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Chargers, mayor, U-T collude on con job

"This is a public relations move that is not enforceable."

Kevin Faulconer QBs for the Chargers in the U-T
Kevin Faulconer QBs for the Chargers in the U-T

The headline on the Union-Tribune this morning (October 3) was "Chargers beat Saints 78-00!!"

Well, not really. The Chargers lost to the Saints yesterday, 35-34. But the managements of the U-T, Chargers, and the mayor's office are attempting to pull off a dirty stunt to mislead San Diego voters.

This weekend, the U-T touted on its front page a story stating that the Chargers have agreed to "concessions" about the team's proposed convadium downtown. These "concessions" dealt with such matters as parking and finances. The Chargers had made a deal with the Downtown San Diego Partnership, blared the story.

But a deal between the Chargers and a downtown corporate-welfare organization has no meaning whatsoever. Thousands of San Diegans put their signatures on a ballot measure to be voted on in November. That agreement cannot be changed because voters have already put their signatures on a measure that will go on the ballot.

Tony Manolatos of "No Downtown Stadium — Jobs and Streets First!" put it well: "Promises between a downtown lobbying organization and [the Chargers'] Dean Spanos are just that — they aren't legally binding. The only thing that's legally binding is the ballot measure." His quote was buried deep in the story.

This morning, the paper had a banner screaming that Mayor Faulconer now backs the convadium. At least the U-T concedes that Measure C, the convadium proposal, "can't be amended because it's already on the ballot." Again, the truthful statement was buried in the story.

"Any agreement with a downtown group is pure election propaganda," says former San Diego City Council member Bruce Henderson. He points out that if the hotel tax could be raised to 16.5 cents from 12.5 cents, as the Chargers propose, the city would have $120 million a year it could use for infrastructure and critical projects — not a stadium for a Stockton billionaire family whose management of the team has been atrocious.

"The proposal that the mayor endorsed is not the proposal on the ballot," says former city attorney Mike Aguirre. "The only way that proposal can be adopted is if it is resubmitted. This is a public relations move that is not enforceable."

There is no question that the U-T, Chargers and mayor's office together plotted this attempted con job.

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Kevin Faulconer QBs for the Chargers in the U-T
Kevin Faulconer QBs for the Chargers in the U-T

The headline on the Union-Tribune this morning (October 3) was "Chargers beat Saints 78-00!!"

Well, not really. The Chargers lost to the Saints yesterday, 35-34. But the managements of the U-T, Chargers, and the mayor's office are attempting to pull off a dirty stunt to mislead San Diego voters.

This weekend, the U-T touted on its front page a story stating that the Chargers have agreed to "concessions" about the team's proposed convadium downtown. These "concessions" dealt with such matters as parking and finances. The Chargers had made a deal with the Downtown San Diego Partnership, blared the story.

But a deal between the Chargers and a downtown corporate-welfare organization has no meaning whatsoever. Thousands of San Diegans put their signatures on a ballot measure to be voted on in November. That agreement cannot be changed because voters have already put their signatures on a measure that will go on the ballot.

Tony Manolatos of "No Downtown Stadium — Jobs and Streets First!" put it well: "Promises between a downtown lobbying organization and [the Chargers'] Dean Spanos are just that — they aren't legally binding. The only thing that's legally binding is the ballot measure." His quote was buried deep in the story.

This morning, the paper had a banner screaming that Mayor Faulconer now backs the convadium. At least the U-T concedes that Measure C, the convadium proposal, "can't be amended because it's already on the ballot." Again, the truthful statement was buried in the story.

"Any agreement with a downtown group is pure election propaganda," says former San Diego City Council member Bruce Henderson. He points out that if the hotel tax could be raised to 16.5 cents from 12.5 cents, as the Chargers propose, the city would have $120 million a year it could use for infrastructure and critical projects — not a stadium for a Stockton billionaire family whose management of the team has been atrocious.

"The proposal that the mayor endorsed is not the proposal on the ballot," says former city attorney Mike Aguirre. "The only way that proposal can be adopted is if it is resubmitted. This is a public relations move that is not enforceable."

There is no question that the U-T, Chargers and mayor's office together plotted this attempted con job.

