Rick Goucher and William Maxwell, have at it:
Goucher (July 20)
Ballpark, arena positive
Is it just me, or are there more people who live in Stockton who are tired of certain individuals blaming the ballpark and arena for everything that is wrong with Stockton?
They need to get over it, as the facilities were completed more than 10 years ago. Their rage comes to a boil every year about this time when the City Council approves the shortfall by SMG to manage the facilities. The facilities (arena, ballpark, Oak Park Ice Arena and the Bob Hope Theatre) lost $2,860,965, which is a big number when you see it in print like this.
I prefer to look at it like this. Based on a population of 300,000, that would be $9.54 per citizen per year or based on 90,605 households in Stockton; it would be $31.58 per year per household. I suggest that the 90,605 households commit to attending one additional event per year. That would solve the problem, and you may just have a great time.
I suppose that the people who complain about the ballpark and the arena are the same people who claim there is nothing to do in Stockton. By the way, though, I technically don’t live in Stockton but I will be happy to do my part by attending additional events this year.
Good money after bad
Letter writer Rick Goucher thinks I’m obsessed with the annual SMG million-dollar subsidies and that I “need to get over it.” It’s not just that the annual subsidy could easily fund the reopening and operating of the Fair Oaks Library. Nor is it because the City Council blithely ponies up the millions of dollars to SMG (which includes $290,000 in “management fees”) with scant discussion or analysis, meanwhile spending hours and hours studying and discussing a few hundred thousand dollars to reopen a library.
No, my main objection concerns sound fiscal policy and getting the most bang for the taxpayers’ buck (among which taxpayers Mr. Goucher admits he is not). It is simply “throwing good money after bad.”
My belief is that taxpayers should not foot the bill to build playgrounds for billionaires. But now that we’ve got this albatross around our necks, how do we get rid of it? Not by pouring more money into it. If we can’t unload it, at least do whatever it takes to fill the never-occupied retail space along Fremont Street and generate a few sales tax dollars, and auction off the naming rights to highest bidder. That income will be a drop in the bucket, but at least it will put a small dent in the debt.
If we can find the money to subsidize SMG every year to the tune of $3,000,000, we can find the $700,000 to operate Fair Oaks Library. It really is that simple.”