Sell, or Lease State Properties?

Public Affairs Consultant specializing in Issue Advocacy and Strategic Communications

Surely, the public officials who are recommending the immediate sale of such state properties as the L.A. Memorial Coliseum and San Quentin Prison are aware of the real estate bust!

Who do they think has that kind of money to buy anything these days? Couldn’t the state sell at a higher price if we waited until the market recovers in a few years? Well, the taxpayers could, but under term limits, lawmakers cannot wait. They need the money now before they are termed out of office.

Instead, the state should examine leasing these valuable assets so that long term revenue streams could provide fiscal stability and prevent lawmakers from spending all the revenues at once.

Regardless, selling excess state property doesn’t necessarily mean that state property will fall in the hands of the private sector or even generate any revenues after all the lawsuits are settled. Upon reviewing the CA Dept. of General Services’ website, it appears that other governmental agencies might get first dibs on state properties. (Anyone with more knowledge about this, please speak up).

For years, I have imagined what San Quentin would look like if it were rebuilt as a resort hotel and public recreation space. It’s one of the most scenic and sunniest spots on a beautiful bay. The prison is an eyesore and is too expensive to maintain. Therefore, the state should request some proposals on how the private sector could generate tax revenues for the state while providing more recreational opportunities and restored habitats for native plants, birds and critters.

State assets should be held onto. Leasing is one thing but selling them off forever cannot be reversed, and I would not be surprised if we’re in another cash-crunch in five or six years (which seems to be California’s cycle).

And for all the Fox & Hounds readers living in college dorms and fraternity houses, here are my top 5 jail themed rock songs:

  • Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash)
  • Hurricane (Bob Dylan)
  • Police on My Back (Eddy Grant and later covered by the Clash)
  • I Fought the Law (Sonny Curtis and later covered by Bobby Fuller and the Clash)
  • Jailbreak (AC-DC)

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