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On August 26, Solana Beach–based (W)right On Communications, a public relations firm, announced results of a poll of 375 county residents: 63 percent of county residents would oppose the City of San Diego funding construction of a new Chargers stadium.

Two-thirds of the 63 percent would oppose public funding even if that means the Chargers would move to Los Angeles.

The results were similar in the city: 59 percent oppose the subsidization of a stadium, and 59 percent of the opponents would thumb it down even if the Chargers would depart.

Hamish Marshall, director of research and analytics at (W)right On, was surprised by the results.

On August 28, SB Nation, an online blog that is all about sports and definitely in favor of sports, declared, upon reading the poll, "The chances of the Chargers getting a new stadium using public money are somewhere between slim and none." Says SB, "Very simply, San Diego doesn't have the money to undertake a project of that magnitude (both size and cost)." The City "doesn't stand a chance" of getting a two-thirds vote to raise the taxes necessary, says SB.

"San Diego residents are still smarting over what they perceive as a 'bait and switch' regarding the construction of Petco Park and the promises of a competitive Padres team," says SB, also citing the "long and often contentious history between the Chargers and City," such as the ticket guarantee and blackouts. However, SB thinks the results might be different if the Chargers plunked in $250 million, the league put in $250 million, naming rights added $150 million to $200 million and the structure were a football-only facility costing $800 million to $850 million.

Is SB kidding? — $800 million to $850 million? Santa Clara's subsidized football-only stadium for the 49ers cost $1.3 billion. If a retractable roof were added to a new San Diego stadium so it could double as a convention facility, you can add on another $150 million to $200 million.

On August 29, the Union-Tribune had a two-paragraph item on the (W)right On poll buried in a political column. A former U-T copy editor commented, "Had this appeared on the front page of Sports, with serious headline treatment, heads would have rolled. Ask Tim Sullivan."

(Tim Sullivan was an excellent U-T sports columnist who took a balanced approach to stadium subsidies, although he didn't oppose them. When John Lynch took over as chief executive of the U-T, he announced that any sportswriter had to lead cheers for a new Chargers stadium. Sullivan was fired.)

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Comments

Visduh Sept. 1, 2014 @ 5:14 p.m.

There is some small reason for hope here. The locals don't want to pay for a stadium that benefits the uber-rich Spanos gang. BUT, if/when this thing goes on the ballot, the voters will be told, with a straight face, that it will cost the city/county/them (take your pick) nothing at all. Why, ha ha, this is just a legal formality we have to go through before we put (your pick) on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars going forward a hundred years.

Worse yet would be an end-run around the voters, with the pols putting government on the hook while proclaiming that they aren't doing that at all. That's what I expect the Spanos gang and the band of sycophants to try.

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Don Bauder Sept. 1, 2014 @ 5:52 p.m.

Visduh: Another poll has come out. I will summarize it below. It also shows San Diegans opposed to putting public money in a stadium for the Chargers.

Your points are good. Yes, voters will be told the stadium or stadium/convention center will cost nothing -- the same lie that was told about Petco Park. The proponents will outspend opponents 100 to 1 or more. Still, if two-thirds are needed, it might not pass. If they tried a vote with a simple majority, various groups would want to get their mitts on that money, so I doubt they would try 50 percent plus 1.

After the court decision on the convention center, I don't know that the corporate welfare gang would try an end-run around voters, but you never know. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 1, 2014 @ 5:58 p.m.

SECOND POLL ALSO SHOWS SAN DIEGANS AGAINST PUBLIC SUBSIDY OF CHARGERS STADIUM. Another poll is out -- by USA News Poll. Respondents are asked "Should public money be used to finance a new stadium for the Chargers?" Answer: 47 percent no and 36 percent yes.

There were other interesting questions. Asked if Chargers game tickets were too expensive, 80 percent said yes. Respondents were asked how many Chargers games they intended to go to this year: 48 percent said none and 22 percent said one.

