Overexpansion of convention centers throughout the nation has led to deep rent discounts.
  • Overexpansion of convention centers throughout the nation has led to deep rent discounts.
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Kevin Faulconer

Kevin Faulconer

Between 2010 and last year, the highest percentage of Chargers seats filled was 91.9.

Between 2010 and last year, the highest percentage of Chargers seats filled was 91.9.

On August 31 of last year, a group of high-powered San Diego Republicans, led by U-T San Diego owner Douglas Manchester, decided that Kevin Faulconer, then an undistinguished councilman, would be their candidate for mayor. With bumptious backing from the U-T, Faulconer won. Now it’s payback time. To no one’s surprise, Faulconer wants an expanded convention center and a subsidized Chargers stadium — projects that Manchester is salivating for. Faulconer seems to be leaning toward a combined stadium/convention center.

Now that an appeals court has knocked down the silly plan to have hotel fees finance the center expansion, San Diego voters will certainly be called on to decide the critical financial questions. Will voters approve a credible financing strategy (new or higher taxes) for a convention-center expansion? Will they vote to pay for three-fourths of a stand-alone football stadium? Or three-fourths, possibly more, of a combined stadium/convention center, even though it would cost around $1.5 billion and be several blocks from the current center?

Jerry Sanders

Jerry Sanders

The only intelligent course is not to have a vote on any of these questions. San Diego should not expand into a glutted convention-center market and should not subsidize the Chargers. The city’s pension system is deep in the red. There is an infrastructure deficit of at least a billion dollars, probably much more. Former mayor Jerry Sanders ignored the pension problem and tried to balance the budget by cutting infrastructure, maintenance, and critical services such as police, fire, parks, and libraries.

The city has pressing needs that have been neglected far too long. Scientists say San Diego faces a long drought. If an El Niño doesn’t produce a huge rainfall this winter, the public may wake up and begin talking about desalination, water purification, and recycling — not subsidized stadiums and convention-center expansions. (As of now, a strong El Niño is looking less likely.) If the El Niño does produce a flood of water, the already-deteriorating roads and streets will need even more attention, as will storm drains, water pipes, and the like.

But suppose the public doesn’t wake up to the infrastructural decay and inadequate services? Then what? The propaganda machine will crank out untruths while squelching truths. Mainstream media will be told not to mention that, prior to the appeals-court decision, San Diego leadership insisted that a center expansion had to be “contiguous, contiguous, contiguous.” Obedient media will probably not mention that combined stadium/convention centers haven’t worked well in the few cities trying them — Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Atlanta. Most importantly, media won’t bring up the fact that the convention-center industry itself has admitted for seven years that facilities are overbuilt, leading to price slashes and deep losses.

Heywood Sanders

Heywood Sanders

One target will be the nation’s expert on convention centers, professor Heywood Sanders of the University of Texas at San Antonio. He has been warning about convention-center overexpansion since 1992. In 2005, he wrote a seminal paper for the Brookings Institution, predicting an “arms race” in convention-center construction. He was spot-on.

Recently, he came out with a book, Convention Center Follies, which methodically points out the overexpansion pains of centers throughout the nation, leading to deep rent discounts. He has tried unsuccessfully to spread the truth in San Diego.

Each time Heywood Sanders reports the facts, consultants — who get fat fees for urging cities to build more convention space — attack his methods. Expect the same from San Diego’s downtown boosters.

But, hear this: in August of 2007, when the economy was very healthy, two trade groups representing the industry, the Destination Marketing Association International and the International Association of Assembly Managers, came out with an eye-opening study. First, a shocking admission: “Many convention centers developed in the last three decades [italics mine] were viewed by municipal ownership as loss leaders” — that is, centers and local governments lost money but hotels raked in loot. “Supply of available exhibit and meeting space across the nation currently exceeds demand, resulting in a buyer’s market” leading to rental rate discounts.

Basically, the industry itself was admitting the market was glutted and had been for 30 years. That was 7 years ago.

In 2012, the chairman of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, another arm of the industry, warned, “In the current buyer’s market, unrealistic concessions are being made to book business.” Referring to the “current excess supply” of convention space, the chairman said that cities “can no longer keep investing in a facility if they cannot market it at a fair price.” Some centers would have to close, he warned.

