Garrett Harris 10:11 p.m., May 23
Port, Chula Vista Can't Afford Gaylord Giveaway
The deal has been slip-sliding, but some county leaders still want the Port and the City of Chula Vista to subsidize, massively, a waterfront hotel for Gaylord Entertainment. But Scott Barnett of TaxpayersAdvocate.org, following up on a study he did a year ago, says it can't happen fiscally. Chula Vista's Redevelopment agency has "no ability" to assist in infrastructure financing. The port has "insufficient resources" to help fund the project, says Barnett. The two were going to throw in more than $300 million in subsidies through the bond market. Chula Vista has increased its debt by $143 million in the past five years. Total debt is now $190 million. "Worsening conditions of the housing market and related economic and fiscal problems" have led to a "fiscal meltdown," says Barnett. Chula Vista has a $14 million shortfall in the '07/'08 budget. Standad & Poor's recently lowered the city's bond rating. The deal should be out of the question.