9:30 a.m., Aug. 19
Lynch Says Stadium Won't Cost City a Dime
John Lynch, chief executive officer of the Union-Tribune, addressed the Harvard Business School Club of San Diego Sept. 12. Whether the speech raised eyebrows among the Harvard crowd is not known. But a very reliable ex-U-T reporter heard a recording of Lynch's speech, and reported it today (Sept. 17) on the 919 Gang report, an online newspaper for more than 500 former and current U-T newsroom staffers. Some eyebrows shot up.
For one thing, Lynch asserted that a new downtown stadium for the Chargers "is not going to cost the City one dime." The National Football League will put in $500 million, claimed Lynch. But the NFL has not been putting that kind of money behind new stadiums. And most significantly, the NFL program is a LOAN arrangement. The money has to be paid back. Second, Lynch claimed that a joint powers authority will put in $200 million. Joint powers authority arrangements are between various governments. There has been talk of the County joining the City in the massive subsidy required for this stadium. "Public money is public money is public money, no matter what it is called," comments Bruce Henderson, former councilmember. And in the end, San Diego taxpayers will pick up the tab for a big part of any proposed stadium. If a San Diego subsidized stadium goes through, taxpayers will pick up at least two-thirds of the cost. That's what teams are extracting from other metro areas.
Lynch said "Deano [Spanos] was in my office last week saying, 'I don't want to move, but they're forcing me to move.'" Lynch told the Harvard business grads that he was working with County Supervisor Ron Roberts on a joint powers authority arrangement, and "I told Ron Roberts we would cover his back." (Presumably, watch the U-T's editorial page for this back-covering.)
According to the tape of his speech, Lynch said that U-T ownership has cash and no debt and intends to become a national media company, perhaps by buying a company coming out of bankruptcy. Lynch claimed the U-T's revenues are growing. He wants revenue to move from the current $150 million annually to $250 million. Then, Lynch took more potshots at the port, one of his favorite targets.