The Padre Gets A Fresh Sack Of Taxpayer Money
by Scott Cox
posted Jul 14 2011 9:08PM
Hey, if you're a regular patron of the Padre Hotel, I have great news! They're getting valet parking. For people who never go there, like me, the news is not so great. They're getting valet parking, and we're all paying for it.
The Bakersfield City Council just voted to spend $107,000 to build a staging area for the Padre Hotel at the corner of 19th and H Street. But, they say it will be used for "community events." So I guess we'll totally get our money's worth. Next up is a $431,000 project that will provide sidewalk and alley improvements for the property. Nice. Look, I wish the owners of the Padre all the success in the world, I just don't think the city needs to be investing in private businesses.
For starters, it is stunningly unfair to the other hard working, tax-paying businesses in town, especially downtown. They're all stuggling to make ends meet while the city pumps money into the competition. I was against our investing in the Maya Cinemas for the same reason. That had to sting a bit for the owners of the other movie houses in town.
If the Padre Hotel was such a great investment opportunity, they would've been able to get investors to invest (that's why they're called investors). Now, I don't know if all the buzz around town about the Padre Hotel's financial issues are true or not, but it seems to me, the more cash the city pours in, the worse it's going to be if it should fail. I hope they don't end up in a desperate state, throwing more and more money into the hotel to stave off the embarrassment of admitting they shouldn't have gotten into the hotel biz in the first place.
If the Padre Hotel is going to make money, let it. If it isn't? Pull the plug before any more of our cash gets "invested" in a place that I don't want to go to in the first place. It's careless, it's irresponsible, and even in a booming economy, it's grossly unfair to other local businesses.
And here's a little bonus for all you struggling downtown businesses: the staging area we are all contributing to will host public events sanctioned by the city, and direct even more business to the Padre Hotel and away from you.
Props to Councilmember Russell Johnson, who was the lone dissenter on this terrible idea. We owe him our thanks for his no vote. And one last thing. These city planners, who at the onset of this boondoggle said it would benefit all downtown businesses by drawing people downtown, were completely full of it. I go downtown quite a bit and I haven't noticed anybody leaving the Padre Hotel to cruise around downtown.
But then, maybe valet parking will help...