“Suicidal Solution in Stadium Talks”
Why do I have this bad feeling about ‘agendas’ in the launching of Stadium talks between the Chargers and the City-County coalition?
The two sides met in an informational session on Monday to explore-exchange different ideas. What I hear, makes no sense, what I hear seems more about agendas and content.
The Chargers have told the city they like the downtown idea, linked to the Convention Center. And now the coalition has been expanded to include the expertise of JMI-John Moores group, which has a track record of success in building things, from Petco Park to minor league stadiums and college football renovations..
They want to propose a ‘Tourism Tax’ as a major component to help pay for a mega project, stadium and center.
This after 9-months of research and work by the City-County-CSAG, that indicated downtown does not work, because of a likely fight with a hotel tax, land acquisitions, toxic removal, relocation of the MTS terminals, limited parking, and the mass of complexities building on a limited land sight.
In the big picture, an additional convention center makes all the sense in the world, for tourism is out biggest industry now, but that takes time, an enormous amount of time. Add in voter resentment about any type of public spending, and you understand there seem to be problems everywhere.
The ground-work laid for the Mission Valley, stadium-only sight, seems to have traction. Most all of that funding is in place.
Yes, a bigger plan to evolve more acreage for SDSU development, San Diego River development, and business park expansion, is a project unto itself at the Q-sight.. Again you are dealing with money issues, long term planning, and of course financing.
I’m connecting the dots to tell you, I don’t like what I hear, and what I think.
The Spanos’ are pushing downtown, with all of its issues. They may be thinking ‘big picture’ with the convention center part of the mix.
The Moores people are pushing downtown, not just for development, but for use of the land they already own there, but there are complications.
Why would they do this knowing it could take 5-to-7 years to make this come together without any legal challenges? The Chargers have always been about making more money instantly. Why travel a path that has so much resistance stapled to it?
Why does it seem to me, in selling ‘tourism tax’ and the bigger picture, the Chargers want others to fund this stadium for them, meaning they put even less money than they would if it were in Mission Valley?. And the greater debate, does it become a city-county vote to make something like this happen.
And with agendas, the challenge of pulling together all these different interest groups, Spanos, Moores, City-County, Hoteliers, Environmentalists, Port Commission etc, becomes a key issue too. Everyone wants something their way a little different.
And the cost. 1.8B if you build a Center annex and the new Stadium across the tracks. 1.4B if you do a combined Stadium-center complex. And the original cost of 1.1B in Mission Valley. The greater good is served if the convention center is part of all this. The greater cost too. And the likelihood of even more in fighting from land owners and others, going downtown.
I just have this bad feeling. The Monday conversation wasn’t just about bigger plans, it was about their agenda, to have somebody else build and pay for a stadium, to be given to a rich man. That always seemed to be their mode of operation in the past. Now it seems to be their approach looking into the future.
Please tell me I am wrong. But I don’t think I am.