Will San Diego mainstream media report that the industry itself has been warning of a glut for years? Don’t count on it. Those same media will claim that a subsidized Chargers stadium will stimulate economic growth (an argument economists have refuted time and again). Proponents will say that a vibrant American city must have a National Football League team to be known worldwide. (Los Angeles has been without an NFL team since 1994 and seems to be surviving.)

Between 2010 and last year, the highest percentage of Chargers seats filled was 91.9. The lowest was 84.1. These were among the worst in the league. San Diego may simply not be a football town.

Doug Manchester

Doug Manchester

Lieutenants of John Moores are proposing that a new stadium or combined stadium/convention center be built on land belonging to their boss. How much lucre will San Diego permit Moores to ride off with? He dumped more than $600 million of Peregrine Systems stock before the company collapsed, becoming the biggest fraud in San Diego history. He had bought the shares for between 33 and 59 cents each. Although he was chairman of the company, he got a wrist-slap. Moores allegedly raked in between $700 million and $1 billion selling ballpark district land that he got for early-1990s prices, thanks to a fawning city council. He got $300 million of public money for Petco Park, and the city has continued pouring money into it since it opened in 2004. But Moores wants more millions, and his former antagonist, Doug Manchester, is now propagandizing on the Texan’s behalf. If Malin Burnham runs the paper by the time the issue comes up, he will probably favor land owned by his close friend, Moores.

It’s time for San Diego to rein in the pension abuses, rebuild the infrastructure, prepare for long-lasting water problems, restore critical services, and junk any ideas of taxpayers shelling out money for white-elephant convention-center expansions and toys for billionaires.

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Comments

MichaelValentine Sept. 24, 2014 @ 8:46 a.m.

Spot on Don. Over here on 37th Street we only see the broken and uneven sidewalks during the day, at night the lack of street lights keeps them from view.

But let us enrich the already rich instead of keeping San Diego a world class city, third world is good enough.

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Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2014 @ 11:08 a.m.

MichaelValentine: Good points: the rundown infrastructure is kept hidden to the maximum extent possible. For about six months before the 1998 vote on the Padres ballpark, the Union-Tribune stopped running stories about infrastructure accidents, such as water main disruptions, until after the vote. Best, Don Bauder

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monaghan Sept. 24, 2014 @ 11:12 a.m.

"Keeping San Diego a world class city?" That's a sweet idea, but so far from reality that one wonders at your prescription for rose-colored glasses.

The best thing about this place is its natural setting, and that has been degraded by overdevelopment and toadies at City Hall who sell out rather than lead. There is so much to be done here to repair years of neglected urban decay that it is scandalous to even talk about another (!) football stadium or an expansion of the behemoth at the harbor, the convention center. And that Texan John Moores might again profit from such expansion ventures at the expense of residents and taxpayers and our quality of life -- well, it seems criminal.

Put that last paragraph first, Don, and keep repeating it -- a genuine public service announcement.

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Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2014 @ 11:22 a.m.

monaghan: I agree with what you say. The neglect of the infrastructure and the neighborhoods has been going on for years. Filner ran against it and won. His enemies began plotting his lynching the day he was elected, and they now have their toady as mayor. The corporate welfare crowd is back in charge even though it doesn't have the votes. It doesn't need the votes as long as it has the media to slant the news its way. Best, Don Bauder

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monaghan Sept. 24, 2014 @ 12:14 p.m.

"As long as it has the media to slant the news its way...." Before today, I had never heard that story about the U-T moratorium on reporting infrastructure breakdowns preceding the 1998 Padres ballpark vote. I thought bribing a city council member was bad enough, but this news makes my lateral habenula fire off a lot of dark thoughts. (That's a recent brain science reference.) Anyway, it reinforces my worries about recent reports from you and Matt Potter that insider Malin Burnham may form a consortium to buy the U-T from wild & crazy Doug Manchester, enabling a media monopoly for other rich players who already unduly influence KPBS at SDSU, its kissing cousin inewsource and VoiceofSanDiego.

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Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2014 @ 1:34 p.m.

monaghan: There was no official moratorium about not reporting infrastructural decay and accidents prior to the 1998 ballpark election. It's just something that those of us who opposed the ballpark scam noticed and laughed about. There was no question that there was such a policy, but it was not made official.

