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DON'T CELEBRATE JUST YET, PADRES DEAL STILL FACES QUESTIONS
Published July 17, 1998
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).