The Chargers could be pleased with some responses. A full 38 percent think the Chargers will make it to the playoffs this season but not make it to the Super Bowl. But 14 percent think the Chargers will win the Super Bowl. Asked if they were fans of the Chargers, 64 percent said yes and 34 percent said no. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Sept. 1, 2014 @ 7:08 p.m.

Those results point out the irrationality of the sports fan; he loves the team yet can distrust the owner of the team. That is as if there were a real difference. ALL pro sports tickets are too expensive, but now that the players are pulling down tens of millions a year, something has to pay the bills. I also recall from so long ago how many guys who had never, as in not once, attended a Charger game, yet seemed to live and die on the basis of the team's record. So, there's a huge emotional factor in all this controversy, one that muddles attitudes. Those answers to pollsters can be misleading when it come to asking fans to head to the polling place and vote. Strange things can happen,

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Don Bauder Sept. 1, 2014 @ 9:20 p.m.

Visduh: Exactly. That is why -- in San Diego and cities across the country -- you see the politicians voting for the massive subsidies that can't be afforded. The pols know that fanatical team followers will come out and vote as a powerful bloc; they will smash the pols who don't vote for the subsidy. These pro owners -- (18 of 32 NFL owners are billionaires) -- have the people wrapped around their very fat fingers. Best, Don Bauder

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Duhbya Sept. 2, 2014 @ 10:01 a.m.

As the gentle Giant (John Q. Public) begins to rouse from its long and deep slumber, there are glimmers of hope appearing on the horizon. NFL - Nonstop Frigging Lying.

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 12:31 p.m.

Duhbya: Welcome back. Excellent acronym. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Sept. 1, 2014 @ 8:36 p.m.

I think the Chargers are pissing into the wind if they think that a combination convention center/stadium will be built in San Diego. The CC will be expanded eventually (who knows why, with the glut of convention space), and any new stadium will be an open-air facility, and built more than likely adjacent to the current stadium (how it will be paid for is anyone's guess, since the Chargers want a "public contribution"--what a nice term--of 60-65% of the total cost). Hold onto your wallets, boys and girls.

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Don Bauder Sept. 1, 2014 @ 9:24 p.m.

aardvark: In general, the taxpayer subsidy is 70 to 80 percent of the total cost. This has been determined in superb studies by Harvard's Judith Grant Long. I fear you are right: the convention center will be expanded despite the national glut, and a 75 percent-subsidized stadium will be built for the Chargers, despite the city's grave fiscal condition.

I fear you are right, but outcomes of polls such as this give me hope that neither will happen. The money will be spent on infrastructure and critical services. I hope. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Sept. 2, 2014 @ 9:30 a.m.

Don: I was mentioning the numbers that Charger spokesman Mark Fabiani mentioned. The 70-80% figure is undoubtedly more accurate.

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 12:34 p.m.

aardvark: One of the points that Judith Grant Long makes -- and others have made it before she did -- is that original estimates of how much the subsidized stadium will cost are always extremely low. And the estimates of how much the owners will put in the pot are always high. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Sept. 1, 2014 @ 9:56 p.m.

I believe that in the next 12-18 months, the NFL will announce it's return to Los Angeles. There will be 2 teams, one of which will be the Raiders. Right now it's almost a tossup as to whether the other will be the Rams or the Chargers, with the Rams holding a slight edge.

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 7:31 a.m.

danfogel: You may be right. The owner of the St. Louis Rams (once the L.A. Rams) has bought L.A. land that could be suitable for a stadium. The contract St. Louis gave the Rams forces the city to keep the stadium "state of the art." That's impossible. Once again, St. Louis will be deserted by a NFL team. (The Arizona Cardinals left earlier.)

