Late Tuesday night, further development in the San Diego Chargers stadium saga was revealed. The uphill climb the Chargers face in getting the needed approval for the Citizens Initiative stadium plan to come to fruition finally received it’s first big break.
Last week, it was reported that the California Supreme Court blocked a lower court ruling suggesting a simple majority vote would be sufficient to approve the stadium. For the measure to pass, the Initiative would need a two-thirds approval from San Diego residents.
Hope has finally been kindled in the form of a simple majority approval (50%+1) that will be present on the November ballot, per Dan McLellan.
McLellan is a leading stadium activist and former Chargers beat writer for CBSSports.com.
McLellan confirmed to me that the above message comes from multiple sources, including Briggs and Steve Peace. Peace is a former State Assemblyman, who works for John Moores at JMI Reality. In order to further explain, McLellan also posted this on Twitter:
— Dan McLellan (@sandiegosports) July 13, 2016
@ariajaan CP is 50% +1 because it doesn’t raise tax for a specific purpose. New tax $$ go to General Fund with optional tax credits.
— Dan McLellan (@sandiegosports) July 13, 2016
Naturally, the Chargers will continue to campaign as if they need the aforementioned two-thirds majority for the vote to pass, but this news coming from those at the front of the stadium discussions provides hope where there had been little or none.
This is major news for Chargers fans, providing even more impetus to get out and vote for the Citizens Initiative. Encourage others, especially the non-sports fans, to vote in favor of the stadium. The short- and long-term economic impact will be substantial for decades to come. This is the best stadium news to come out of the woodwork since they were denied the move to Los Angeles. It’s time to take advantage, San Diego.
Stay tuned to BoltBlitz.com for the latest stadium news, while we direct you to the information given to us by those in the know.
The Greg One
As a part of their ongoing boycott, members of The San Diego Stadium Coalition and Save Our Bolts demonstrated outside a fundraiser for Mayor Faulconer on Thursday night. The event was hosted by hotelier Bill Evans (owner of The Bahia, Catamaran and Torrey Pines Lodge) at his garage on Pacific Highway where Evans stores his high-end car collection.
Approximately thirty concerned citizens demonstrated, holding signs that read “For Sale Mayor” and “Stop Hotelier Cabal.” Participants voiced their concerns that a few hoteliers have had a tremendous negative impact on San Diego. They were particularly concerned that mayor Kevin Faulconer is beholden to the interest of a few hoteliers who prefer a contiguous expansion of the Convention Center over the Chargers’ plan for a multi-use facility stadium downtown that would include a non-contiguous expansion.
Jason Riggs, Founder of the San Diego Stadium Coalition said, “What started as an effort to expose the Hotelier Cabal and their obstructionist maneuvering against a downtown convention center/stadium project, has grown into something much more significant. It is now abundantly clear that this particular special interest group has wreaked havoc on the entire civic landscape of San Diego in a way that goes well beyond one specific issue.” He added, “It’s time to shine a bright light on this systemic plague that has permeated almost every corner of City Hall for more than a decade.”
Marc Angelo, who runs NorCal Dolfan, promised his support of the boycott. “We are coming to San Diego with about 300 or so people. I have already asked for a list of hotels that are cooperating with your guys’ mission. We will book rooms at those hotels only. If there was a hotel that would actually help you guys, I would rather be loyal to them.” Angelo talked about the past spending habits of his group when visiting San Diego. “Almost every night we were hanging in the lobby, spending money in the lobby. People were going into the bar ordering beers. Each person is probably $200 a night.”
Riggs continued, “This boycott has already touched a nerve with the Hotelier Cabal and the politicians who represent them. We’ve barely begun.”
San Diego mayoral candidate Lori Saldaña took note of the protest and shared it on her campaign page. The Saldaña campaign wrote the protest was bad timing for mayor Kevin Faulconer who just two days earlier claimed the hoteliers had no influence over him in a debate.
David Agranoff, co-founder of Save Our Bolts said, “It is not too late for the Mayor to show leadership, but it is impossible for us to ignore a big money fundraiser being organized for the Mayor by Bill Evans who has influenced so many civic failures. This event highlights the underlying problem in San Diego politics and who is really calling the shots. We want the Mayor to prove us wrong.”
Save Our Bolts along with The San Diego Stadium Coalition and their combined 42,000 members have joined forces and received support from various civic leaders and fan groups in solidarity for their boycott against several of the hoteliers hosting Thursday’s fundraiser.
For more information San Diego’s destructive Hotelier Cabal, please visit HotelierCabal.com.
In October of 2014, BoltBlitz.com was among the first to report on the conflict between a few hoteliers and the Chargers’ effort to build a new multi-purpose stadium in conjunction with a non-contiguous expansion of the convention center. The obstructionism of these hoteliers, now known as the Hotelier Cabal, has transformed pro-stadium voices into true activists.
On Monday, the San Diego Stadium Coalition, Save Our Bolts and other civic and fan groups came together in support of a national boycott against San Diego hotels that are owned and/or operated by the Hotelier Cabal. The hoteliers identified in the boycott are financially influencing local politicians who are collectively opposing the development of a downtown mixed-use facility.
“Whether you feel strongly about the Chargers and their quest for a new stadium or not, the influence that the hotel industry wields over local officials has created a dysfunctional political ecosystem where voter and taxpayer interests are being mortgaged to the highest bidder.” said Jason Riggs, San Diego Stadium Coalition Founder and Chairman.
