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DON'T CELEBRATE JUST YET, PADRES DEAL STILL FACES QUESTIONS

          The "lack of hard facts" on how the City of San Diego
     will contribute $225M toward the Padres ballpark "makes it
     virtually impossible to assess the project's financial
     risks," according to the city's Task Force on Ballpark
     Planning Chair Pat Shea, who added that the "information
     vacuum threatens to erode public confidence in the project." 
     The SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE's Philip LaVelle writes that the
     $225M would be raised by issuing bonds to be repaid by the
     city's hotel-room tax, but what's "not clear is exactly how
     the project would cut into the hotel-tax revenue stream." 
     It is "likely -- but not committed to any document the
     public has seen -- that most of it would come from new
     revenues produced by hotels not yet built."  Also unknown is
     what portion of these revenues would be taken from the 200
     or so civic programs that "rely" on the tax.  Those
     decisions are up to S.D. Mayor Susan Golding and the City
     Council, which will meet again today to discuss the details
     (UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/17).  In addition, two county supervisors
     say Golding "has misled the public by stating the current"
     ballpark proposal "lacks only" $21M in additional funding,
     and that the funding gap is much larger.  Golding's
     spokesperson Mary Anne Pintar called the allegations
     "totally outrageous" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/17).
          WORK TO DO: In examining the team's agreement with the
     city, business writer Philip LaVelle wrote that while the
     Padres want to place the measure on the November 3 ballot, a
     "lack of hotel industry participation in the pro-ballpark
     campaign would be a glaring absence in the coalition the
     Padres hope to form."  In addition, the team and Golding
     "will have to answer" why "so much public investment" should
     go toward the project (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/16).  

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