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Comments
90

Wonder what kind of hush hush promises the Spanos family made to the Mayor to be the Front Man for This Farce of a Stadium deal?! Former Mayor Pete Wilson parlayed his water carrying for the Spanos family into the Governorship and a US Senate seat...that sucking sound was pipelines of cash being diverted to the Spanos family and other corporate welfare beneficiaries in the development industry in San Diego during the Wilson Adminstration while City Pension benefits went unpaid., roads and sewer mains went unfixed and not upgraded etc...Who came up with the moniker Scam Diego?! It seems very appropriate today even more so..

Oct. 3, 2016

At least it's nice to know that the courts will be VERY busy should Measure C actually pass next month.

Oct. 3, 2016

aardvark: I would hope that the courts would be busy should this con job woo San Diegans.

I would also hope San Diegans would be busy dropping their subscriptions to the U-T, which gave such huge play to an utterly meaningless proposal. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

SportsFan0000: I have been blamed for coming up with "Scam Diego," but I do not remember having done so. I have certainly used it a number of times.

Your question is on the mark. What has Faulconer been promised by the Spanos family, which gave a hoist to Pete Wilson and tried to do so for Susan Golding?

The key question: if San Diego tourism can remain strong with a boost of the hotel tax to 16.5 percent, why can't the money from the increased tax be used on infrastructure and other necessities? Why should that money go to a poorly managed, out-of-town billionaire family which wants a subsidized football stadium?

Have you noticed that attendance at home games this year has plunged? Does that tell you anything? Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

Attendance numbers to chew on--for the 2 regular season home games, attendance has averaged 56,403, or 79.1% of capacity (the 2nd lowest attendance total and the lowest in percentage of seating capacity filled in The League). Last year, after 2 home games, the Chargers were averaging 64,901. They finished last year averaging 66,772 (19th in the NFL), and filling 94.6% of available seats (22nd in the NFL). I don't think they will come close to last year's numbers.

Oct. 3, 2016

Are those numbers tickets sold or ticketted attendees at the game? i.e. do tickets that were sold (to brokers or fans) but not used get counted?

Oct. 3, 2016

ImJustABill: I don't know the answer to that. Maybe aardvark knows. It appears to me that in either case, the attendance is lousy thus far this year. I don't know TV numbers. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

Pretty sure it is tickets sold. At one time some years ago they used to announce tickets sold, and also announced no shows, at which time the people that were there would boo loudly. I always wondered why so many didn't show--perhaps ticket brokers back then were snatching up tickets and couldn't unload them at their inflated prices. As they do now.

Oct. 3, 2016

aardvark: We should clear that up. (Although in either case this year's attendance so far is awful.) So is the team. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

aardvark: I was just looking at those home attendance numbers. They make you wonder if all this noise about a new stadium is worth it.

The Chargers have played two home games and averaged 79.1 percent attendance. This is by far the worst in the league. Second worst is Oakland at 85.8 percent. (Los Angeles is not counted because it is playing temporarily at the Coliseum.) The Chargers are averaging 56,403 attendees in their first two games.

People are voting with their feet. They are not attending games. Too bad nobody gave those numbers to Mayor Faulconer. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

Don: The Rams have played one home game, and drew 91,046 to the Coliseum.

A perfect storm is brewing, and not in the Chargers favor. The Rams have gotten off to a 3-1 start, and tied for the lead in their division in the NFC. I would think the Rams would have another sell-out crowd this week. The Rams are reestablishing themselves in the LA area, while relatively few Angelinos want the Chargers to move to LA. In the meantime, the Chargers are self-destructing in the AFC West at 1-3, their attendance is dropping like a rock, and Spanos is promising the sun, moon and stars to anyone who he might think could get him a new stadium, er, convadium.

Spanos has screwed himself--he has set the bar for money he claims the league and team will contribute towards a new facility. Should the Chargers lose with Measure C next month, I would hope Faulconer would tell Spanos that it's Mission Valley or nothing--downtown is out (and keep that $650 mil available that he was pledging to have to help build a new facility, as he will need it). We will see just how bad Spanos wants to stay in SD, and not have to deal with Kroenke as Kroenke's bitch, er, tenant in Inglewood.

Oct. 3, 2016

aardvark: I really don't like to be so blunt, but I think San Diegans should give some thought to what this whole ugly adventure tells us. Here was Spanos trying to get a place in LA, then upon not getting a good deal there, returning to San Diego and telling people that all along he wanted to stay. He expected San Diegans to believe it.