He added, “In 2008 we started working with various civic groups to find a stadium solution in San Diego. During that time one roadblock has remained consistent and that’s the hotel industry’s opposition to a downtown multi-use facility. Until these hoteliers and the politicians that represent them come forth to transparently discuss and negotiate the Chargers’ downtown convention center/stadium solution, we are asking everyone not to patronize their hotels.”
Save Our Bolts joined the San Diego Stadium Coalition in taking a hard-line stance against the Hotelier Cabal in organizing the boycott.
“Despite a downtown plan that includes a significant investment from the Chargers and zero general fund dollars, we have been surprised at the lack of support from local politicians and outright characterizations in campaign materials,” said David Agranoff, co-founder of Save Our Bolts.
“We fear that a group of powerful San Diego hoteliers are influencing local politicians and creating a united political front against the Chargers. Follow the trail of donations and it is shameful that these hotels are using politicians to pit neighborhoods against millions of Chargers fans. The reality is this plan doesn’t hurt your neighborhood in any way. It is time to hold them accountable. And our national fan base is ready to make sure when friends and family come to visit they know where NOT to book a room.”
Evidence of hotelier obstructionism has been present throughout the search for a stadium solution. Days before the Citizen Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG) announced they would focus on Mission Valley for a new stadium, a few of their members meet with stadium activists, including the leadership of the San Diego Stadium Coalition and Save Our Bolts.
In that meeting, when faced with the question of what were the real obstacles to downtown, a CSAG representative admitted that it was the hoteliers.
Steve Cushman has been particularly outspoken against the Chargers efforts downtown claiming, “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.
Mayor Faulconer re-appointed Steve Cushman to the San Diego Convention Corporation Board of Directors in October of 2015, a move that allowed the two to continue to work together for a contiguous expansion of the Convention Center.
When analyzing Faulconer’s actions and CSAG’s admission to stadium leaders, the only intellectual conclusion that can be reached is that CSAG’s choice between downtown and Mission Valley, and the mayor’s stadium effort last year, was nothing more than a political illusion designed to protect the interest of the Hotelier Cabal.
The cabal will now likely feel financial ramifications for their corruptive influence on San Diego politics. Save Our Bolts along with The San Diego Stadium Coalition have a combined 42,000 members that will be utilized to spread the word of the boycott. Family, friends and Chargers fans who live out of San Diego will be encouraged to avoid Hotelier Cabal properties.
Riggs added, “We know it’s going to take some real financial pressure on these hoteliers before they’ll negotiate in good faith to resolve our lingering Convention Center and stadium issues. We feel this is a good start.”
The hotels identified in the boycott include:
- Lodge at Torrey Pines
Town and Country Hotel
Town and Country Hotel
Pacific Terrace Hotel
Humphrey’s Half Moon Inn & Suites
The Dana on Mission Bay
Sheraton La Jolla
Hilton Harbor Island
Best Western Island Palms Hotel and Marina
- Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside
- Days Inn San Diego Hotel Circle (near Sea World)
For info on the political influence of San Diego Hoteliers, visit http://www.hoteliercabal.com
BoltBlitz.com fully endorses and agrees with the aforementioned parties on boycotting the local hotels of San Diego. They seem to be the ones standing in your way of keeping the Chargers in San Diego.
Thanks a lot for reading.
*submitted to BoltBlitz.com via email from Dan McLellan.
San Diego, CA (For Release) – Corry Briggs recently made a few revisions to the recently announced “Pay Their Own Way” initiative put out by his clients and former City Councilmember Donna Frye. Enhancements were based on input from various stakeholders and citizens’ groups.
“There is no reason to not improve on something when you have the opportunity to do so, and we always allowed ourselves enough time to build that in,” Briggs told the San Diego Union Tribune.
The initiative is now called “The Citizens’ Plan for the Responsible Management of Major Tourism and Entertainment Resources.”
These notes are to help in your efforts to accurately report about the initiative.
Puts Downtown and Mission Valley on equal stadium footing
The initiative provides for a CEQA litigation waiver for stadium locations in both Mission Valley and Downtown. This means neither site would face a lawsuit that could delay the development, however, both sites must still comply with CEQA through environmental mitigation. The CEQA litigation waiver provided by the initiative ultimately quickens the timeline for both sites getting a shovel in the ground while also providing environmental protections by assuring mitigation will occur.
Does not pay for a stadium with TOT funds
The initiative will raise the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) from 10.5% to 15.5% and eliminate a 2% Tourism Marketing District (TMD) tax. The effective change to the TOT as paid by tourists is a 3% raise from 12.5% to 15.5%.
The biggest myth being reported is that this initiative pays for a stadium. It is not accurate to report that the initiative will pay for a stadium by raising the TOT. Any potential new stadium and the TOT are two separate issues addressed within the initiative.
On the stadium front, the initiative entitles both the Chargers’ preferred site in downtown and the City’s preferred site in Mission Valley for a new stadium.
Does not prohibit a future vote to provide public money for a stadium
The initiative does not provide any funds to build a stadium, but it also does not prohibit the use of public funds if approved through a future public vote.
