In a recent letter to the Mercury News, San Jose resident Pirouz Maghsoudnia questioned the wisdom of giving a public subsidy to a baseball franchise in these troubled economic times. “The City of San Jose…does not have money to fix its streets, cannot provide police and fire protection for its residents or keep its libraries open, but has millions to bring a baseball franchise to downtown.” Maghsoudnia points out that taxpayers are being asked to prepare for service cuts while the city is selling assets for $20 million to assemble the lot for the stadium.
Days earlier, from the Mercury News...“Mayor Chuck Reed was quick to defend the plan as a sound investment for economic development not a senseless subsidy for a wealthy professional sports owner. Even though San Jose faces layoffs and massive service cuts and a $116 million hole in its general fund, proceeds from any RDA land deals can only be spent on redevelopment projects, not everyday city services, [RDA Director Harry] Mavrogenes stressed.”
I’m in favor of the A’s moving to San Jose, provided that a sensible deal can be struck. But, is it wise for the city to “put the cart before the horse,” and a stadium before a team? Is it right for the city government to be making expensive moves before the territorial rights issue has been resolved, and before San Jose voters have expressed their approval at the ballot box?
Maybe, just maybe, San Jose city officials have already been given whispered assurances from Major League Baseball that there’s a will to find a way to San Jose. Let’s all hope so, otherwise we just might be building the proverbial bridge to nowhere, and an expensive one at that.