It is no secret that San Diego is a bandwagon sports town. When regular season home games look more like away games; from the sea of orange that we witness whenever we play the Denver Broncos in recent years, or the black hole that gets created whenever the Oakland Raiders come to town. The stadium is too easily overrun on gamedays, which is something that needs to change, and Chargers fans can actually control whether or not this occurs.
However, that argument is for another time. The reason I bring it up now, is because it will draw attention and hopefully make people realize that the Chargers cannot just rely on Chargers fans to come out for the needed 50% plus one vote in November unless we are doing well on the field.
What the Chargers organization must do is be able to showcase all that the new stadium would be able to do. They also must partner with local San Diego hot spots and events in order to draw a wider range of voters in to the new idea. For example: promotions through the Broken Yolk Cafe, Hodad’s, the San Diego Padres, Sea World and last, but certainly not least, Comic-Con promoters.
It is hard to convince someone who may just be a casual football fan to give their vote to a team who in the last two seasons has not finished higher than third in their division.
So, if the Chargers organization can promote the stadium before the ballots are cast, as not just a place to play football, but a place in which economic growth is a guaranteed reality, then, clearly, it would entice even those residents in San Diego who are not fans of the Chargers.
In recent memory, Comic-Con is one of the biggest events in San Diego’s history. If they are able to establish a museum that would guarantee tourists more than one week a year, that would prove to be a sustainable, year-round revenue. Not to mention, the jobs that would be created for future San Diegans would increase exponentially due to the number of non-football events that would take place throughout the year.
The stadium plan will fail if the Chargers rely on just Chargers fans in the area to come out and vote. The only way this will work is if the Chargers organization is able to use all of these other organizations, and ways of promoting the non-football benefits to the city. Should the Chargers be able to put together a viable, convincing stadium plan, it should be a slam dunk.
Although the doubters, even fans of the team, may come out in droves, stating they are not going to get behind a stadium plan keeping the Chargers in San Diego, it is up to all of the educated fans to do their due diligence in ensuring said doubters regarding all of the opportunities which would lie ahead should a stadium be granted to the NFL team which currently resides in America’s finest city.
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The San Diego Chargers are an essential part of the San Diego community, whether people would like to realize it or not. They are as big if not bigger than the Padres in the San Diego area. Not only would it be a disservice to the fans to let the team move, it would also be a major disservice to the city at large.
A new stadium would bring in all sorts of new revenue. Among them are advertisements, restaurants, tourism, and especially sports fans that want to see something new. If they were to extend the convention center and go with the Convadium plan, that would guarantee that San Diego will be a permanent home for one of the most beneficial events for the San Diego economy in the cities’ recent history, Comic-Con.
Comic-Con has brought in several hundred million dollars in just one appearance. Imagine the amount of tourists all around the globe that would go to visit the new Comic-Con museum. With this museum, one can still bring in stars such as William Shatner, Mark Hamill, and Robert Downey Jr., to do autograph signings and still make money in the offseason. The Comic-Con museum would only be a small part of the massive revenue that the city would bring in.
The rest comes with the territory of having a new stadium. The stadium can host more than just football games, it can hold concerts, and other sporting events. For example, the University Of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, was able to host the College Football Playoff Championship game, will hold a Guns-N-Roses concert, a One Direction Concert, and even world soccer recently with the Copa America match that was just held there.
All of these events benefit the city’s economy. When people come to the events, they don’t just attend the event and leave, they go and spend their money at restaurants, buy commemorative merchandise in the stores surrounding the venue, and some even pay for public transportation to and from the event.
The biggest reason that this stadium is a good idea, is the same reason that the Chargers play every single Sunday during the season, the Super Bowl. No company spends any less than ten million dollars to get their name associated with the Super Bowl. The advertising is just one small part of it, the rest comes with tickets to the game, the gambling surrounding the game, and of course, tourism. When New Orleans hosted the Super Bowl, it brought in 480-million dollars to the city’s economy according to Fox Business.