The cheapest known way to build a stadium is to combine it with a Convention Center expansion. The construction cost for a stadium portion for this projected is estimated at $680 million. The Chargers would also need to pay their portion of environmental mitigation. The total stadium cost for a combined multi-use facility in downtown is projected to be less than $800 million.
The team has already committed $400 million ($200 million from team + $200 million NFL loan). For additional funding the team may receive a large payout from any other team entering the L.A. market to compensate the Chargers for their existing share of that market. The NFL could also provide additional loan money only made available to teams that stay in their market. If a team were to relocate to L.A., the loan money they would not receive could possibly be reallocated to a stadium project in San Diego to keep the Chargers in their home market.
Does not create any new restrictions for a stadium project in Mission Valley
Recently Governor Brown certified the reconstruction project covered by the EIR for Mission Valley in order to expedite legal challenges to the EIR under a relatively new state law. That law – not the initiative – allows expedited legal challenges for projects that are not taxpayer funded. “This initiative puts no more restrictions on the city than what the city already has put on itself,” Briggs said. In fact, the initiative improves the City’s situation under the new state law because, if the initiative passes, the City will avoid litigation (though it will still have to satisfy the other requirements under state law). Nothing in the initiative prohibits the City from seeking a change to state law.
However, the city has the option to not utilize this EIR. If the initiative is passed and no further action is taken with this particular EIR, the land in Mission Valley could still be entitled for a stadium project subject to CEQA, as described above. Without the EIR and with passage of the initiative, public funds could be used for a stadium project in Mission Valley.
Provides an estimated $18 million a year for the General Fund
The initiative states that all new TOT revenues will go to the General Fund. The annual additional revenues are estimated to be at least $18 million. When a new stadium is built, the City will also save $12 million per year they are currently losing in maintaining and operating Qualcomm Stadium. This creates a combined positive impact of $30 million annually to the General Fund. With inflation over a 30 year period, the positive impact on the General Fund should exceed $1 billion.
Provides an estimated $72 million per year for tourism-related infrastructure and marketing
The initiative also gives the hotel industry tax breaks if they assume responsibility for marketing and promoting the City, and for building and operating an off-waterfront Convention Center expansion across the street from the current location. If the industry makes binding legal commitments to assume these responsibilities and regularly demonstrates that it is fulfilling these responsibilities, it will be entitled to tax credits not to exceed 2% for marketing and promotion and another 2% for the Convention Center expansion – each credit amounting to approximately $36 million.
The $36 million for the Convention Center expansion can be bonded against to provide the necessary funds to expand the Convention Center.
Initiative passes with 50% +1 vote
Since within the initiative no money is earmarked for a specific purpose, raising the TOT requires only a simple majority vote. This eliminates a key obstacle for downtown presented by CSAG who publicly stated they chose Mission Valley to avoid a 2/3 vote.
Please feel free to contact Dan McLellan (619.341.1778 or firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance in getting further information or clarification. The stadium conversation continues to be confusing, but there are resources to help sort it out.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The need for the Chargers to remain in San Diego is obvious to Charger fans. The fans here do not want to lose their team to a market like Los Angeles, Portland or San Antonio. But is that even relevant to the vote or the topic at hand among those in the county that aren’t Charger fans? I’ve set up Thomas Powell, Dan McLellan, Derek Togerson and David Frerker to discuss and debate the topic. I’ll provide the closing statement.
Thomas Powell’s take: Thomas is a Senior writer for BoltBlitz.com and a long-time resident of San Diego.
Dean Spanos realized in 2003 that Qualcomm was no longer suitable as an NFL stadium in today’s modern era. The oldest stadium in America could neither make money, nor be a pleasurable experience for the affordable pricing of an NFL game. The Padres, at the time, just built Petco Park and revitalized Downtown. It was delayed for years, costing John Moores millions of dollars to finally get approved. The Padres realized, quicker than Spanos, that the Q was a dump compared to today’s standards of a professional stadium. It’s not only the cramped seats. The fact that they have no luxury seats to make money, along with small hallways, cracks in the wall, but the inside of the stadium is atrocious. The poor wifi, small locker rooms, electrical problems, bad plumbing, and now you have an 1800 Coliseum.
The true fact is, the Murph is rundown and dying. But, it’s home to San Diego and your Chargers. It is the MURPH! It’s our childhood. The memories are installed in our souls as permanent as the beat in our hearts. We love the place. But there is no fixing the Murph.
Eleven years of discussion about a new stadium has led to an, “We’ve heard this before” attitude. Any discussion on the topic creates anger within the fanbase. They are tired of hearing about the team moving. But the urgency has never been more real and more glaring. The lease at the Q is running out. LA is moving quickly to have a new stadium and 2 teams moving there. The issue here is not LA, though. San Diego’s time is running out. The lease ends in 2020. If it’s not in LA, they will move elsewhere. That’s what people don’t understand. Dean Spanos doesn’t want to move, and he’ll say all the right things until the issue is on the forefront and then he’ll, without a doubt, relocate. By then, it’s too late. There is no turning back at that point. It’s a PR game right now. It’s all 100% politics when it comes to getting a stadium. This city loves the Chargers. No one wants to think about them leaving. But it has never been more urgent than now. Believe me when I tell you this, Spanos will NOT let a team move to LA while his future is in doubt in San Diego! The Chargers are NOT staying at the Q; period.