The Oakland Raiders might desert Oakland. The team has done it before -- going to L.A. until Oakland finally caved in and bribed it to come back. Oakland can't afford a new stadium, just as San Diego can't. The NFL doesn't care; it only cares about owner profits. It is always thumbing its nose at communities. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Sept. 2, 2014 @ 8:45 a.m.

don bauder, the Cardinals played in Chicago, and for far longer, before they deserted that city for St. Louis. They left because they couldn't compete with the Bears...and because they got close to $20million in yearly in ticket and concession incentives to play at Sun Devil Stadium.

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 9:14 a.m.

danfogel: Exactly. The Cardinals began in Chicago. Do you know who helped finance both the Bears and the Cardinals? Al Capone. The Bidwill family, which still owns the Arizona Cardinals, was tight with Chicago hoods back in those days.

In the book "Interference: How Organized Crime Influences Professional Football," states, "Charles W. Bidwill, a bootlegger, gambler, racetrack owner, and an associate of the Al Capone mob in Chicago, bought the Chicago Cardinals in 1933 for $2000." Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Sept. 2, 2014 @ 9:42 a.m.

Actually, I think Bidwell was an officer with the Cardinals at the time. The 2K was actually just the down payment, because that was all the cash he had in the pocket at the time. According to what I read, the full price was $50k. Bidwell supposedly had been trying to buy the Bears, or at least he wanted to, but Papa Bear wouldn't sell. So the sale wasn't announced until the next year so he could get rid of his Bear stock.

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 12:38 p.m.

danfogel: My source doesn't agree with the $50k figure, but my source could be wrong. Yes, Bidwill had to give up his stock in the Bears to buy the Cardinals. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Sept. 2, 2014 @ 8:32 p.m.

If by your source, you mean the book you cited, I don't know as I've never read it. I know it's the store I've known for quite a while; I probably originally read it when the Cards were moving to Tempe, probably in the Arizona Republic. But since the story as I remember it is also on the Arizona Cardinals website, I'll go ahead and believe it. I have read some of Moldea's work. In this particular case, if you remember, Moldea filed suit against the Times, alleging defamation and false light invasion of privacy, because he didn't like the York Times Book Review, which was highly unfavorable, saying in part that the book was " was marred by "too much sloppy journalism." In the end, after all of the appeals were done, the court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the New York Times Company. That lawsuit, by an author who didn't like a review, reminded me of the little leaguer who argues a called third strike. Nobody wants that kid on their team next time around.

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 9:43 p.m.

danfogel: I was disappointed that Moldea took such umbrage at a negative review and fought so hard. But I don't think the book is sloppily reported at all. In fact, it is heavily footnoted, and accurately so. I have always been a little suspicious of that negative review in the Times. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Sept. 1, 2014 @ 10:15 p.m.

Even some of the local sports radio guys now admit that Moores scammed the city and didn't deliver on his promise to make the Padres competitive after Prop C. The Padres are getting a lot of bad P.R. now due to naming part of the stadium to honor former MLB Commisioner Bug Selig. Hartman and Costa (on XTRA) were blasting the Padres pretty bad for this and even seemed to admit that the decade+ since Prop. C the Padres haven't tried very hard to put a winning product on the field.

Hartman and Costa are still ardent supporters of a new football stadium (as are virtually all local sports radio hosts). But at least there seems to be an honest appraisal of whether or not the Prop. C promises were met.

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 7:35 a.m.

ImJustABill: The Padres never intended to keep its promises. John Moores promised a winning team, then dumped his best players as soon as he had won the election. He promised that he would not raise prices and then did so as soon as the new ballpark opened. Such moves are part of the subsidized stadium scam.

When will the public figure out how this works? Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Sept. 2, 2014 @ 9:35 a.m.

Ah yes--the new BS Plaza. XTRA doesn't really care about the Padres anyway, since they don't broadcast the Padres games. They DO, on the other hand, broadcast the Charger games, and to keep those games, they will continue to be Charger (and new football stadium) honks.