So here's what must be pondered: through the years, the Spanos family and other members of Charger management have stepped on their tongues, and done stupid things, over and over again. Here they are doing the same. The question: if San Diego does business with the Spanos family, is the city guaranteeing that it will have poor football teams for the distant future, because of the ineptitude of the owning family?

Maybe it is time to get rid of the Spanos family. Let the team go. Perhaps San Diego can land another team with competent management. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

Don: Two things to remember. First, Spanos has already said he has a "great" deal to move into KroenkeWorld; secondly, remember that if another team were to move here, it would be in a new stadium. No team is moving here to play at the Q long-term. How much would THAT cost the taxpayers?

Oct. 3, 2016

aardvark: I am not sure that no other team would move to San Diego to play at the Q. Public opinion seems to be moving against the stadium scams. One reason is people increasingly realize that the team owners are billionaires.

Maybe we can get the Spanos family to sell the team to an enlightened billionaire who will pay for a stadium himself or herself, or spend his or her own money repairing Qualcomm.

Something to remember: Qualcomm is too old only when compared with other pro stadiums. Pro stadiums last 25 years and then the owners fleece the taxpayers for another one. College stadiums are 75 to more than 100 years old and are in fine condition. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

Don: Many of those college stadiums have been refurbished--some several times. Also, the Q is almost 50 years old. By the time another team were to move here, the city would have probably torn it down for who know whatever reason.

Getting someone to buy the Chargers and then build their own stadium here would probably cost $3-$4 billion minimum--I just don't see that happening. And should another team want to move here, the NFL owners would probably vote to NOT allow a team to move here without a new stadium.

Oct. 3, 2016

aardvark: Oh yes, the college stadiums 75 to 110 years old have been expanded and refurbished several times. San Diego should have kept up with maintenance at Qualcomm.

The NFL may indeed try to do what you suggest. But the NFL is beginning to learn some lessons, one of which is that bullying cities may not be so wise.

I do not believe that the solution to the Chargers situation requires a new stadium financed by taxpayers. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 4, 2016

Don: If the city could get someone else with a team to move here should the Chargers leave--AND get that someone to build a stadium for that team, I would be all for it. In this market, I just don't see that happening.

Oct. 4, 2016

aardvark: I have to comment about Spanos claiming he has a "great" deal to move in with Kroenke. There isn't an ounce of truth to that. If he had had a great deal, he would have snapped it up immediately. See remarks from this afternoon's press conference about the honesty of the Spanos family and the Chargers management. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

Don: Completely agree with you, which is just another example why no one can believe anything Spanos or his minions say.

Oct. 3, 2016

aardvark: Some San Diego leaders said that eloquently several times at yesterday's press conference. The Spanos family can't be trusted. San Diego should have learned that years ago. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 4, 2016

You correctly point out the key question. The Chargers argument is logical deception known as a "False Choice Fallacy" In a false choice argument, a limited number of choices as though the presented choices are the only options.

For example, should we:

A. Raise TOT and use the funds to buy the Chargers a new stadium. OR B. Do not raise TOT and don't buy the Chargers a new stadium.

Choice "C" is never presented

C. Raise TOT and use the money for something other than a Chargers stadium.

Oct. 3, 2016

ImJustABill: I go for Choice C -- raise the hotel taxes and use the money for infrastructure, etc. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

"What has Faulconer been promised by the Spanos family, which gave a hoist to Pete Wilson and tried to do so for Susan Golding?" Come on Don, it's bad enough when a reader gets it wrong: Wilson got elected to the Senate in 1982 - Spanos bought the Chargers in 1984. I was a senior staffer in Wilson's 1988 reelection campaign and the Spanos didn't do anything other than make contributions (and I don't know if they even did that, but presumably they did, as did thousands of other people). Golding screwed up nicely, what with seat guarantees and cheap naming rights for the Stadium, but you can't blame her for what's going on now.