But that wasn't the most egregious thing. The grand jury had a negative report about the ballpark deal, filled with warnings. A local lawyer, known for dishonesty, managed to hold it up until the day before the election. A reporter wrote a detailed story about it. Editor Karin Winner chopped up the story and buried it.

But the worst thing was that Herb Klein, editor of Copley Newspapers, served as public relations director of the group pushing for the ballpark. He made sure that important negative information didn't make it into the paper, or got buried. It was a blatant conflict of interest, and the paper and Padres got away with it. Look out for something similar in any vote on the convention center and/or subsidized Chargers stadium. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Sept. 24, 2014 @ 12:01 p.m.

Don: As much as I agree with you, the city has a problem with the current stadium--it is falling apart. Even if the Chargers were to leave San Diego, Qualcomm Stadium is still falling apart. Qualcomm has been treated the same as most other infrastructure in the city--fix it when it breaks. Unfortunately, fixing Qualcomm Stadium is going to cost untold millions, which the city has chosen not to spend You have previously mentioned the $40 million or so in deferred maintenance on the convention center, and conservative estimates on Qualcomm Stadium are twice that. If the city were to build a new stadium, the deferring of maintenance would start anew with a new facility. The city has boxed themselves into a multi-billion dollar corner, with the pension deficit, retiree healthcare deficit, and infrastructure deficit. How does this city get out from under all of this?

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leolionlady Sept. 24, 2014 @ 1:25 p.m.

I say let em go ! To charge us Taxpayers for stacking his FAT WALLET while he gets Tax Breaks, and then Blacks Out Games when they fail to fill the stadium. Has been and will ALWAYS be one of the Ballsiest moves ever. I'm a fan. But I aint no fool. Adios Chargers. ☺

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Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2014 @ 4:22 p.m.

leolionlady: If San Diego has to choose between, on the one hand, repairing the infrastructure, making sure the area has water in dry years, bringing back neighborhoods, fixing the deep-in-deficit pension system, and on the other hand, a subsidized stadium and convention center expansion, there is absolutely no choice: the Chargers and convention center expansion have to be crossed off the list.

There is no need whatsoever for a larger convention center. Business is already dropping sharply because of the glut of space nationwide. The Spanos family, the NFL, and private investors can pay for a new Chargers stadium. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2014 @ 1:41 p.m.

aardvark: My sources tell me that Qualcomm is not falling apart, but I haven't been in the place for 11 years. Even if it is falling apart, is subsidizing the Chargers more important than fixing the infrastructure, restoring critical services such as firefighting, insuring an adequate water supply, reducing the pension deficit? Of course not.

The one intelligent way to get out of this box is to prioritize. What is least important? Subsidizing football for a billionaire team owner is least important. Let the team leave -- or, better yet, let the Chargers, the NFL, and private investors pay for 100% of a new stadium. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Sept. 24, 2014 @ 2:23 p.m.

Don: I have Aztecs football season tickets. I don't know where your sources hang out, but believe me, it is falling apart. That said, I am not for the local taxpayers paying for a new football palace for the Chargers and the NFL. Even fixing Qualcomm just to catch up with the deferred maintenance is prohibitively expensive. I do look forward to the proposal that will (probably) go on the ballot in 2016. When it becomes public, I would hope you will go through it point by point in an article in The Reader and make comparisons of the "benefits" of a new stadium versus the realities of spending at least $1 billion on a new stadium--or more for a stadium/convention center combo.

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Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2014 @ 4:29 p.m.

aardvark: The stadiums for the University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin were built before 1920. They have been expanded and maintained, of course, but they are in fine shape. Wrigley Field in Chicago was also built before 1920. Ditto the ballpark in which the Boston Red Sox play. Stadiums and ballparks should be built to last 100 years. Qualcomm can be repaired -- hopefully, partly at the team's expense.

Remember, the Spanos family promised to stay at Qualcomm until 2020 when it was expanded in the late 1990s. As the Spanos family says, "A deal is a deal." Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Sept. 24, 2014 @ 11:15 p.m.