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 12:40 p.m.

aardvark: I think a sports-talk show is going to favor a massive subsidization for a stadium. The announcers and owners are looking out for their own interests. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Sept. 1, 2014 @ 11:04 p.m.

It would be a lot cheaper to convert Petco Park into a dual-use baseball/football stadium. I am sure the conversion could be done on a shoe string budget. Petco Park should never have been built in the first place. But if it had to be built, it should have been constructed as a dual-use stadium from the get go. That way both the Chargers and Padres could help the city pay the bonds. I want to see Comic-Con, the Padres, and the Chargers leave San Diego for greener pastures. I also want the city to shut down the Over the Line Tournament by not allowing Fiesta Island to be used for such an idiotic purpose.

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 7:43 a.m.

Burwell: The only dual-use stadium that I can think of is the one in Oakland. I agree that Petco should never have been built. The Padres now have a juicy contract that I doubt would permit regular-season NFL football usage.

If Petco would have been made a dual-use stadium, I doubt the Chargers and Padres would have been much help paying off the bonds. That's just not the way the subsidized stadium scam works. The team says it is putting in money through naming rights and advertising rights. But think of this: why should the team claim naming and ad rights? Shouldn't the city be credited with those rights? As I said, it is a complete scam. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Sept. 2, 2014 @ 9:08 a.m.

Actually, Petco can't be converted into into a dual use stadium. While it has been used for both soccer and rugby, even in it's original design, the field cannot meet the NFL's requirements for field, sideline and end-line dimensions. I vaguely recall reading someplace that this was an intentional design feature.

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 9:16 a.m.

danfogel: The question is whether it can be converted. I would not be surprised if the Padres built it specifically so that could never happen. I once watched a football game in Wrigley Field and it was awful. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Sept. 2, 2014 @ 9:55 a.m.

don bauder, As I said, it can't be converted. Now I suppose if you want to renovate, meaning tear down and reconstruct parts of the stadium to accommodate football at the cost of tens of millions, and call it a "conversion", well I guess you can call that whatever you want. On occasion, we went up to Anaheim for a Rams game. The "Big A" was a good baseball stadium before the Rams, and a very good stadium after the remodel back to baseball only, but as a football field in a baseball stadium, it absolutely sucked. BTW, the Bears played at Wrigley for almost 50 yrs. I'm not surprised you didn't like an outdoor football game in Chicago in the winter. But then again, you don't like pro football. When was the that time you went to an NFL game. Surely you must have seen a few Charger games. We may have even both been at the same ones. LOL

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 12:44 p.m.

danfogel: I went to one Bears game at Wrigley Field and one Chargers game at Qualcomm. The seats were terrible at both games. That's all the pro games I have seen live. However, hypocrite that I am, I watch college and pro football on television. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Sept. 2, 2014 @ 9:27 a.m.

I believe in the MOU the Padres have with the city, it specifically states that football (at least the game we know as football) cannot be played in Petco Park.

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 12:46 p.m.

aardvark: It is certainly possible that this provision is in the MOU. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Sept. 2, 2014 @ 3:03 p.m.

Don: Specifically, from the MOU; "No amateur or professional football games shall be played at the ballpark...". From section 22, subsection C, 3rd paragraph, 1st sentence.

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 3:10 p.m.

aardvark: That would seem to ice the case. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 5:09 p.m.

monoghan: Burwell is one of the most astute contributors to this blog. He doesn't have to be fun. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Sept. 2, 2014 @ 7:40 a.m.

seems like the more the begging for a new stadium is in the news, the less people will be in favor of the scheme .

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 7:48 a.m.

Murphyjunk: I hope you are right. Best, Don Bauder

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CaptainObvious Sept. 2, 2014 @ 10:14 a.m.

That's why they will probably do something sneaky, like when they expanded the Murph Stadium seating. Pro sports teams should pay for using public facilities, not just for naming rights. What would a fair rent be? If they want to build their own stadiums, let them.

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 12:48 p.m.

