Take Your Football Stadium and Shove It, Mr. Spanos!

by on December 8, 2016 · 0 comments

in Culture, Economy, Election, Environment, History, Politics, San Diego, Sports

san-diego-no-stadiumBy Doug Porter

These are extraordinary times, and for a passionate progressive like myself, it’s hard to look away from the Basket of Deplorables being assembled to run the country’s executive branch.

But for today we need to discuss something both local and deplorable. Another hair-brained idea to build a downtown stadium for the San Diego Chargers is making the rounds, coming out of a Wednesday sit-down between Mayor Kevin Faulconer and team owners Dean Spanos.

After getting his ass handed to him at the ballot box in 2016 (56% voted No on a stadium measure requiring two-thirds approval), Spanos is counting on a future court ruling lowering the threshold to a simple majority, and on Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s desire to have the Los Angeles market all to himself.

Now, according to NBC7, there’s a new plan:

According to Save Our Bolts the idea is this: The Chargers know the NFL wants to keep a team in America’s Finest City. The team thinks it is possible the league wants that badly enough that they would change their mind on allowing the Bolts to go immediately to Los Angeles, instead trying to find a way to keep them in San Diego.

That could include kicking in even more than the $350 million they pledged this year to help with Measure C, the Convadium initiative voted down by San Diegans in November.

That money could come from Rams owner Stan Kroenke himself, who would pay to, in essence, keep the Chargers and Chairman Dean Spanos (who is not on the best of terms with Kroenke) out of the L.A. market. By exercising the L.A. option the Chargers also clear what is likely the final hurdle to the Raiders announcing their intention to move to Las Vegas.

The league would likely say they want Kroenke to compensate Spanos for relinquishing Los Angeles for the next two years, as long as that money goes towards the construction of a new stadium in San Diego.

This deal still requires a hotel transient occupancy tax (TOT) increase to be approved by voters in 2018. The Chargers’ boosters talking to NBC7 seem to think a smaller rate hike might be more palatable to voters. And they’re counting on less opposition from local hoteliers, who’ve been fighting their own battles over the TOT.

The NBC story says “several members of the City Council are expected to put together a list of guiding principles; ideas and concepts they want to see during any stadium negotiations,” which means jockeying for political support has already begun.

Nowhere in the discussion of this latest stadium scheme are the actual needs and wants of San Diegans being considered. The assumption is being made that the city must have a privately owned sports franchise to the exclusion of any other needs.

So let me say this: take your stadium elsewhere. The last thing San Diego needs is a concrete monolith dropped into the East Village.

After discussing this latest development with local community activists, I can promise any City Councilperson signing on to a stadium deal will face protests aimed at them personally.

If we’re gonna raise taxes, getting affordable housing must be priority #1.

The tourists we already have are complaining about those unsightly humans forced to live on the streets by bad policy decisions made over the past two decades.

No longer are we talking about homelessness as a drug/alcohol/mental health/derelict problem (if it ever was). Residential hotels, once the housing of last resort, have seen a more than 50% decline in rooms available since 2013.

Developers building the skyscrapers replacing these facilities have been given a pass on their societal impact thanks to the ‘private-public partnerships overseeing such projects. Representatives of these organizations fall back on repeating easily disproven myths about outsiders taking advantage of the area’s mild climate when confronted over their shortcomings.

Now our grandparents are being forced out of their homes.

From Voice of San Diego:

The number of adults over 55 living on streets countywide more than doubled from 2015 to 2016, according to the annual January census by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless.

2-1-1 San Diego, which refers callers to services, reported a 64 percent spike in calls from seniors seeking help with housing needs between November 2015 and October 2016 – though it also saw similar increases across all age groups. Nonprofits that serve seniors say they’re hearing more concerns about housing costs and requests for housing aid.

But what further distinguishes San Diego’s senior homelessness problem from the broader challenge is that San Diego County’s overall senior population is poised to boom. SANDAG, the regional planning agency, has predicted the number of San Diegans over 55 will rise 55 percent between 2012 and 2035.

And this doesn’t even count the uncounted in the homeless equation, namely the unhoused women and children living off the kindness of friends.

While the Mayor and his cronies are enjoying fish tacos and craft beer as they scheme about dropping a 10 story high block of concrete into the heart of the city, the dispossessed and desperate are being hounded by the police and their private sector counterparts.

From the Union-Tribune:

San Diego police cited a dozen homeless people Tuesday morning for sleeping in tents on a sidewalk outside a small East Village church where some of them sing in a choir.

Police said complaints from residents and previous warnings by officers led to the citations issued outside the Living Water Church of Nazarene. Its pastor, however, questioned the enforcement.

“It undercuts all the good work we’re trying to do here,” Pastor Chris Nafis said.

His church offered space for choir rehearsals after the group was formed in August. Their practice culminated in a holiday concert that was attended by about 300 people Sunday.

Beyond the issue of not having a local social safety net, there are myriad reasons not to want a stadium downtown.

The political, cultural, economic, and environmental disruptions are simply not worth any possible benefit.

To Spanos and his supporters: You are warned. Any attempt at a downtown stadium or public subsidy for a sports franchise will run into fierce opposition.

Thank you to Michael McConnell, who continues to document San Diego’s homeless crisis and fight for solutions.


From the San Diego Free Press.


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