Friday, January 15, 2010

Bold Ideas

As an economist who is skeptical of sports arena deals, this 3-way swap proposal (Arco Arena, CalExpo, downtown Sac railyard) described in this morning's Sacramento Bee sounds like the kind of bold, creative idea that could actually work. I look forward to learning more about it.

Does the NBA know anything about water? We have actors and comedians working on the case, why not professional athletes?

Speaking of CalExpo, I wonder if anyone has ever seriously proposed the idea of moving the State Fair to the Mendota/Firebaugh area and having it in the Spring when schools are on break, the weather is nice, and the harvest season has yet to ramp up in the Valley. I am envisioning a fairgrounds developed on fallowed fields with a restored San Joaquin river flowing nearby. I can't think of a more educational setting that would show people where their food really comes from, while showcasing how environmental protection and agricultural production can co-exist to create a more prosperous and diverse economy.

The area could really use the jobs (especially during the early spring), and it would generate a ton of sales tax revenue for these strapped communities. It might lead to some decent temporary housing that could work for both the fair and migrant laborers in the summer/fall. It seems like a concept that someone like John Bass (Delta National Park) could develop into something interesting.

I doubt it would be as profitable as Sacramento, but there might be some public benefit worth subsidizing.


  1. That's a great idea. What I don't know is how many folks require overnight lodging as part of their attending the Fair. There is virtually nothing in that area, and unlikely ever to be. A short burst of business connected with the Fair would not be enough to encourage anyone to open a motel. Fresno and Los Banos might be able to handle the crowd. Something to study, anyway.

  2. I have no doubt it would be a huge challenge and a loser from a pure business standpoint. However, I wouldn't be surprised if it would have a higher benefit-cost ratio than Temperance Flat reservoir.

    You are right there is "nothing" out there, but that is a reason to do it.