CaptainObvious; Since 18 of the 32 NFL owners are billionaires, the only fair thing would be a law requiring that NO public money go into a pro sports facility. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard Sept. 2, 2014 @ 3:36 p.m.

Keep an eye on the present Stadium land, in the first Charger proposal, development there was supposed to cover the whole cost, with the Stadium remaining on the site. Real estate prices dropped, and the Chargers dropped the proposal. Even when considering moving to Oceanside, the Chargers asked San Diego City to toss in millions, because of the supposed benefit of razing a well designed and perfectly functional stadium, and replacing it with a giant condominium complex. Very likely the proposal will be financed with a low ball sale of City property to the Spanos Family, and they will claim the taxpayers will pay nothing, even as they pay everything in land, and give a tip besides.

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aardvark Sept. 2, 2014 @ 5 p.m.

But that sale would have to be approved by a vote of the city electorate, per the city charter. Assuming that the city doesn't try to side-step that little requirement.

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 5:13 p.m.

aardvark: After the appellate court decision on the convention center, even the corporate welfare crowd that runs the city will think twice before trying to dodge a public vote. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 5:11 p.m.

Psycholizard: And anybody who points out that the citizenry is getting the shaft will be reviled. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard Sept. 2, 2014 @ 7:10 p.m.

They might try a hundred year lease. If memory serves, a simple majority passes a land sale, unlike a tax. Spanos would have to be sure of the financing, and that might not be easy. There is a condo glut right now.

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2014 @ 9:47 p.m.

Psycholizard: It's possible the downtown corporate welfare crowd will decide on a 50 percent-plus-one vote. But then others in the community, such as police and fire representatives, could come in and demand a piece of the action. If the backers want a special tax with a specific purpose, then the vote has to be 2/3rds. Best, Don Bauder

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expdx Sept. 3, 2014 @ 10:38 a.m.

Don: It never ceases to amaze me how malleable the citizens of San Diego are. A football team is treated by the UT as a near mystical entity, possibly more Holy than you know who. As someone who experienced living in San Diego for stints in the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and finally leaving permanently in 2004, I now breath daily a clean air not infused with Spanos & Manchester petards. I think the yearly increase of recent college graduates moving to San Diego, thus providing profit for landlords, has created a Lotusland of false hopes and dreams. There is a sense of unreality to habitation there. The "Aren't we special" mantra of the real estate and wealthy crowd is really stale. Try visiting South East San Diego and experience a taste of the working poor. Let the Chargers play on the deck of that old aircraft carrier on the bay.

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Don Bauder Sept. 3, 2014 @ 3:58 p.m.

expdx: Good analysis. Yes, that "Aren't we special" attitude of the rich running San Diego gets tiresome.

Bob Filner actually ran against the downtown corporate welfare crowd. He stressed rebuilding the neighborhoods and infrastructure, and stopping the flow of money to downtown projects that should be financed with private capital.

But from the day Filner was elected, the downtown boosters plotted how to get him. They settled on sexual harassment. They manipulated the mainstream, round-heeled press. Soon, Filner began to cave on the convention center expansion and the football stadium. Ultimately, he was forced to resign.

Question: will anybody else, knowing what happened to Filner, take intelligent positions on these corporate welfare scams? Both the business and construction/hospitality labor unions want these taxpayer-financed scams. I fear the infrastructure and neighborhoods will continue to crumble, and critical services deteriorate because no one will oppose this business/labor juggernaut. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard Sept. 3, 2014 @ 12:10 p.m.

Keep an eye on the real estate scam when the proposal is finally revealed. The tax coffers have already been looted, but the City still has 126,000 acres of real estate to be plundered. The Qualcomm Stadium site might be worth billions when developed.

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Don Bauder Sept. 3, 2014 @ 4 p.m.

Psycholizard: That Qualcomm site will be worth a bundle when the market is right. But the commercial real estate market is still overbuilt. That is a blessing. Best, Don Bauder

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