San Diego is on the financial brink. So is Chula Vista. But the pro football team known as the San Diego Vampires — er, San Diego Chargers — creeps about the county, plotting how to suck money out of drained corpses. One idea is for the City of San Diego to give the team a slug of expensive land on which it would build houses and offices, raking in money so that it could build a stadium in Chula Vista, which no doubt would have to sacrifice some red bodily fluid too.

To understand this greed- and deceit-infested pro sports environment, San Diegans should read the revised and expanded edition of the book Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit, by Neil deMause and Joanna Cagan. The first edition came out ten years ago. That’s when pro sports teams were sucking $1 billion a year out of ailing local and state governments for new stadiums and arenas. Now the figure is $2 billion a year, and cities are much more destitute than they were then. (San Diego claimed it was financially fat and sassy in 1998, when voters authorized the massive subsidy for Petco Park. Six years later, the City admitted it was in horrendous shape.)

The book’s new edition came out April 1 from the University of Nebraska Press. It is 389 pages; the old edition was 226. The revised edition’s coverage runs to year-end 2006, but deMause has a website, FieldofSchemes.com, that tracks the various ballpark, stadium, and arena scams being perpetrated around the nation. For example, the book reports that the attempt to move the New Jersey Nets basketball team to Brooklyn is moving forward (if corruptly). The website has just revealed that Brooklyn’s crumbling economy may delay the project for years.

Not surprisingly, San Diego flimflam is a major focus of the book’s new edition. In a discussion of how owners threaten to move teams if they don’t get their manna, Larry Lucchino, then partner of majority Padres owner John Moores, complained that he was not getting his way. Lucchino warned, “The question of relocation [would] have to be addressed.” The book shows how, in the early days of the Chargers’ former notorious 60,000-seat ticket guarantee, the team would make more money not selling tickets than selling them. The book discusses how the late Joan Kroc wanted to give the Padres to the City but Major League Baseball nixed the deal because such an arrangement would open up “the heavily guarded major league financial books to public scrutiny.”

Then there is the story of how the Padres rented talent in 1998, the year the City voted on the giveaway and the Padres went to the World Series. When the vote came, giddiness was ubiquitous. The book quotes Padres icon Tim Flannery saying as the vote neared, “You don’t want to be, five years from now, watching players that were once Padres playing in a different city and you say, ‘Golly, I didn’t know that was going to happen.’ ” However, as skeptics had predicted, not long after the Padres won the vote, stars such as Ken Caminiti, Kevin Brown, Steve Finley, and Greg Vaughn were gone. For the next five seasons, the team stank.

The book probes the dubious deal that gave Moores 26 blocks of downtown real estate at extremely low prices. “There’s no doubt that the new district will be a good one for John Moores and friends. By committing to aid in downtown redevelopment, Moores effectively gave himself and his colleagues first dibs on prime land,” say the authors. They quote the Reader’s revelation that a Moores-controlled company “purchased a half-block piece of property near the stadium site the day after the successful referendum vote.”

New chapters in the revised Field of Schemes cover financial machinations that steer public money into private pockets, such as tax increment financing and payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs), by which New York developers would be exempt from property taxes, then pay fees to a so-called infrastructure corporation. The latter scheme was an effort to do a deal without going through the state legislature.

The book exposes the biased coverage of mainstream media, which slant stadium-subsidy news because they stand to gain financially from new facilities. In the mid-1990s, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were seeking a stadium handout. The managing editor of the Tampa Tribune told the staff, “[The paper’s] coverage of the stadium [would] be limited to finding solutions for it to be built.” The book also shows how in votes around the country, proponents outspend opponents by 100 to 1 or more. The 100-to-1 ratio was what the Padres enjoyed.

If you have ever wondered how a seemingly doltish Allan H. (Bud) Selig became commissioner of Major League Baseball, this book will clarify the matter. Selig was owner of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team. He promised that he would build a stadium with his own money if Greater Milwaukee officials would move a highway at a cost of $6 million. Five years later, Selig went to the then governor, Tommy Thompson, seeking financial help. Remember, this was the Tommy Thompson who made a national reputation for slashing social welfare — but not corporate welfare. The voters overwhelmingly nixed Thompson’s plan for a lottery to pay for the stadium. In a deft and deceitful move, Thompson got the state legislature to boost the sales tax in the five counties surrounding Milwaukee. Selig would still have to put in some money, but in further fancy footwork, he got out of that obligation too. Selig got “his new ballpark virtually as a gift from the people of Wisconsin, just ten years after promising to build one himself,” says the book. And Tommy Thompson? He tried to run for president on the Republican ticket this year. Mercifully, the so-called welfare reformer didn’t make it.