Don: I think the operative word in your response is "maintained". The Cubs will also be spending (at least they were planning to spend) hundreds of millions of dollars to fix up Wrigley Field, and the Red Sox in Boston have already spent many millions to fix up Fenway Park the best they can within the small footprint of the park. I agree that Qualcomm can be repaired, but it's going to cost quite a bit, and I doubt the Chargers will want to put any money into refurbishing it. I don't know what "the deal" is that the Chargers have with the city, but I wish the Chargers would just say, "let us take this stadium off of your hands. Just give it to us, and we'll fix it." That, of course, will never happen, as the Chargers would never get the money back that they would have to put into the stadium, in spite of how profitable to the city a new stadium could be (allegedly).

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Don Bauder Sept. 26, 2014 @ 9:14 p.m.

aardvark: Billionaire team owners don't build stadiums because they don't pay off. So they want the public to take the losses. One of many reasons why stadiums don't -- and won't -- pay off is that in the NFL these days, stadiums are designed to maximize the noise to throw the visiting team off when it is on offense. But this acoustical engineering interferes with the acoustics at rock concerts and other uses of the stadium. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Sept. 26, 2014 @ 9:30 p.m.

Don: I know they don't, you know they don't, and more importantly, the owners know they don't.

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Don Bauder Sept. 27, 2014 @ 6:43 p.m.

aardvark: The owners know the stadiums don't pay off, but you should hear their sales jobs when trying to get the public to pick up the tab. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Sept. 27, 2014 @ 9:47 p.m.

Don: I have, and we will soon hear them again.

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Don Bauder Sept. 28, 2014 @ 12:51 p.m.

aardvark: We will not only hear the pitches, we will hear them again and again, because the Chargers will outspend subsidization opponents 100 to 1 or more. Best, Don Bauder

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Bvavsvavev Sept. 24, 2014 @ 12:10 p.m.

As the rich keep getting richer and the downtown developers keep getting their taxpayer funded improvements, here in the South Bay deterioration continues at a rapid pace. Otay Mesa and San Ysidro (92154 and 92173) are in the City of San Diego, but city leadership treats them as if they are in Tijuana. Don I agree the City has alot of needs, and another stadium and expanded convention center that will sit idle for a majority of the year are not high priorities. I hope the City residents wake up, look around their neighborhoods, and realize that basic infrastructure and public safety are much more important than more monuments for the rich!!

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Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2014 @ 1:48 p.m.

Bvavsvavev: I agree: San Diego must prioritize, and restoring the infrastructure and neighborhoods, along with fixing the pension deficit and guaranteeing that the county will have water, are the highest priorities.

Incidentally, the really big political problem is that the downtown corporate welfare crowd is not just made up of business leaders. It is also made up of labor unions -- particularly the construction and leisure/hospitality/hotel unions. The combination of the business community and organized labor is a political juggernaut that absolutely crushes any common sense. Frankly, it makes one wonder if the important problems can be solved. It always disappoints me, because construction labor unions would get jobs from the fixing of the infrastructure and the restoration of neighborhoods. Why can't those unions think ahead? Best, Don Bauder

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leolionlady Sept. 24, 2014 @ 1:18 p.m.

I'm a native. Born & Raised here in San Diego. And can't for the life of me. Understand where the STANDARDS have gone in this city. Gone are the days of any traces of Human Decency in our Politics. Because we know there are truly some honest ones out there. And now we have these Un-Patriotic Greedy Scoundrels. Dipping their hands in almost EVERY Get-Rich Scheme Possible.I was not a supporter of this new Mayor Kevin Faulconer, as I knew that this is just ONE example of what the GOP put all their money behind him for. And as many of us who care about our Democracy, know. Republicans don't Vote Republicans into office. Its those who fail to VOTE at all, that gives us these type of Greedy Right Wing Idealogues. And as for the Union Tribune Owner Mr. Manchester. He peddles Propaganda. And pays very well, those who SELL it for him. Its Disgraceful.

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Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2014 @ 1:54 p.m.

leolionlady: Yes, the Republicans grabbed the mayoralty even though they didn't have the votes. And they did it with the help of key Democrats.

Please read my note to Bvavsavev: the downtown corporate welfare crowd does not simply consist of business executives. Labor unions -- particularly the construction and leisure/hospitality/restaurant unions -- are part of the downtown welfare crowd. Business and a big chunk of the labor movement are unstoppable. Under such political conditions, one wonders if common sense and justice CAN prevail. With business and labor steering the money downtown, can San Diego solve its problems? I wish I thought so. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2014 @ 2:43 p.m.

