a risky giveaway to a Newport Beach developer and Arkansas-based Wal-Mart
Even though the HBTV-3 editors failed to show their charts on camera, the
Yes on I group explained how expert financial studies show that Ocean
View School District could realize $156million, or more, if they were to
sell the property today. It was disclosed that the opponents of Measure I
have overstated the income from the Wal-Mart lease. The claimed
$68-million figure includes $27 million in state matching funds. So the
lease is worth, at best, $41 million spread over 65 years.
Also highlighted was the risk of dramatically lower income from a
shortened lease. The Wal-Mart deal is not a 65-year lease, as claimed,
but a 25-year lease with optional five-year extensions. Wal-Mart has
abandoned more than 300 stores nationwide, according to the Available
Buildings List published on Wal-Mart's Web site in February 1999.
According to the court deposition of a Wal-Mart executive, Wal-Mart has
admitted that they have relocated hundreds of stores, and some stores
have been shut down after seven years. (Wal-Mart historical information
as confirmed by Al Norman of Sprawl-busters.com, a Web site dedicated to
helping communities fight megastores and large-scale developments).
Sadly, the Wal-Mart plan alone will not get Ocean View School District
the $27 million in state funds it needs to do school repairs. District
board member Pam Walker stated publicly that, "The district will never
get the whole $27 million from the state."
That's true. The Wal-Mart lease provides no up-front money to match state
money, and a loan to get the money would wipe out all net income.
She also said, "We'll do the repairs a little at a time as we get the
That's false. The district won't get the money. State modernization funds
[from Measure A] will only be available for a year, no longer.
While they may have good intentions, district administrators (under
pressure from certain Huntington Beach council members) have gotten
themselves into an unsound business deal.