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Why the UT should be called the Union-Redneck

Wailing about the cost of art — tiny fraction of subsidized stadia.

UT-TV announcer Roger Hedgecock has interviewed one Trent Seibert, an on-air and in-print reporter for the UT purported Watchdog section. Both Hedgecock and Seibert lament the cost of public art placed by the Port District. But neither gives any perspective. Seibert says the Port's art budget has grown to $1.2 million. All told, the Port has placed 100 pieces of art worth $8 million. But the U-T championed the Petco Park subsidy to the tune of $300 million of taxpayer money. And if a football stadium with a retractable roof is placed downtown, as the U-T so passionately desires, the cost to taxpayers would be at least $600 million, and realistically closer to $800 million.

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UT-TV announcer Roger Hedgecock has interviewed one Trent Seibert, an on-air and in-print reporter for the UT purported Watchdog section. Both Hedgecock and Seibert lament the cost of public art placed by the Port District. But neither gives any perspective. Seibert says the Port's art budget has grown to $1.2 million. All told, the Port has placed 100 pieces of art worth $8 million. But the U-T championed the Petco Park subsidy to the tune of $300 million of taxpayer money. And if a football stadium with a retractable roof is placed downtown, as the U-T so passionately desires, the cost to taxpayers would be at least $600 million, and realistically closer to $800 million.

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The longer it drags on, the higher the number. I'm not advocating building it, but I wonder how all of the "powers that be" will spin a new stadium that will pay for itself, just like Petco Park (which, of course, isn't).

June 3, 2013

aardvark: Realistically, it doesn't matter how downtown overlords spin the story. They will outspend opposition trying to tell the truth by 100 to 1 or more. They will no doubt claim it will pay for itself; you correctly point out that they claimed the same with Petco, and time has proven them to be liars. Petco costs the City a bundle every year. But again, truth won't make any difference when falsehoods can be repeated so many times that people believe them, even with contrary evidence front and center. Best, Don Bauder

June 3, 2013

"Petco costs the City a bundle every year."

Don, in your spare time, enlighten me with some numbers. I have the ownership group paying out the debt year by year, so your "bundle" in terms of a number I can actually use in an equation would be a great help in future columns. Thanks.

June 3, 2013

In Fiscal Year 2013, the City budgeted $17,466,309 in operating expenses for Petco Park. The Padres are required to pay the City $570,850 in rent, and $927,430 in reimbursement for police services. And that's it. I do not know what the "ownership group" pays on the debt each year, but in fiscal year 2013 the City budgeted $11.3 million for debt service on Petco bonds. The Padres are not contributing to the City's $11.3 million debt service expense. I think the "ownership group" can and should cover the entire $17.47 million. If I remember correctly, the Port District built some parking structures with Port funds to support Petco Park. These costs should be included in the figure for total taxpayer support.

June 3, 2013

The $11.3 million debt service cost is included in the $17,466,309 figure.

June 3, 2013

Burwell: Makes sense. Best, Don Bauder

June 3, 2013

The various ownership groups of the Padres have always claimed that THEY were responsible for debt service on the bonds. That was one reason they always claimed they couldn't have a larger payroll than they did. Of course, the new ballpark was supposed to give them the higher revenues to enable them to have higher payrolls...

June 3, 2013

aardvark: This should tell you something about the believability of pro sports team owners. Best, Don Bauder

June 3, 2013

Burwell: I agree that those port funds should be included in the sum being paid by taxpayers. Best, Don Bauder

June 3, 2013

David Dodd: $10 million to $15 million a year is about right. People figure it different ways. Best, Don Bauder

June 3, 2013

David Dodd: The figures provided by Burwell show that I underestimated the actual annual cost of the continuing Petco subsidy. Best, Don Bauder

June 3, 2013

TOT revenues were supposed to be paying off the ballpark bonds, but when the city allowed Moores to build more condos and less hotels, that pretty much guaranteed the City of San Diego would be picking up that tab.

June 3, 2013

aardvark: Transient occupancy tax (TOT) receipts were never going to pay for debt service on Petco. That was a fraud from the beginning. City bureaucrats admitted to the grand jury that they had been under pressure to falsify the numbers to make it look like TOT receipts would handle debt service. Best, Don Bauder

June 3, 2013
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