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There is still a split among San Diegans. It was the establishment that pushed to have the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. With politicians in their pockets, they mowed down opponents. Preparing the course for the tournament is depriving many people, locals and tourists alike, from playing the beautiful layout. “Torrey Pines North has been closed to 18-hole play since early February,” says Paul Spiegelman, who has battled on behalf of local golfers. “There has been some 9-hole play. But it closed to 9-hole play on May 18 [and will stay closed until] July 1 and will not return to 18-hole play until probably September 1 because of all the damage done by the U.S. Open using the North Course for corporate and merchandising tents and an operations staging area.” Revenue will fall. The City of San Diego will actually lose money on the tournament, says Spiegelman.

Of course, if the Open is exciting and generates such a huge audience that the golf industry shows signs of bottoming out, San Diego could feel an upswing. But a continued mild downswing is more likely.

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Fred Williams June 13, 2008 @ 9:10 a.m.

Back to the subject of golf subsidies:

http://www.reason.com/blog/show/126990.html

Funny and revoluting simultaneously...

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Fred Williams June 4, 2008 @ 2:53 p.m.

It continues to astound me how fixated on sports and tourism we are as a city.

Other places focus on how to build manufacturing, trades, and jobs that provide a good living.

But here in sunny San Diego, we seem to be continually subsidising a leisure society. The well-heeled are treated well, while the working folks who support the economy are ignored. We subsidize sports events that cost hundreds of dollars just to watch, and close pools and libraries to pay for this generosity to the wealthy.

I've played golf a few times, and was bored out of my mind. It's so pointless and wasteful. How could anyone who cares about the environment feel comfortable knowing that thousands of gallons of water are being squandered growing grass, while we are in a severe shortage?

And the city owns these courses?

Why?

It doesn't seem to benefit the city, but to be yet another gift to the haves from the have-nots. I guess in a winner-take-all society, the devil truly takes the hindmost. But would a similar amount of money invested in City Heights be better spent?

Well, what do I know? I guess since I think books and education are more important than golf, baseball, or football, I'm just an oddball.

Still, I fear that there will be hell to pay some day soon for wasting our resources pampering the well-off. We'll have a two-tiered society, with a small sliver at the top enjoying the servitude of the masses of waiters and waitresses who can barely afford rent in San Diego, and watch their children sink into a culture of violence and envy.

It sure looks to me like this US Open bet depends on one single man having a healthy knee. If so, we might break even. If not, we lose yet more money subsidising sports of the past instead of investing in our future.

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Don Bauder June 5, 2008 @ 7:33 a.m.

Response to post #1: You make several excellent points. First, the establishment's intense desire to subsidize billionaire pro sports owners is clearly one reason that the infrastructure is in such bad shape. San Diego already has a two-tier society: the rich and the rest of the people. This is more pronounced in San Diego than in most other cities. The system of government is more like a plutocracy, or even a cashocracy, than a democracy, as elections show. Best, Don Bauder

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qqqqqjim June 5, 2008 @ 12:26 p.m.

Great article, Don!

I think the last time San Diego promoted something like this was when the City hosted the America's Cup races. Of course we all know that yachting is a working man's sport. When someone from out-of-town recently asked me what was the major industry in San Diego besides tourism, I couldn't come up with an answer. Maybe you know, but damned if I could think of anything other than Qualcomm. San Diego has to be the only major city in the country that makes a big deal out of a new company locating here that will eventually employ maybe 50 people. Probably makes the front page of the Union Tribune along with a bunch of other worthless 'news' items.

Jim Fawcett

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Don Bauder June 5, 2008 @ 2:25 p.m.

Response to post #3: Yes, San Diego subsidized the America's Cup -- a sport for the superrich if there ever was one. The U.S. Open is not quite the same, but similar. As to San Diego's major industries, there are some surprises. For example, San Diego is one of the biotech centers of the U.S. But biotech jobs provide only 2 percent of county employment. Telecom is a large employer. Of course, the military and other government entities are very large employers. Tourism is quite large, although the pay is generally poor. Generally speaking, one of the largest employers is private sector services. By and large, this represents people doing each other's laundry. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas June 5, 2008 @ 4:25 p.m.

For example, San Diego is one of the biotech centers of the U.S.

But only since the late 90's has biotech taken off in San Diego.

I think we could get a larger business base-but I think it would have to be home grown, with the City and County doing a better job of keeping start up's here happy.

San Diego does have a fairly decent sized TV/Film industry. We also have the largest military port in the world, although all government, it brings in huge dollars-and it is not getting outsourced anywhere.

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Russ Lewis June 5, 2008 @ 4:52 p.m.

Jim and Don, what I hear from SANDAG, I think, is that San Diego's biggest industry is not tourism, as is commonly believed, but manufacture, with biotech being a good chunk of that. If that's wrong, somebody tell me.

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anony_mous June 5, 2008 @ 5:17 p.m.

Actually, Johnny, NNB Norfolk is the largest naval station and, based on the number of military personnel it supports, the largest military station in the world. Remember NAB Coronado and NAS North Island aren't considered to be part of NAVSTA San Diego. Even if you include the Naval Submarine Base over on Pt. Loma, NNB Norfolk is about twice as big.

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Don Bauder June 5, 2008 @ 8:36 p.m.

Response to post #6: In the last report from the Employment Development Department, the county had 101,300 employed in manufacturing. There were 1.12 million in services, ten times more. There were 163,100 in leisure and hospitality. SANDAG is no doubt talking about economic output when it says manufacturing is largest. That's not the same as employment. But manufacturing has been shrinking alarmingly in San Diego, even more so than in the U.S. Best, Don Bauder

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anony_mous June 5, 2008 @ 10 p.m.