Hosting a Super Bowl can be considered a city’s chance to show off to all sorts of perspective tourists that a city like San Diego, with Cornado, Seaworld, and any beach in the area, is practically guaranteed to have repeat tourism. Obviously, it will cost a lot to build, but adding that three-percent hotel sales tax will be sure to cover it. It’s worth it with the city making a large profit, with zero taxpayer dollars involved. The possibilities are endless.
Agree or disagree? Post your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you for reading.
To realize the goal of keeping the Chargers in San Diego with a new stadium, it will take more than getting the team’s initiative on the ballot and passing it in November. Voters must also remove politicians that are likely to work against the Chargers’ downtown vision. District 7 city councilman Scott Sherman is near the top of the list of politicians that are not just stadium obstructionists, but are just plain bad for San Diego.
Sherman was interviewed by the San Diego Union-Tribune and made it is clear he is against the Chargers’ plans for a multi-use stadium downtown that would include a non-contiguous expansion of convention center, and he is largely in favor for big development in Mission Valley.
Sherman attacked both the Citizens Plan, written by attorney Cory Briggs, and the Chargers’ initiative. Either of which would entitle the land for a downtown stadium.
“Well, the Briggs initiative is just terrible and I don’t think should see the light of day. I don’t know why San Diegans would trust a guy who makes his living suing the taxpayer. Plus you’ve got the Port, who came out on that one the other day. The Chargers’ plan I don’t think will work. I think they picked a tough way to get there. The Convadium idea, to me, is the biggest problem because we did some research in my office about Lucas Oil field. That thing is terrible.”
Last year, Sherman rolled out plans for a high-density development for the Mission Valley stadium land and presented them to the Citizens Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG) with hopes his plan would be incorporated into CSAG’s stadium plan for Mission Valley.
It is clear Sherman would like to move forward with his development plan. “I think they’re coming now because the community plan update is in progress,” Sherman said in regards to huge development in Mission Valley. “So I think a lot of them are wanting to try to get this done before that could change what’s coming. There’s a lot planned for the Valley.”
Sherman even questioned the Chargers’ effort to stay in San Diego, questioning whether or not they were even sincere. “The cynical part of me says, OK, they’re doing all of this, they don’t have to pay rent for a couple of years in the Rose Bowl, they get free playing here at Qualcomm, and when everything’s done they go out there and say we tried, don’t hold it against us, we’re on our way.”
Sherman claims he wants the NFL in San Diego, but the Chargers to Los Angeles appears to be his real goal. Jason Riggs, the Chairman of the San Diego Stadium Coalition, and myself met with Sherman after he released his plans for Mission Valley. It was a deeply frustrating experience. Sherman admitted that CSAG was facing difficulties in Mission Valley, but brought up several false barriers for a downtown stadium.
The meeting concluded with Sherman stating his plan wasn’t a stadium plan, but a development plan and it was going happen.
If Sherman doesn’t want the Chargers in downtown and wants a big development in Mission Valley, then what he really wants is the Chargers out of his way to accomplish the goals he has for his developer friends.
Fortunately, San Diego has a better choice. Justin DeCesare is running against Sherman in District 7. DeCesare is supportive of the Chargers moving downtown and has a much better vision for the future of Mission Valley.
“I’ve always thought that if a new stadium is to be built, downtown would be a far better location in order to protect the environmental concerns of the San Diego River and minimize the traffic impacts on the already overburdened residents of Mission Valley,” DeCesare said. “Once elected, one of my top priorities for the residents of District 7 will be protecting the Qualcomm site from condo development, and instead turning it into a major public park that can be enjoyed by all San Diegans while protecting SDSU’s football program.”
DeCesare not only is a viable candidate who has an excellent shot of ousting Sherman, DeCesare could outright win the District 7 seat with enough support in the primary on June 7. If any city candidate reaches 50% +1 of the vote in the primary, then they win without having to run in the general election. As of June 1, early ballot returns show DeCesare could have a greater than 4% lead based on a partisan ballot count.