If the Chargers move, San Diego will move into the Flintstone age of a sports city; no NFL team, no NBA team and no NHL team. Sadly, where would the San Diego Aztecs play? That would remain a huge question mark. But, the politics, again, are what will decide this team’s fate. The team is aiming for a ballot election. You, legally, have no ballot election for tax paying money to be spent on a stadium. Believe me, it will be tax-paying money, and a lot of it, to get a new stadium for the Chargers. A few polls have been conducted in SD regarding this issue. The majority will overwhelmingly deny a stadium. Sad, but true.
It’s a tough city to build confidence in why tax-paying money should go to a stadium. There are no neighbors to the east. It’s a desert. West? It’s an ocean. South? It’s Mexico. North? Well, yes, there’s that.
The majority of season ticket holders are from North County, Orange County and Los Angeles. Will it be a county-wide vote, or a city-wide vote? Dan McClellan will chime in to tell you why that is important. He’ll also explain the politics of all this. But, trust me when I say to you honestly, this will not come down to sports. It’s going to come down to our team and the politics of San Diego. The vote will decide everything. If it passes, we get a new stadium. If it fails, the team announces the following March they’re leaving. There’s a deadline now, folks. This isn’t like before. The argument for a stadium in an effort to gain a Super Bowl is now useless. The NFL has not moved to a rotation now. They have actually moved away from that thinking. You’re not getting a Super Bowl every 4 years. But, we know they’ll get zero Super Bowls without a stadium. The talk is over, and the time for action is now. It’s now all about the politics.
Derek Togerson’s Take: Derek is a writer and reporter for NBC San Diego.
Oh, what tangled webs we weave when we practice to get a new stadium built in California which has turned out to be one of the most difficult states in the union for the NFL to maneuver inside of.
With apologies to all the knowledgeable individuals who are contributing to this topic, and any of you committed enough to read all the way through it, this will not be over quickly (and I promise that is the final line that might even be obtusely related to 300). This simply is not a simple issue.
Since Tampa Bay dismantled Oakland in Super Bowl XXXVII, and the NFL basically told the Chargers and the city of San Diego it was not coming back until it had a better facility, this has been a debate without end. I sometimes think Godot will show up before we have a resolution. My opinion on this matter has been formed through multiple experiences, many of them disparate and seemingly unrelated, but all leading the to same conclusion:
If San Diego wants to remain in the conversation with the major cities in America, it needs to have a first-class multi-purpose facility.
Notice I didn’t say NFL stadium there?
For that, there is a very good reason. Let’s go back to 2012. The Giants were about to beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl (again), this time at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. I was there for that game. On the Friday before the main event, I had grown sick of listening to Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin talk for 30 minutes and say nothing, so I tracked down former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. He was instrumental in getting the new facility built, even though the RCA Dome was already there and many people in Indiana had zero desire to spend more money to build a new house for a billionaire to have his 53 millionaires to play in. I was curious about how it got done.
“We didn’t do what we did to build a stadium for the Colts,” Gov. Daniels told me. “We built a stadium and convention center as one facility, which is part of the magic that’s making this work so well. 90-percent-plus of the events that are in that stadium are not Colts games, so we’re getting multi-use. It’s conventions and Final Fours and major entertainment that we were getting, all of it to the benefit of the whole state.”
The other point Gov. Daniels made is very important, and it’s where the Chargers, the Spanos family, and Mark Fabiani have failed miserably. You cannot sell a new facility as “a new Chargers stadium.” You MUST label it as a new sports and entertainment facility that will benefit the entire region. Once the good folks of Indiana stopped looking at a new stadium as a new stadium, and started looking at is as a massive community events center (which it realistically is), the ballot measure passed with no trouble.
Gov. Daniels (whose term as governor ended in 2013 and is now the president of Purdue University) told me Indianapolis had conventions moving there from places like Florida. In March. The facilities are just that good. Now, you take that kind of situation and put it in San Diego’s weather? People will be knocking each other over to hold events here, and that is a good thing for the entire county of San Diego. With the success of San Diego State’s basketball program, the NCAA will happily hold a Final Four in our town. The NFL will be happier than a Kardashian in an NBA locker room if it gets to hold its major event in San Diego twice a decade. Plus all the motocross, monster trucks, Aztecs football, blah blah blah that will come with it will help the facility, even if it costs $1 billion to build, pay for itself within 15 years.
The latest ideas in San Diego have the ballot measure extending to the entire county, not just the city, which is a tremendous first step. Like I said, this is a regional undertaking that will reap regional benefits. I like the recent idea of the city working with the team to build a new facility in the East Village, while leveraging land in Mission Valley and around the Valley View Casino Center (Sports Arena). It’s ambitious and just might work without costing the taxpayers an exorbitant amount of money. Plus, we’ve seen what Petco Park has done for Downtown San Diego, and that’s with a MLB franchise that’s had a winning record four times in 11 years.
The NFL is king in America. Only the finest of cities (and Jacksonville) get a National Football League franchise. For all its issues and recent PR nightmares, the NFL has a tradition of doing tremendous work in communities that host teams. The Chargers and their players have donated countless hours and resources to local schools and homeless shelters. Parks have been built, high school facilities have been upgraded, and families of military members have been taken care of because the professional football team in town. Now, all of that is not as sexy as a Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson story, so the good stuff does not make the headlines, but I guarantee you it has more of an impact on the people of a community.