DESPITE ALL THE PROPAGANDA, CONVENTION CENTER FIGURES HAVE ACTUALLY DECLINED. The convention center, under pressure, recently posted some financial figures on its website. Here are some salient statistics:

The worst parts of the Great Recession were 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. Convention center operating revenue dropped from $38.3 million in 2008 to $34.9 million in 2009. Last year, it was down to $30.2 million, down from $33.8 million in 2012. The economy improved from 2008/2009 to 2012/2013, yet the center continued to decline because of the glut in space around the country.

Rental income was $13.1 million in 2008 and then dropped to $11.6 million in 2009. It has continued to drop: last year it was $8.7 million, up slightly from $8.5 million in 2012.

Praise should go to Jeff McDonald of the U-T for having a story on how the center figures were hard to locate. Dean Calbreath of the Trancript followed with an analysis of the figures, although I have not seen Dean's story. Reader blog contributor Katheryn Rhodes has gathered statistics on the decline of the center.

Repeat: with these kinds of declines, along with steep price slashes, what is the reason for an expansion? Best, Don Bauder

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jnojr Sept. 24, 2014 @ 4:14 p.m.

If the cost to keep the Chargers in San Diego is hundreds of millions of our tax dollars, then that cost is too high. Let them go. But, oddly, the chargers carp and whine and complain like they have for YEARS... yet they aren't going anywhere.

Study after study after study has proven that public funding of sports stadia is ALWAYS a net loser for the taxpayer. And it isn't hard to understand why... whatever amount of economic activity can be DIRECTLY attributed to a new stadium is not what we need to look at... maybe 10% of that figure is, as that's what gets left on the table as taxes and actual revenue. If you take, say, $750 million and amortize that over 30 years with interest, how much is the annual debt service? Far more than the actual dollars the City pulls in. You can't argue on the one side that we should count all sorts of nebulous "economic benefits" as revenue when you can't use those dollars to actually pay the debt on the other side.

Further, why is it that when the taxpayers fought up the majority of the funding for a football stadium, there's never a big break for the taxpayers? Much lower ticket prices, discounted parking, affordable concessions. No... we're expected to pay for most of it, and then we're expected to pay full freight for attending games. And that's simply a non-styarter.

So, no on public funding for a new stadium. The Chargers are extremely profitable, they can afford to buy land and build their own stadium. Let those who want the Chargers around pay for them. Let the Chargers raise prices, institute a PSL, sell bonds, hold a bake sale, whatever, so everyone who wants to keep them around can directly support their team. But leave me out of it. I don't care. I'll happily watch them on TV from LA or Timbuktu.

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Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2014 @ 4:33 p.m.

jnojr: There is never a break for the taxpayers, who are paying for the stadium. After a new stadium is built by taxpayers, prices always go up. All the breaks go to the billionaire owners and the millionaire players. Best, Don Bauder

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Matt101 Sept. 24, 2014 @ 10:13 p.m.

The Chargers have very little leverage, but the mayor and his backers will try and convince us that the Chargers have a lot of leverage.

The Chargers have no place to go. LA doesn't have a new stadium, Spanos doesn't have the money to build one there, and he can't move there without NFL approval which won't happen without a new LA stadium.

The best option for the Chargers is building a new stadium in the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot and then tearing down the old stadium to restore the parking. That's what was done in Denver. Doug Manchester has said himself that it could be done there. Manchester's own developer proposed a plan for doing it.

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aardvark Sept. 24, 2014 @ 11:23 p.m.

The Chargers actually do have a place to go. San Antonio. It is not as far-fetched as it seems. They could move to the AlamoDome right now, which would serve as a fine temporary home until a new stadium could be built. And Fabiani is now part of the legal team defending Gov Rick Perry in Texas, even though Fabiani has said the two things have nothing in common, and there are absolutely no talks taking place with officials in San Antonio (also, in spite of the fact that Dean Spanos and Rick Perry are apparently buddies. I don't really believe anything that Fabiani says, so I think that San Antonio could be the Chargers only other option at the moment).

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Don Bauder Sept. 27, 2014 @ 6:47 p.m.

aardvark: San Antonio is a possibility. So is Las Vegas, despite all the piety that the NFL wants to separate itself from gambling. What a joke. Gambling and the NFL are almost synonymous, and have been since the league started in the 1920s. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 26, 2014 @ 9:21 p.m.

