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"Even though I say to them, look, you know, when things go badly wrong, lots of times to figure out how you're going to deal with the same party -- like, if you're the Chargers in the future -- learn how to deal with them in order to avoid those mistakes. Well, they would have nothing of that, you know. And then Simon went beyond that and he said, 'Well, we shouldn't even really look closely at the trigger. We just aren't gonna do that.' So that's when I started writing a number of letters to the task force where I did the analysis of the trigger clause.

"And in fact, you'll see that the contracts-committee report that was delivered to the council in November, it has as a footnote -- it notes that I sent three letters to the contracts committee, and I think this must have been Watson who insisted that at least Simon include my letters as a footnote and simply say to the council, you know, they oughta be read, you know.

"But he absolutely wouldn't deal with the issues and kept insisting that the only thing that really counted was to just sit down and negotiate with the Chargers. His attitude being that they seemed ready, willing to negotiate with us and we could have some really fruitful discussions with them. And I kept insisting, of course, that they weren't; the only thing they were going to do was trigger.

"You know, they had a contract that was almost completely in their favor. It had provisions in it that made it almost impossible for the City of San Diego to keep them here if the Chargers wanted to leave. And as Dean [Spanos, 52], son of owner Alex Spanos [79] had said, a contract is a contract, and they were going to stand on those provisions, and they were going to insist that the letter of the contract be followed line by line by line, and they weren't going to give on anything.

"And of course, Simon came back and insisted, 'No, no, no, that's not true. I mean, this is just like a normal landlord-tenant relationship where, you know, there's a little bump in the road, and the best thing to do is just, you know, sit down and talk.'

"And you know my response was that this is not a normal landlord-tenant relationship at all! I don't know very many landlord-tenant relationships where the landlord guarantees the tenant's profits, for example! Like the ticket guarantee, or these ludicrous clauses that allow the tenant to just arbitrarily cancel the lease anytime they, as a practical matter, feel like it.

"So, none of this problem I was having on the contracts committee seemed to make any sense to me. I just couldn't figure out what in the world was going on. And then in early February, Watson, before a task-force meeting, Watson comes to me and says, 'By the way, back in August, I heard the city attorney approach Len Simon out in the parking lot after a contracts-committee meeting and ask Simon whether or not there would be any problem for the city attorney hiring him or his firm, after the task force was over with, to negotiate with the Chargers.'

"And I sort of slapped my head and go, you know, my God! That explains, you know, everything! Because, I don't know still to this day, I don't know exactly what conversations occurred or exactly what was said, but I always sensed that Simon was trying to suggest to the mayor and to the council that he would be a great negotiator for them to hire.

"So, that was one of the experiences I had with the task force that sort of led me to believe that it was one of the reasons why the task force went so wrong.

"Because what happened to the task force was you had this sort of interesting rise and fall in the process. Where in the beginning, I tried to warn the task-force members that, look, the Chargers are playing very hardball here; this isn't just normal hardball.

"The Chargers have a tremendous incentive, financial incentive to move up to Los Angeles. They have three possible sites up there. They've got the Rose Bowl, they've got downtown Los Angeles, and they've got the coliseum. And I said we'd better, as a group, try to figure out what's going on in Los Angeles so we can give the council, you know, a full appraisal of what the opportunities are for the Chargers and what economic magnet exists that may be drawing them up to that market. The response from the task-force members, almost per person, was just an aggressive refusal to deal with Los Angeles. Some of them just said to me, 'Well, Los Angeles is totally irrelevant, and it doesn't matter.' And others said to me, 'Los Angeles is dead. There's no possibility of any NFL team playing for Los Angeles that we know of.'

"The fact is that that fundamental misunderstanding of reality, that tended to dominate the entire task-force process. And that led a lot of people like Len Simon, who was probably the principal spokesperson for this task force, to try to suggest to the city council that, look, there'd be absolutely no problem just sitting down and negotiating with the Chargers.

"Whereas I took the position that the only way you're going to be able to deal with the Chargers is if you first establish that they have no right to trigger and no right to leave San Diego.

"And the task force just disagreed with me. They said, 'We don't have to worry about whether they can trigger.' And not only that, but to get back to this rise and fall that started to happen, in November and December it started to become more and more clear that the Chargers were not going to provide the data, the key data that they had agreed to provide.

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