Two weeks ago, I blogged about how I had noticed an increase in the quality of the Sac Bee opinion pages under new management. The streak continues.
This week's Sunday "conversation" features an exceptionally clear and thoughtful pair of essays on the economics of new arenas by Jock O'Connell and new Associate Editor Foon Rhee. They cover several key reasons why sports arenas usually fail to deliver the anticipated economic boost including entertainment spending substitution effects, and the high leakage of professional sports revenue salaries out of the community. They also cover key details about this proposed deal including the staggered timing and it's implication for financing costs, and the potential opportunity costs to state taxpayers of selling CalExpo into this deal and forgoing the possibility of a higher price in the open market. Despite all this, they are quite fair, and acknowledge that this proposal has a lot of strengths not typically seen in some other cities' arena failures. I agree that this plan has enough positives to deserve a good, long look; but all sports arena deals deserve healthy skepticism of thier purported economic benefits.
There is also a nice editorial on AB 32, and two important front page stories: Tomato King sees his empire crumble, and Jim Wasserman's article on bill collectors going after 2nd lien debts years after foreclosures and short sales.
And, I would be remiss if I didn't mention last weekends article by Editor Stuart Leavenworth describing the call he got from Diane Feinstein on his excellent Westlands editorial.
Kudos to Leavenworth and his team for making the Sac Bee an enjoyable, relevant and informative read.