Matt101: Many would have us believe the Chargers have given up on L.A., but they haven't. They are still eyeing it. But L.A. hasn't gone anywhere on a new stadium. Spanos has no intention to put significant money in a stadium in L.A. or San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard Sept. 25, 2014 @ 9:43 a.m.

The City's failure to properly maintain our present Stadium shouldn't be used as an argument to build a new one. Qualcomm Stadium is a permanent structure, with proper maintenance it could last for centuries. Maintenance costs should be considered, but the cost of maintaining the strange proposed hybrid is likely more expensive than fixing and maintaining the current structure. There's nothing basically wrong with our Stadium, if there was, the specifics would be repeated endlessly. If they could pull the spoiled rich kid trick of wrecking the Beemer to get a Mercedes, they might, but the best they can do is let the paint peel, and keep the maintenance crew from pulling weeds. A few centuries of that, and the concrete might show wear.

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Don Bauder Sept. 26, 2014 @ 9:24 p.m.

Psycholizard. Qualcomm Stadium (then named Jack Murphy Stadium) got a huge facelift in the late 1990s. Alex Spanos promised to remain there until at least 2020, then quickly changed his mind. Don't blame San Diego taxpayers if the politicians didn't maintain the stadium as promised. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Sept. 26, 2014 @ 9:38 p.m.

Don: I have spent many days and nights there with the Padres (before they moved to Petco Park) and the Aztecs. The city didn't even wait until Alex uttered for the first time that he wasn't satisfied with the last expansion and wanted a new stadium, as the city had already stopped maintaining the place. All the city ever did was mainly just add seats and boxes--the original infrastructure was just added to with the new stuff. And besides, I don't remember, but didn't Bruce Henderson claim that the so-called $70 million expansion really cost over $120 mil? He claimed the extra costs were hidden in the city budget, and as a former councilmember, he knew what to look for in the budget and where.

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Don Bauder Sept. 28, 2014 @ 12:55 p.m.

aardvark: I believe Bruce Henderson did make such an analysis, and I believe it was never refuted. I will check with him on that. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Sept. 28, 2014 @ 1:40 p.m.

Don: You mean kind of like, "ignore it, and it might go away"?

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Don Bauder Sept. 28, 2014 @ 8:44 p.m.

aardvark: Isn't that how San Diego solves problems? By ignoring them, and hoping the clamor will fade? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 27, 2014 @ 6:48 p.m.

Psycholizard: Qualcomm can be repaired if it needs it. The question will be who pays for it. Best, Don Bauder

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laplayaheritage Sept. 25, 2014 @ 5:23 p.m.

According to this week's Successor Agency (SA) Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS-7 and ROPS 14-15B), $224,070,688 is still owed for outstanding bond payments for the Convention Center Phase 2 expansion that will finally be paid off in 29 years, by May 11, 2043.

New 2014 San Diego Convention Center Board Member Gil Cabrera asked that an analysis be done on how much our Convention Center lost in existing business when the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) took over scheduling of upcoming Conventions. The SDTA stated they would be moving current, small, and lucrative Medical Convention from the public Convention Center to private hotels, as part of the deal for the Hoteliers to privately vote on an up to 3% Special Tax that was deemed unconstitutional for the Convention Center Phase 3 Expansion.

http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/file-252-.pdf

It would be interesting to see how much of the decrease in Convention Center Revenue came from the SDTA poaching clients from the public space to their private hotels.

http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-13372-activist-attorney-cory-briggs-is-on-a-roll.html

"... Gil Cabrera, an attorney who sits on the Convention Center Corporation board of directors, has requested that the board discuss the relationship at its Sept. 24 meeting. (Convention Center officials have long detested the transfer of duties.)

In an Aug. 15 letter to board Chairman Nico Ferraro, Cabrera notes that the transfer of sales and marketing duties from Convention Center staff to the Tourism Authority “was entered into as part of the overall funding scheme.’

“Given that the recent decision invalidates the special tax,” Cabrera continued, “I believe we have a responsibility to review this agreement to determine whether it is still in the SDCCC’s interest going forward and explore our options within the contract.”