Selig, after being named head of pro baseball, did just what team owners paid him to do: he sucked money out of a city that had pathetically run-down schools and inadequate services and infrastructure. It was Washington, D.C. The book devotes a chapter to this larceny. When the former Montreal Expos ran into trouble, Selig arranged to have Major League Baseball take over the team’s ownership. Then he launched what the book calls “the Extortion Across America Tour.” Selig solicited subsidies from Portland, Oregon; Las Vegas; San Antonio; northern Virginia; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Monterrey, Mexico. The most promising place for a fleece job seemed to be the nation’s capital, despite its poverty. Although according to polls two-thirds of the citizens opposed taxpayers subsidizing a new stadium, Major League Baseball insisted on it. The public’s portion of the cost kept rising as politicians haggled. One politico said that Major League Baseball should at least pay a third of the cost. Pro sports mogul Jerry Reinsdorf, negotiating on behalf of all the owners, made this classic comment: “Two-thirds/one-third is fine. But three-thirds/no-thirds is more what we had in mind.”

And that’s about what it wound up being. The citizens of Washington, D.C., shelled out $667 million, and baseball owners put up almost nothing. Selig had pulled the scam in a second needy city. And Washington got a lousy team — just what it used to have year after year before the original Washington Senators bolted to Minnesota following the 1960 season and the successor Washington Senators, formed in 1961, departed for Arlington, Texas, in 1972.

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Comments

JohnnyVegas April 2, 2008 @ 12:53 p.m.

Pro sports mogul Jerry Reinsdorf, negotiating on behalf of all the owners, made this classic comment: “Two-thirds/one-third is fine. But three-thirds/no-thirds is more what we had in mind.”

hahahah..what a scam.

They should have hired Bruce Henderson to do their negotiating, but then again, the bought and paid for polititicans know that with a top negotiator their scams of ripping off the poor and middle class won't fly.

Someone should invent a time machine and go back to 1980 and take out Al Davis, the one that started this scam.

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Justice4all April 2, 2008 @ 1:16 p.m.

And then after the stadium is built we are told the Padres, located in San Diego (8th largest city in the U.S.) and San Diego County (6th largest county in the U.S.) are a "small market" team and the Padres payroll remains 24th out of 30 mlb teams.

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Justice4all April 2, 2008 @ 1:23 p.m.

Bank of America Stadium and Gillette Stadium were both PRIVATELY financed. The cash flow/depreciation tax benefits for Gillette was enough incentive for the Patriots owners to build the project. Not to mention the appreciation of the franchise values, which is where owners really get rich. Any team owner who tries to use the "cooked books" of operating income/loss as an excuse to require a new stadium or to cut payroll is scamming the fans and the city.

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Don Bauder April 2, 2008 @ 3:41 p.m.

Response to post #1: Yes, Al Davis is the master extortionist, although he has some competition in San Diego now. And yes, the Chargers in negotiating the 60,000 seat guarantee and other benefits, and the Padres in getting the City to hand them $350 million of corporate welfare, completely outnegotiated the hapless City of San Diego. Do you think for a minute that Casey Gwinn was smart enough to go up against the big law firms representing those teams? Ha Ha. Or the city council had the brains to make a good deal, or know at the time that the City would be heading into the financial dumpster in a few years? Bruce Henderson, who has much experience in contract law, could have gone up against those big firms, but of course he was not asked. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 2, 2008 @ 3:46 p.m.

Response to post #2: Actually, San Diego is the 17th largest market in the U.S. Eighth largest city and sixth largest county don't mean much in the real world. Still, as you point out, the Padres payroll is 24th among the teams. That's much lower than 17th. Also, John Moores promised if he got the ballpark he would spend money on players. He hasn't. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 2, 2008 @ 3:56 p.m.

