Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An arena is a special purpose, not a general one

In this morning's Bee it came out that at least one of the county supervisors will vote against the proposal, she happens to be our supervisor and I think she will represent the feelings of her constituents. Her name is Roberta McGlashan. She should be thanked for her position.

The Rubes of Hazard, the supporters of this turkey, disclosed in this morning's Bee one other feature of the measure they will propose. Funding the arena is not a special purpose and thus not requiring of a 2/3 vote. That fandango is likely to be thrown out if someone has the sense to question it in court. The Rubes have tried to get this through by separating the votes on the measure. The first vote, which they would like to be a simple majority, is should the citizens in Sacramento vote a 1/4¢ increase in their sales taxes for 15 years? Then they add an "advisory" vote - should some of that money be used for building the King's new Taj Mahal? What a crock!

If this project is designed primarily to build this sports arena, and in spite of the Rube's attempt to obfuscate that clearly is what the intent is, then this is a special tax and under the Constitution a 2/3 vote is required. Getting that would be very tough if not downright impossible. But the Rube's hope that we will forget an earlier measure, where for a lot of reasons the voters we hornswaggled into adopting a bonding proposal for a sports complex only to have the deal fall through and the money subsequently disappeared into the political ether.

There is an interesting preliminary discussion over at Tom Sullivan's forum. Sullivan is the afternoon talk show host on KFBK and he has a series of forums on all sorts of things. He is a genial host that sometimes subs for Rush Limbaugh. He is not very ideological and seems to be well connected into civic activities. The overwhelming response from his listeners seems to be the whole deal is a scam. I read the first several pages of posts and found only one mild supporter of the project. There was one especially good comment from a person who called himself Cyberbob - that explained in about two paragraphs the complete idiocy of the financial structure of the deal.

One other site that is worth looking at is Field of Schemes - which has some pretty good posts on the long term problem of sports franchise owners attempts to turn public money into private profit. The book is on Amazon and also on their own website. This is a good example of the long tail phenomenom but a good example. The long tail is an idea from Chris Anderson of Wired that suggests that with the Internet, and electronic copies of media (books, music, video) that as new versions of issues or ideas come up people go back to previous versions in the same area. Thus, even though this book was written in 1998 - it still has lots of current information which people opposed to the proposal would find useful (an old scam never dies!).

Hopefully, the voters, whether or not the majority vote fraud is successful, will see through this and vote the tax down.

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