The league will tell us one Super Bowl can have an economic impact of up to $400 million for a community. Independent researchers have pinned that number at, on average, $100 million, still not exactly chump change. Now, figure that will happen in our town four or five times. Then tie it in to an expanded Comic-Con for the next 50 years. And a few Final Fours. And a few Mountain West Conference Football Championship games. And maybe even a couple of NCAA Football National Championship games. Can you hear the cash registers going off in your mind?
So, yes, I would love to see a new football-centric facility built in San Diego, and I think there’s a very good chance that can and will happen. I know this is a dream, but I would REALLY love to see Dean Spanos go Full Metal Ross Perot. You all remember the charismatic Texan who nearly stole the United States Presidency in 1992, don’t you? He made huge strides in that election season by purchasing blocks of time on network television where he explained his vision to the American people. If Mr. Spanos was so inclined, he could do the same thing with the San Diego affiliates (just DO NOT mess with Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy!, it’s not worth the backlash of calls from people who can’t go more than 23 1/2 hours without seeing Pat or Alex). But a half-hour block of time and outline, in detail, why a new stadium is a great idea FOR US. Show everyone how it will benefit the community, why it’s a great idea, and once and for all change the perception that the Chargers need a new stadium or they’re leaving.
When people who work hard for their money think they’re being held over a barrel by a multi-millionaire, they tend to not respond very favorably. The Chargers do a wonderful job of giving back to the San Diego community. Now we need to understand why they need us to give back to them.
Dan McLellan’s Take: Dan is formerly of CBS Sports Rapid Report and a long-time resident of San Diego.
After 13 years, the biggest obstacle that separates the Chargers and the city of San Diego from coming to terms on a new multiuse stadium is the hotel owner’s insistence that an expansion of the convention center must be contiguous with the current facility.
Those are the main individuals that stand to profit most from the progress that invites more conventions and tourism. Baffling as it is, that is where we stand. In the end, egos may lead to every Charger fan, and resident of San Diego County, hurting when it is all said and done.
No convention center expansion. No stadium. No Comic Con. And maybe even no Chargers in San Diego.
Expanding the convention center has been almost as drawn out and fruitless of a process as the Chargers attempt to find a new place to play in San Diego. When Mayor Jerry Sanders was in office, a deal had been struck for a contiguous convention center expansion that would not have involved a stadium; a plan championed by hotel owners.
The transient tax, fee paid by hotel guests, would have been raised to finance a $520 million expansion that would have added over 400,000 square feet. Based on the proximity of hotel rooms to the convention center, the proposed tax increase was to add 1 to 3 percent to the cost per room.
One Big Problem: California state law requires a 2/3 majority vote to raise any taxes. The hotel owners and the city devised a scheme to circumvent the law. They re-defined the electorate with the hotel owners. Assumed legality was based on when the hoteliers (really their patrons) would be the ones paying the tax.
Several groups — including the Chargers — argued the tax was illegal. The Chargers proposed to modify the expansion by including a new stadium adjacent to Petco Park, and to put any tax increases to a public vote.
The Chargers plan would also infuse private funds. The NFL and the Chargers would bring around $400 million to the table; mostly in the form of an NFL loan.
Additional funds could be saved and generated by the city once the Chargers vacated Qualcomm. No longer would tax payers be on the hook for the $15 million annual cost that is necessary to maintain the outdated stadium, and the valuable land that Qualcomm sits on. The aforementioned land could then eventually be sold.
Combine these sources of revenue with a voter-approved hotel tax, and there would be enough funding for a multiuse facility that would be inviting to large-scale conventions, concerts, other major sporting events and, perhaps, new teams.
The Chargers proposed the multiuse concept to mayor Sanders. He did not endorse it because the city was too far along with their plan, and, at the time, there was hope that construction could begin before he left office.
It never happened.
In October of 2013, the Chargers presented their plan to the California Coastal Commission with hopes it would be adopted over the contiguous plan. It appeared to be a last-ditch effort for a multiuse stadium expansion. The acting mayor, Todd Gloria, opposed the Chargers plan and the commission voted to move forward with the expansion.
In August, a three-judge panel unanimously concluded the tax was illegal. They stated, “While we understand that the city would like to expand the convention center, we are duty bound to uphold the provisions of the California Constitution and the City Charter that requires that the city’s registered voters approve the special tax at issue in the case.”
The ruling was so strong that the city has chosen not to appeal to the California State Supreme Court. This left the expansion effectively dead in the water.
Throughout the stadium saga, the Chargers were the only legitimate team to realistically relocate to Los Angeles. Fear of the Bolts leaving has been their biggest bargaining chip. The landscape has changed. The NFL’s Oakland and St. Louis ownership have both made it known of their desire to relocate and now they both appear ready to move.
The topic was in the air this past Sunday when the Raiders visited San Diego. “Los Angeles is a great option,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. “We loved it when we were down there.”
Dean Spanos was also asked about the potential of a new stadium in San Diego or moving. Spanos cited, “It’s 13 years, so it’s been a long time. It is frustrating, when you have seven different mayors over a 10-year period of time and the political structure has struggled here and the economy hasn’t been great. All those factors lead into it.”
