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— Then there are corporate-welfare scams. With a near-bankrupt city selling any encumbering land to survive financially, the Chargers, backed by the establishment, want the city to give $1 billion worth of land with development rights to the team and pay for infrastructure for a new stadium and surrounding new development. "Frye must be proactive with the so-called Chargers proposal," says Henderson. "She should demand that the real cost of the proposal be identified. Before there is any more activity, there should be an environmental impact report -- not a week before next year's scheduled election or a year after the election, as there was with the Padres. We must also examine the Padres project, see what misrepresentations were made, what the real cost has been compared with the false promises that it would pay for itself."

At the same time, the city should study how much money goes into subsidizing downtown condominiums and other structures such as office buildings. Actually, "We should reexamine downtown redevelopment," says Henderson. "Have we done enough to prime the pump? It is time to direct downtown property-tax revenues into day-to-day operating expenses, rather than to subsidies for what are now highly profitable business ventures."

Taxpayers must know how much their leaders are spending on corporate welfare -- the classic redistribution of income from the poor to the superrich, who finance the pols. "The city needs to identify all the for-profit interests receiving subsidies from the city budget," says Henderson. "What are the subsidies received by the hotel-motel industry? Not just the direct subsidies, but the indirect ones that come through so-called nonprofit groups that are just shills for corporate welfare."

Murphy's beloved downtown library? "We should have a grand edifice sometime, but we can't afford it now," says Wolfsheimer-Stutz. She could envision a large repository of professional books downtown, "But we must put the emphasis on the outlying branches."

Shapiro notes that the city keeps stressing affordable housing, "But at the same time, the planning commission approves every condo conversion that comes before them. There is less apartment supply, and rents go up."

Of course, Frye will need the council's approval for much of this agenda. Almost all members are beholden to the corporate-welfare overlords who finance their campaigns. But occasionally, career politicians pondering their future plans are forced to put public opinion above moolah.

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