Money University

Elizabeth Salaam notes accurately the common view that today’s 20-somethings feel entitled to lucrative careers and have unrealistic expectations (“What Have You Done for Us Lately?” Cover Story, July 29). The reality, of course, is that young adults may be prone to optimism. But that is not the cause of their distress. Uncomfortable though it may be for Americans to acknowledge it, the federal government has knowingly allowed the student loan juggernaut to consume the nation’s youth in the interests of sustaining that commercial enterprise which American education has become. The commodification of education, a widely acknowledged phenomenon, serves no useful purpose but to permit universities to continue providing lucrative careers to administrators and professors, while the massive costs are passed on to the students, who have no statistical chance whatever — none — of ever repaying the loans in large numbers. For an encore, this same government cut the banks a sweetheart deal by barring student loans from discharge in bankruptcy.

There is no question but that we are everywhere immolating the young to maintain the lifestyle of the middle-aged. The key to being able to perpetrate such crimes with one’s moral indignation intact is apparently to immolate the other guy’s kids, while “taking care of” your own. Sweet.

  • Richard Milan
  • via email

Five Hours Is Exhausting

I had to laugh when I read the “What have you done for us lately?” article (Cover Story, July 29). The title should have been “What are you going to do now?” The fact that Andy looks for a job one hour a day is very, very impressive!

I have never understood why students put in 40-50 hours a week during school and then, when they graduate, they spend 5 hours a week looking for a job. As the Star Trek computer would say, “This does not compute.” Looking for work is a full-time job. Hey, there is a job fair at SeaWorld this week; this could boost your job search hours to 6½! Good luck.

  • Jim Slominski
  • Clairemont

Share The Wealth

Don Bauder’s article “Raking in the Redevelopment Riches” (July 29) points out that “Former Padres majority owner John Moores is said to have reaped $700 million to $1 billion” from the Petco Park/redevelopment project.

Perhaps Mr. Moores would graciously donate the $32 million needed to complete the financing of the new Central Library. After all, San Diego has been very, very good for his financial health.

  • Anne Hoiberg
  • via email

My House Is Like City Hall

I found Don Bauder’s analysis and history of the City of San Diego’s questionable investments (City Lights: “Raking in the Redevelopment Riches,” July 29) very appropriate at this time. I find it difficult to trust the intent of many of our local politicians when it comes to large investments.

I just read an article in the U-T challenging Jerry Sanders’s estimates in regard to the proposed City Hall. Sanders estimated lease space at $2.74 per square foot, while another person was able to find quality downtown lease space as low as $1.20 per square foot. Sanders estimated that it would cost $50 million to renovate the existing City Hall, while others estimated that it would not cost over $15 million. Note that the City Hall is just a couple years older than my house, and I plan to continue living in my house for many years.

Spending $294 million on a new City Hall while laying off police officers, shutting down fire stations, and reducing library hours is outrageous. There are better, less expensive options available. I do not believe that Jerry Sanders has the best interest of the people of San Diego in mind. I do think that he has confused his strong mayor status with being the king of San Diego.

  • Ron Harris
  • via email

CCDC’s Bad Numbers

Re: City Lights: “Raking in Development Riches” by Don Bauder, July 29.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I believe the following helps show that we are misled by reports and studies which dishonestly support development projects we don’t need. More misleading data from CCDC:

In August 2008 CCDC disclosed the cost of a new City Hall at $520 million, in July 2009 at $432 million, and in June 2010 at $293.5 million. The 520 was for 1,006,418 square feet. It is now clear the 432 was for 831,461 square feet. The 293.5 is for 576,000 square feet. The cost per square foot in these three scenarios is $516.68, $519.57, and $509.55, respectively.

In July 2009 CCDC disclosed total costs at $432 million and represented that to be for the entire building including expansion space. $432 million for 1,006,418 square feet gives a cost per square foot of $429.24. This scenario cannot be correct. The Great Recession did not increase our costs by $80.31/sf; it decreased our costs by $7.13/sf.

The $432 million was apparently the cost of only 831,461 square feet; 831,461 was at one time the estimated required city office space with an additional 175,000 for future expansion. Four hundred thirty-two million is 83% of 520 million, and 831,461 is 83% of 1,006,418 square feet. It is now clear expansion space in this disclosure did not include 175,000 square feet of office space at a cost of $88 million.

There’s no excuse for such error and/or misrepresentation of the facts. Henceforth, no analyses from CCDC should be accepted without independent review. All their projects should now be called into question. They do not work for the city and people of San Diego.

  • John F. Scanlon
  • via email

Let Me Spend Your Money

With regard to Don Bauder’s City Lights article on the ballpark and all the financing in the July 29 issue, “Raking in Development Riches,” I would like to congratulate Don on a terrific job on what other people’s money is all about. Particularly when the “other people” are the San Diego taxpayers.

  • Ted Rodosovich
  • via voice mail

Softball Memories

What a great article (“North Park vs. South Park,” Cover Story, July 22). In 1987, my best friend and I moved to the corner of Juniper and 30th in what we called downtown Burlingame and started a softball team named the Bombers that played at the Golden Hill Rec Center. Our lives pretty much involved breakfast at the Big Kitchen and meatball sandwiches from the Mazara brothers, along with enjoying beverages after Ur games at Snippy’s corner bar down the street. At that time, these were the only prospering businesses amongst buildings that were pretty much abandoned and boarded up. Now almost 25 years later, we still maintain the Burlingame name on our team in tribute and have to constantly explain that we are not a team from the city of Burlingame in the Bay Area. Although we never had our parade down 30th Street like we planned when we won our first title in 1992, we still frequent the Whistle Stop and talk of the old times in South Park that lasted ten years. Great job on reviving both areas, and tell Judy at the Big Kitchen that she still has the best sourdough french toast anywhere!

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