The worst scenario for the Chargers would be another team takes over the Los Angeles market while no new stadium is built in San Diego by 2020. This is when their lease on Qualcomm runs out. With no bargaining power, the city could force the team into a much higher lease to cover the rising cost to maintain Qualcomm. Meanwhile, the Chargers could potentially lose 30 percent of their revenue that they say they bring in from Los Angeles.
The Chargers could avoid this nightmare by exercising an early exit to their lease on Qualcomm and beating the other teams to Los Angeles.
Relocation is a threat. It still remains unlikely, in my opinion. If the Chargers wanted to be in Los Angeles, they would already be there.
In August, JMI Realty, owned by former Padres owner John Moores, unveiled a $ 1.4 billion multiuse convention plan that would include a new stadium.
“The bottom line is you can physically create a multiuse facility with the Chargers that would be incredibly sexy and attractive and the whole issue of conventions and the appetite for being in a building like that would be very high,“ JMI President John Kratzer told the San Diego Union Tribune. “And I think the aggregate cost of doing that is going to be hundreds of millions of dollars less expensive,” he said.
JMI has clout, because of their past success in overseeing the ballpark district master plan for Petco Park. They also appear to have the backing of the Chargers.
Getting the support of the hoteliers and city council may be tougher. Even without funding, hoteliers continue to push for a contiguous expansion of the convention center that would not include a stadium. This puts the mayor and city council in a bind. Hoteliers are a powerful political pack in San Diego, and they tend to get their way.
However, no one wants Comic Con or the Chargers to leave on their watch. All parties are hopefully starting to realize time may be running out and options regarding both fronts.
At least the city and the Chargers are still talking to one another. That hasn’t always been the case. Negotiations are ongoing and parties have been reluctant to talk on record. They do not want those negotiations to be played out in the media. That’s a positive sign!
Hopefully progress that benefits all will finally be realized.
David Frerker’s Take: David owns and runs SanDiegoSportsDomination.com. He is about to be an SDSU graduate.
It would be huge if the Chargers left San Diego. SDSU has a deal with Qualcomm. I believe that contract lasts until 2019. If the Chargers leave, Qualcomm would then, most likely, be torn down. My belief is that the city of San Diego would circle around and support the Aztecs. SDSU has looked into building a stadium. They lose money while playing at Qualcomm; as the price of renting out Qualcomm is quite steep and that will only rise if the Chargers leave San Diego. SDSU would have to find another place to play. There is no room on the campus to build a stadium. SDSU does own land on the opposite side of the I-8 to build a stadium if that became necessary. On the other side, if the Chargers left San Diego, I truly believe San Diego fans would rally around the Aztecs as they have started to do for SDSU basketball.
My take: I am the Owner/Editor of BoltBlitz.com. Dave “Booga” Peters.
As I go through the aforementioned takes, I can easily agree with the majority of everyone’s thoughts.
This is where I go from here.
I moved here from Charlotte, NC to gain more access to the Chargers. I wanted to cover them in the most responsible way possible. When looking at the stadium issue, I keep hearing the same thing from the majority of parties involved, “We want a stadium.” I believe that Derek Togerson and Dan McLellan nailed it in that a multiuse facility must be the focus of further negotiations. Pleading for a stadium, with a focus on solely targeting Charger fans, is the wrong plan of attack. It has to benefit all of San Diego.
San Diego is a military town with many transplant fans from other regions, cities and fans of other teams. Attempting to ask the Charger fans to vote accordingly is the wrong route to go. As Togerson pointed out, via his conversations with Governor Daniels, Spanos and company must find a way to entice the entire county, not just Charger fans, to get on board with a plan to give this county what it wants; things that is doesn’t even recognize the fiscal relevance of without being shown the way. Everyone wants to be enlightened and given alternatives when it comes to voting and spending their hard-earned money.
Quite frankly, I am sick of talking about the stadium issue. Qualcomm is a stadium that is beyond repair, and that has been the case for more than a decade. That being said, that is our cement abomination of a stadium. We like to call it the home of the Chargers.
I am a San Diego Charger fan. My vote in November of 2016 won’t really matter. It is up to the Spanos family. Are they willing to continue to fight and keep this team in San Diego?
We called in the cavalry, but this issue has become urgent enough that we found it necessary to bring the appropriate minds in to assess the situation.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Dave Booga Peters
In this edition of my interview series for BoltBlitz.com, I’ll be introducing you to Dan McLellan. Dan will become one of the most interesting interviews in this series. He covered the Chargers for CBSSports Rapid Reports during the Norv Turner Era. Dan’s a die-hard Charger fan. Many times the words he wrote, out of either joy or frustration, seemed to be exactly what I was thinking at that time. He was one of my personal favorites.
I remember missing a few Training Camp dates over the years. I would review Dan’s article of the day and it was like I was there and didn’t miss a thing. He also had a weekly video segment where he would recap the previous week’s game and breakdown the next opponent. National reporters generally do a fine job reporting on your team, but nothing beats the words out of a guy who loves the team as much as you do. He always kept us well-informed and his reporting was always dead on accurate.
Dan is also an entertainer, actor, father, husband and reporter. As you get to know Dan, please give him a follow on Twitter @sandiegosports or with his coverage of the Padres this year at sandiego.com. You can also find Dan on Facebook at Dan McLellan.