Response to post #3: You're right on. The stories of the Patriots and San Francisco Giants show that if a community holds out, the owners will give in and put their own money in. The Kraft family, Patriots owners, begged Boston and Massachusetts to pick up the tab. Both stood their ground. The Krafts threatened to move the team to Hartford. That was a joke. Hartford is too small and poor to support a team. Finally, the Krafts built it themselves, although governments picked up infrastructure costs. There were five votes in the San Francisco area. The Giants kept losing. Finally the team built the ballpark itself, although once again, government paid for infrastructure. The Bank of America stadium in Charlotte and the stadium used by the Washington Redskins were also privately-financed. Remember, a large percentage of pro sports team owners are billionaires. They can afford to put up their own capital and have access to loans. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 April 3, 2008 @ 2:58 a.m.

Re “Bloodsuckers”

Sadly, we have become a nation of lying politicians, lying judges, lying Wall Street and Main Street, and lying Ruling Class Overlords. Far too many are not just greedy, but they are greedy bloodysuckers regardless of social and economic consequences for everyone else. And as the presidential election, the national housing crisis and the San Diego financial crisis prove the cancer of greed has metastasized throughout our culture.

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Fred Williams April 3, 2008 @ 6:52 a.m.

San Diego's Song:

Rip me off with a ballpark Give me corporate pork Buy me a mayor and council seat After the vote our team always gets beat Cause it's fraud, fraud, fraud economics Taxpayers lose, it's a shame But it's one, two, three billion lost In this big shell game

Time to sue John Moores for our money back.

Time to put Susan Golding, Jack McGrory, and Casey Gwinn in jail for corruption.

Then we'll go after the Spanos crime family too.

Our pension deficit is a direct result of these stadium/ballpark frauds.

If it's not the case, then John Moores and Alex Spanos ought to be suing me for libel.

Fred Williams

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Don Bauder April 3, 2008 @ 7:31 a.m.

Response to post #7: Yes, San Diego has become a sea of greed and mendacity. The rest of the country has the same disease, although San Diego may have a more advanced form. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 3, 2008 @ 7:35 a.m.

Response to post #8: I love your song. You have the right cadence for the one sung at ballparks, but most important, you have the right thoughts. There are a number of factors in the pension deficit, but spending for corporate welfare is one of them. Best, Don Bauder

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MarkScha April 3, 2008 @ 9:14 a.m.

We should make three changes in law. First, ban public financing of stadiums. It is unnecessary. Second, subject public financing of infrastructure that supports a stadium to a public vote, 55 percent voting yes. If it's good enough for a school bond, it's good enough here. Last, ban monopolistic practices such as non-overlapping territories.

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Anon92107 April 3, 2008 @ 1:14 p.m.

Response to post #9:

Our highest priority is to terminate the corrupt judicial era that former Justice O’Connor exposed, where the influence of money and politics causes our judges to overrule the Rule of Law. Until we restore the Rule of Law in San Diego all other problems cannot dealt with as Aguirre keeps proving because of the corruption of San Diego judges that has been business as usual since the Greer court at least.

As you exposed in “Brash Cash” response #2 “Davies is --- one of the most powerful people in San Diego, particularly in the selection of judges.” We need a list of judges who were “selected” by Davies, along with those who have overthrown the rule of law in Aguirre’s cases. Do you have that list available?

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Don Bauder April 3, 2008 @ 1:35 p.m.

Response to post #11: I would like to see a ban on public financing of stadiums. States would have to band together to start passing such measures, arguing to the public that this is an extortion racket using the threat of moving a team to con the citizenry. I agree that any public infrastructure for a stadium should be subjected to a vote. And there are a lot of monopolistic practices in pro sports that should be outlawed. Congress would have to act. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 3, 2008 @ 1:40 p.m.

Response to post #12: The cover story of the New York Times Magazine, Sunday, March 16, titled "Supreme Court Inc.: How the nation's highest court has come to side with business," should interest you. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas April 3, 2008 @ 2:08 p.m.

The court could be 100% better with Clearance Thomas kicked off of it.

Worst justice of the last 100 years, he has absolutely NO BUSINESS sitting on the SCOTUS.

I disagree strongly with some of the justices, Scalia for one, but the rest of the justices have serious brain power, even Scalia, not so with Thomas.

The New York Times Magazine, do they still charge for online viewing??? I would like to read the article.

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Anon92107 April 3, 2008 @ 3:55 p.m.

Response to post #14:

Very Interesting Don.

We appear to have made a round trip from 6th century B.C. Athens when Archon Solon championed the new concept of Rule of Law to protect the poorer classes from the power of the aristocracy and their corrupt courts because of the social crisis brought on by spiraling debt among the poor.