Oct. 3, 2016

While I have no love for Ms. Golding and the debacle of the 96' RNC; it's over-the-top looting of the taxpayer's treasury, so she would look good on a national stage, the fact of the matter is, the city was run by a City Manager cabal not a strong Mayor back then. (Strong is not an adjective to use with Golding at all) But between Bruce Herring and Jack McGrory, both sports sycophants in the Manager's office. They acted in an obsequious manner toward the Chargers instead of the taxpayers. Those are the indivduals involved in the root causes of today's mess.

Oct. 3, 2016

JustWondering: I disagree strongly. Golding was a tyrant of a sort. She barked orders to McGrory in public. She was a manipulator, too. Alex Spanos was a source of funds for her. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

Ahhh....but you were never there behind the curtain.

Oct. 3, 2016

JustWondering: Yes, but I rely on my sources. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

Bob_Hudson: Spanos, a major Republican in the state, made contributions to Wilson. He gave the moon and stars to Golding, but couldn't get her elected to the U.S. Senate. Alex Spanos poured everything behind Golding. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

I'm disappointed - I was beginning to think Mayor Faulconer might end up doing the right thing and speaking out against measure C, or at least remaining officially neutral.

Oct. 3, 2016

ImJustABill: When I am trying to decide what happened in such a situation, I say to myself: "Follow the money." Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

ImJustABill: Apparently, Faulconer fell for the Chargers/U-T con job. He must think that San Diegans are too dumb to figure out that "concessions" that the Chargers purportedly made to the Downtown San Diego Partnership are utterly worthless. The fact that the U-T put a meaningless agreement on its front page tells that the news is being badly slanted in favor of the Chargers. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

OPPONENTS OF STADIUM SCAM HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE. The group "No on C -- Jobs and Streets First!" held a press conference this afternoon.

Councimember David Alvarez noted correctly that Measure C is full of "giveaway after giveaway" that will fill Dean Spanos's pocket. Alvarez pointed out that with the naming and ad rights, and other such giveaways, Spanos "may not put a dime" in the stadium.

Councilmember Scott Sherman pointed out that "the Chargers' word doesn't mean very much. The Chargers have proven over and over that they can't be trusted."

Haney Hong, chief executive of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, pointed out that the cost of the project is not the touted $1.1 billion, but, over its full life $3.4 billion. "It is a horrible deal" for taxpayers," he said. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

Streets are paid for from a DIFFERENT fund. You can't use tourist dollars (TOT tax increase) to pay for infrastructure or first responders anyway so PLEASE stop using that hot take as your primary defense against this initiative.

Oct. 4, 2016

What? Where did you get that idea? TOT'es in other cities go to their general funds: it's San Diego that is unique in having a big chunk get siphoned off by private businesses, that is, the hoteliers. That's why there've been two lawsuits about this issue, http://sandiegofreepress.org/2014/09/who-runs-san-diego-the-use-and-abuse-of-the-transient-occupancy-tax/

Unless you're intentionally making an "is/ought" deception, there's no reason why TOT'es should ever go to an industry slush fund rather than back to the city that is purpose for the travel.

Oct. 4, 2016

Cassander: Various cities have different strategies on were to steer hotel tax receipts. I agree that hotel taxes should not go to subsidize billionaire team owners. However, they do -- all over the U.S. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 9, 2016

Wish there was a "downvote" option for silly tripe like this.

Oct. 4, 2016

jnojr: I am hoping there is an overwhelming no vote for this scam in San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 9, 2016

That's news to me. What part of the US or CA state Constitution bans the use of TOT for infrastructure / first responders?

Oct. 4, 2016

ImJustABill: I don't think you will find a ban in the documents you cite. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 9, 2016

Mike Murphy: Digging up dirt -- and tossing in money -- are the common methods for influencing politicians. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

in politics, dirt is the best currency

Oct. 4, 2016

Murphyjunk: I think this evening (Sunday) you will see a lot of dirt. I understand that this afternoon, Trump interviewed some of the females who allegedly had relations with Bill Clinton, then went to court. I am sure he will try to work Bill Cliinton's past into the scrum. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 9, 2016

David Crossley: His promise is probably every bit as good as Dean Spanos's promises. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 3, 2016

Don't know if it was the Reader or another link, but I recently read a story detailing the over the top extremely extravagant Alex Spanos 50th Anniversary Celebration at their Stockton mansion years ago complete with 45 Parking Attendants. The Keynote Speaker and MC was Pete Wilson. So whether the poster knows it or or not, it appears that the Spanos's and Wilson had quite a cozy relationship and, undoubtedly, the Spanoses and their other wealthy friends and associates backed Pete Wilson during his career..helped him get to the Governor's Office and the US Senate. I have read other accounts of the Spanoses backing Wilson over the years also. It would be interesting for someone to track and document the possible "quid pro quo" between Wilson and the Spanoses over the years.

