Jerry Brown Goes after the Welfare Kings

Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to restore sanity to how California finances redevelopment has led to panic in local government circles. Mayors know that if Brown succeeds, the toy store will close down. And the toys most likely to fall from the shelf are all the professional sports stadium/arena projects that mayors are pushing from San Diego to Los Angeles to Sacramento.

So expect to see a full-court press from the liars for hire public relations/media/economic consultants who are lavishly paid to make sports palaces look like good investments for the public, and all the sports writers/columnists/broadcasters whose jobs and careers are on the line if the local sports franchise picks up and leaves. They'll endlessly repeat that subsidizing those buildings is good for economic growth or downtown revitalization.

And as I reported in 2002, in a comprehensive review of the evidence, it just isn't so.

It is hard to understand why anyone would regard subsidizing billionaire sports owners and millionaire athletes as good public policy at any time. But handing out those subsidies at a moment when the fiscal crisis is forcing students out of college, requiring cuts in the school year, and depriving frail seniors of home care?

That's twisted.