Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., July 29
San Diego Discussing Ways to Pump Public Money into Chargers
The City and the County are discussing ways to pump taxpayer money into a downtown Chargers stadium, according to a report in Voice of San Diego. It's all preliminary. After all, the City faces a $200 million deficit and talk of bankruptcy is increasing. Centre City Development Corp. would have to find ways to increase its redevelopment spending capacity. After years of claiming that any new stadium would be publicly financed, the Chargers now admit they have been discussing the possibility of a big public subsidy for several months. (The Reader never did believe the claims of Chargers spokesman Mark Fabiani that any financing would be private.)
Former Councilman Bruce Henderson believes the discussion is all a charade. "The mayor and council know the money isn't there," he says. "Fabiani has dropped the pretense of private financing." To Henderson, this means that the Chargers move to City of Industry "is a done deal," and the politicians just want to show the public that they are trying to find a local solution.
The fact that this colloquy is taking place while bankruptcy looms, the infrastructure rots, the state is broke, education deteriorates alarmingly, and public services are being slashed is a sad reflection on San Diego. Alex Spanos, Chargers owner, is a billionaire who is in much better financial shape than either the City or County."This is a town whose civic priorities have been out of whack since time immemorial; it is cutting down on the number of fire engines, but lo and behold, is trying to find money for a Chargers stadium that will be used eight times a year [in the regular season]," says Steve Erie, political scientist at the University of California at San Diego. "It's the height of idiocy."