to assemble much of it. The opposition succeeded, & eventually kept Ikea from bldg. in New Rochelle at all, with or without eminent domain. The libertarians got off the train when the eminent domain issue came off the agenda, but the momentum against Ikea was by then sufficient to keep them out, period.

            1. So what? If Ikea doesn’t want to play by the same rules as everyone else, fuck ’em. Sounds like the libertarians were entirely in the right to me.

            2. +1 Rhywun.
              ED sure isn’t free market by any means at all. Once Ikea buys a plot of land, I’ll be right next to them telling the ‘mom/pop-bleevers’ to take a hike.

              1. You don’t understand. Ikea came up w another site that didn’t require eminent domain, but they were kept from bldg. there anyway.

        2. Getting into bed with the left on a stupid, minor issue like this is neither perfect nor good. Especially when they just want to spend the money on something else; even if our coalition wins on this issue we’ll immediately have a problem with the result.

          1. Yes, in theory. But while we’re tilting at windmills trying to get the state to stop spending our money, period, can’t we at least get them to spend it on something that isn’t totally frivolous?

          2. But even if they want to spend “the money”, it’s not there. It would take another bond issue, and chances are good that that would fail. So having them on the side fighting vs. a bond issue like one for a stadium is a good thing. Divide & conquer.

    2. You missed the counting of tax breaks as subsidies.

  6. OT: A defense of William of Ockham’s nominalism:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0I5Heo8Qds

    1. I will not yield to an argument that denies the existence of the Platonic ass.

      1. At least *someone* appreciates philosophy!

        1. And on some level, I knew that HM would be the most philosophical of them all.

  7. Sigur of Brabant on the relationship of faith and reason:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNlT5I8R3ZU

    1. Come on, you’re missing out on some excellent philosophy!

      1. Not gonna watch it. Sound reasoning precludes the need for faith.

        Instead, I am going to go make another vodka.

        1. Look, it’s a matter as much of the *heart* as of the head…

          Even if your head has a *Crue* cut, why don’t you and your *crue* go and look at the link…it might *kickstart* your night…

          1. Are you drinking also?

            The very nature of reason and faith preclude each other.

            Forget that nonsense. Come on over and I will mix you one up.

  8. Thomas Erastus on church discipline:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLQrAKhg-4c

    1. Look, the titles of these links are just there to scare off F d’A and sevo, for the rest of you, if you’re not completely satisfied with the links, I’ll personally slap myself upside the head.

      1. Notorious G.K.C.|5.23.15 @ 5:16PM|#
        “Look, the titles of these links are just there to scare off F d’A and sevo,”

        Eddie, your fixations are showing.
        You might just quit slinging your bullshit if you don’t want to be called on it.

      2. John Mellencamp is worthy of a slap or two

      1. Good for them. A small step in the direction of liberty.

        1. Francisco, I agree…except it shouldn’t be any of the government’s damn business who marries anyone else.

  9. Whoever linked Dan Carlin’s podcast yesterday: excellent stuff. Thank you.

    1. Warty
      i bookmarked it as well

    2. Is that Dan Karlan from NJ (or was, anyway)?

  10. Here’s Why the City Should Tell Them to Shove Off

    Among several good reasons- They haven’t been worth a damn since Don Coryell left.

  11. “The important thing that we’ve forgotten is ‘What is the purpose of a government?'” asks Kotkin. “Cities instead of fixing their schools, fixing their roads or fixing their sewers or fixing their water are putting money into ephemera like stadia. And in the end, what’s more important?”

    .
    Well, that’s…interesting…around here in ways that wouldn’t be in other comment fora. It isn’t as if stadia aren’t as traditional a municipal expense as those other things are. One thing that’s changed, though, is stadia being ephemera?they used to last a lot longer than they do lately!

    But on that list, which items are worst for tax funding? I would say schools. Roads & pipes are the most obviously “common benefit” items on that list. Next to them, I’d say stadiums beat out schools, because any number of people could make use of a stadium, while schools are pretty much the creature & hostage of a fixed program, although they too can be left for other uses after hours. Complicating the matter is the fact that some schools come with stadia.

    1. I wouldn’t worry, though, that $ in the trough are being diverted from those other uses to stadia. The other listed items are usually funded via real estate taxes. Anyone here know of any cases where $ in that pot was diverted to paying off bonds for capital programs such as stadia? So I’m not afraid of having friends make arguments like that, because it’s not likely the municipal solons would say, screw the stadium, let’s use the bonds for these other things; rather, sink the stadium, sink spending, period.