DeCesare still needs help to ensure victory. His campaign is holding daily get-out-to-vote events from now through election day and needs volunteers.
To volunteer, email the campaign: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer would like San Diego to believe that he is open to the Chargers downtown Convadium project which would combine a new stadium with a non-contiguous expansion of the Convention Center. He just needs more time to research the project’s viability and the overall economic impact it will have on San Diego and its taxpayers; time that takes him past next week’s primary election on June 7.
Faulconer and his handlers have taken the approach of avoiding controversy with hopes that he can be re-elected in the primary and not have to run in the general election in November.
Donald Trump, the Republican presumptive nominee, is one source of controversy that Faulconer is doing his best to avoid. Faulconer has repeatedly said he will not support Trump because he is divisive. Faulconer’s colleagues, however, believe this is just a pre-election position to appease the masses.
“Well you know in a matter of weeks we’re going to have a primary for many of our officials,” Darrell Issa, the Republican U.S. Representative for California’s 49th congressional district, told the Independent Voter Project. “They would like to get their 51% and end their races; that’s politics. The mayor has absolutely not had his election yet. I would expect him and the local establishment to come on board (support Donald Trump) in July.”
When a politician calls out another politician of the same party for just playing politics to gain support in an election, we should take note and heed it as a WARNING!
For over a year, I have publicly shared an unpopular belief that everything Mayor Faulconer has done on the stadium issue has been nothing more than theater designed to protect the interests of those that prefer a contiguous expansion of the Convention Center over non-contiguous, and to provide political cover for the mayor if the Chargers were to move to LA.
I was told repeatedly that a solution could be found if only the Chargers would come to the table. From the Chargers announcing their decision to focus on downtown, to publishing the language of their citizens initiative, to the official launch of the initiative, the Chargers have received persistent political blowback for their efforts.
Tony Manolatos, former spokesman of the Citizens Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG), District 1 city council candidate Ray Ellis, and accountant April Boling have been particularly outspoken.
Steve Cushman continues behind the scenes to apply political pressure. “If you were going to line up the people in San Diego who have done the most to block a new stadium over the years, there is no doubt that Steve Cushman would be near the head of that line,” Mark Fabiani told Chargers.com.
Let’s take a look at the interconnectivity of relationships that go back years between Faulconer and those that have been most outspoken against the Chargers plan to build a multi-use stadium that includes a non-contiguous expansion of the Convention Center.
By analyzing the actions of these individuals and their relationships to one another, it is clear that Faulconer’s stadium effort has been politically motivated, less than sincere, and most importantly it is unlikely he will ever be supportive of the Chargers downtown plans, even if he wins re-election.
Steve Cushman and Faulconer have worked together to expand the Convention Center since at least 2009. At that time, Cushman chaired the Mayor’s Citizen Task Force to expand the Convention Center and councilman Faulconer was included in the communications of the task force.
Cushman and April Boiling have collaborated on Convention Center issues involving Hoteliers since at least 2004. Both played critical roles to bring the Hilton hotel to the bay front. Cushman then served as the Commissioner of The Port Commission which granted a coastal development permit for the project. April Boling served as vice chairwoman of the Convention Center Corp. board, and she told commissioners that the hotel will play a “pivotal role in the success of the Convention Center.”
Cushman as outgoing Port Board Chairman in 2010 presented an award to Wayne Darbeau for efforts to “Foster a Constructive Port Culture.”
Darbeau was fired as the CEO of the Port in 2014, after a scandal broke that he used his power over people and influence to help get a job for his son. Manolatos was heavily involved in the issue as a consultant for the Port.
Manolatos worked as spokesman for councilman Faulconer until he resigned following an arrest for Domestic Violence and Vandalism in 2012 which came after the police were called to his house on multiple occasions.
Although charges were not brought, it may pay to have friends in high places, Manolatos as spokesman of CSAG shows a clear lack of leadership by Faulconer. It’s reprehensible that Manolatos spoke on behalf of San Diego for our attempt to get a new NFL stadium, especially considering the domestic violence is a huge issue in the NFL.