Today our Supreme Court has once again overthrown the Rule of Law in favor of the Bloodsucker “haves” against the rapidly increasing number of “have nots" once again, and Justice O’Connor most certainly has many reasons for her grave concerns expressed in her February 24 PARADE magazine opinion.

History just keeps repeating itself, from B.C. Bloodsuckers in Athens to 21c Bloodsuckers in San Diego.

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Anon92107 April 4, 2008 @ 3:06 a.m.

Response to post #18:

I hate to be skeptical Don, but the reality is that until we really see a change actually happen, everyone in Washington is a Bloodsucker. Bill Clinton was/is a Bloodsucker, not as much as Bush-Cheney who are in a class by themselves at a whole new level, but Clintons are Bloodsuckers nevertheless.

Maybe Obama can lead us out of the Bloodsucker era, but the Congress will have to literally change the course of history to support any efforts he makes because Lobbyists Rule and Ike is still right about his 1961 Farewell Address after almost 50 years.

If we don't restore Rule of Law and build an education system throughout America so everyone has equal opportunities then American Democracy shall remain in peril to fail like so many before ours.

The fact that 21st century America is a long time from 6th century B.C. is irrelevant, Bloodsuckers are the same today as they have always been and can still destroy even the newest governments.

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Don Bauder April 3, 2008 @ 7:17 p.m.

Response to post #15: No, the NY Times doesn't charge for online reading these days. You can pick up a columnist without paying. I don't know about the Sunday Times Magazine, though. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 3, 2008 @ 7:20 p.m.

Response to post #16: It will be an interesting election. Both Obama and Clinton are running on positions nearer to populism than anything we have seen for several decades. McCain, on the other hand, is a Bushie who wants to go back to Robber Baron days and doesn't care who knows it. Best, Don Bauder

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Darren April 3, 2008 @ 9:46 p.m.

As always, I commend Don Bauder for something he does, and boldly: Telling the truth. Not only telling it but doing investigative financial journalism that few others have the courage and capacity to do. I would love to see Don come out with some new books. I would read them as I am now enjoying the reading of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein. Scary! I always tilted towards being a conservative and lived the concept of compassionate capitalism, but find we have moved so far from those polarities that I'd say the traditions of conservatism were hijacked by the current administration.

Don, your article might answer for me, why last weekend, prior to the Padres home opener, that almost every TV and radio news/talk outlets spent abusive amounts of time prepping us for the game on Monday.

$8.25 per bottle of Bud beer at Petco, might explain part of the money-making equation...but the folks still flock there and pay it, so how could I be so critical.

KFMB-8 reported that the average cost for a family of four to go to a Padres game is over $200! The average ticket cost is $27! What happened to the ball park being built for all of San Diegans?

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Don Bauder April 4, 2008 @ 6:49 a.m.

Response to post #19: When a sports team wants a massive subsidy from taxpayers, it almost always promises that ticket prices will stay the same or even go down. Then when the stadium or ballpark opens, the prices go up about 35 percent. It was no different with Petco Park. One thing will be interesting this year, however. Since Petco opened, the big entertainers in the luxury suites were from the real estate industry: developers, mortgage brokers and mortgage salespeople, real estate salespeople, appraisers, etc. They were filling the luxury suites that had been built at public expense. It won't happen this year. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 4, 2008 @ 7:07 a.m.

Response to post #20: I agree with you on Hillary Clinton: she and her husband are bloodthirsty. Obama seems to be raising money from individuals, not that many fat cats. I think Obama is the only candidate giving the U.S. a chance to regain stature in the world. Best, Don Bauder

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MarkScha April 4, 2008 @ 8 a.m.

Response to post #13: I used to have a condo on the Oakland waterfront from 2002 to 2005. In three and a half years, the only time I was nervous for my safety and that of my wife was the night the Raiders lost the Super Bowl and some pissed-off teens were out looting a couple of miles off. To me, it's a sin that the Raiders grew fat off the city of Oakland and the county of Alameda, when the schools were in receivership, and the infrastructure (except East Bay Municipal Utilities District, cutting-edge on things like seismic upgrade) went to seed.

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JF April 4, 2008 @ 8:06 a.m.

I was only half paying attention to the news the other day when they were talking about concession prices at Petco. I thought I heard the Padres rep say that the high beer prices were in place to keep people from drinking too much. Yeah, they charge $8 for a beer solely to keep me safe. Did anyone else hear that?

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Don Bauder April 4, 2008 @ 12:49 p.m.

