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Must Read: A New Stadium Article on UT's Insight Front Page!

Discussion in 'American Football' started by csfoster, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. csfoster

    csfoster BoltTalker

    Sep 10, 2005
    Finally, the Union Tribune in Sunday's Insight Section has stepped up to publish something other than routine unopionated new stadium updates.

    For the general public's public consideration, the UT has allowed Dan Shea of the Fans, Taxpayers, and Business Alliance the opportunity to provide the proper perspective on what has and should have happened the last 5 years and now what needs to happen in order for the San Diego Region to retain an established major regional asset in a fiscally responsible way for the economic and social benefit of the region as a whole:

    The strategic thinking on this critical issue posted by a great many of us has finally been articulated and broadcasted for the general public's consumption

    Stadium plays

    With the city doing nothing, the remaining options lie outside its boundaries

    By Dan Shea
    San Diego Union Tribune
    February 4, 2007

    After five years of debate over a new stadium for the Chargers, reasonable people should be able to agree on four basic conclusions:

    First, no one should be surprised that this has taken five years and counting. The Chargers are trying to do something that has never been done before: Privately finance an NFL stadium and the surrounding infrastructure at a cost of more than $1 billion. Most other teams in the NFL have gotten new, revenue-producing stadiums because the taxpayers in their cities have paid for them. The fact that the Chargers are trying to do something unprecedented explains why this process has been so long and difficult.

    The city of San Diego is completely dysfunctional on the Charger issue. This dysfunction is obvious to anyone who follows the issue even casually: From the ranting and ravings of City Attorney Mike Aguirre, to the mayor's declaration that he doesn't have the time for this, to the bogus PR announcements of a joint powers authority that was never even formed, the city of San Diego has completely eliminated any chance for a new stadium and multibillion-dollar development being built within city limits.

    The Chargers truly do want to remain in San Diego. When this process began years ago, there were many skeptics. But most of these skeptics have disappeared by now in the face of the millions of dollars spent by the Chargers in search of solutions (including more than $200,000 in January to pay for the work of a Chula Vista consultant), the team's elimination of the ticket guaranty, and the decision to return the Chargers' training camp to San Diego.

    The cities of Chula Vista, National City and Oceanside deserve much credit for boldly proposing a regional solution to this issue. These three cities are doing what the city of San Diego should have done long ago: Sit across the table from a business that wants to invest several billion dollars into the community and figure out whether it makes sense for the public to make a deal.

    So now that these basic conclusions have been reached, the question is how do we move forward? Let's review. We have three cities in the county that have basically said they are interested in discussing this issue. National City provided the political leadership to begin a process that has been so evidently absent in recent years in the city of San Diego. National City didn't poke anyone in the eye in the media, it didn't make big, boisterous counterproductive statements, and it didn't promise it could do anything except have a dialogue and see what might work and what might not work.

    This is about exploring what is possible, not killing the idea before having the discussion. At the end of the day, if we give it our best try, and it doesn't work, at least we tried. There are pros and cons in National City, just as there are on all potential sites. But a citizens' survey showed strong support from the people of National City for a stadium, and the City Council seems to have the political will to take it as far as it can. So stay tuned.

    Chula Vista, through the leadership of Councilman John McCann initially, and now Mayor Cheryl Cox, has said very similar things. In effect: “We don't know, but, until we determine that it's not possible, let's see what happens.” Pretty simple, right? It is all about having the discussion, analyzing the facts, and allowing the public to decide whether it would work. Chula Vista has multiple stadium site possibilities, but with those come multiple challenges. If the Chargers ask for something that would not work, the process should stop there. If the community wants something that can't be part of the development, the Chargers would not be able to go forward. Although complex in its entirety, it still isn't brain surgery. Either the numbers will work or they will not.

    Oceanside, much the same as the other two cities, has also taken a very practical approach. It is asking, “What are the facts, what do you need from us, and what are you going to do for us?” Those are the right questions – and they are three questions more than the city of San Diego has asked the Chargers in the last several years.

    So, at least after five years, we now have parties that are working cooperatively together in an attempt to find a solution. What should this solution look like? It seems clear that any solution would have to be based on these five principles:

    First, the stadium must be privately financed, which is just what the Chargers have proposed to do. (I am always surprised when I hear San Diego politicians excuse their inaction by saying, “We don't have the money,” when in fact the Chargers have offered to finance the stadium privately and are paying for the government staff time and for the consultants for Chula Vista.)