Oct. 4, 2016

SportsFan0000: Alex Spanos was one of the richest and most powerful Republicans in California. Of course he shared his wealth with Wilson. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 4, 2016

The fact that Kev-boy took so long in announcing his "decision" of support is a dead give-away. He claimed he needed time to consider all the parts of the deal before stating his support or disapproval. What he was doing was waiting until the Spanos gang came up with enough to buy his approval. As in the claim that every man has his price, he hung tough until he got his.

So forget about his desire to rebuild the infrastructure. And also forget about any effort to reform the PD, and the city bureaucracy overall. No, he has his eye on a higher elective office, and everything he does from now on out will be based on whether it helps or hinders his political ambitions.

Oct. 4, 2016

What does infrastructure and police have ANYTHING to do with this project? Those things are paid for out of the general fund, the city's share of the stadium project would come from TOT taxes that can only be used for special projects.

Oct. 4, 2016

Visduh: I am afraid you are right. San Diegans can certainly kiss infrastructure improvement goodbye if this Measure C scam is approved. And you are also right about saying goodbye to police and bureaucratic reform. Ditto for upgrading the firefighting ability.

It boils down to this: do you want a rundown city, or do you want a consistently poor football team owned by an incompetent and dishonest out-of-town billionaire family? Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 4, 2016

Infrastructure improvement is paid for from COMPLETELY different funds than this project would. TOT tax increases can only be used for special projects, not things like police, fire and streets. So continuing to cry "What about our crumbling streets and poor firefighters!" is a waste of breath - which you would know if you actually studied the initiative.

Oct. 4, 2016

Cdydatzigs: Do not fall for this line of nonsense. Money is fungible. If the San Diego economy could stand up under a boost in the TOT tax to 16.5 percent, the city would get $120 million a year. This could be used for numerous things -- particularly infrastructure. That's why the group is named "No Downtown Stadium -- Jobs and Streets First!"

The $120 million that would not be spent subsidizing on an out-of-town billionaire could be used for many, many things.

Again, the question is: Do you want a rundown city or do you want to subsidize a dishonest, incompetent Stockton billionaire family's football stadium? If San Diego subsidizes the Spanos family, it is probably guaranteeing many years of lousy football. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 4, 2016

You might want to glance at the city charter before continuing your argument in favor of this project. And, out of curiosity, where will the money come from should TOT revenues fall short of expectations?

Oct. 4, 2016

aardvark: If TOT revenues fall short, San Diego taxpayers will have to cough up more tax money from somewhere. And this is such a poorly-constructed deal (for San Diego, not for Spanos) that if it passes, I believe it will be likely that taxpayers will have their pockets picked again to make up the difference. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 9, 2016

Don: Of course they will, but it's amazing that so many don't understand that fact.

Oct. 9, 2016

aardvark: For the most part, the Measure C backers are rabid football fans. They will never look at the data showing what a scam this is. It's like the backers of Trump. Somebody (maybe Trump) said the Trump supporters could see him murder someone in broad daylight in Manhattan and still vote for him. That is true. Similarly, Measure C backers will never look at the economic evidence. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 9, 2016

the whole skit sounds like agreeing to buy a car on promises made after the papers are signed ( and from a known disreputable car dealer)

Oct. 4, 2016

Murphyjunk: Good analogy. Subsidizing a dishonest out-of-town billionaire family guarantees a rundown city and lousy football to boot. (Pun intended.) Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 4, 2016

