Claycord – Talk About Local Politics

January 11, 2019 19:00 pm · 11 comments

voted1

This special post is “Talk About LOCAL Politics”.

Please use this post to talk about LOCAL politics, and keep state and national politics out of this thread.

Thank you, and be kind to each other.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy January 12, 2019 at 12:02 AM

NO to the downtown Concord 15,000 seat soccer stadium idea. Imagine the traffic congestion! It will be a nightmare for the residents near this.

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Giddyup January 12, 2019 at 5:31 AM

A sports stadium is exactly what Concord needs to complete its transition to “The Oakland of Central Contra Costa County.”

Concord Mike January 12, 2019 at 6:47 AM

@Amy,

I am inclined to agree with you. A really bad location.

The developers should be working with the CNWS planning team. Perhaps a public/private partnership for a stadium on the campus of the new college being planned adjacent to North Concord BART?

Hope Johnson January 12, 2019 at 10:28 AM

No public funding for sports stadiums. It is always a losing situation for cities. Here is the text of the email I sent to the Council on this matter:

The City of Concord should not be entertaining any exclusive agreement or using staff time on the feasibility of the proposed soccer stadium downtown, or anywhere else in Concord, until Mark Hall brings the Council written commitments from private investors stating they are willing and able to fund the project without the use of public funds or financing. Concord should not be financing this wealthy man’s sports toys.

Mr. Hall has now been to two separate public entities, the Concord City Council and the BART Board, with his hands out asking for the use of public land and potential public financing. Where is his money? The public should in no way be on the hook for the risks associated with his desire to participate in soccer.

The Council’s consideration of this project using public funds or financing is the height of irresponsibility, especially when this body has been considering doubling the Measure Q tax. It is well-documented by economists and known similar sports projects that providing public subsidies to build stadiums usually ends up costing taxpayers more than any of the economic benefits actually generated. Sometimes the teams that are supposed to play at the new facilities even leave and then any private investors try to back out of financial commitments made to the city. Any belief on the Council’s part that this project will revitalize downtown Concord is misguided and without any support whatsoever.

Even the US Senate recognized how detrimental these arrangements can be. In 2017, it considered adopting a bill to prevent public financing of sports stadiums, which are commonly financed through tax-exempt bonds.

In addition, the proposed agreement contains several provisions detrimental to Concord. First, it appears to limit Concord’s ability to look for more appropriate and beneficial projects. Concord should be seeking and accepting multiple proposals in a timely manner. Second, it prevents lobbying and campaign contributions by the developer parties to Councilmembers and Planning Commissioners. This ban should include contributions to any candidates for those positions and to any city events sponsored by Councilmembers or Planning Commissioners or their pet projects (for example, the 4th of July Parade is touted by Mayor Obringer and Vice Mayor McGallian or the Family Justice Center that candidates like to use to impress voters).

As some of my criticism will undoubtedly bring on comparisons of AT&T Park in San Francisco: SF bragged it spent only $15M in public money on the stadium because it had to pay to move a transit stop. But there were other costs involved no one talks about. The land was “donated” to the Giants by SF and was estimated to be worth something like $33M at the time. Because the land itself is owned by SF, it is exempt from regular property taxes. SF does collect possessory interest taxes on the Giants’ leasing rights (which is less than the property value tax would be) but economists in 2005 estimated this resulted in a loss of $83M to SF in property taxes as of 2005. It was also estimated at that time it cost SF $25M in fire, police, and garbage services. And it’s reasonable to assume this cost has increased greatly over time. I work down the street from the stadium and King Street has to be closed toward the end of each home game. A couple of years ago, the Giants also tried to say the value of the stadium was half of what SF’s assessor’s office said it was, and asked to have the taxes it owed cut in half.

Even when the stadiums are privately funded, there are still costs to taxpayers to consider.

In addition, the proposed location for the stadium in Concord is terrible. The traffic and noise will destroy what is left of the charm of old Concord. SF’s fancy major league ball park built on the waterfront near a beautiful bridge with spectacular views is hardly comparable to a soccer stadium in Concord. The build up around the ballpark was not only for the building itself but the waterfront value – that’s why the area around other inland stadiums don’t generate the same interests. Most visitors to a soccer stadium will park in the neighborhood but spend money in the stadium, not surrounding areas. Maybe this could be improved by the convention center that is supposed to be included in the project but I don’t see any basis for that. Concord is always thinking they will do better with the same exact project if they just build a new building. Instead, this project is likely to kill off the Todos Santos area by building a new area around the stadium, much as the Veranda is hurting the Willows. And how will the neighbors like to hear some metal or rap bands for the evening? Levi’s Stadium is constantly battling with neighbors over noise at night.

Plus, there is zero support for the idea its being near Concord Bart will improve use of public transit. Bart continues to lose money on its extension to the Oakland Airport because Bart is expensive for trips by more than one person. Families coming to a soccer game will save lots of money by taking their own car or a ride share. It’s expensive for four or five people’s combined Bart fare. And this is going to be a 15,000 to 18,000 seat stadium.

If you want a convention center, seek developers who will build a convention center with much needed affordable housing.

This project should not have exclusive rights or be in any way considered until private financing is shown to be available. Otherwise, I hope the voters remember which of you were eager give away our public property to the rich and pay them to use it.

Hope Johnson January 12, 2019 at 11:43 AM

Also, no public funding of projects on the CNWS – we were promised Concord residents would not have to pay for the base. There may be support to publicly fund housing that is for people with average incomes for this area but most definitely not for a sports stadium that is intended for use by an already wealthy individual. He can fund that himself or move on.

ZZ January 12, 2019 at 8:13 AM

NO to the soccer field and NO to the apartment complex they want to put in the “white picket fence” area. Too many people!! Too many cars!!

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Antler January 12, 2019 at 4:11 PM

Thank you, Amy and Hope!

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Concord Mike January 12, 2019 at 5:17 PM

Just to be clear, a “public/private partnership” does not mean public money supporting private ventures. Could be a four year public college benefiting from use of a stadium constructed with private dollars, and sharing parking construction expenses. In other words, a win-win.

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Hope Johnson January 12, 2019 at 9:03 PM

The private sector entity would expect to receive some benefit to pay back construction costs such as naming rights or money from all concessions, etc. (Can’t wait for those drunk soccer fans to buy beer to make up costs!) The issue at the CNWS is that Concord will have the land transferred to it but it will owe money on that land because it has to buy the property from the Navy. Whatever gets built out there has to start by covering purchase costs from the Navy – that will be both for the property the stadium is on and any college they may eventually get someone interested in establishing on that site.

Nonetheless, the exclusive negotiating agreement Council had on agenda specifically referenced exploring public financing. Hall Sports Ventures should be required to prove it has private funding available before any such agreements are signed.

Victor January 13, 2019 at 5:13 PM

Professional sports are a cancer on America. Today I’m a lunatic. In five years I’ll be “the enemy”, as more people examine the evidence and give consideration to my viewpoint. In thirty years I’ll be dead, but I’ll be vindicated as the majority of citizens look back at a strange period in American history when sports oligarchs raped municipalities of millions and millions dollars, grown men wore other men’s jerseys like smitten teenyboppers, teenagers killed each other over sneakers with artificially inflated values, and they’ll wonder why on earth we let this nonsense go on for so long.

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Anonymous January 15, 2019 at 9:02 AM

Good report by Hope.
Follow the money.

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