Results of Election Day (11/2/04) Votes on Subsidies

First, the bad news from Arlington, TX . . .

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones scored a major victory for himself and his ridiculously overstuffed wallet on Nov. 2 as voters in Arlington approved the “Proposition” to raise taxes for a new stadium by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent. The Dallas Cowboys are set to have half of a $650 million retractable-roof stadium paid for by Arlington taxpayers. This despite the Cowboys already having the second highest value of any sports franchise in North America ($923 million, according to Forbes), and despite currently playing at Texas Stadium in Irving, which has more revenue-generating luxury boxes (381) than any other stadium. Jerry Jones spent $4.6 million on pro-stadium ads and lobbying.

. . . Now, the good news from St. Louis County, metropolitan Kansas City and San Francisco . . .

By a margin of 72 percent to 28 percent in favor of “Proposition A,” St. Louis County chose to bar public funding of sports facilities unless approved through voter referendum. Congratulations go out to the Coalition Against Public Funding for Stadiums who collected 30,000 signatures throughout the county to get Prop. A placed on the ballot. The amendment to the county’s charter should prohibit the county from making payments on a $45 million bond issue to finance a new downtown stadium for the St. Louis Cardinals unless voters approve it. This may ultimately be headed to the courts.

Residents in Jackson, Clay and Platte counties in Missouri, and Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas collectively voted down the “Bistate II” sales tax hike to raise $360 million for the renovation of Arrowhead Stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs and Kauffman Stadium for the Royals. The vote was a very close 51 percent to 49 percent margin. “We stood up for the little guy,” said one opposition leader as quoted by the Associated Press. “We were outspent 100 to 1. It was very difficult to stand up to the rich guys who wanted their hobbies subsidized.”

Finally, in San Francisco, voters approved “Proposition H” 54 percent to 46 percent to prohibit the sale of naming rights to Candlestick Park. San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez championed the effort to put Proposition H on the ballot, saying, “Across the political spectrum, voters and sports fans are fed up with the intrusion of corporate marketers into every part of our lives and culture. I doubt voters in San Francisco will want to trade local history and everything associated with Candlestick Park just for more corporate advertising.” This throws a wrench into a September deal that renamed the stadium “Monster Park” after Monster Cable Products purchased the naming rights. There could be some lawsuits to come out of this, but it looks like “the Stick” is back!

Ralph Nader’s column prior to the votes:

On Tuesday, Communities Can Say ‘No More!’ to Owners of Sports Franchises
In the Public Interest
by Ralph Nader
October 29, 2004


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