  12. NFL is a LGBT activity.

    All NFL players and fans are members of the LGBT community.

    Owners of NFL teams are LGBT community members.

    LGBT is great and good.

    NFL and LGBT: Married at the hip in love and harmony.

    1. Isn’t it nice that they have internet at the sanatorium?

      1. Can two NFL players marry?

        What about three NFL managers?

        How about a quarterback, a kicker, and a hot dog?

        1. + 1 goat marriage

        2. Only if they are siblings.

          1. If two brothers, or three, wish to marry, do you have a problem with that?

            If so, why?

        3. All of your combinations, of course!

          We’re going to have freedom and liberty for everyone.

          Right?

          RIGHT?

          Or do you have a problem with freedom and liberty for everyone?

    2. Should the Nickelodeon sitcom “Bella & the Bulldogs” be include in that mix as well? Some saw some conspiration theories about this series. https://archive.is/9Sq5n

  13. Helpful Infographic

    Price of Weed By State

    Shocking revelation for the economically illiterate = Prices are cheaper where it’s Legal

    Its reasonable to be suspicious that their data sources are pretty poor (and misleading – i’m guessing only a tiny fraction of the public buys by the Ounce), but i’d guess the numbers are in the rough ballpark.

    something which i’m sure some economist has done studies on already = the amazing resilience of the unit-price of street level weed. Despite inflation, changing supply dynamics, changing laws, technology and advancements in the potency of hydroponic weed….a dime bag is still a dime bag.

    1. R.I.P.

      The “nick”

      The $1 loose joint

  14. Well, the Chargers should just go to hell anyway. And die.

  15. “The important thing that we’ve forgotten is ‘What is the purpose of a government?'” asks Kotkin. “Cities instead of fixing their schools, fixing their roads or fixing their sewers or fixing their water are putting money into ephemera like stadia. And in the end, what’s more important?”

    This is a sad argument in that it gives us a sense of how far we have gone along the road towards the total state which provides all things.

    One can make an argument that every child should have access to quality education, but why is it necessary that the government be the sole provider?

    One can make an argument that roads are effectively a common that all should have access to, but why should the state be the sole authority on what roads are built and where?

    Sewers and water are essential for modern sanitation, but I have seen no evidence that government owned utilities are better at providing these essentials than private companies.

    The question should not be “Should the government spend money on X instead of Y?” The question should be “Why should the government spend my money at all?”

    1. Either a prince spends that which is his own or his subjects’ or else that of others. In the first case he ought to be sparing, in the second he ought not to neglect any opportunity for liberality. And to the prince who goes forth with his army, supporting it by pillage, sack, and extortion, handling that which belongs to others, this liberality is necessary, otherwise he would not be followed by soldiers. And of that which is neither yours nor your subjects’ you can be a ready giver, as were Cyrus, Caesar, and Alexander; because it does not take away your reputation if you squander that of others, but adds to it; it is only squandering your own that injures you.

      1. I consider The Prince to be essential reading for any libertarian since Machiavelli gives the clearest expression of the nature of the state.

        But my favorite Machiavelli quote is:

        God is not willing to do everything, and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us.

        If we change “God is not willing to” to “The state should not”, it is a good libertarian motto.

        1. But, it being my intention to write a thing which shall be useful to him who apprehends it, it appears to me more appropriate to follow up the real truth of the matter than the imagination of it; for many have pictured republics and principalities which in fact have never been known or seen, because how one lives is so far distant from how one ought to live, that he who neglects what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservation; for a man who wishes to act entirely up to his professions of virtue soon meets with what destroys him among so much that is evil.

          AKA, if the intention of reading The Prince is to merely make yourself feel better about your anti-state beliefs, don’t bother. It is more useful as a guide to effective use of politics (for whatever cause one chooses, even that of liberty) than as a source of warm fuzzies for those who don’t like the way things work in the real world.

  16. Fucking retards. They deserve everything they get.

  17. The whole thing is disgusting. But why am I not surprised that LA, which is a relatively vibrant city, can cut a better deal for itself, while shrinking rust belt cities like St Louis or Milwaukee, desperate to convince their populace that they are still relevant, pony up hundreds of millions at the taxpayer expense for a stupid symbolic victory like a football team.

    It’s just another example of the way the dying cities of middle America continue to make their situation worse.

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  20. Not a fan of watching grown men prance around in brightly-colored tights while trying the grab each other much less pay for it (or have my coerced taxes pay for it).

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  22. Folks in San Diego should tell them “We’ll happily fund your arena, as long as the citizens of San Diego get free admission.”

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