Super Bowl Highlights Growing Economic Divide in San Francisco
By Jane Kim : huffingtonpost – excerpt
Usually big sporting events like the upcoming Super Bowl in the City of Santa Clara are welcome distractions from our daily troubles.
But not this Super Bowl, at least not here in San Francisco. Rather than distracting us from our daily concerns, the local burden of hosting the Super Bowl is refocusing attention on our city’s greatest challenge — the fast growing gap between rich and poor.
On one side we have the NFL and their corporate sponsors insisting San Francisco taxpayers pay at least $5 million to subsidize their private events in the city, even though the Super Bowl will be played nearly 50 miles away, and even though the actual host city, Santa Clara, will be fully compensated for its out-of-pocket costs.
The league and their sponsors literally scoff at requests from local officials (like me) to compensate the taxpayers. Super Bowl officials and their supporters say that such a small amount of money should hardly be an issue at all.
On the other side we have average San Franciscans, who are being forced to pick up the tab for some of the world’s wealthiest corporations. While $5 million might seem like a pittance to the wealthiest, it is the difference between eviction and a secure home for many working families. It is shelter for the homeless. It is better bus service and streetcar service. It is “real money” to most of us although it might just seem like pocket change to the corporate sponsors of the NFL.
The hard fact that the city needs to be mindful of how we spend taxpayer dollars was highlighted again this week — with one local elected official actually calling for the removal of tent encampments now sheltering homeless individuals and families during this particularly severe winter. There was no commitment to spend what it will take to actually house these individuals and families… (more)
Reigning in excessive powers is the only solution to this problem.
Thanks to some of our city officials we now have the evidence of how the city authorities are operating and the facts re: the agreements and lack thereof, that are being used to avoid public scrutiny.
The economic divide will continue to grow unless the San Francisco voters find some candidates to who will change the rules and put a stop to these practices.