Mayor Sanders says San Diego should subsidize stadium by selling sun

by on January 1, 2011 · 21 comments

in Are You Kidding?, Economy, San Diego, Satire

“When people think of San Diego, they think of sunshine,” said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. “I’m here to tell you we can make money off that.”

At a press conference held in his City Hall office, Sanders said the city could raise “a substantial amount of cash” through a “sale-leaseback” arrangement focused on the sun.

Under Sanders’ proposal, San Diego would receive a large, lump-sum payment for its sunshine rights. A year later, the city would begin paying a daily sunshine royalty — but only on days when the sun comes out.

“Climate change could turn this into a real winner for the city,” said Sanders. “Last summer, for example, with all the cloudy days, we hardly would have paid anything.”

According to Sanders — who said “I must be getting hungry” after his stomach growled audibly during the question-and-answer portion of the press conference — a sunshine sale-leaseback will help San Diego meet its short-term obligations and also pay for downtown developments like a new City Hall, a new library, and a new Chargers stadium.

“We’ll still enjoy all the benefits of the sun — warmth, light, unlimited free tanning — so why not sell to the highest bidder?” Sanders asked. He then asked reporters to “give me 30 or 40 seconds” and quickly devoured a steak sandwich that an aide had provided.

City Councilman Carl DeMaio seemed skeptical but willing to consider Sanders’ idea.

“As the Council’s self-described taxpayer watchdog, I’ll have to give the mayor’s plan a thorough sniff-sniffing,” DeMaio said. “But on first glance, I do like that it commits money away from city employees.”

DeMaio added that “we have been getting a lot of rain lately.”

Sale-leasebacks originated in corporate finance but increasingly have been used by cash-strapped municipalities and states to raise funds. For example, in early 2010, Arizona sold many state-occupied buildings to investors and will now make regular lease payments to occupy the buildings going forward.

“These deals do feel a bit like a trip to the pawn shop,” Sanders said. “But we need governments to run more like businesses, and businesses sell things all the time.”

Toward the end of the press conference, Sanders said he’d also like the city to consider selling off naming rights for area beaches.

“We’ve got all these generic names we could monetize, like Ocean Beach, La Jolla Cove, the Silver Strand,” Sanders said. “Wouldn’t folks have just as much fun at BioMed Beach, Cox Communications Cove, and the Sempra Strand?”

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar annagrace January 1, 2011 at 12:26 pm

And the Mayor, realizing that this a tax adverse city, decides against a general sunshine tax (because it would no doubt go to pension payments) and instead levies a “pay for rays” fee on citizens.

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avatar Jim January 1, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I hope the mayor is joking. If he is not joking, then he is a joke.

Besides, no one much likes calling their beaches and stadiums by any corporate name that isn’t the name it came with.

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avatar Marisag January 1, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Obviously, the Mayor is taking full advantage of pot decriminalization. This is gambling, period. Gambling on how many sunny days we will have in San Diego. Fudging the whole history of the area by selling beach names to the highest bidder? This guy is the WORST kind of ‘Conservative’ there is.

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avatar Marilyn Steber January 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm

But Wait!
Why not put solar panels on the stadium and sell solar energy?
And why does Government need to run like a business, anyway? I disagree with Mayor Sanders. Government isn’t a business and shouldn’t be. When Government and Business combine, isn’t that fascism?

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avatar dave rice January 1, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Again, kudos Shane! Maybe your pieces need a disclaimer at the beginning…

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avatar Abby January 2, 2011 at 11:10 am

He may have a fight on his hands, a woman in Spain already claims to own the sun.

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avatar annagrace January 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I bet she bought ‘el sol.’ I’m sure our own City Attorney can prove that the woman bought the rights to a bottom of a shoe 93 million miles away…

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avatar Kevin January 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I read this article and then had to check the calendar twice, just to make sure is January 1st not April 1st. Sanders said the city could raise “a substantial amount of cash” through a “sale-leaseback” arrangement focused on the sun. I’m curious, and the press conference never identified just who might be the source of these substantial amounts of cash.

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avatar Sunshine January 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm

hey, i am not for sale!

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avatar John O. January 2, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Wow. I admire his creativity, but seriously? What a joke. Sanders, how about you work with the taxes that are collected and run a balanced and efficient government? When people say that government should run more like business, I take it to mean that we can’t afford bureaucracy, ineffectual leaders, operating budget blindness, and a lack of accountability… particularly with the sate of our local, state, and federal governments and economy.

A cockamamie scheme to for a sunshine sale-leaseback plan sounds like something cooked up by Wall Street investment bankers or former Peregrine insider traders.

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avatar Patty Jones January 2, 2011 at 9:36 pm

psst. it is a joke.

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avatar Sunshine January 3, 2011 at 8:29 am

yes, keeping Sanders as mayor next term would be a joke.

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avatar Wankabankalank January 3, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Neo liberals always want to sell off the people’s property, and they always want the people to subsidize corporate adventures. If the people of San Diego are suckered into building a new stadium w/ public funds, then . . .

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avatar dave rice January 3, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Jerry Sanders, neo liberal.

Shane, I think you’ve got competition for the ‘official satirist’ job…

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avatar Abby January 3, 2011 at 10:24 pm

I thought it was the conservatives who want to support our corporate overlords? I can’t keep track anymore.

Besides, everyone knows liberals hate sports because they are intellectual elitists!

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avatar noneyabusiness January 4, 2011 at 2:40 pm

as long as it gets a new chargers stadium im all for it…..ocean beach should be changed to alcoholics anonymous beach and pacific beach changed to budweiser beach

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avatar Jon January 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Here’s a good link for you to follow noneya….

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avatar Wireless Mike January 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm

This is as big a joke as Mayor McCheese himself. What is not a joke is the very real possibility that we may see our public tax dollars spent on yet another sports stadium for use by yet another privately owned sports team. Remember the Chargers ticket guarantee? How many more tax dollars does Alex Spanos need from our cash-strapped city? We already have a great monument to corruption downtown, it is called Petco Park. But where is the new main library that we so desperately need?

Go Chargers! And stay gone! We don’t want you here.

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avatar Frank Gormlie January 4, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Mike – just as an aside, the new main library is being built, ground has already been broken; Anna and Rich were there and filed a report.

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avatar Wireless Mike January 5, 2011 at 10:27 am

True, we are finally getting our long-awaited library, but look how long it has taken. Many years ago, the city had the opportunity to buy the old Sears building in Hillcrest and convert it for use as a new central library. It was a large, three-story building with a large parking lot and easy access from the 163 freeway. Granted, it did not have the signature “Quigly dome”, but it would have served well as a functional, austere library building. Instead, the building was torn down and condominiums were built on the site.

During the time the library was being debated and delayed, Petco park was planned, built, opened and operated, including several months of work stoppage due to legal proceedings. That shows how our city government places a higher priority on professional sports than on intellectual pursuits.

While Petco Park was being debated, a popular bumper sticker said “New stadium? Already got one. But a library I could use.”

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