    Second, the county of San Diego must play a key role. So far what little the county has done has been mostly counterproductive, including Supervisor Dianne Jacob questioning whether the Chargers want to stay in San Diego in the face of mountains of evidence that they do. Jacob has also set things back by continuing to advocate for a regional sports center on the Qualcomm Stadium site without offering a single idea for how to pay for it – and by trying to exclude National City and Chula Vista from the mythical joint powers authority that the city and county grandly announced. If the county wants to get past the posturing and rhetoric, it could do much by helping to facilitate privately backed construction loans at favorable interest rates, supporting the creation of redevelopment districts, and helping to support infrastructure improvements that would have public benefits beyond the immediate needs of a stadium.

    Third, we must start thinking in unconventional ways. For example, there is no reason why the private sector's profit-making, stadium-financing development project needs to be on the same site as the stadium. And there's no reason why the revenue-generating development even needs to be in the same city as the stadium. Other American metropolises have found regional solutions to their stadium issues. We can do so here in the San Diego area – even with the chronic dysfunction at the city of San Diego level.

    Fourth, the city of San Diego must play a role at the eleventh hour (no one expects the city to do much, so it shouldn't be difficult to exceed those expectations). This is especially true when you realize how dramatically San Diego taxpayers would benefit if the Chargers find another home in the county. The $19 million a year that San Diego residents now pay to maintain and operate the increasingly decrepit Qualcomm Stadium would disappear. And the city would have 166 acres of land to develop, or to sell, or better utilize. Any way you look at it, the city of San Diego is the big winner in any regional solution, and the city is going to have to find a meaningful way to help make this regional solution happen.

    Fifth, San Diego State University – another party from whom little has been expected or demanded – must also play a key role. SDSU needs to expand, but its current plans are badly bogged down because of community opposition. Surely there is a way for San Diego State – in return for favorable lease terms at a new stadium that could mean new revenue for the university's sports programs each year – to perhaps re-orient some of its planned expansion to a welcoming community such as Chula Vista.

    Can this all work out in the end?

    Of course it can. We have an NFL owner who wants to keep his team here and is willing to organize the investment of more than a billion private dollars to make that happen – even though the team could undoubtedly be a lot more profitable in a larger city. We have three cities in San Diego County that are working hard to assess the impact and potential rewards for their respective communities and have put more information together in the last five months than the city of San Diego has in the last five years.

    And while it is true that the Chargers are trying something that is completely unprecedented – the private financing of an NFL stadium – I hope the people of our region haven't been so beaten down by the scandals and political bungling and reckless rhetoric that we have lost our ability to think about and do big things. This is a great community. Much lesser cities all around the country solve similar stadium, ballpark and arena dilemmas to the benefit of both teams and taxpayers. There is simply no reason why we can't do the same here in the San Diego region.

    Shea is a co-founder of the Fans, Taxpayers and Business Alliance, an organization dedicated to keeping the Chargers in San Diego in a fiscally responsible way.

    RMANCIL Well-Known Member

    Mar 13, 2006
    I am sorry but am I the only person who is not getting the point in this paragraph?

    It looks like the author needs to elaborate a bit on this vision for at least a few of us more simple minded folks.

    I think that his continuing criticism of several public officials and or bodies while perhaps justified will not have the desired effect of winning them over and having them join the fight in a cooperative and inventive spirit which clearly needs to happen.

    I think beating the dead horse serves no real purpose in the end if you discount self gratification.

    Perhaps some cleaver minded individuals might sally forth with a plan that has some merit for debate. I hope that the Chargers can stay in S.D. county but for that to happen some road blocks must be eliminated. Time to stop crying about the spilt milk and get the dam cow in the barn and back on track.
  3. csfoster

    csfoster BoltTalker

    Sep 10, 2005
    For the most part I agree with you that it is time to move on. But I must also say that I truly appreciate the fact that what was stated in the article in reference to the City of San Diego and to a lesser extent the County of San Diego, all of which is more than less representative of the thinking of a great many Bolts Fans, has now been read and hopefully understood as basic truth by a great many citizens who are not Bolts Fans.

    In regard to having different parts of the project located in different areas of the County, although it ultimately may prove to be necessary due to land size constraints, I believe that the greatest economic, fiscal, and community impact would be realized by having the entire project at one site and this is one of the reasons I viewed Qualcomm as the best site for it.

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