Chargers’ Stadium Dreams Destined to be Dashed

by on February 3, 2015 · 1 comment

in Culture, Economy, History, Labor, Media, Politics, San Diego, Sports

Qualcomm StadiumBy Doug Porter

The only thing more likely to be declared dead on arrival than any plan coming out of the newly ensconced Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group for San Diego is the budget proposal the President is sending to the Republican-controlled congress.

Today we’ll start out by looking at what the composition of the Faulconer’s task force tells us about the impossibility of their task….

On Friday Mayor Kevin Faulconer introduced a nine-member stadium task force including what UT-San Diego called “financial experts, prominent developers, longtime government leaders and a former Chargers executive.”

A tax increase or subsidy of some sort is already baked into the final results of this group’s work, since it’s task seems to be finding the most palatable solution to the Chargers’ stadium problem for historically tax-adverse San Diego voters.

From 10 News:

He [the mayor] said the group will develop, by this fall, a “real, tangible plan for a new stadium” that can be put before voters in 2016.

“That’s never been done before,” Faulconer said. “Yes, we’ve had renderings. Yes, we’ve had ideas floated about how you can possibly, maybe, fund it, but those aren’t plans. A plan is when somebody tells you this is where it’s going to go, this is how we’re going to build it, and most importantly, this is how it’s going to be paid for.”

UT-San Diego reported:

Faulconer said he tried to select a small and diverse group with the skills and experience to develop large-scale projects and the financing plans needed to get them built.

“This well-rounded group will be nimble enough to complete an analysis, develop plans and make recommendations by the fall of this year,” Faulconer said during a news conference next to Petco Park.

Let’s start with the adjective “diverse”.

Then there’s nimble.

From Voice of San Diego:

The group the mayor has assembled to figure out a proposal for a new Chargers stadium will be much different than the one that last met, more than a decade ago, on the same issue.

It will be secret.

It’s not an official city commission, so the group’s hearings will not be subject to open meetings laws and other similar restrictions. The mayor’s spokesman, Craig Gustafson, told me they don’t plan to meet in public at all. He said you can send an email if you want:

So it’s not a city commission but the city is, apparently, handling its email.

It turns out there’s a reason why the pubic won’t be invited to task force meetings.

stadium ruins10News/UT-San Diego commissioned a SurveyUSA poll asking questions about locations and financing for a new stadium. The bottom line here is, that while a majority of people think the stadium should remain in Mission Valley and the team will ultimately choose not to move elsewhere, a solid majority of the public wants nothing to do with paying for any deal. (63% No, 29% Yes, 8% Don’t Know)

Even 57% of those polled who called themselves Chargers fans opposed the idea of taxpayer financing. Other options, like giving the local NFL franchise tax breaks or donating publicly held property as part of any deal were opposed by respondents.

A UT San Diego business section article still held out hope for what even it admitted was a difficult situation for any proposal:

Yet weak public support hasn’t stopped lawmakers from subsidizing projects, partly because of heavy lobbying from industries that benefit. And politicians who promote projects are often out of office when the bills come due.

Fabiani, the Chargers spokesman, declined to tell me if the team has measured local public appetite for stadium funding.

He said the team regularly conducts surveys of various kinds, but has never disclosed results.

Here’s longtime observer Don Bauder’s take at the Reader:

The U-T editorialized today (January 31) that the task force on the Chargers stadium is “packed with the right mix of expertise.” Of course it is “packed” — just as all the other task forces and special committees are “packed” with corporate-welfare boosters. The task force’s job is to shift as much of the burden as possible on to taxpayers and steer the profits to the private sector — socialization of the risk and privatization of the gain.

My read on the situation is there is likely no path towards building a stadium. The Mayor’s choices for the Stadium Advisory Group reflect the political awareness that recognizes funding for a new football venue must end up behind infrastructure repairs and an expanded convention center.

While the proposed economic benefits of an expansion of the convention center are as sketchy as those of a new football venue, San Diego’s hoteliers are a potent political force.

The prospect of the football team leaving must be tempered by the reality that any move to Los Angeles would likely entail the Spanos family giving up a percentage of their ownership, something they appear unwilling to do.

Finally, there are the various alternative financing ideas floating around that should be addressed. The County has money, we’re told. The Airport Authority and SANDAG might be tapped.

Pigs will fly before any of those organizations part with their stash of taxpayer cash.


This is an excerpt from Doug Porter’s daily column at our online media partner, San Diego Free Press.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

UNwashedWallmartThonG February 3, 2015 at 1:12 pm

Were I to stitch wings onto pigs, what type of sutures should I use?


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