Take Me Out To The Ball Game
It is always nice to see government get its priorities straight. In the 2021-22 state budget (nearly $300 Billion) which was finalized in June of 2021, a $279.5 Million appropriation was slipped into the huge spending plan before it went to the Governor. The following statement was in the budget.
“Funds appropriated in this item shall be for the Port of Oakland for improvements that facilitate enhanced freight and passenger access and to promote the efficient and safe movement of goods and people.,”
Doesn’t that sound like a plan to upgrade and maintain the port’s viability in order to deal with the intense competition for international trade?
Think again! The approved list of projects the money would finance will be used to subsidize development of a new stadium for the Oakland A’s baseball team on a disused container site known as Howard’s Terminal near Jack London Square. The money would pay for facilities for fans to more easily access the new stadium. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission officially removed Howard’s Terminal designation as a cargo site.
John Fisher, owner of the A’s settled on the 55 acre Howard Terminal site for a stadium and a $12 Billion residential and commercial complex. The shipping industry was not happy with this decision since they saw it as an intrusion on cargo-handling operations.
Enter our state legislators. Senator Nancy Skinner, a Democrat who represents Oakland and chairs the Senate Budget Committee, slipped the $279.5 Million appropriation into the budget bill and it was eventually approved by the full legislature and the governor.
The amount of money is just a fraction of the state budget but it represents two very bad practices in the state Capitol.
1) The state budget, which is largely drafted in secret with little opportunity for the media and the public to study the details, is a means to deliver goodies to those with political pull.
2) California politicians devote incredible attention to the welfare of professional sports teams and their extremely wealthy owners. All major sports teams have received some sort of help from Sacramento. One major benefit they have received is many exemptions from environmental red tape that other big projects must deal with.
Nothing like some entertainment at taxpayer’s expense.
THE RIGHT TO VOTE IS THE PRIMARY RIGHT BY WHICH OTHER RIGHTS ARE PROTECTED. THOMAS PAINE