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"It's very cozy in San Diego," chuckles Heywood Sanders, professor of public administration at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the nation's leading expert on convention centers. Sanders points out that when the San Diego convention center wanted to hype an expansion, it turned to Conventions, Sports & Leisure International, a firm with offices in metro Dallas and Minneapolis. When the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. wanted to show that the $300 million ballpark subsidy had been a success, it turned to -- you guessed it, Conventions, Sports & Leisure International. Even though the ballpark area still suffers from economic depression, the consulting firm delivered. Here are just a few of this firm's past findings: it said a baseball stadium in San Jose would give the local economy a $130 million boost; it said a new Minnesota Vikings stadium would create 13,400 jobs and boost the economy by $1.35 billion; it said a new convention center and luxury hotel would add $37 million a year to the Tucson economy (although politicians wondered where the $210 million cost would come from) and it told San Antonio to invest $200 million in its convention center. However, in the San Antonio case, the projection proved wildly off the market and city officials decided to hire another firm to get a more realistic assessment.

Despite the vast overbuilding of U.S. convention centers in recent years, the firm has provided counseling to centers in Anaheim, Boston, Denver, New Orleans, New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C.

The Union-Tribune was interviewing people about the study as early as Monday, but refused to provide the interviewees copies of the report. So they were commenting on something they had not seen. The U-T had two days to check out this report. Its reporters should have found that reputable economists have little good to say about the consulting firms who come up with such studies. I now have a copy of the report, and will start going over it today (Thursday).

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Richard_Rider July 16, 2010 @ 8:49 a.m.

Why has the U-T and the rest of the media not done this perfunctory background check into the (TOTAL lack of) objectivity of the Petco consultant?

Could it be that (as one survey indicated) 40% of newspaper readers buy a paper for the sports section? And by far the most important part of the sports section is pro sports? And by far the most important interest in pro sports is the LOCAL pro team?

Naaaahhhhhh. Silly me.


Don Bauder July 16, 2010 @ 9:11 a.m.

Response to post #1: Actually, about half of newspaper readers buy it for the advertising and coupons. I suspect the percentage is even higher for the U-T because of the weak editorial content. The sports section is very profitable. That's why the U-T traditionally has opposed all forms of welfare except corporate welfare like a stadium subsidy that fattens its own wallet. Best, Don Bauder


Founder July 18, 2010 @ 8:38 a.m.

Response to post #2: That's why the San Diego Reader (with you leading the way) has replaced the UT as the #1 Source for San Diego News...

It's no wonder that our Strong Mayor has told everyone not to talk to the Reader. "No news is good news" is only true, if you don't want to be asked uncomfortable questions about what is really going on in "our" San Diego!

As the UT continues it's downward spiral, becoming more of a sporty "Penny Saver", San Diego will also continue to suffer an ever increasing "News Blackout" and that will allow special interests to more easily shape their "spin" without regard for "Truth, Justice or the American Way...

Don't Stop Superman!


Don Bauder July 18, 2010 @ 9:29 a.m.

Response to post #3: It's not just the Sanders administration that refuses to speak with the Reader. Sempra won't talk with us, either. If you're screwing the public, your most important defense mechanism is controlling local media. That's often accomplished with advertising dollars. Best, Don Bauder


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