Response to post #23: Yes, the Raiders have gotten fat off Oakland. But remember, the team left Oakland once and went to L.A. Then it punched L.A. in the teeth. Then it screwed a little town whose name I have forgotten that was dumb enough to pay the Raiders money to consider coming there. The Raiders took the money and never showed up. The team went back to Oakland and demanded more money from this city with high poverty, rundown schools, deteriorating infrastructure. Yes, Al Davis knows how the game is played, because he drew up some of the rules. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder April 4, 2008 @ 12:52 p.m.

Response to post #24: Yes, the U-T had a story. A bottle of beer at Petco has now gone up past $8. I don't remember the figure. Best, Don Bauder

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Darren April 4, 2008 @ 1:16 p.m.

Yes, I heard something similar that $8 and $9 plastic bottles of beer would keep people from drinking more. If that were the truth, you know they'd just stop selling alcohol since alcohol seems to always cause more problems than benefits, especially for longer durations and in sporting events where the emotions run high, and many people are crowded together. The profits from beer $ales are way too high though, so you can imagine the same entities that banned beer from beaches, would never-ever consider the same for Petco Park and Qualcom Stadium.

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Don Bauder April 7, 2008 @ 6:51 a.m.

Response to post #37: Chula Vista is in deep financial trouble and is still discussing two massive corporate welfare projects: the Gaylord resort/hotel and the Chargers stadium. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas April 4, 2008 @ 8:28 p.m.

Then it screwed a little town whose name I have forgotten that was dumb enough to pay the Raiders money to consider coming there. The Raiders took the money and never showed up. The team went back to Oakland and demanded more money from this city with high poverty, rundown schools, deteriorating infrastructure. Yes, Al Davis knows how the game is played, because he drew up some of the rules. Best, Don Bauder

By dbauder 12:49 p.m., Apr 4, 2008

Beautiful Irwindale, off the 10 freeway 25 miles east of LA.... that was in 1988/89 believe it or not, almost 20 years ago.

Al Davis has lost some money, or maybe a better term is Al has not made as much as he penciled out, upon his return to Oakland in 95. He has been in a huge lawsuit with the City and County that as far as I know is still going on.

Al is on his death bed, so it will be interesting to see what happens when he dies. I imagine his son will take over.

It is truly amazing how much money football owners have made from franchise appreciation. When Ken Behring bought the Seahawks he paid $25 million (ok, it was in the early 80s and they were the perininal door mat). When Spanos bought the Chargers it was for I think $35 million. When Jerry Jones bought the Cowgirls it was for $100 million and everyone thought he was nuts paying that price.

Snyder paid $850 million for the Redskins a few/4-5 years back (but somehow the deal included a brand new stadium...lol).

Biggest scams around.

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Don Bauder April 4, 2008 @ 8:53 p.m.

Response to post #28: Yes, it was Irwindale. I have forgotten how much Al screwed them out of. Yes, the value of those teams zooms. And why not? They get governments to pay their expenses. It's all gravy. Best, Don Bauder

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techboy2000 April 4, 2008 @ 9:26 p.m.

I love how Selig got a new unneeded stadium in Milwaukee and then quickly sold the team. Spanos is the worst. The Chargers are absurdly profitable yet he wants to fleece San Diego or Chula Vista simply because he can. Correction: Moores is the worst. First he pumps and dumps Peregrine stock then he manipulates an irresponsible town into building another unneeded stadium.
The idiocy and lack of concern of the public is heartbreaking.

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Darren April 4, 2008 @ 11:55 p.m.

Hey, we must lay low on Moores. Remember how some local established media did a poster boy pictorial of John Moores...about how he is Mr. Philanthropist, how he is friends with Jimmy Carter?

I think it was KFMB-8 did a big piece the other day on how Petco Park has been so wonderfully beneficial to downtown San Diego. Funny, they interviewed bar operators but no condo owners. I wonder when you work or live in downtown, and need to drive, whether the day of a ball game is really all that great for you. I wonder when all those spectators walk past your overpriced condo, and urinate $8/bottle beer, on your doorsteps, whether that should be considered "progress"?

I understand the concept of whores, johns (John Moores) and prostitution, and the involvement of our local elected leader-failures offering up corporate welfare to sports owners at taxpayer's expense. What I really get high blood pressure over, is the pimping by local news outlets (except the READER and except Don Bauder) to the public, working 24/7 to $ell us on how great it is that we subsidize sports. Seems the same NLP or subliminal model is interchanged for sports welfare and unjust wars on foreign (sovereign) countries.