"No public money will be used to cover the sports stadium projec"t...So said the Padres PR team and John Moores etc...It turned out that the City was on the hook for a 15M per year note from the General fund, plus maintenenace, police, fire and other hidden costs that all come from the city treasury...funds used for roads, streets, libraries, police, fire and infrastructure. Later, The City deftly moved the yearly payment on the Petco note to another downtown agency tangentially related to the general city fund for political purposes. And, they didn't count the hundreds of millions of dollars in free land downtown by Petco given to Moores and his development companies. And, they did not count the tax revenues to be generated for the City by a promised downtown hotel by Petco...that Moores and companies later never built/reneged on and got a waiver from the City...the revenue tax streams promised never materialized...Any other deal between private parties and that deal would have either been called off OR the opposing party would have required the Padres to pay the 15M dollar yearly note on the stadium bonds since Moores and the Padres were in serious breach of contract on the Padres/Petco Park deal. It is frustrating that either the City had incompetent negotiators OR Moores/Padres made "silent/secret off the record deals" with higher level city officials to look the other way while they trampled on the Petco contractual deal. It may not be a coincidence that the former SD City Manager was and others were given cushy, lucrative paid deals with the Moores Padres and Development companies owned by Moores JMI after they did their parts for Moores in the Petco Park deal.

Expect similar shenanigans with the Chargers deal and City/County officials....Great place to "double dip" for City/County executives wanting a "soft landing" after they sell out the Taxpayers in favor of the Spanos family and the Chargers..by negotiating a "one sided deal" in favor of the Chargers and later letting the Chargers trample provisions of the agreed deal with waivers and major changes etc..

Read the fine print. Chances are, there are both "open costs" and "hidden costs" that the City and its general fund and ancillary funds may be on the hook for in the proposed New Chargers Stadium.

Oct. 4, 2016

SportsFan0000: Excellent summation. It frustrates me that San Diegans, asked how big a subsidy Moores received, will say "$300 million." They are forgetting, or do not know, that Moores picked up $700 million to $1 billion from the city giving him land for early 1990s prices. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 4, 2016

HERE'S A LIMERICK TELLING THE CHARGERS SCAM TALE. THE AUTHOR'S FIRST NAME IS DAN.

"You have to feel sad for the rich/ They've got them a terrible itch./ To have bigger mansions/ Gold towering expansions/ If you fall for their stadium pitch./

Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 4, 2016

We can fuss and fume all we want, but we're a tiny minority. "Most folks, m'dears, frankly just don't give a damn" as Rhett might say. They swallow what's fed to them fast.

Oct. 4, 2016

Flapper: You are right. Most folks don't give a damn even though their own pockets are being picked in broad daylight. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 4, 2016

As to whether or not another NFL team would come to play at the Q without a major upgrade I agree with aardvark. The NFL has successfully leveraged their unfair but legal monopoly such that no team will play anywhere without a huge taxpayer check going to the NFL and the team owners. London might be the one city that could get a team without putting up much money as the NFL seems to badly want a team in London.

So the Raiders, Chargers, Bills?, and Jaguars are all on the market to move but Vegas, San Antonio, St. Louis and probably other cities are willing to spend loads of tax money to lure a team - and London is calling as well.

Oct. 4, 2016

ImJustABill: If they would sponsor a team to play at the Q, and would pay for that major upgrade of the Q, that would be fine. Not likely, admittedly, but possible. If some billionaire would buy the team and pay to build a new stadium, that would be fine, too. Also not likely now, but possible in a couple of years. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 4, 2016

UNION-TRIBUNE ESCALATES ITS FRONT PAGE PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN FOR CHARGERS SUBSIDY. The Union-Tribune continues to pollute its front page with propaganda in favor of the proposed subsidization of a Chargers stadium. This morning (October 4) the lead story on page one blared, "Study: Bolts' plan could add $2.1 billion to local economy."

Then a story went on, claiming the convadium could add 6400 permanent jobs per year, and 15,000 jobs during construction.

At least, the author revealed high in the story that he is aware of the truth: "Most taxpayer-funded sports stadiums deliver zero (or even negative) lasting economic improvement to a city," he wrote.

Then he went on to contradict the statement: the story went on to stated how the Chargers' proposal would pump up the San Diego economy.

Two local economists were responsible for this folly. Obviously, they did not read the literature in the field. If you look at various economists' studies, you will find it difficult to find a handful who have a good thing to say about pro sports subsidies.

In 2008, two academic economists, Dennis Coates (who is sometimes quoted in the Reader) and Brad Humphreys, reviewed the literature of economists' studies of the efficacy of subsidizing pro sports teams.

