Ken Leighton 12:30 p.m., Oct. 21
Combined convention center/stadium? Or neither?
Election question could be playthings versus essentials
The Chargers are continuing to pitch a combined convention center/stadium that, of course, would be financed by taxpayers. Neither the team nor City officials yet admit that convention centers are vastly overbuilt in the U.S. That's why centers, including San Diego's, are slicing prices by 50% and more. No more convention center space is needed -- in any city.
The Chargers are ignoring the fact that combined convention center/stadiums, such as in Atlanta, Indianapolis, and St. Louis, have not worked well. Convention attendees don't like to shuffle from one building to another, and football stadium floors aren't good for displaying merchandise or hosting potential customers.
But mayoral candidates Kevin Faulconer and Nathan Fletcher -- patsies for the downtown corporate welfare crowd -- can be expected to back either the Chargers' plan or the proposed $520 million expansion of the current center.
Mike Aguirre -- and perhaps David Alvarez -- will argue for ESSENTIALS. The West is in a horrible drought and San Diego imports nearly all its water. Infrastructure is in terrible shape. (And not just streets and sewers; the city's parks have been ignored.) Extremely high electricity rates drain money that would go to the other essentials. Neighborhoods are rundown.
Does government exist to subsidize billionaires and out-of-town hotel companies? Or does it exist to take care of fundamentals? This election, likely to go to a runoff, could be a referendum on that question. The nation may be watching.