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Don Bauder April 5, 2008 @ 6:57 a.m.

Response to post #30: Several points: 1. I think Selig "sold" the Brewers to his daughter after he was named commissioner; or, he may have "sold" it to her and she sold it. I'm not sure. 2. Yes, Spanos makes a bundle at Qualcomm. There is no need for a new stadium. He just wants to suck more out of San Diego. It's an ego thing. He saw what Moores pulled off and felt envy. And remember, Spanos originally promised to stay until 2020, then completely reneged; 3. Generally, Moores fleeced San Diego before he dumped his stock in Peregrine. The ballpark vote was in 1998. He may have jettisoned some of his Peregrine stock before that, but I believe he sold off most of it after 1998. But this is a small point. 4. One reason for the so-called "idiocy" of the public is the fawning of the mainstream media. Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams April 5, 2008 @ 7:08 a.m.

Hey, Darren and Techboy2000,

Let's get together and serenade the city. If you're able to take off some time from work, (notice how they schedule these things so most people cannot attend), we can go to the next city council meeting and sing the ballpork song.

I live and work downtown. The condo towers are empty.

Even on the days when the boys are playing ball, it's clear that the only place they are spending their money is inside the Moores money making stadium...if you leave during the game, you cannot go back in.

We also neglect to calculate the amount of money spent policing the rowdy drunks. I counted at least two dozen uniformed officers surrounding the sports fortress for the game.

What about the litter? These ball-obsessed fans don't seem able to hit a trash can, so we all pay for cleaning up their mess.

As Gerry Braun pointed out in his recent article, even restaurants that got steady custom from the ball-fans have gone out of business.

So where is the benefit to San Diego's economy?

It doesn't come from hotel room taxes, since almost all the people attending the game are locals within driving distance.

It doesn't come from increased local restaurant or bar revenues, since that is captured within the stadium (where Moores keeps the profit...$8 for a beer).

It doesn't come from rent, since Moores pays only $500k rent, while we pay a minimum of $17 MILLION for the bonds alone.

(cont.)

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Fred Williams April 5, 2008 @ 7:09 a.m.

(cont.)

Yet, as Darren points out, the local media, including the allegedly independent VOSD keep spinning the lie that hosting professional ball players is somehow profitable.

It is NOT profitable to us, and they know this.

So what is their motivation?

Could it be the free press passes to the games?

Could it be the marketing and advertising partnerships?

Could it be simple stupidity? After all, when I attended college I noticed that the journalism students were uniformly dim-witted. To be a newsreader requires little more than a deep voice and a full head of hair.

Thank goodness for Don Bauder. What he lacks in good looks, he more than makes up in good sense.

Unfortunately, our television addled society seems unable to do basic math, and will instead mindlessly repeat the simplistic slogans of the cheerleaders.

"Keep the Faith," indeed.

Unfortunately, it was bad faith. The "pump and dump" history of John Moores with the Peregrine fraud should have landed him in jail. His bribery (oh, wait, "illegal gifts") of Stallings should have put him in the slammer. The ballpork rip-off should have seen him doing hard time.

Now he's got political prostitute Steve Peace working on ways to put the airport into his greedy hands, and I'm sure the privatization of Balboa Park will be yet another fraud where Moores will stiff us all.

One wonders how much longer San Diego will tolerate all of this.

My number one criteria for the next mayor, council, and city attorney is if they will have the cajones to prosecute John Moores and get our money back.

Best,

Fred Williams

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Don Bauder April 5, 2008 @ 7:18 a.m.

Response to post #31: Remember, the mainstream media make oodles of money off of pro sports. That's why any stadium welfare ripoff generally gets the support of a city's major media outlets. There are some exceptions in enlightened communities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc. I'm not surprised some local TV station concluded that the ballpark was so wonderful for downtown San Diego. I doubt if the reporter knew enough to check into the ailing downtown condo market, and to learn what the Padres had promised to do versus what they actually did. CCDC put out propaganda pieces boasting that the ballpark had caused all kinds of development in a 60-block area around the field. The ballpark brought development 60 blocks away? Please. The Union-Tribune printed the story basically as written by the CCDC. But nobody mentioned the key point: that development -- much of it now semi-empty condos -- came during a period when interest rates were the lowest in 50 years (around 1 percent most of the time.) Almost every major city, particularly in the sunbelt areas, had condo booms, and most, like San Diego, now are suffering busts. But these things won't be covered by biased and unsophisticated media. Best, Don Bauder

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DT73 April 6, 2008 @ 10:25 p.m.

