NOTE: If anyone wants to write an opposing viewpoint to this article, I will publish it. Send your article to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: 10 Reasons the 50 year parking lot deal IS good for Sacramento.
As this debate continues to a climax in March, here are ten reasons why I believe financing a new area with a 50 year “parking lot fee” agreement is not good for the financial and emotional well-being of our City.
(1) Fifty year agreements encourage abuse and escalation of fees. If the capitalist system depends upon free enterprise and competition, 50 year agreements are an invitation to corruption and exploitation. Immediately or gradually, we will all curse the day this deal was done as we eventually pay $1 per every minute we park downtown.
(2) If you can afford $200-$500 for a family to see a show at an arena, an additional $15-$25 for parking doesn’t seem like much. But if you have a “movie theater ticket and a drink” budget, you go to where the parking is free or at least affordable. Vouchers help big time for these consumers. Read between the lines – The City negotiators are desperate to do this deal and if vouchers stand in the way, say good-bye to vouchers.
(3) Does anyone foresee a time in our grandchildren’s lives (or 50 years) when Sacramento becomes a center for corporate headquarters and major commerce? Not me. Given the current rules for NBA and major league sports arena financing, corporate underwriting is critical to the success of major league franchises. We don’t have it now and won’t have it in the future.
(4) The best “naming rights” deal the Maloof Family could come up with was a company that sells rubber bands for $30 and is currently sliding into bankruptcy. 50 year contracts for jacked-up parking fees sound more “cow-town” to me than cow-bells at a Lakers game.
(5) Silly money mortgages were sold to good people with dreams bigger than their ability to pay. Selling parking rights for all of downtown for 50 years smacks of the same “aspire to live a better life” crap used by vacation time share salespeople.
(6) We are a “farm team” City of greatness. We love our AAA River Cats with tickets we can afford to support. We love Friday night High School football. Our list of “home-grown” great ball players in all sports rivals any city in the nation. Here we GROW great athletes with tolerance, a solid work ethic, and excellent coaching. Why can’t we be proud of what we are and let other cities bankrupt themselves chasing “parking lot dreams”.
(7) Yes a big area would be good for local sports commentators. To move up to ESPN stature, you have got to have major league sports in your town. So understand where Grant Napear and others are coming from – this is a jobs bill for them. Without the Kings, they would have to move to much more expensive cities to pursue their profession. How many of you are sports commentators? I rest my case.
(8) Build an area we can afford, downtown, and fill it every night with 12,000 music fans, families who love the circus, monster truck smash-ups, ice-skating clowns, high school volleyball championships, evangelical Christians, political conventions, and (your favorite affordable event).
(9) I would rather have 300 nights of hustle and bustle downtown, with affordable event tickets and parking, with restaurants and clubs, and music in the streets, more diversity, more fun, and fewer 7 foot millionaires. That’s a town that pays its bills, raises great kids, and lives within its own skin.
(10) Financing a stadium with 50 years of collecting parking fees just sounds cheap. Talk about a “nickle and dime” approach to big time sports.
In conclusion, I really don’t care what Charles Barkley and Phil Jackson think of us and neither should our community leaders. Be bold and enjoy living within our means…. Isn’t that the lesson of the Wall Street financial collapse? Make a budget and live within that budget. Be yourself, not what others think you should be. Live life in the moment and don’t mortgage your future. These are the lessons we should be teaching our children.
City Council members – 50 years – really? You are creating financial obligations for your great-grandchildren. In the year 2062, when they curse you for paying by the minute for an arena that was demolished 25 years earlier, is that how do you want to be remembered? Now that, my friends, is a legacy.