The conclusion: "The evidence reveals a great deal of consistency among economists doing research in this area. THAT EVIDENCE IS THAT SPORTS SUBSIDIES CANNOT BE JUSTIFIED ON THE GROUNDS OF LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, INCOME GROWTH OR JOB CREATION -- THOSE ARGUMENTS MOST FREQUENTLY USED BY SUBSIDY ADVOCATES."

In fact, just about the only analysts who claim that subsidizing a pro team bolsters the economy, are not economists. They are so-called "consultants" who are paid by the cities whose establishment wants subsidies, or by the team.

Heney Hong, chief executive of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, said this morning, "Urban theorist Richard Florida recently put it this way: 'The overwhelming conclusion of decades of economic research on the subject is that using public funds to subsidize wealthy sports franchises makes zero economic sense and is a giant waste of taxpayer money.'"

Amen. End of story. There is simply no evidence that such subsidies do anything for a city's economy. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 4, 2016

If Irwin Jacobs was really interested in helping San Diego and not just leaving his mark on Balboa Park, he'd fund an educational campaign against Prop C. With a small investment he could counter the ridiculous propaganda from the Spanos sycophants and save foolish San Diegans from themselves. And that's leaving out saving us from the misery of a historically mediocre football team with an owner whose only interest is profits. C'mon Mr. Jacobs, whatada you say?

Oct. 4, 2016

JustWondering: The last I heard, Irwin Jacobs' two sons are among the group trying to buy and resuscitate the Sacramento professional basketball team. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 4, 2016

Don: I'm sure the price has gone up (if the Kings are really for sale), since they will be playing in a new downtown arena in Sacramento this season.

Oct. 4, 2016

aardvark: I haven't been following the Sacramento Kings/new arena story. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 10, 2016

Don: The $556.6 million arena opens this season. All suites/lofts (cheaper suites?) sold out, and there are 12,000 on a waiting list for season tickets. The arena was paid for on a pretty much even split between the city and team. In January, Forbes listed the value of the Kings franchise 18th out of 30 teams, at $925 million. I imagine it will jump significantly this year.

Oct. 10, 2016

aardvark: Oh yes, the monetary value is sure to shoot upward. What about the team's performance? It seems to me Sacramento has been poor on the court in recent years. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 10, 2016

It seems to me there is a huge fundamental flaw in the way these data are presented - but it seems like such a huge and glaring flaw that I wonder if I'm not understanding something correctly.

Let's say for sake of argument the reported numbers are true. SD pays $1.15B in taxes and in return gets $2.1B "add(ed) to LOCAL ECONOMY".

Why is the amount of money added to the local economy always reported as the benchmark? From a citizen's perspective, I would want a net positive ROI on my tax dollars. So if $1.15B in taxes is spent then I want more than $1.15B in ADDITIONAL San Diego TAX REVENUE generated.

I would think additional tax revenue generated for the city of San Diego should be the metric, not dollars added to the economy.

Am I misunderstanding something?

Oct. 5, 2016

ImJustABill: Yes. The Chargers aren't touting the supposed new tax revenue added to San Diego because it would be neither an impressive nor honest estimate.

So the Chargers (and other professional teams) predict that the team would add $X to the economy…what's called the "ripple effect." This is all a bunch of hooey. Overwhelmingly, economists who have studied the matter agree that using taxpayer money to fund a private stadium is a total waste of public money. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 10, 2016

Why does nothing in San Diego politics surprise me anymore?

Oct. 4, 2016

spudboy: What's true of you is also true of the majority of San Diegans. That's why so many sticky-fingered con men move to San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 4, 2016

Should there be a limit to the number of measures that can be put on one ballot?

Oct. 4, 2016

Flapper: Yes, and the upcoming election is proof of that. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 4, 2016

Why don't we screw our tourists (who we happen to love, by the way, for without them this town would surely dry up and blow away) with the TOT increase and spend the money INSTEAD on frivolous stuff like PD and FD stations, streets, public transit, other infrastructure goodies, improved tourist - centric areas - Balboa Park for example - and so on?

Many more people would use those versus a Convadium.

Besides, WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH CHARGER FANS TO FILL THE STADIUM THEY'RE OCCUPYING NOW.

Oops. I just saw your Oct 3 comment. Great minds think alike, I guess...

