“Vote Yes-Vote No…How Will They Vote?”
by Lee ‘Hacksaw’ Hamilto
They go to the polls all day until tonite. They close at 8pm.
At stake, the possibility the city would build a new NFL Stadium and a Convention Center Annex.
San Diego is doing what alot of other major cities have done, to get facilities built, taxing the tourist.
Measure C, to build the stadium and the annex will cost 1.8B. It is to be partially funded by an increase in the Hotel Tax in the city of San Diego, from its current 12.5% to 16.5%. Some get sticker shock, but it really amounts to about 1-dollar per day per hotel room rented.
The push has taken nearly 15-years to get to this point. Aging Qualcomm Stadium is on the brink of falling down, built in 1967, renovated multiple times, and expanded, for baseball and then a couple of Super Bowls.
It’s not Fenway Park nor Wrigley Field. It’s not a shrine to sport, but more like a slum, if you ever walked around the interior infrastructer.
Minnesota, Houston, New Orleans are amongst the latest cities that creatively financed new facilities for its population base and its teams.
It has been a terrible tug-of-war between the Chargers ownership and the city leadership for more than a decade.
The Mayor’s office has been frequented by drunks and perverts, incompetents and idiots. Each has struggled to do their job, much less accomplish anything moving forward.
Cleveland, once upon a time filed for bankruptcy. San Diego was on the brink of that, and then worse things, with mayoral resignations and the like.
So we arrive today with the Chargers desperately needing a new stadium. They have told one and all they tried for 14-years. In honesty, they printed glitzy circulars, and said we want this, San Diego pay for it. You know how that has been received.
Now we have Measure C, building a stadium and the center annex to attract more businesses and functions here. They say Super Bowls and NCAA Final Fours will come, amongst conventions and maybe as many as 200-more dates.
Should be a slam dunk, but instead it appears to be going down like a quarterback sack.
History has reappeared. People with agendas. The groups lined up against it, stretch from downtown across the Coronado Bridge.
The Vote No-group; all the city councilmen; the hotel industry; the Convention Center leadership; the influential Comic con convention, and on and on.
Some dislike the Spans family. Some think the annex needs to be on the bayfront next to the current convention center. Some are obstructionists plain and simple.
Agendas, everyone has agendas.
You do recall it was a real war between the Padres and lawyers before Petco Park finally got built. 22-lawsuits filed, everyone of them thrown out of court.
Of course, obstructionist desperately tried to block, and failed, the entire Convention Center project, back in the day. Look at how great that facility is.
It got built. it rejuvenated the Gaslamp District, is is a revenue stream and a destination point now for all things, Padres to concerts and more.
But this is different. John Moores money and Larry Lucchino’s brilliance gave Petco Park impetus. They had experience at Camden Yards-Baltimore and PNC Park-Pittsburgh.
The Padres urged the city leadership and the business associated to be part of the planning stage. It got done, and lots have benefited from it.
The Chargers attempt to build a stadium, anywhere, everywhere, has failed badly. Money, land acquisition, politics have become bad partners. Team Spanos has no track record of success, in this venture, and not much on the sporting field.
In a firestorm that lasted over 9-months, the City and County tried to finance a deal with civic contributions at the Qualcomm sight. The Chargers refused to even talk, much less negotiate a deal.
Off they went on their own fabricating a stadium-annex package to fit their needs, and what they imagined would solve the crowded convention center issues. But it has been met with fierce resistance.
Alot of the negativity has to do with agendas. The Hotel people, the tourism people, the conventioneers. They were never invited to take part in the planning for this, now they don’t support it.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer, whose attempts to package the Q-sight, took 8-months of nasty criticism from Chargers mouthpiece Mark Fabiani,per the instructions of owner Dean Spanos.
It was just last month, after the mayor got strong concessions from Spanos, he has signed off supporting the deal. But nothing is signed and lawyers say they are concerned about the legality of a ‘trust us handshake’ with the Chargers.
At issue, cost over-runs, the city liability on issues and more Faulconer would go ahead with the hotel tax deal, believing the Chargers would not give back on their word.
The word of the Chargers, an issue unto itself.
The NFL team owner said he wished ‘last January’ had not occurred. I wonder what part of last January he meant. The scorecard is amazing.
Fabiani spends 9-months slurring the city-county consortium trying to put together the Q package.
The Chargers sign a partnership deal to develop an NFL Stadium in Carson with the Raiders.
The team lease options land in Santa Ana for a training facility.
It takes part in press conferences in Carson. It hires execs to run the campaign to the NFL office, saying they belong as the team in Los Angeles.
The NFL blows them out of the water, by a (30-2) vote, saying the Rams will pay for the new stadium and move to LA.
The Chargers are given a window to co-develop the sight at Hollywood Park, or just become a tenant. They sign a deal to go to LA if they don’t get the San Diego deal done.
Then they begin work on the downtown stadium here, without any input from any of the other key players, from the Mayor’s office to the most influential people in the business community.
What part of January do you regret the most Dean?
Add to that, he is not putting a penny of his own money into the project. The Chargers 350M comes from you and me buying PSL seats, and your business or my business buying the corporate sponsorship name.
End result, the long line of people stretched around the block against all this.
And Spanos wonders where he has gone wrong, and why he has no support.
The quagmire of the 66-percent state mandated vote vs the possibility of a 50% vote still remains unresolved too.
And by the way, good luck reading the 114-page booklet that describes Measure C. Chaos, confusion, complexities.
So when the polls close tonite, most think this fails badly.
Oh yes, Spanos has the right to move to Los Angeles and be a tenant in the Rams Stadium. But he still has to pay 550M territorial fee to make that happen…and most don’t think he has that money.
And by the way, the Rams own LA right now, emotionally, physically and financially.
Who can save this? The man in the white hat will show up, Mayor Faulconer, if the measure loses, needs to bring all parties into a room, and negotiate a deal that is good for all.
That involves the Hotel industry, the Convention Center people, Tourism (our number 1-industry here) and all the shakers and movers in our city. Whereas Spanos gave us a package he liked, Faulconer must give us a package that is good for all parties concerned.
Add in, the county should be part of this, for this team, is a regional asset. And there is City-County money there to be put in the pot, whether downtown at the new sight, or at the old Q-sight which has plenty of land available.
The Stadium Civil War, which has raged unstopped since 1998, needs to reach the cease-fire stage. Maybe it starts on Wednesday morning.
City leadership has let the fans, the town and the team down for a long time. Dean Spanos has let the same people down, not just with a poor product on the field, but by his actions over the last 9-months. The hostage situation, ‘we might move to LA’, ends tomorrow night at 1pm.
He’s failed in every effort to get a stadium built. No one is giving a stadium to a so-called rich man, especially that man. Credibility, leadership, past history, all of it bad, has gotten us to where we are this morning.
When San Diego is done voting tomorrow, then the real talking should start.
All the leverage belongs to the Mayor. The owner now has very little. The Chargers will likely invoke a media blackout, to ‘examine’ all their options. Press releases have already been prepared by the NFL team detailing whatever their new game plan is.
The real press release I want is the one from the real leader on the project, Team Faulconer.
Vote as you like. Be prepared to possibly vote again, next June, for that will likely be the real measure that gets a stadium built. Kevin Faulconer and Ron Roberts will get done what Dean Spanos-Mark Fabiani and Fred Maas did not.