According to a 2007 Ernst & Young review, the biotech industry's U.S. public companies lost $277 million in 2007, compared to a $5.6 billion overall loss in 2006. San Diego has The countries 3rd largest group of publicly traded biotechnology companies at 42 firms, behind the San Francisco Bay Area with 77 and New England with 62. However,the region also had the distinction of having its publicly traded biotechs post the largest combined loss of any region in the country at nearly $1.5 billion. That compares with a loss of $755 million for New England companies and a profit of $2.65 billion for Bay Area firms. According to the most recent data I could find, the median salary for bioscience workers in the U.S. is about $70,000. With around 40,000 jobs, that is putting a decent chunk of change into the economy. But with a cost of living index north of 180 and a cost of housing still more than twice the national average, it's still expensive to live in San Diego even at that salary.

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Don Bauder June 6, 2008 @ 8:08 a.m.

Response to post #9; Biotech salaries are definitely higher. But the money amassed in biotechs comes from insiders and venture capitalists getting filthy rich on the initial public offering of biotech stocks. They get the shares for a penny or two apiece. After Wall Street runs the stock up, they start dumping with the stock at $30 or $60 a share. The prominent biotech people who get written up with the Beautiful People have probably gotten rich dumping stock in a biotech that eventually failed. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas June 6, 2008 @ 11:57 a.m.

Actually, Johnny, NNB Norfolk is the largest naval station.

Did I say Naval Station or port????

San Diego has the largest MILITARY port in the world. Bar none.

We have North Island, 32nd STreet, The OTL in I.B., Miramar (OK, a little inland), SPAWAR, Point Loma, Sub base-add em all up- the BIGGEST by far.

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Don Bauder June 6, 2008 @ 12:49 p.m.

Response to post #11: The military's presence helps the economy. The real estate industry quietly covets the land owned by the military. But if that land became a real estate development, it would boost the economy one time, in construction. But not very much afterward. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 8, 2008 @ 1:52 p.m.

Response to post #13: Water could be the bete noire of San Diego's golf craze.Even though the courses may use recycled water now, that could be in short supply. Best, Don Bauder

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Fred Williams June 8, 2008 @ 1:04 p.m.

The UT today ran a paeon to golf and it's unquestioned goodness. I was almost as nauseating as Matt Hall's fluffer piece on Sanders.

No mention of how much the city spends on golf each year. While we cut back on pools and swimming programs for inner-city kids, we can lavish money on a sport for the elite.

Guess that drought doesn't bother golfers who demand freshly watered and manicured greens. Lawn farming is where the city spends its money, instead of libraries, roads, and ensuring the future water supplies for the city.

Gotta pamper the wealthy, after all. They're the ones who write the campaign checks, so they must be served. If they want golf, they get golf. We can ignore the corruption, mismanagement, and militarization of our police forces. Golf is more important.

What's that?

We're still woefully unprepared for firestorms?

Well, at least we've got golf to save us!

Huh? Still over two billion in the hole on our finances?

Let's go play a round or two! Scott Peters will be out there every Friday, since it's more interesting and important than actually studying what he's voting on.

Yep. We sure have the city "back on track".

Unfortunately, that track is heading into a long dark tunnel, and the light that is coming toward us isn't from the sunshine, but from another speeding train called the economy. And it might be too late to switch tracks now.

Trainwreck alert anyone?

Nah, let's play golf instead.

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Don Bauder June 11, 2008 @ 8:36 a.m.

Response to post #15: That sad fact not only highlights the power of TV: it shows how pro sports is considered far more important than academics in San Diego. No one should be surprised at that. Best, Don Bauder

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MarkScha June 10, 2008 @ 8:09 p.m.

One more data point to show the power of television: UCSD is delaying commencement by a week to accomodate the US Open at Torrey Pines.

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anony_mous June 11, 2008 @ 11:47 a.m.

Response to 11: Have to disagree with you JV. You said military PORT. By your "list", you are speaking in general terms in regards to the military facilities. So are you referring to military port facilities or military facilities in general, because your "list " includes both. For someone who claims to be a lawyer, you seem to not pay attention to your own details on occasion. How many of the facilities you mentioned fall into the port catagory??? I don't believe Miramar, NAS NI, IB, ect are really military port facilities, do you? Each "port facility" currently has 14 working piers although Norfolk has an additional 6 not being used. 78 ships are ported in Norfolk, 56 in San Diego. The port facilities in San Diego are not the biggest. If you want to compare NAVSTAs as a whole, Norfolk is almost 3 times bigger in area. According to DoD,based on supported military population, it is the largest military station in the world. So if what you are really talking about is how much money come in to the local economy, I think the fact that Norfolk supports the largest military population gives you the answer. If you want to compare all of the facilities in the general 32nd St area to all of the faciities in the Norfolk area, they are about the same size. And of course, if your just trying to prove your point with complete disregard to logic by comparing all of the facilities in San Diego county to prove your point, then of course San Diego is larger due to the facilities at Miramar and El Centro.

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Don Bauder June 12, 2008 @ 7:50 a.m.

Response to post #17: I await Johnny's response. Actually, the subject of just how much the military contributes to the San Diego economy is worth a detailed and objective study, since the real estate industry covets those bases. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 13, 2008 @ 12:42 p.m.

Response to post #19: Well, $500,000 is better than the $300 million given the Padres, owned by a near-billionaire. Best, Don Bauder

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