In 2013, Boling returned to the Faulconer campaign trail as the treasurer for not only the Faulconer campaign for mayor, but also as the treasurer for both Super PACs that supported his campaign.
This sounds legally dubious, as Fabiani might say. We are supposed to believe that there was no coordination between the campaign and the Super PACs to allow a substantial amount of money to flow into the campaign.
In October of 2013, the Coastal Commission ignored its own staff recommendation to not expand the Convention Center contiguously because it would further wall-off public access to the bay. The approval of a contiguous expansion was made under a false premise that contiguous is the only way for expansion. This allowed the Convention Corp and Coastal Commission to go back on previously made promises to the public.
The ruling appeared to kill the possibility of a non-contagious expansion and the Chargers preference of multi-use stadium downtown.
“The result is no surprise, given the influence of the powerful groups supporting the project,” Fabiani said in reaction to the approval. “Now attention will turn to an appeals court ruling on the legally dubious tax that was invented to pay for all of this.”
Cushman thought he had won his contiguous expansion and then appeared on KPBS and suggested the Chargers use the site at Tailgate Park for a stadium that was to be used for a non-contiguous expansion of the Convention Center. At this point, Cushman thought the possibility of including a Convention Center expansion with a stadium was off the table.
Cushman touted the benefits of a downtown stadium. “The advantage of downtown is there is already lots of infrastructure. The Trolley is there. There is lots of parking.”
Contrast that statement to all the public reasons given by the mayor and CSAG to not choose downtown for a stadium.
In March of 2014, Cushman and Manolatos served together on Faulconer’s transition team to mayor in which Cushman was the co-chair.
In August of 2014, Cory Briggs won a lawsuit throwing out the legally dubious tax that Fabiani had warned about. This halted the contiguous expansion of the Convention Center.
With no clear path to a Convention Center expansion available for the City, the Chargers privately engaged Faulconer and tried to revive the multi-purpose concept.
Instead of hashing out a deal that would have secured both the Chargers and Comic-Con to San Diego, it was Faulconer that walked away from the table and announced the creation of CSAG in his State of City Address.
It was clear from the beginning that the formation of CSAG was just political posturing and the Chargers organization did not support this. Fabiani quickly voiced concern that Cushman would be part of CSAG because Cushman had repeatedly been a roadblock to their downtown efforts.
Cushman was ultimately not appointed to CSAG, but Faulconer did re-appoint Cushman to the San Diego Convention Center Corporation (SDCCC) Board of Directors. This appointment allowed the two to continue their work together to achieve their goal of a contiguous expansion of the Convention Center. Work that had been ongoing while CSAG supposedly deliberated between downtown and Mission Valley for a stadium.
Days before CSAG announced Mission Valley, when faced with the question of what were the real obstacles to downtown, a CSAG representative explained to citizen stadium groups that it was the hoteliers.
When you have that knowledge and the fact that Faulconer and Cushman were continuing to work together for a contiguous expansion, the only intellectual conclusion you can reach is that CSAG’s choice between downtown and Mission Valley was nothing more than a political illusion.
At the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s dinner in 2015, Faulconer joked about the Chargers not wanting Cushman on CSAG. Falconer said he was creating a new stadium task force that would have everyone in the room “except for you, Cushman.”
Faulconer also promised to get the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center back on track. “We’re just going to build it wherever Cory Briggs promises not to sue us,” Faulconer said.
Faulconer, however, has yet to endorse the Chargers concept for a non-contiguous expansion which is supported by Briggs. It is clear it is just the opposite
Ellis recently received a $100,000 donation from the political PAC “Neighborhoods, Not Stadiums.” The phone number for this PAC is owned by Boling.
Manolatos is now the communication director for the Ellis campaign. Manolatos recently sent out a press release touting Ellis’ anti-stadium stance.
When you know the history, and connect the dots, it becomes crystal clear how vitally important this primary election is for the future of the Chargers in San Diego. Armed with knowledge, please refer to this voter guide when voting.
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