Oct. 4, 2016

Rocket_J_Squirrel: Actually, I think we can raise the TOT without harming tourism -- to a certain extent. And 16.5 percent may be too much of a jump. It's risky.

Risk is one of the things the public isn't discussing enough. Here are some of those ignored issues; 1. The risk that 16.5 will hurt tourism, especially if the economy slows; 2. The fact that if San Diego gives the Spanos family what it wants, the city could be stuck with incompetent and dishonest leadership of its football team for decades; 3. The damage that may be done to the team on the field. Dean Spanos has already named his two sons to top positions. San Diego may vote for 30 years of lousy football. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 4, 2016

Same thing happened to the 49ers when Eddie De Bartolo was forced out by the NFL because he wanted to buy a few riverboat gambling licenses and allegedly got caught red handed handing bags of cash to the Louisiana Governor at that time. Eddie transfers the team to his sister and brother in law who F*** it up and mismanage it badly= lousy football. Then Denise DeBartolo York hires her son Jed York(looks like a fraternity brother lol) for his "management training job" as CEO of the 49ers....No wonder the team went into the toilet for 10-15 years. Then, Jed York's lackey GM accidentally hires a real coach, Jim Harbaugh who does not suffer fools gladly. Can you imagine a young management trainee Jed York telling an old school tough as nails Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh how to do his job lol?! Harbaugh probably passes kidney stones the size of Jed York lol!

Anyways, I digress....SOS Same old S*** with the Chargers and the Spanos boys. They could not find honest work for which they were qualified to do....maybe cleaning out the stalls at the Del Mar Race track or something...and would not accept gigs as waiters, busboys or dishwashers. So, Deano had this great brainstorm, why not hire his boys and nephews to run an NFL team like the Chargers in the Spanos Family Management Trainee Program?! I mean what could go wrong?! 2 or 3 GMs and 3 or 4 Head Coaches, and a revolving door of players later, they decide it would be a great idea to ask the taxpayers of San Diego to subsidize their incompetence?! Hey, what's a few billion in corporate welfare paid by the taxpayers and the tourists to build themselves a shiny new sports palace for a total of 8 games per year?! If successful, then it would be the biggest shakedown of taxpayers in San Diego history. You can count me and my family and associates out of this "great idea"...We are severely allergic to corporate welfare scams...No Thank you!!!

Oct. 6, 2016

SportsFan0000: As soon as Eddie De Bartolo got caught slipping money to that Louisiana pol so he could get a casino, the NFL piously said he would have to step down as owner of the 49ers.

Now the Raiders are trying to move to Las Vegas. The NFL is quiet. The NFL is essentially admitting that it is an arm of the gambling and organized crime industries. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 9, 2016

San Diego, why do you keep electing and re-electing stupid mayors like Faulconer? He is dumb as a bag of hammers. Yet he ran unopposed. People say they want "change" yet they re-elect a boring, do-nothing mayor again. I guess we get what we deserve.

Oct. 7, 2016

Ponzi: Yes. San Diegans get what they deserve. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 9, 2016

I tried to edit my comment but I was too late. The thing that is scary is that so many of Faulconer supporters are also supporters of Donald Trump. Does Faulconer realize that? He waited this long to show his true colors as yet another bought & sold insider, when is he going to endorse a presidential candidate? I have to say that in all the years I have lived in San Diego (since 1969) this is without a doubt the dumbest mayor we have ever had. The dumbest. SMH I know Jerry Sanders is a slice or two short of a loaf, but Faulconer makes Sanders seem brilliant.

Oct. 7, 2016

Ponzi: It does not surprise me at all that Faulconer supporters are Trump supporters. Of course Faulconer realizes this. He has pursued that market as long as he has been in public office. Best, Don Baudef

Oct. 9, 2016

Ponzi: Dumb is qualifying.

Oct. 9, 2016

Flapper: Do you mean that a metro mayor can be dumb but also qualified for the office? You may be right. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 10, 2016

Intelligence is disqualifying.

Oct. 10, 2016

Flapper: I don't think it's that bad, New York's current mayor seems intelligent and his immediate predecessor was. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 10, 2016

All generalities have exceptions. But we're talking about San Di Ego.

Oct. 11, 2016

Flapper: OK. Maureen O'Connor was a good, intelligent mayor of San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

Oct. 11, 2016

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