I remember reading Don's columns in the UT when the ballpark was being promoted. He would repeatedly point out that our tax dollars were badly needed for sewer repair and other infrastructure updates rather than being spent on corporate welfare. What really gets me about the Padres ownership/management is that they have worked to make baseball less accessible to the general public. Rather than building the ballpark in a Central location, such as Kearney Mesa, we have a downtown ballpark. Our citizens had complained that downtown was hard enough to navigate BEFORE the ballpark was built. Ticket prices have increased 69 per cent from the last year of Qualcomm. Yet the player payroll has increased by one half of one percent over the same period. The behavior of Padres ownership does not warrant an active fan base.

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Don Bauder April 7, 2008 @ 6:46 a.m.

Response to post #36: The Padres promised that ticket prices would be kept low. But anybody watching other taxpayer-financed stadiums knew it wouldn't happen. It seems to be part of the playbook that owners share: promise to keep admission low, then raise prices as soon as you get the massive subsidy. The Padres priced much of the Hispanic community out of Petco. Also, the team substantially cut back on a program to establish relationships with the Hispanics. Best, Don Bauder

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Darren April 7, 2008 @ 3:08 a.m.

I heard something before Petco was built, that said the reason cities were in the business of building ballparks for sports owners welfare, was that when municipalities ran out of money and could not pay cops, the ballparks would become great places to house prisoners from civil unrest, and homeless city employees. While at the time it was meant to be entertaining or even conspiratorial, maybe it was not as far off as we think. I'm watching Chula Vista and they seem to be in a near panic mode, and I believe many of their firefighters in the once very progressive city, are nervous too, as that city attempts to meet obligations, balance budgets, and keeps announcing more cuts. Falling tax revenues combined with declines in prop. values, is hitting C.V. harder than many other local cities, but I believe it is only the beginning.

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JohnnyVegas April 7, 2008 @ 10:26 p.m.

Response to post #37: Chula Vista is in deep financial trouble and is still discussing two massive corporate welfare projects: the Gaylord resort/hotel and the Chargers stadium.

Chula Vista is going to file BK, sooner or later. I said that 18 months ago, and it will happen.

There is now way CV can do ANYTHING for the Chargers, they do not have the resources.

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Don Bauder April 7, 2008 @ 10:37 p.m.

Response to post #40: Instead of trying to help the Chargers, Chula Vista should do something for itself: shape up. Best, Don Bauder

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DT73 April 8, 2008 @ 8:39 p.m.

Response to #38: I have always wondered: What is the accounting manuver that allows an organization to claim they are having financial trouble. Recently Moores claimed they were still paying for the Bruce Henderson lawsuits. They don't have to open their books to the public. What accounting report are they hiding and what would it show. Also, what is the difference between what they report and the reality that they will not show? Dave

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Don Bauder April 8, 2008 @ 9:04 p.m.

Response to post #42: They don't have to show their books. Teams claim they have losses. Don't all welfare recipients claim hardship? One NFL accountant bragged how he could make a fat profit turn into a big loss with a couple of pushes of the pencil. Best, Don Bauder

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NovemberMan April 11, 2008 @ 3:07 a.m.

One thing not mentioned about The Raiders' move to Oakland in 1995 was that it was hard on the heels of a State Wide sales tax increase designed to pay for earthquake reconstruction and upgrades in Oakland the rest of the Bay Area. Yes, despite sustaning hundreds of millions in damages, Oakland found hundreds of millions to pay Al Davis... Wonder where that money came from. And wasn't that temporary increase made permanent? .... Don't worry, Seattle just proved a city can be smart to the machinations of billionaire owners: it's costing them the Sonics, but they're saving billions and, it's only the Sonics. Chula Vista is going to fall apart for the Chargers and SD still doesn't have the money for a new stadium. And somehow, I don't think they'll leave.

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Don Bauder April 11, 2008 @ 8:12 a.m.

Response to post #44: Chula Vista has already fallen apart financially, yet it is still talking corporate welfare with Gaylord and the Chargers. San Diego doesn't have the money to fix its streets and keep its libraries open, much less subsidize a team owned by a billionaire. Best, Don Bauder

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