He further requested that the board’s legal counsel “opine on whether the appellate decision changes the conditions of the agreement and our consideration for entering into it….”"

http://visitsandiego.com/system/files/meetings/%21Board%20Agenda%2009-24-14.pdf

From yesterday's September 24, 2014 Agenda for the Convention Center Board meeting, it looks like Mr. Cabrera's important financial issues were ignored, and not put onto their agenda for discussion.

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Don Bauder Sept. 26, 2014 @ 9:28 p.m.

Katheryn Rhodes (la playa heritage): This is extremely valuable information. Keep digging. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Sept. 25, 2014 @ 8:27 p.m.

Seems football - and commish Goodell in particular - is under a lot of criticism (justified in my opinion) for recent poor handling (in many people's opinons, including mine) of player discipline. Of course, the NFL is still going to be #1 and the Ray Rice, AP stories won't bring down the NFL. But there is a chance they could bring down Goodell. I wonder what impact having a new comissioner would have on the stadium corporate welfare scam. Probably not much but it would be interesting.

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Don Bauder Sept. 26, 2014 @ 9:32 p.m.

ImJustABill: Pro football will probably be king of the hill for some time. Goodell could get the axe, but that won't slow down the league. The injuries, violence, suicides resulting from injuries (Junior Seau), high prices, and other factors could dent the sport.

Right now, we can't see it happening. But back in the 1950s, everybody knew who was the heavyweight champion of the world. Who can name him now? Boxing has taken a justified pratfall. It can happen to football. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 29, 2014 @ 6:50 p.m.

danfogel: That is interesting. My guess is AEG will get an extension to build a football stadium and the add-ons. Incidentally, the Chargers are still interested in L.A. -- in fact, have said publicly that they don't want other teams to be based there. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Sept. 29, 2014 @ 9:10 p.m.

Don: I'm not sure if the Chargers want to move to LA, but many of their fans come from the LA area (and the OC). Another team moving there scares the crap out of the Chargers, and it also takes away a great deal of leverage to be used as a threat of moving.

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danfogel Sept. 29, 2014 @ 11:45 p.m.

aardvark and don bauder. According to Goodell, there will be 2 teams playing in Los Angeles, not 1. According to what I have read, the Raiders are almost for certain one of the teams and it's either the Rams or the Chargers, 60-40 for the Rams, as the other team. I have read, in several places, that announcement will be made in the next 12-18 months. If AEG gets their extension, it could be announced sooner rather than later. Meaning if it's the Chargers, I think they would make it public in Jan of 2016. But, if Stan Kroenke's name surfaces anywhere near the AEG plan, you can bet it's the Rams and the Chargers will be shite out of luck.

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Don Bauder Sept. 30, 2014 @ 8:12 a.m.

danfogel: That is the conventional wisdom these days -- two NFL teams, one of them the Raiders. Kroenke of the St. Louis Rams owns juicy L.A. land that could be used for a stadium. The Rams screwed St. Louis when getting its stadium for free; the stadium has to be "state of the art." That leaves plenty of wiggle room.

One point: AEG wants more time to develop Farmers Field downtown. It will probably get it. AEG wants significant equity in a team. So the L.A. situation is still up in the air.

One thing to ponder: the Chargers have lots of fans and TV watchers in the L.A. metro area. If other teams steal that market, the Chargers could be shorn of income. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Sept. 30, 2014 @ 9:22 a.m.

don bauder, A few thoughts. AEG asked for the extension for a couple of reasons, for extra time to try and get a team to commit to moving and also to work on an alternative development plan in case that falls through. According to what I've read recently, their announcement may be suggesting they aer seriously considering the possible expansion of the Convention Center complex, which I believe they are on the hook for either way, without a stadium. Second, while the Chargers may lose some income, I don't think it would be all that great. The bulk of the league's revenue comes from the broadcast deals.That income is shared equally among all of the teams. With the exception of the Cowboys, income from licensing deals is also shared evenly. Gate revenue is a little different, with the home team keeping 60 and the visiting team getting 40 percent. If the Chargers lose fans in the form of ticket sales, then obviously they would lose that revenue along with the related revenue, concessions, parking, etc. Final thought. Even if AEG gets it's 6month extension, it doesn't necessarily mean they are going to get the nod for a new team. I have read several articles in the last couple of months in which the so-called NFL insiders are now considering the downtown stadium deal a long shot at best and it's more likely a stadium in Inglewood, where Stan Kroenke bought the land near the Forum.The Rams have an out of their lease in March. Earlier this year an LASC judge ruled in favor of Pasadena in a suit brought by Rose Bowl area residents. The ruling effectively gives city the possibility to hold 30 large events, enough to accommodate a full season for an NFL team, which the Pasadena city council City Council approved by amending the Arroyo Seco Public Lands Ordinance almost 2 yrs ago