Tpowell: You were the Chargers Beat Writer for CBSSports Rapid Reports during Norv and AJ last year in San Diego. You were pretty honest in your criticism of the regime that year. I really enjoyed it cause as others were giving us mouth piece I could feel the fan in you come out and say the things many of us fans were thinking at that time. The Chargers are still paying the price in cap space from the previous regime. Tell me about your time and what it was like for you?
McLellan: It was truly a dream job. There were plenty of long hours and hard work, but I had fun and it was a true growing experience. In two short years I had gone from a guy with a podcast to a fulltime beat writer with amazing access. I really enjoyed the relationships that I developed with everyone including other writers, members of the Chargers staff, and the players themselves.
Although sometimes critical, I worked hard at developing trust with players and even Turner. Ultimately, my job was to call it like I saw it. I was passionate in my belief Turner should be fired. This did create some friction between the two of us in the closing weeks of his regime.
I didn’t know when I covered the dismissal of Turner that CBSSports was about a week away from cutting the RapidReporter program and I would be losing my job. Kind of humbling call for someone else to be fired, see it comes to pass, and then get laid off yourself.
The biggest thing I miss is being involved in the players charitable organizations. It was deeply gratifying to help Quentin Jammer and Philip Rivers spread the word about the needs of foster children in San Diego. I felt like I was helping to make a real difference.
Tpowell: You’ve worked in and around the media in San Diego. Why do you think San Diego reporters have a reputation of being “soft”?
McLellan: Absent of what most consider a major championship in San Diego, we have no real expectation of winning it all. This has led to celebrating getting close instead of being critical of falling short.
Seldom do you see brutal headlines lambasting failure. Bigger markets with more outlets competing for readership will frequently run attention-getting headlines and stories that are harsh on their teams and players.
San Diego is down to only one major newspaper. This is bad because there is no serious competition in the market place. When the UT purchased the North County Times, I heard stories about management telling writers not to write any negative articles. Writers were told readers don’t want to be bummed out. It doesn’t take much of a skeptic to draw a connection between the business relationship the UT has with the Padres and Chargers and coverage that is perceived be soft.
With that said, I want to make it clear that I consider myself friends with many on the UT staff and deeply admire their work. I’m just pointing out with limited competition and a friendly business environment, it’s far less likely management is going to give the go ahead for critical stories.
Tpowell: How did you get into reporting on your favorite team in the NFL? How did that venture come about?
McLellan: In 2007, I had a short career as a Cruise Director. An opportunity that led to some amazing travel and I met my wife Abby who was a guest on one of the cruises.
I thought that I was going to be a Cruise Director for the rest of my life. When it became apparent that was not the case. I began thinking of other dream jobs that I would like to have. Sports reporting, particularly radio host, was right up there near the top of the list. I contacted local radio stations and volunteered to be an intern. They said I needed to be enrolled in school if I wanted to work for free. I already had a Master’s Degree, so that seemed a little ridiculous.
My friend David Kamatoy, who owns the Kamatoy Media group, suggested that I start a podcast. He introduced me to Twitter. Both were mediums which were just coming of age. I purchased a book on podcasting. A few weeks later at the start of the 2008 season, I began a weekly half-hour show ranting on the Chargers.
On Thanksgiving, I received a lucky break when I met Mark Burgess at a dinner hosted by my future in-laws. Mark was the founder of SanDiego.com and he was looking for a sports writer. I’m dyslexic and was fearful of writing, but I didn’t tell him that. He gave me an opportunity on the spot.
Fortunately, I did have some connections in the sports world.Georgette Rogers is the receptionist for the Chargers and the mother of my close high school friend Nova. Through that connection I was able to interview Chargers minority owner George Pernicano and that began my relationship with the team.
A few months later, I talked myself into the Padres press box. At my first game, I sat next to Tom Krasovic who had just been laid off from the UT. We struck up a conversation and I introduced him to the world of Twitter and blogging. I sounded like an expert only because I knew a little.
In 2009, Tom was hired by CBSsports.com to cover the Chargers in their new Rapid Reporters position. During that season, Tom left CBSsports to work for AOL and recommended me to replace him.
Tpowell: Week 17 last year, One of the most exciting days as a Charger fan. I remember meeting up with you in the parking lot watching the end of the Jets-Dolphins game. What was that day like for you?
McLellan:I believe that I have done a good job of wearing different hats. Sometimes I am just a fan. As a writer and on-air personality, I have been both a friend of the team and when needed a critical journalist. On that day, I took off my journalism hats and just had fun as a fan.
There was a little part of me that didn’t want to see the Chargers make the Playoffs because they missed the postseason all three seasons I covered them fulltime. I was a little worried that they would win the Super Bowl and that I wouldn’t be a part of it.
I know that is selfish and that thought process quickly went away. After being as close to the team as I was for three seasons I want to see them win a championship while there are still players on the team that I developed a relationship with. There are some really good guys in that locker room who deserve to be successful.
Tpowell: What are your thoughts on the new regime of McCoy and Telesco?
McLellan: Generally they are positive, but it’s still early. Turner got to the AFC Championship in his first season in 2007. The biggest reason that I believe change was needed is Turner and Rivers became a bit co-dependent and too defensive of each other’s short comings. This prevented then from making necessary adjustments. Rivers was forced to approach things differently with McCoy and so far it has paid off big time. I now believe another championship window has opened for Rivers and the Chargers.
Tpowell: You’re also an entertainer and actor. You’ve as an actor have had cameos in “Veronica Mars” as well as other shows. How did your love of acting come about and how’s it going today?
