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According to the Union-Tribune of June 25, San Diego State University collected only a fraction, roughly 20 percent, of the amount pledged by donors to offset the costs of replacing former football coach Chuck Long. The rest was made up of money in various pots and the university was able to say, with a relatively straight face that “no state funds, student fees, or tuition money was used for the transition cost.”

Remember these words when the mayor explains, after making up new central library construction shortfall with various city funds because private contributions, now under 20 percent of the total the goal, failed to materialize, that “not one cent came out of the general fund.” He might try to use money received from the federal stimulus program, homeland security money, tobacco settlement money, and even the meager reserves he’s been able to squirrel away, but somehow the taxpayers are going to make up the shortfall on this monumental boondoggle.

There’s one big difference here, SDSU had to come up with about $1.6 million from other sources; at last count, according to the latest figures from VOSD, the city is looking at over $27 million, assuming the project comes in on budget. What was the last major city project that did that?

Right now, they are trying to entice donors with “naming rights” for various portions of the building. Brace yourself for some bad news, because there’s no way they’ll stop this project now. The politicians can visualize that plaque with all their names on it.

Bill Bradshaw lives in Mission Beach.

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