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Don Bauder Sept. 30, 2014 @ 2:18 p.m.

danfogel: Heywood Sanders, the national expert on convention centers, supplied me with a classic example of what is going on in convention centers. Los Angeles actually PAID a convention to come to Los Angeles. The city gave the convention a 100 percent discount then threw in some extra incentives. One wonders if L.A. leaders are as dumb as those in San Diego. They want to expand a convention center in which they are already giving away space.

As for the football stadium: eventually, something will be worked out in L.A., and probably two teams will be housed there. It is too juicy a market for the NFL to leave empty, even though the Rams and Raiders were playing to very small audiences in their last year there. There is a lot of money in L.A. for luxury boxes, seat licenses, and the like.

I think the Rose Bowl would be a one-year or two-year temporary measure. It lacks the luxury facilities on which the teams make so much money.

Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Sept. 30, 2014 @ 5:05 p.m.

Interesting about the "paid" convention. Just barely a week ago, the LACC issued a release that among other things said that instead of finishing the FY with a loss of $1.6 million as predicted in February, they finished the fiscal year with a $290,000 surplus, and hosted and event-managed a total of 167 events from December 2013 through June 30, 2014.Can you give more detail on this "paid" convention or maybe a link. I would be quite interested in learning more about it.

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Don Bauder Sept. 29, 2014 @ 6:52 p.m.

Psycholizard: The alleged inability to maintain Qualcomm should definitely NOT be used as an excuse to build a new stadium. Ask yourself this question: if Qualcomm was not maintained properly, WHY did that happen? Do you suppose somebody in city government thought that by not maintaining it, the argument could be used that the city needs a new one? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 29, 2014 @ 6:54 p.m.

David Crossley: Good point. Much of the city has not been maintained. From a repair priorities standpoint, shouldn't the infrastructure and neighborhoods come before Qualcomm? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 29, 2014 @ 7:01 p.m.

Oliver Closoff: Wow! It's been awhile since so many pejoratives have been shot my way in one entry. "Senile old curmudgeon...low talent hack...working in the clearinghouse of left wing dogma...left wing fascist."

How can you load your quiver with so many invective darts? Even this senile old curmudgeon has to find the energy to duck.

Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 29, 2014 @ 7:03 p.m.

Rich Gibson: Yes, the announcement of the subsidized hockey arena for the multi-billionaire family came right around the same time that the Detroit bankruptcy was announced. We ran it here then and have referred to it several times since. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 29, 2014 @ 7:05 p.m.

David Crossley: I didn't follow when they broke ground. In a metaphorical sense, they did break new ground by announcing the subsidization right around the time the bankruptcy hit the headlines. Some cities and states are more subtle. Best, Don Bauder

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kevindg72 Oct. 7, 2014 @ 11:14 p.m.

It's not about maintenance. It's outdated. The lower seats are too close to the field so they are obstructed view. One of the reasons it's hard to sell out football games. (fair weather fans are the main reason). For two of the 3 super bowls the NFL put tarps on the first 10 rows cause you can't sell tickets to fans who can't see the game. The box seats are terrible. Local corporations and big wigs buy those in all cities but if they look like a room at a cheep hotel they won't buy them (I've been to Petco and the suites there are amazing, the way they're supposed to be.Those seats and other upgrade seats are money makers. In case you didn't know it the Padres pay for all maintenance on Petco Park and the Chargers would be responsible for the new stadium. The wiring for HD is a rats nest and networks loath Qualcomm. The field floods when the San Diego river rises. Parts are literally falling apart. Technology 50 years ago doesn't work in stadiums today. Qualcomm and Oakland are the only stadiums that thought they could make it work. In Oakland the bathrooms in the locker rooms flood the whole floor. It would take a ridiculous amount of money to fix half the things that need attention and the place would still be a dump. Think about it 29 other cities realized that new or major upgrades to their stadiums was a smart move. San Diego, Oakland and St. Louis are the only ones that can't figure it out.

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