McLellan: When I was about six or seven years old I saw my sister’s best friend Jenny Ritter in the play Blithe Spirit at El Capitan High School. A few weeks later my parents took ’em to see the Pirates of Penzance at the Starlight Theater in Balboa Park. I was hooked and of course I was a pirate for Halloween that year.
For acting, I am fortune enough to be represented Shamon Freitas & Talent Agency. Most of the parts I audition for are corporate training videos. Hopefully, another television show will be shot in San Diego in the near future.
TPowell: You’re also an entertainer. I read you’ve done some gigs and Corvette’s Diner and for one of the largest catering companies in the U.S. How did your love of entertaining come about?
McLellan: I was the rat at Chucky Cheese in El Cajon (now closed) for my first job out of high school. It was there that I was recruited by John Johnson to be a clown for corporate picnics hosted by Picnic People. John taught me clown skills of balloon sculpting, face painting, juggling, magic and stilt walking.
In 2004, I went to work fulltime with Picnic People. They gave me the beset title for a job: Chief Fun Guy. I was in charge of hiring and training in-house entertainers as well as managing all the vendors. I worked there until shortly before I became a cruise director.
Until very recently, I also managed all of the balloon entertainers at the Corvette Diner, as well as performed there for many years.
TPowell: I know besides the Chargers, you are an avid fan of the Padres, Aztecs and Sockers. Seems our teams are heading in the right direction. How did you originally get into the Sockers? What are your thoughts on the Padres this year?
McLellan: The return of the Sockers coincided with the opportunity to write for SanDiego.com. Initially, I covered them because virtually no one else was and I was able to get amazing access. My time around the team had produced some of my best memories of being a sports reporter. Because of the Sockers I know how awesome it is to be around a championship celebration.
One of my favorite memories was being in Cincinnati when they won the 2011-12 PASL Championship. After the game we piled in a limo and went to a night club to celebrate. I sat in the back with GM John Kentera, Joe Tutino and Craig Elsten. Aaron Susi, the Sockers team captain, grabbed me. Before I knew it, I was being body surfed by the team to the front of the limo and back. Along the way someone tore my pants off of me.
TPowell: You seem to get/understand the social media craze and embraced it with open arms. I remember your blog had weekly updates from Charger Park and a video of your breakdown and prediction on the next week’s game. What do you think of the social media in sports and how rapidly it has developed?
McClellan: I’m glad I got in early. In the beginning adding followers on Twitter was easy. Practically every time I sent out a tweet I was able to add one or two. It is more difficult to maintain and capture followers now. I think people discriminate more on what they want in their feed.
The best thing about Twitter, or social media in general, is if used properly you can quickly brand yourself as an expert. This allows an outsider to develop a name for themselves and compete with the big guys.
The downside is it has heightened the demand for putting out information right now, so that you beat your competitors. The need to get things out right away opens the door for more mistakes and vicious criticism by social media trolls. I have made my fair share of mistakes, but because of them I try to force myself to slow down a tad.
TPowell: You know I was a big fan of your work with CBS Sports. You were honest and accurate in everything you did. I know people really enjoy your takes when you have the time on Facebook. What are your plans for the future? Not just in sports, but in other loves as well.
McClellan: Pacific San Diego Magazine has asked me to cover the Padres for this upcoming season. This will likely involve about an article a month. I am thankful for this opportunity because it keeps my name in the game and allows me to generate some revenue from writing. I remain hopeful another full-time opportunity will present itself.
I have been very fortunate that I have been able to do a number of really fun thing for work throughout my life and I know I will again.
The truth is, getting laid off from CBSsports has turned out to be a blessing. For the last year, I have been a stay at home dad for my 2-year-old daughter Sandra. My wife and I are expecting a son in May, so my employment status will likely stay the same for the future unless a truly great opportunity presents itself.
In the meantime, I am a few weeks away from fully launching PlanForEmergency.com which will educate and sell emergency eduction and disaster preparedness supplies. With over 200 products it will offer products all the way from individuals who want to better prepare their home and vehicles to professional first responders.
PlanForEmergency may not be sports related, but I’m excited about this project. It is away to help people. And I believe I will finally be able to take everything I have learned about social and blogging and apply those tools to something that will generate passive income.
Sports blogs are fun and a great outlet. However, they are very time-consuming and very difficult to generate revenue with them.
TPowell: Lastly, what is your opinion so far on this year’s team in 2014? Being limited in cap space but a Draft coming up, how do you foresee this season playing out?
McLellan: Going on the assumption that Rivers can continue his remarkable streak of staying healthy enough to play, 2014 will likely plan out in similar fashion as 2013. The Bolts will likely be on the bubble for the playoffs. If they make post season, and key players like Rivers and Ryan Mathews are healthy, then they could reach the Super Bowl. With salary cap restraints, a true run at a title is likely a season or two away.
I’m actually really looking forward to the draft this year because I don’t know what Telesco is going to do. In recent years, it pretty obvious what position the Chargers would address in the first-round. This year, not so much. Most of the so-called experts have San Diego selecting a NT or addressing the secondary. However, I would not be shocked if another stud on the O-line was added.
With options, Telesco could trade up or even out of the first-round. I don’t know what is going to happen, but I am expecting a bit of a surprise.