Mike Madriaga 9 a.m., July 25
Sense and Nonsense
One reason San Diego is technically insolvent is that nonsensical arguments have dominated decision-making for years. In the Union-Tribune the last two days (July 6 and July 7) there was one story about good sense creeping into public discourse -- offset, of course, by another story about egregious nonsense. Both these stories were by Michael Smolens. First, let's take the nonsense. The Downtown San Diego Partnership, a quintessential corporate welfare organization, declared that the public should not be permitted to vote on the $293.5 million proposal to build a new city hall because the cost of the vote -- $250,000 -- would be a drag on taxpayers. Huh? Spend $293.5 million so you can save $250,000? That's like the Chargers' logic for the subsidization of a new football stadium: the current stadium costs $17.1 million a year, so build a new one for $700 million. Former Councilmember Bruce Henderson says it's clear that the partnership fears the public won't support the city hall proposal. (Its backers, of course, claim the City will actually save money by shelling out more. That argument has been shown to be fraudulent time and again.)
But then comes an intelligent statement. The Lincoln Club, the Republican money-doling operation, has come out against a sales tax increase. (I am not saying whether the tax proposal itself is a good or bad idea.) But the Lincoln Club, long a backer of corporate welfare for its fat-cat members, made this highly intelligent observation: "Any city sales tax increase would doubtless go to funding fat pensions, union salaries, the new downtown library, a new city hall, and a new stadium...all while park and library hours are cut, sewer pipes break, and potholes go unfilled." Amen. The Lincoln Club now has "a group of people reflecting the new reality of Republican politics," says Henderson, a Republican. "The Lincoln Club was no friend of mine when I stood up to the Chargers and the Padres," says Henderson, but it appears to be seeing the economic fatuity of corporate welfare. But don't celebrate too soon: "The problem with groups like the Lincoln Club is that they are driven by funding." A few nabobs seeking government handouts could give a bundle to the club, and it will change its tune.